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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Critique my copy

    I am currently testing a website for a friend and want to get peoples opinions on the copy thats been written.

    I wrote the copy on the home page and the rest of the copy on the site was written by my friends employee (which I have edited a little), neither of us are professional copywriters and my friend cant afford to hire one.

    Which is why I am asking for a critique of our work.

    Here is the website in question
    <snip>

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by stymiee; Apr 18, 2007 at 18:48.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    First off, this is a nice looking site.

    The copy on the Home page is pretty sparse, even for basic SEO purposes. As for copy writing, there is nothing which makes a reader curious or motivates them to go deeper into a site. My impression is copywriting was sacrificed to make the layout look "cleaner."

    The result of the sparse text is there are three unsupported claims made, just on the Home page. Quality, innovation and perfection -- a pretty bold claim -- have zero explanation or proof in support.

    Contrary to popular opinion, throwing unsupported claims all over the place is not good copywriting. It's common, but it isn't good because it creates the kind of buying resistance you want the copy to take care of.

    A house is the biggest investment most people make, and the market is fickle. People want the proof the claims you make have any meaning.

    Unfortunately the one page they might find answers on, Process, doesn't answer any questions. Instead of quality, innovation or perfection, it goes into that process checklist. When there is some copy, which the layout gives no clue there will be, we get three more claims: Easy, Quick, Painless.

    Any questions which are unanswered on a page are invitations for the user to leave, maybe to another page ....but also to another site. The more pages you force the user to hunt on, the greater the probability they will look offsite.

    Remedies
    Everything is chopped into contextless chunks, making the user hunt for each little nugget of information. And each nugget served up doesn't relate back to anthing on other pages. Pick a single simple theme, Quality, Innovation, Perfection or Easy, Quick and Painless -- then stick to it. Easy quick and painless could be a good way to explain how innovative you are.

    Merge the Home and Process pages and give the site visitor something to read.

    All the words like quality and perfection are superlatives I call "sweet nothings." Why? Because it seems like you're promising something, but never even suggests you hold yourself to some level of performance.

    For example, you could say why you use all copper plumbing instead of PVC. You could include a side-by-side diagrams of the regular house, and what you do to "perfection." Explain all of what you do in your process results in an average of $3,000 less in maintenance and repairs over the average life of the house, because you didn't cut corners. Take the feature "copper plumbing" and translate it into some tangible benefit "lower lifetime costs."

    Explain how most contractors will get a load of warped 2x4s and just use them. While you work with vendors who know better.

    Lot of things, like preparing comprehensive OHW&S policies are something you know about but leave a reader scratching their heads. Explain why it's important enough to mention.

    Develop a unique selling proposition

    Domino's pizza didn't say "Fresh hot Pizza," an unsupported claim. They said "We deliver fresh hot pizza to your doorstep with 30 minutes or its free." A contractor I know about uses an innovative invoice form. You pay to the level of satisfaction -- if you're 80&#37; satisfied you pay 80%.

    In other words, don't make vague, nice-sounding, unsupported claims. Prove how you do what you say you do or else. The "or else" is what separates amateur fantasies about what copywriting is from real copywriting.

    That's information technology. That is copywriting.

    Related Articles:
    The Feature-to-Benefit translator clinic... The site is a case of "if you could read my mind" copy. The company has good information, but it is using superlatives and features not communicating information to the user.

    Find the "Selling Story" Buried in Your Business Take the name and contact details off the site and it would work for any competitor. You need to develop a story unique to how you do business.

    Cutaway Illustration of a Roofing System (scroll down). How to communicate information with diagrams.

    Are Designers The Enemy Of Design? "When we were about to publish pictures of the first winners, I looked at all the fancy architecture magazines. None had any pictures of people inside buildings. The buildings were all devoid of people. And most still are. We put people inside the spaces they inhabit. We inserted people into the conversation of their lives. Now, smart architects engage the masses in their designs." Don't extract the human context from visuals and copy. And no, the family stock photo thing doesn't help.

    Forcing Change - Using the Catalytic Mechanism "Collins explains it like this -- "The bottom of every Granite Rock invoice reads, "If you are not satisfied for any reason, don't pay us for it. Simply scratch out the line item, write a brief note about the problem, and return a copy of this invoice along with your check for the balance."

    Granite Rock doesn't write meaningless slogans, they prove their claims have meaning or else. And that is how you develop a site for a digital economy with competitors just a couple of mouse clicks away. Looking good in a generic way and throwing around vague meaningless superlatives is simply not enough.
    Last edited by DCrux; Apr 18, 2007 at 06:28.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the critique Design Crux

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member BrainstormCopy's Avatar
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    Which part exactly did you write? The only copy on the front page is

    "Precision Homes builds Brand New Homes, and can extend or renovate your existing Home; We offer Quality Homes with Innovative Designs completed within Budget and on time."
    Always remember ... content is king!
    Freelance Copywriter | Brainstorm Copywriting

  5. #5
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Sorry, I hate to close this thread but site reviews must go in the Website Review forum and element reviews (which is what this is) must go in the Design Elements forum. Please read the guidelines before submitting your site.


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