What is Microcopy?


Microcopy is the copy that fills your interface - the labels, the terms and conditions, and all those other tiny bits. The text that pops up when you click on a button and the confirmation message to let you know if you're about to delete a file. It explains why a loading icon appears and why you've got that pesky security cookie warning. The error message that shows up when there's a problem with your payment, or to tell you what happens next when you submit a form - it's everywhere! The thing is though, microcopy doesn't have to be tiny - it just has to be crafted with the same love and care that goes into all the other content you produce. It's an incredibly crucial part of any user experience, and it can actually make all the difference between a good experience and a great experience.

Every day, companies are trying to improve their conversion rates. They're continuously thinking of new ways to make it easier for their website visitors to take the next step and buy their products or services. One of the ways that they're doing this is by using microcopy.

Microcopy is an incredibly powerful tool in conversion rate optimization because it can be used to streamline the user experience, increase the effectiveness of signup forms, and help guide the user where they ultimately want to go. Microcopy isn’t just about writing, it’s about making users act, and as such, it has the potential to be an effective conversion tool.


Quality microcopy can really help your users get the most out of your product.


Search box (top right) showing microcopy inside


How to write better microcopy

There are a couple of questions that I often ask when I'm reviewing a piece of microcopy:

-Will the customer know what it is I'm asking them to do?
-Will the customer know how to do what I'm asking them to do?
-Will the customer know whether they want to do what I'm asking them to do?

Keep these questions in mind as you go and if the microcopy doesn't answer all three questions, then you should consider rewriting it.

Microcopy can take many forms: Form titles and field labels, text input placeholders, error messages, confirmation messages, and success messages. When people make mistakes entering information on websites, it is important to provide clear information about what isn't working and how the user can correct it.


Our contact form before submission...

...and after showing a clear acknowledgment.

Well-crafted microcopy has three main qualities: It is concise, polite, and professional. Of course, its ultimate purpose is to be effective. It must assist the user along the customer journey. A website can have excellent aesthetics and a smooth user interface, but it won't matter if the microcopy isn't good.

The goal of microcopy is to give users enough context about what they can (or should) do when interacting with your website without overwhelming them with too much information. Taking the time to craft good microcopy is time well spent and will translate into a good user experience and ultimately conversions. Great microcopy should be able to answer the questions that the user has.

A good example of this is having the right microcopy for buttons that are being interacted with. For example, it could be something as simple as changing the word "Submit" to "Send" or "Archive" to "Save." These subtle changes can make an experience feel more intuitive and friendly, as it makes the language feel more natural. When users are able to figure out what they want to do on a website with an interface that is less cluttered, it also makes the process of completing their task easier. This is microcopy at its finest.

Related article - Landing Pages: Why You Should Be Using Them


Microcopy is small enough to be ignored but large enough to be effective.


Benefits of microcopy

Microcopy is one of the most overlooked aspects of any product design, but it can have a huge impact on the overall user experience. It is often found on screen for a very brief time, where all you have to do is glance at it and move on, however, don't underestimate the effectiveness of confirming the action a user takes. It is affirming and keeps them moving forward.

Quality microcopy can help your website to feel more intuitive and friendly. It can help the user navigate the product and make it easier for them to accomplish what they want to do.

Conversion Rate Optimization takes many forms but one of the most effective techniques is writing effective microcopy for your website.


Take-Aways

When writing effective microcopy remember to keep things:

Clear

Straight to the point is best.

Concise

If you can use fewer words then do so. Less is definitely more when it comes to microcopy.

Professional

Professional doesn't mean stuffy. Witty/funny/irreverent is okay if it makes sense. If your brand is known for being clever or funny then go for it!

Effective

Above all, it has to help your users! Use A/B testing to see what works and what doesn't.


Thanks as always for reading, we hope this article will help you to dial in your microcopy to increase conversions and better help your users!