7 Tips for UX Copywriting

An African American woman sits at a laptop about to type illustrating UX copywriting

It only takes 50 milliseconds for someone to form an opinion about a brand’s website — which certainly is not much time to make a great impression. Ultimately, if brands want a visitor to stay on their websites, those sites need to have immediate visual appeal, followed by great UX copywriting.

Yet writing effective UX copy is harder than it might initially seem. The art of UX copy stands apart from other types of copywriting, requiring data-backed research, inventiveness and some serious word-wrangling.

Here are 7 expert UX copywriting tips for brands looking to boost conversion rates and gain loyal customers. 

1. Use Positive Language for Pop-Ups

These days, website visitors are inundated with pop-ups that aim to keep them on the page, get their email, opt-in to an SMS service or use a coupon code. In most cases, visitors are so immune to these types of pop-ups, they don’t even read them — they just scan for words or phrases that catch their attention.

For this reason, it’s critical to use positive language. While negative words like “no” or “don’t” will turn them away (or even produce stress and anxiety), positive words will draw them back in. So which words are positive? Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Yes
  • Grow
  • Great
  • Helpful
  • Insight
  • More
  • Lucky
  • New
  • Nice
  • Unique
  • Useful
  • Value
  • Worth

2. Focus on Product Benefits

Consumers certainly want to know the specs about the products they are buying online. In fact, if brands do not include details like weight, size, colour, material, etc., shoppers may end up buying the same product from a competitor that does offer that information.

However, product descriptions should go well beyond a bland list of specifications. Instead, it is imperative to set descriptions apart by highlighting the benefits of the product. Whether brands are writing about dog food, candles or t-shirts, they should take time to consider what makes this item so special. How will it enhance the life of the person who buys it? What makes this product better than similar items?

As a good rule of thumb, make sure to add a benefit to every feature or specification you list. If the feature is a 100% cotton fabric, the benefit would be that the product is made of a natural, breathable fibre that is comfortable on a hot day. Likewise, if the feature is a bright yellow colour on a dog harness, the benefit is that the buyer will be able to easily spot their furry friend at the dog park.

3. Write Natural-Sounding Microcopy

Unless a brand has hired professional UX writers, there is probably one area of website copy they have overlooked: microcopy. And though the bits of text sprinkled into forms, labels and call to action (CTA) buttons can seem insignificant, they actually have an enormous impact on the user experience.

Brands can enhance microcopy by writing in a conversational, natural tone. Merchants should imagine they are one-on-one with the website visitor, explaining how to do something in a friendly, relaxed way. That means skipping the jargon and stiff language, opting for familiar, commonly used vocabulary.

Natural language can be used everywhere from the search bar to 404 pages. (Suggest a creative item to search for, or say, “Whoops, something went wrong!”) Brands should remember to keep the target audience in mind, and remember that the purpose of all UX copy is to guide the user through the website.

4. Use Short Paragraphs

Because visitors are easily overwhelmed by large blocks of text and one-note design, website scannability is the name of the game. A scannable website gives merchants the chance to communicate their value propositions succinctly, while keeping visitors engaged and interested.

How do brands make a website scannable? With plenty of white space and short blocks of texts. Since most users don’t actually read all of the content, short text blocks allow the user to make sense of the website quickly — without getting scared off by the amount of information on the page. 

When writing for the internet, experts recommend limiting sentences to 20 words and paragraphs to 5 sentences or less. Even better yet, brands should try limiting paragraphs to 2-3 sentences, and even sprinkling in some 1-sentence paragraphs for variation.

5. Be Consistent

No matter what type of UX copy brands are writing, it is important to be consistent in terminology, tone and style. For example, using the word “Pay now” for one button, and “Check out” for another button that takes the shopper to the same place is confusing. 

A brand style guide can help merchants increase consistency across UX copywriting, marketing materials, social media channels and more. Brands should use the style guide to teach writers how to talk about the brand, including its mission statement, purpose, company bio and more. 

Consistent copy will make the ecommerce website easier to navigate and make a brand more memorable and recognizable in the mind of its audience.

6. Write Clear Calls to Action

The letters CTA sit on a metal background

Many of today’s businesses will do just about anything to stand out from their competitors. Case in point: Some brands use unconventional or even silly CTAs just to differentiate themselves and catch the reader off-guard.

But these creative CTAs have a downside. They can sometimes confuse the reader, or just end up being flat-out ineffective. Instead, brands should stick with clear CTAs that tell the reader exactly what they will be getting if they click through.

Avoid the wordplay, metaphors and slang, and just tell it like it is. If the goal is for a visitor to download an eBook, the CTA should be something like, “Get your free book now.” And if the conversion goal is to get a visitor to use a coupon? The CTA should say, “Get my coupon.” Keep it simple, and visitors will be more likely to convert.

7. Use Numbers

Across social media (and the internet in general), headlines with numbers tend to get more user engagement and shares. UX copywriters should take note of this trend, incorporating numbers and statistics across the website whenever possible.

Headlines and titles that include numbers are often seen as more reliable and significant. They can be used as a way to denote important information, or to back up your claims.

Of course, that does not mean brands should be throwing out numbers in irrelevant contexts. Merchants should make sure they are using numbers where they make sense, such as when writing about a sale, price cut, statistic, year, etc.

Level Up Your UX Copywriting

For merchants going direct to consumer (DTC), great UX copywriting is essential. And while some brands or retailers can attempt writing UX copy in-house, the most successful merchants outsource the job to the pros.

ESW offers ecommerce solutions that empower the world’s best-loved retailers. We will ensure your website has the most effective UX copywriting and fully optimised shopping experience, so you can reach multiple markets in as few as six weeks.

Make global shopping better, safer, simpler and faster with ESW. Learn more today.