What’s The Right Amount Of Copy On The Web?

HIgh ROI copyBill, a client who had joined the lunch bunch today, pushed his plate to one side, looked across the table and asked, “Are my web pages too long?”

My reply, a little smart aleck, was, “Compared to what?”

“The other guys that do what I do,” he replied.

“Good answer,” Gail, our resident writer jumped in, “Especially since people who don’t understand how to figure this out are always doing that.”

She pulled her pad computer out, fired it up and said, “Let’s see what we can find in the way of a list of successful folks in your business…

Ah, here we go this list is the top15 in the area. Does this one have shorter or longer copy than your web site pages?”

Bill looked and said, “It’s about the same. Try this one. It’s a bigger firm.”

She did. They looked. The copy was longer still. On the third try, the copy was shorter.

Chris, our Digital Director said, “In my experience, there is no one right answer. The appropriate length boils down to the fact that people will read as much as they are comfortable with as long as it provides information they want.”

Gail commented, “I agree completely but there are four times that well-written long copy performs better:

  • When you’re selling something of high value
  • When you’re selling an information product and you have to tell ’em all the benefits and overcome their concerns
  • When you need to develop trust
  • When you’re selling something new and you have to convince the buyer the features are really something they want or need
  • When you are selling on line and they can’t get any sensory data about it except for some visuals.”

Rick, our direct marketing specialist added, “And on the web if copy is too short it really limits ROI. When copy is too short it leads to lower response rates, increased cancellations at checkout and leads to more returns due to unmet expectations all because you didn’t tell them enough. At a minimum, it takes about 250 words per page to keep the search engines and the customer happy.”

I jumped in to say, “But if you need more and have to go “below the fold” to be persuasive, you should go ahead. There’s a study by User Interface Engineering (UEI) that says users are perfectly willing to scroll and in the trade-off between hiding content below the fold or spreading it across several pages, readership increases when the content is on a single page.”

The Takeaway:
The only copy count that matters is the number of sales or opt-ins or phone calls the page generates.


This blog recaps the luncheon conversations of a group of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the fictions ringleader and secretary.

Jerry Fletcher has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com


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About Jerry Fletcher

Jerry is the CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. which he founded in 1990. He is an expert at business development and has changed the way the way new business is acquired and introduced on three continents. He is known to meet with clients in dining rooms and boardrooms. He stopped counting successful introductions of new products at 207.

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