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5 Tips for Mobile Copywriting: Twice the Impact, 1/12 the Space

by Caitlin Edwards

15
Feb
2012

Mobile CopywritingWhen it comes to transferring content from your desktop website to your mobile site, it’s not always a “cut and paste” solution. Your mobile audience behaves differently than people accessing your website from computers at work or home; they’re often in a rush, and unwilling to scroll through paragraphs of text on small smartphone screens.

We believe a mobile website should be specific and streamlined, with top-loaded content and strong headlines and calls to actions, otherwise you risk losing your easily-distracted visitors. Here are five tips to help you distill and refine your desktop content so that it packs more punch in less than 1/12 the space!

Short and Sweet

First things first, you’re going to need to trim the fat. The average desktop website page contains 250-400 words of content. As a general rule, we recommend that you keep word count down to 75-110 words per page on your mobile site. Only the first 80-90 words will be visible on the screen, even fewer if you’re including images or call-to-action buttons.

You can easily create a template in Word to help you draft content before entering it into a mobile CMS. This will help you “see” how copy will fit on a typical mobile page.

1. Open a blank Word document
2. Set the page width to 4.4 in (this visually approximates the width of an average smartphone)
3. Set the font size to 15pt
4. Paste copy into this template and begin editing

Top-Load Your Content

Remove introductory sentences or paragraphs – the very first sentence your mobile audience reads should contain the most valuable information on the page. For instance, your “About Us” section should start off with your brand promise or an explanation of services, not a history lesson. Your mobile visitors are typically goal-oriented, so top-loading content is your #1 priority.

Is it Readable?

Fancy fonts like Impact or American Typewriter may look great on your desktop site, but they’re much harder to read on a smartphone screen. Stick to mobile web-safe fonts like Trebuchet or Verdana to make your content as scannable as possible. We’ve written an entire post on choosing fonts for your mobile website, if you want to learn more.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, font size on your mobile site should be slightly larger than on your desktop site – we recommend 13pt for body text. Remember that your audience is on-the-go, and may just be glancing at the screen while walking down the street.

Organize With Headlines

Your mobile audience is used to scrolling for information hidden below the fold on mobile sites – and when they scroll, it’s a quick flick of the thumb before they’re at the bottom of the page – so use headlines to grab their attention as the screen flies by. Make sure every headline clearly states what they’ll find in that section.

Convert With Strong Calls To Action

If your mobile website is a conversion tool, keep your calls to action at the very top or bottom of the page (preferably both!), and use strong and succinct wording. Better yet, use colorful buttons or touch-friendly links to appeal to both their eyes and their fingers.

If you’re capturing information via forms, keep in mind that typing on a smartphone is far more labor-intensive than using a standard keyboard. Limit the number of fields to only the most necessary, and don’t make it a hassle for users to submit (one page maximum, please!)

Finally, take advantage of native smartphone functionality by including action buttons or links, like Click-to-Call, Click-to-Email, or Map Directions. This makes it easy for your audience to get in touch with you on the fly.

Conclusion

Let’s boil down the content in this blog post into a mobile-friendly recap!

1. Short and Sweet Keep word count at 75-110 words per page.
2. Top-Load Your Content Lead with the important stuff.
3. Is it Readable? Use mobile-safe fonts, at least 13pt size in body text.
4. Organize With Headlines We did in this post. Easy, right?
5. Convert With Strong Calls to Action Use clear wording, friendly buttons, short forms, and native phone functionality.

 

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