Recently, I was reading a great post on Econsultancy’s blog about why people don’t trust websites. Of the 44 reasons the author gives, many of them have something to do with the content – the copywriting – on the pages rather than the visual elements you might normally associate with trust and websites. (For example, poor layout.)

One of the first points made in the post is about ‘busy-ness’ on the page. This is one area where good copywriting can make all the difference. Here, less is definitely more as well-crafted messages and succinct writing make the key selling points obvious and clear.

A copywriting mentor of mine early in my career told me that I’d know when I did the job right because nobody would notice the words. It’s a point I’ve (happily) witnessed many times now. Copy that simply makes sense, is enjoyable to read and clear in flow and precise in direction simply disappears to the eye. Instead, the reader’s mind is focussed on the points you raise, which means they trust what you are saying to them.

Poor writing is a trust issue

The writer of the Econsultancy post also raises ‘bad copy’ as a trust issue, and for good reason. This often overlooked aspect of the design and development of a website is the only part (with the exception of video or audio) where your voice – your brand’s manner of speaking – comes across.

When you simply slap up some words, or copy and paste some content from elsewhere without thought of the mindset (or purchase decision point) of your online prospect, you are missing out on converting a ‘click’ to a customer.

The post goes on to flag up ‘sketchy’ content as well. To me, this is about poor writing. Content must be there for a reason and only give facts and make promises that a brand can keep. Anything else is superlative spam.

Dull calls-to-action

The trust post on Econsultancy mentions the dreaded ‘click here’ call to action as a reason people don’t trust a website. I have to agree with this, but my reasons for calling out the ubiquitous direction are a little different.

Firstly, a page littered with the same demand for action is a little boring. Click click click. We know what to do! We just don’t know why.

Why waste the opportunity to communicate with your audience by sticking in a lazy demand when, instead, you can provide an enticing – even benefit driven – call-to-action that deepens your business’ relationship with your customer or prospect?

Try variations and test them (here, I have to agree with Econsultancy!).

Be authentic

Authenticity is often called for in marketing, but seldom achieved, and the trust post highlights this in the section about ‘random posts’ from fake people’.

Why would any reputable brand do this? There are enough spammers and scammers out there already; don’t add to their voice.

In summary

All of this leads me back to a point I have raised here many times – when people are demanding clear, authentic, relevant communication from businesses and brands (and search engines demand this too), why would you want to deliver anything else in your copywriting?


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