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Website Copy v. Elevator Pitch: The winner is…

Website Copy v. Elevator Pitch: The winner is…

Website Copy v. Elevator Pitch: The winner is…

Most people have heard the term “elevator pitch.” It’s a short and to-the-point sales pitch. If you ask people to tell you how long an elevator pitch should last, they’ll say, “About 30 seconds.” The term comes from the idea that a person can “sell” a really good idea in the course of an elevator ride. So, if you put your website copy in a cage match with an elevator pitch, which one would win?

Crafting effective website copy

The short answer is that the elevator pitch would win, but this isn’t a fair fight. 30 seconds is not a lot of time, but it’s about 3 times longer than the average website visitor gives you. Most visitors spend no more than 10 seconds on your site, so if you’re going to make any headway, your website copy needs to be outstanding.

How can you make a positive first-impression in 10 seconds or less? Successful, attractive and attention-getting websites are:


Simple words. Simple phrases. Simple navigation. When you only have 10 seconds to make a first impression, it’s really about highlighting your value, and getting visitors to where they’re going.


Large spans of text won’t survive the 10-second rule because visitors won’t read them. Even visitors who hang around your website won’t get through more than 25% of your website copy. Scannable, easy-to-read text that can be consumed in less than 10 seconds can help you get your visitor to the next 10 seconds. If nothing else, be brief.


Credibility is important to visitors because there are so many sites on the Web today that simply aren’t credible. Establish your qualifications and back up your claims with proof. Give people a reason to believe that you are who you say you are, and that you can deliver what you say you can deliver.

Distinguish your site by eliminating obvious errors in grammar, spelling and display. Make sure your HTML code works for a wide number of browsers. Make sure your links work. Provide a mobile-friendly website.

You don’t need to do this all in 10 seconds, but simple errors and mistakes tarnish your credibility. HTML issues drive users away, and mobile users won’t make a second effort to accommodate a mobile-unfriendly website.


Consistency is important. You establish expectations on your landing page, so carry those through on the other pages of your website. Use the same voice, content standards and navigation. Help your users find what they’re looking for. Don’t confuse them and don’t leave them hanging!


Novelty comes in many forms, and it’s up to you to find the forms that work best for your audience. Novelty isn’t always “breaking news.” Sometimes “novel” just gives visitors a new way of thinking about something – a new use for an existing product, a new technique or a time-saving improvement.

If you’d like more information about effective website copy or you want to improve the impact of your existing website copy, please contact me at eileen@juliesocean.com or call me at (734) 961-0408.

Photo Credit: Jean Scheijen, via FreeImages.com