Long Copy vs Short Copy


What do you think sells better online?

Long copy vs short copy?

Perhaps you think:

“No one reads all of that copy, its too long.”

I love this image quote. It sums up my feelings on this much debated topic.

long copy vs short copy

I’m going to show you some examples of long copy and short copy. Below is an example shared by Content Verve and what they found is that the long copy treatment sold 63 percent more sales than the short version.

long copy vs short copy

In other blog posts I’ve talked about how to write for the web and even Jacob Nielsen and the Nielsen group‘s quote that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any page and only 16 percent read word for word.”

It’s okay to have a long form sales page. Most people aren’t going to read it word for word but they’re going to scan it to get most of the information. It is true that people don’t read every word of copy, but they will scan that copy and 16 percent will read it word for word especially if it’s for an expensive product.

What’s my opinion on this?

Typically, I write long copy but I only write it when it’s for something that requires long copy. It’s like that example of a woman’s skirt. It needs to be just the right length.

Imagine if you had a salesperson and you said to them:

Okay in your sales pitch, you’re a very good salesperson, you’re performing and making sales but you’re talking too long. I want you to only speak for a short amount of time. You can only sell for 10 minutes and then it’s you need to keep quiet.

Wouldn’t that be a ludicrous thing to tell a salesperson? Why would you say that? Because if they are performing and they are talking as long as they need to to make the sale, you would never ask them to limit themselves because you have some idea that no one listens for that long.

Conversely with Harry Potter, I’ve never read a Harry Potter book but some of them are between 400-800 pages long. Yet people read them because it’s interesting to read every single page. People will read as long as they find it interesting and relevant to them.


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Remember that you are probably not your target market. So trying to think like them and what they will find interesting is sometimes difficult. People often over-assume things.

My opinion is that for a high price point, I think you need longer copy because you need to convince people to spend a significant amount of money. If you’re going to part with a lot of money or it’s a big decision for them, you need to use longer copy.

Also if it’s an unfamiliar audience and if they don’t know you, never heard of you and they have just come to your site, I think you need more copy in order to build that relationship and to convince them. If they are completely cold traffic, I believe the longer copy is going to work better than shorter copy because you’ve got more explaining to do.