• Mastering Web Copy for Mobile, the Easy Way


Online Readership

If you ask “Who reads web content – the copy that accompanies all the images, links, contact info, and the like?” most people will tell you “no one.”

But that’s not exactly right, is it?

In fact, when it comes to the written word on the web and how users experience it, there are several established philosophies that have been adopted (and proven) by those who still take the time to read:

  • Almost no one reads EVERY word (that’s a given), but they DO read
  • People skim and scan for the information they need
  • Site users read in an “F-shaped” pattern
  • Bullets, lists, quotes, and (sub)headers are beloved by all
  • “Exaggerate or over-promise, and I’m gone”
  • The most effective information is above the fold (the visible part of the landing page) and on the left-hand side

These rules of website content have become canon to many web writers. By using them as a guide, they tend to create some pretty amazing, informative content that not only has personality – and credibility – but converts for leads and sales, providing better ROI on the whole.

The Mobile Game Changer

But what about when we change the medium? What about web copy on smartphones, tablets, “phablets,” and other mobile devices?

Great question.

Americans spend an average of 34 hours each month on apps and browsers. They check their phones 110 times per day. Reading is already tedious enough for most people on a desktop. Try shrinking that experience down to a peephole, and information becomes 108% harder to understand and absorb. Even the new iPhone 6 Plus, the newest – and largest – Apple model, only has 5.5 inches of display real estate in which to cram all the aspects of your fabulous responsive site. 

Take up too much of that with text, and you’re done.

Adapt & Overcome

Yet even with small screens, writing for the mobile audience is far from impossible. Thought leaders like Shane Ketterman from Copyblogger, Syed Balkhi, Super Blogger, and Sales Copy expert Yanik Silver from Web Domination 20, have all weighed in on the subject, and shed some light on best practices for making web copy work for mobile:

  • Write short, easy-to-consume sentences and paragraphs
  • Offer straightforward, informative content right away. No fluff.
  • Evoke emotion to engage and captivate your audience
  • Use a casual, conversational tone and action verbs. No business jargon.
  • Make all written content easy to scan/skim

By following these basic tenets, you, as the writer, not only save space on the website, and a user’s mobile device, but you also become essential in spreading your company’s message. And you’re contributing to your bottom line by helping readers take immediate action on a purchase or service.

Quick and easy, right? What do you think the best strategy for writing mobile copy should be?

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