Microcopy: tiny words, big impact

Closeup portrait of a young woman with magnifying glass against black background


As with most things in life, it’s the little things that can make all the difference.


Placing a simple vase of fresh flowers in the centre of a room can lift the mood for anyone who enters it. The careful placement of a beautiful throw to your bed or an armchair can soften and refine the whole room. And a pretty ribbon, lovingly tied around a beautifully wrapped present, can make the whole experience (for the giver and the receiver), so much richer.


When we pay attention to the small details the whole picture becomes brighter, clearer, and more memorable.


And so it is with microcopy.


But what the heck is microcopy you ask? Well I’m glad you did ask because it’s pretty important and worth talking about.


But first, let me explain what microcopy actually is.


It’s the copy we don’t pay a lot of attention to. It’s the shorter, more instructional copy that you’ll find in places on your website like your footer or sidebar, the text on a form field, the writing on a button, or even the words on the error 404 page.


These pieces of copy are important because they tell visitors what they need to do next. But very often they are overlooked rather than treated as the prime pieces of website real estate they are.


Enhancing the tiny text on your site will lift your brand from good to great. Putting some thought into these tiny pieces of copy infuses every part of your website with your brand voice, which differentiates you from the competition and creates a better customer experience.


Here are a few examples of brands that are nailing their microcopy.


Go-to :: This popular skincare brand’s website features copy that’s as fresh as a just washed face. Take a good look around the site it’s loaded with quirky, funny microcopy – go straight to the bottom of the homepage and you’ll see what I mean.


Poo Pourri :: These guys sell toilet deodoriser and they do an awesome job of incorporating (toilet) humour throughout the site. Check out the top right-hand corner on the homepage.


Skype :: This is Skype’s 404 error page – it’s clever, captivating and best of all, it’s super helpful!


So now that you’ve seen a couple of examples of really good microcopy, what could you update on your own site? Go and tweak all those small pieces of copy that sound dull, generic or overly formal and see how much it changes the whole vibe of your site.


Rember to use your authentic voice – that is, write it as you would say it.


Let me know how it turns out!


Amie xx

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