What’s the Difference between Web Copy and Web Content?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between web copy and web content? The best-performing websites have both. But what exactly is the distinction?

Here’s an example I used at a recent BNI networking meeting.

The two publications below are both on the same subject – boat maintenance. However, one contains copy, and the other, content.

Copy

This one, the West Marine catalogue, is full of copy. All the product descriptions, category introductions, ordering, delivery and customer service information, have been carefully written – by a copywriter no doubt – to achieve one goal. To sell.

Content

This publication, on the other hand, is full of content. It is not designed to sell – it’s designed to inform. It contains explanations, instructions, how-to-guides, and troubleshooting charts. It was not written by a copywriter, but by an author.

On a website whose function is to sell, web copy is essential. But web content can help too – in a big way.

Useful, original content on your website can:

1. Attract more visitors

Fresh, unique web content will act as ‘spider bait’ for search engines like Google. You can attract far more people to your website by publishing informative web content than you would with sales copy alone. And by attracting new and different people to your website, you increase brand awareness in your marketplace.

2. Get more repeat visits

Informative web content gives your existing customers and prospects a reason to return to your website on a regular basis, especially if you update your web content regularly (by publishing an article a month, for example), and especially if you tell them about it, using email or social media. This helps to keep you ‘front of mind’, so next time these people need your products or services, they’re more likely to buy from you than from your competition.

3. Demonstrate expertise

Well written web content sets you apart as an expert in your field, by demonstrating that you know your subject inside-out. Wouldn’t you rather use the company that actually demonstrates their expertise, as opposed to the one that just tells you they’re an expert at something?

4. Create a feeling of goodwill

By giving helpful content away for nothing, you create a feeling of goodwill among your readers. This feeling of goodwill is likely to stay with them, and make them more likely to buy from you, rather than your competition, in future.


As I mentioned before, the most effective websites use a combination of web copy (to sell) and web content (for the reasons listed above). Web content can include articles, research, how-to guides, handy tools, and much more. BUT: remember, your web content is a reflection of your brand, so it must be accurate and well-written if you want to build brand awareness, win more customers and make more sales.

And of course, if you need help creating great web content that does all of the above, you know where to turn.

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