Optimized, well-thought-out copy makes all the difference when trying to get your point across in sales, marketing, and life… Higher conversion and more sales are just some of the benefits of well-written text.

Below is an evolving list of some “before” and “after” examples of copy that was used for various purposes, from apps, to websites, to print.

These "befores" usually arrive from internal designers, developers or marketers of companies I have crossed paths with.

Since nothing is perfect, my suggestions could surely be further optimized and improved, but I hope that they give you some inspiration and insight into my way of thinking and what has worked for me in the past.

Before

Migo adds a layer of credit to your existing product offering, eliminating failed transactions and opening up more revenue streams.

Sometimes it is tempting to put the carriage before the horse. Refrain. Offer a benefit first and then describe how something will happen.

After

Eliminate failed transactions and open up more revenue streams by adding a layer of Migo credit to your existing product offering.

Before

“Welcome to Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you the free tools you need to analyze data for your business in one place, so you can make smarter decisions.”

  • Welcome users with a welcoming user experience, not written "welcome" words.
  • Too many unnecessary words (the, to, etc).
  • Data is not only used for 'business' needs. Just saying.
  • Sounds like you only end up making a better decision just because it's all "in one place", and not because of the incredible technology and potential it provides.

After

“Analyze data and make smarter business decisions all in one place, with free tools from Google.”

Wrong order of elements:

  1. What (analyze data)
  2. Benefit (make smarter business decisions in one place)
  3. Incentive/How (free tools from Google)

not

  1. Incentive (free tools)
  2. What (analyze data)
  3. Incentive (in one place)
  4. Benefit (make smarter business decisions)
  • Three keywords to a sentence max (not "welcome", "free tools", "analyze data", "your business", "one place", "smarter decisions").

Before

“The Zing Virtual Machine (ZVM) can be downloaded to your system either from the Zing repository or from the FTP server. To download and install the ZVM from the Zing repository, proceed with the instructions described in http://docs.azul.com/zing/zing-quick-start.htm that suit your target environment.”

After

“The Zing Virtual Machine (ZVM) can be downloaded either from the Zing repository or from the FTP server.”

  • Don't waste users' time with unnecessary 'talk'.
  • Do not specify where they will download it to, obviously it will be to their system…
  • There is no need to tell them that they will find all the instructions on the next page that best suit their environment – it is obvious that that's what's going to happen…

Before

“Appointment System

Welcome to the DMV Appointment System. For faster service, please schedule an appointment before visiting a DMV field office.”

  • Avoid repetition in language as much as possible.
  • There is no need to "welcome" anyone to the page - this isn't 1990…
  • Why beg by saying "please" if scheduling an appointment is in my own interest?
  • Field office? This sounds like a WWII documentary…

After

“Appointment System

Skip the line – schedule an appointment before visiting your local DMV office!”

  • Be more direct. Don't waste users' time with unnecessary 'talk'.
  • Concentrate all the attention on the main pain-point of saving time via skipping the line.
  • Use common, simple-to-understand and relate to language, and for goodness sake, make your copy sound less rigid by adding some emotion.

Before

“Select one:

If your child is using Tinkercad in school - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
If your child is NOT using Tinkercad in school - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.”

Over-complication is at the core of human nature

After

“Select one:

  1. My child is using Tinkercad in school
  2. My child is NOT using Tinkercad in school.”

Don't make the user think.

Before

“Please wait a moment...”

Previous Adobe CC login screen sounded like you are about to be placed on hold; that, or you're waiting in line at your dentist's office.

After

“Just a moment, please...”

Positioning of the word “please” changes everything – you’re now asking the user for permission, not simply stating. As a result, the new tone sounds warmer, more refined and more inviting.

Before

“The only kit you need to get started with all the components to build simple projects and learn how to turn any idea into reality using Arduino.”

Autodesk Circuits required some assistance in their wording department. All ideas were there, the only problem was that they came in a form of soup. This particular one wasn't easy to digest.

After

“Turn ideas into reality through simple, fun projects with this all-inclusive, step-by-step Arduino starter kit.”

Benefit > What/How, is the formula for success in marketing. With that in mind, I've laid out all of the ingredients in their correct order which resulted in a nice French Onion soup you'd expect to get somewhere in Paris.

Before

“You’ve to provide shipping info. Please click on Get Rates for more details.”

Autodesk 123D's language was simple, but in times confusing.

After

“Please provide your shipping information before proceeding. Click on 'Get Rates' for more details.”

Since this was a part of a technical and very systematic process, the language needed to reflect that. Now, users have more clear guidance.

Before

“In order to import an STL file into Tinkercad, you should use the Import option, which allows you to browse for an STL file in your computer. Then you will define its size (which you can then scale up or down after being imported).”

Although Autodesk Tinkercad is the simplest and most enjoyable tool on planet Earth, sometimes the language made the tool sound too amateur, stripping it from all of its power.

After

Step 1: Use the Import option to bring your 3D design (STL) into Tinkercad.

Step 2: Adjust the size of your model to preferred dimensions by Scaling it.”

I get that directions need to be crystal clear, but don't make it sound like I have an IQ of a rock... I've broken things up into logical steps instead of a long sentence. List form simplifies things greatly. The words were rearranged to sound less broken, too.


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