Long copy is the snake oil of the internet.

PushON | February 6th 2007

Or at  least it’s the spiel of the Snake Oil salesmen. If you don’t know what I mean, it’s typically an American phenomenon and typically something that appears when the website in question is selling a book, or a program or a scheme. “Let me tell you friend….”, “You can explode your earnings potential in just 7 short days”, “and here’s a testimonial from Dierdre Watson of Gorton whose whites have never been….”. I hate it. Spiel spiel spiel. I’d link to some examples but I don’t want to give them the recognition. If I’m looking at a site for a product or service, I want to know what it is, what it does and how much it costs. If I want endless testimonials that I’ll never double check, give me a link to them and I’ll follow it. If I want an endless list of detailed features, give me a link and I’ll follow it.

This is an argument I’ve had with Jim Symcox. Jim is pro long copy. He tells me that an A/B split test will emonstrate that long copy brings much greater conversion rates. He might be right. But I think it’s a cultural thing. I’m betting that this is more of an American phenomenon. I was pretty surprised to find that Aaron Wall was advocating long copy. That really surprises me. This guy is well respected in the SEO field. He’s got an SEO book. I’ve got a copy. Well worth the money. I didn’t need to see a tedious sales letter to make me know that it had value. In fact, it was a bit of a turn off.

Sometimes you have to make choices. I’m not going to go down this path. I just don’t want it to propogate and I certainly dont want to be involved with something that I find so tedious and downgrades the end user experience