Five ways to write responsively

Responsive copyIn 2014, our data revealed that 30% of all searches came from a mobile device while in the year to date this has increased to over 60%. In response to this, Google is changing its search algorithm to reward sites that are mobile optimised.

In April this year, Google started to roll out the first phase of mobile-friendly updates to its search algorithm. What this means is that mobile-friendliness will influence a site's ranking in search results, and pages designed for large screens only could see a decrease in their rankings.

This has put pressure on web designers to ensure all web pages are fully optimised. But what about copywriters? Should we be thinking of changing our style to suit the mobile screen?

1) Be quick and concise

If you are going to write with mobile in mind, the primary consideration is space. This is when to hone the skill of saying as much as possible in the fewest words.

Rather than wasting words on long introductions, you need to be upfront about what you’re trying to communicate or sell and get straight in with the benefits.

Also, cut any ridiculously long headlines and go for descriptive rather than curious.

2) Use bullets and subheads

Always the easiest way to break up chunks of text, bullet points allow you to avoid lengthy paragraphs and focus on the key points in succinct, punchy sentences.

Your principal aim is to make it easy for readers to scan a page. If you can’t get away with the brevity of bullet points, then subheads could be the answer.

Subheads are ideal for breaking up text into bite-sized chunks. If your topic requires a certain amount of explanation and you need at least a couple of short paragraphs to cover each point, use subheads to guide your reader through your copy.

Your subheads should be short, only 2-3 words.

3) Keep it tight

When you edit, cut as many words as you can. Contractions are a simple way of reducing word count. Go through and change ‘they are’ to ‘they’re’ and ‘will not’ to ‘won’t’.

Contractions often make copy easier to read, but can come across as informal. If you’re adopting a formal tone, you may need to use contractions sparingly.

Additionally, you could always drop the odd ‘that’ or ‘which’ as long as you don’t lose clarity.

4) One-click call to action

Ultimately, you need a strong call to action, but again, it needs to be direct and to the point. Brevity can help rather than hinder your call to action, as fewer words add a sense of urgency.

Rather than ‘If you’d like to find out more, please click here for further details’ opt for a simple but prominent call to action button:

  • Call now
  • Click to download
  • Click to contact

5) Read then scan

Finally, when you review your copy, it’s not just about checking to see you’re conveying the right message. Nowadays, you have to think of your copy as part of the overall design.

Once you’ve proofread your work, scan the page and concentrate purely on layout. Do your subheads stand out? Do they reflect what the piece is about?

Simply put, if you saw your copy on a small screen would it look appealing enough for you to carry on reading?