Build a website for any industry and you’ll most likely have copywriting and user experience pretty high on your list of priorities. Still, many brands and businesses neglect to understand the relationship between the two. Tackle each one separately and you’ll have a website that reads well and is relatively easy to use. Treat them as an extension of one another and your copy will have the power to connect, engage and convert.
What is UX copywriting
UX copywriting is the merging of two previously separate disciplines – copywriting and user experience design – to create seamless experiences across your website.
User Experience, in turn, is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility and pleasure provided through interactions with your website. Examples include building helpful dropdown menus, adding a breadcrumb trail to pages, and categorising or tagging blog posts, plus a whole host of other design elements that make your website easy-to-navigate, intuitive and simple to use.
Copy with a UX-focus, therefore, is creating and publishing valuable and engaging content into a design where it can be found, easily digested and accessed by users. It also means optimising existing content to ensure that your published articles or landing pages aren’t buried in the sitemap or impossible to find.
Initial considerations: who, what, how and where
Before diving into any copywriting, it’s crucial to ask yourself a few key questions. The answers to these will help to shape your content and generate links between the consumer, your website and your wider business goals.
- Who is going to be reading this?
Who’s your target audience? Age, location and level of experience within your subject matter will all have relevance here.
- What questions are they asking and how can I provide the solution?
Recognising a common issue and providing the solution is basic business 101, and that stretches to the online world too. Consider exactly what users are likely to be looking for when they land on a specific web page and focus on providing a clear solution.
- How will the audience be accessing this kind of information?
In today’s world, mobile friendliness is a necessity, not an optional extra. Think about how users are likely to be accessing your website and how you can use your copy to support this.
- Where will the audience be going from here?
Consider the best case scenario: a user has landed on your web page, engaged with the content and found the information they need. So what next? How can you ensure that the user journey is focused on achieving your overarching business goals?
Make it meaningful
First and foremost, copy should offer genuine value to its audience. Avoid using over-complicated language or jargon and focus on making copy accessible for users with limited knowledge or experience. After all, alienating the reader is a sure-fire way to decrease engagement and drive them elsewhere.
Research is a key part of UX-focused copywriting and it’s vital to truly get your head around what users want from your content. Identify the problems they’re trying to solve and work on providing informative, knowledgeable solutions.
Make it intuitive
Perhaps the most valuable lesson that content creators can learn is how to read the minds of their audience – metaphorically, at least. Simplicity is a cornerstone of user experience and nobody’s going to spend precious time scouring your website for the information they need. Each page should flow freely from one to the next, with clear, concise navigation options throughout.
For example, if landing page content lends itself to point to a product or service page, include a strong CTA to guide to reader in the right direction. Put yourself in their shoes to ensure that the user journey is clearly signposted by your copy, from initial research right through to final purchase.
Make it functional
Successful UX copywriting keeps both usability and readability in mind at all times. For each piece of content you create it’s crucial to consider its place on the page. Rather than standing alone as a great piece of copy, it needs to work with surrounding features and design elements to bring the user experience to life.
Functionality is a core part of UX, so consider how you can make it work for everyone across a range of devices. Copy should be clear and to the point, allowing users to highlight the information they’re looking for, even with a skim read. Consider how your written content can work alongside design and layout to make the function and purpose of the page clear from the beginning.
For anyone hoping to use digital content to bridge the gap between brand and consumer, writing with UX in mind is a great place to start. If you do not have the in-house resources to make sure your copywriting meets your UX needs, consider outsourcing to a professional copywriting agency with experience in UX copywriting. Put yourself in the position of the user and allow written content to guide their online journey from beginning to end.
Natalie is a Content Strategist at WooContent, where she specialises in writing ecommerce, lifestyle and fashion content. WooContent is an international, multi-lingual copywriting agency with offices in Sydney, London, New York, and Singapore.