It’s happening as you read this. There. It just happened.
Mobile has surpassed desktop for Internet searches. And looks like there’s no going back…
Using phones, tablets, and now phablets, our time on the Internet is growing, while screen size is shrinking. The average display is between 4 and 5 inches.
What does that mean for copywriting? Here are 7 ways to rethink copywriting for mobile sites.
1. Write even shorter.
The mantra for great headlines has always been ‘shorter is better.’ But that’s when we were writing for 13” laptops back in 2012.
Look at the difference between PayPal’s clean minimalist copy two-years ago — to today’s approach. A great example of how ruthlessly to pare.
2. Write nothing.
The best copy is often no copy — it’s just an image instead.
Great copywriters know when to shoot and when to give the assist to a mouthwatering photo or infographic.
In this eyeball-tracking study, the hot spot is the pizza, not the copy. Because especially in mobile, a picture is worth, well, you know…
3. Narrow it down.
There’s little chance you’ll fit all your copy on one mobile page — especially if you include heart-tugging images.
So before you even type a single word, plan for a narrow window — set your margins close together, or create a 4” text box.
You’ll produce more powerful content if you’re seeing it the same way your readers will.
4. Don’t repeat yourself.
Clients love repeating names, features and benefits. But with mobile there’s little space (or time) for repetition. Plus, it’s unnecessary.
For starters, your readers may have already searched for your brand name (Starbucks or Fiat). Or maybe they typed a request (“best Mexican food in Chicago”) in which case the heavy lifting comes from your SEO and Google.
5. Lose control.
Maybe you already write for ‘responsive design’ sites — those single sites that can morph to accommodate different screens.
The cool thing is they automatically reformat for all sizes and orientations (landscape, portrait, sideways…).
The uncool thing is that you may lose control over where your lines break. If, like me, you’re OCD about line breaks, work with your designer. Find out which heads/subheads can stay intact and which can’t.
6. Stay inside.
Limit outside links. This is the exact opposite of the desktop web strategy, where more outside links = higher page ranking.
The difference here is that on a desktop we’re surfing — happy to break concentration for new information. Tabs and back buttons easily bring us back to where we started.
On mobile we’re hunting. We don’t have the time or bandwidth to poke around. We came to your site for a specific reason.
So limit your mobile links to lead-gens and conversions — just like Anthropologie did here — to keep your readers on the inside.
7. Scroll with it.
You may have noticed that more and more websites are adopting this long scrolling page design. It’s no coincidence that it’s happening just as mobile is taking the lead here.
On a mobile device, it’s way easier to scroll or swipe than to click to an all-new page:
- because of bandwidth issues
- because mobile is inherently designed for swiping, not clicking.
So when creating content for mobile, imagine how the reader is going to interact with your words: swiping, flicking, tapping, spreading and, of course, scrolling.