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Just Say It! Critical Copywriting Tip

One of the most common mistakes on web pages is simply not saying it!

What is this page for? What can you do here? Why am I looking at this? Whatever it is, just say it!

When you click on a link for “Contact us”, you expect a contact page.

When you click on a link to “Buy now”, you expect to buy from the next page.

When you click on a link that promises to explain something, you expect to know immediately that you’ll get the explanation on the page.

Web pages that attempt to play with their visitors’ attention by being clever, coy, or cryptic FAIL. You cannot beat good honest up-front transparency.

Test Your Web Pages

Try this test on your own web pages. Without scrolling, can you immediately see the point of the page? Is it shining out? Is there one thing that first draws your eye, which explains in simple language what the page is that you’re on?

If these things don’t happen, you will not be able to help your visitors answer the only important question there is in web design…

 “Am I in the right place?”

Everything hinges on this simple question.

Good Example: New York Appraisal Source

This is the home page of AppraisalSource, real estate appraisers in New York (image at 50% scale).

Notice how the main heading leaves you in no doubt whether you’re in the right place or not.

  • The content starts high up the page, so there’s no stuff in the way of you noticing the headline immediately.
  • The headline text is the largest text on the page.
  • It’s in black against a white background (for maximum contrast, one of the noticeability factors)
  • And – most importantly – it says what the site offers, for whom, and pitches a proposition “Call us today”.

I don’t know if it’s necessary to have the call to action in the headline here, but it probably doesn’t hurt. There may be some people who just need a certified home appraisal in Long Island or NYC in a hurry, and may just click it.

Generally, I would expect most visitors to want to find out more information about the proposition (cost, can I trust you?) before they’ll call. But a minority may take up this early call to action.

So when you see that statement “if you need a certified home appraisal…” you have to make a choice.

  • If you don’t need one, you’re not in the market and you don’t need to proceed with the site. The site loses nothing by being clear.
  • If you do need a home appraisal, you immediately know you are in the right place, so you can proceed with confidence.

See how everyone benefits?

(Note: This is one of my 50 Web Design Secrets, which I’ll send you for free when you join my web design mailing list.)

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