Copywriting for mobile

Mobile traffic is important. People are searching and reading on their mobile devices more than ever. What does that mean for your copy? Do you need to write differently if you’re aiming at a ‘mobile’ audience? How do you tackle copywriting for mobile? Here, I’ll share some useful tips on how to write awesome texts that can be read on both desktops and mobile devices.

Why is copywriting for mobile different?

Reading on a mobile device is different from reading on a desktop, mainly because the screen is much smaller. Texts appear stretched on a mobile device, as people have to scroll much more. Besides that, people reading from a mobile device can be anywhere. Lots of people use their mobile device ‘on the go’, while also doing other things. Their attention span and their concentration are very limited. That’s what makes writing for mobile challenging. 

Tip 1: Always focus on your audience

The mobile phone will not read your post, but your audience will. And perhaps your audience likes reading on their phones. In that case, you can improve their reading experience a lot with the tips in this blog post. But the first thing to keep in mind is that your content should always be focused on what your audience wants and expects from you. That does not change if you start writing for mobile (too). By focusing on the question: ‘how can I write best for mobile,’ you should never lose track of the most important issue: ‘what does my audience like?’.

Tip 2: Make your fonts large enough

Font size is important for the mobile UX of blogs. You can’t just use all your desktop font sizes on your mobile website, without checking how they look on a mobile device.

It’s vital that people can read your base font – your paragraph font – without having to pinch and zoom. Also, make sure there’s sufficient white space between sentences. People usually browse mobile websites with their thumb. Your visitors should be able to click on elements with that thumb.

Be aware that your mobile site will look messy when you use more than three font sizes. The size differences will be much more visible. That’s why we advise limiting the number of font sizes to two, maybe three.

Read more: 10 ways to improve mobile UX »

Tip 3: Write short sentences

A sentence of 25 words takes up two lines on an average desktop screen. For a mobile screen, this will be four lines. Longer sentences will be spread over even more lines, and that makes remembering words in the short term memory even harder. So don’t use too many long sentences. It’ll make reading your text much more difficult. This is true for desktop as well, but it’s even more important when you write for a mobile audience.

Tip 4: Check your subheadings and white space

Paragraphs will quickly appear very long because they get stretched out on a mobile screen. You should limit the number of sentences in a paragraph and use sufficient white space. That’ll make a text much easier to digest. Informative subheadings that reveal what a paragraph is about will help people understand your text. Good subheadings will also increase the chance your audience will stay engaged, even if a lot is going on around them.

Tip 5: Keep an eye on text-structure

The structure of your text should be just flawless. In a well-structured text, paragraphs follow in a logical order. Within paragraphs, sentences also connect to each other. So make sure to use lots of transition words. These words will help people understand the meaning of your text.

If your text is well structured, people will more easily understand the main message of your post. If your audience is unable to grasp that message, they will get lost and tune out.

Keep reading: 10 copywriting tips – from experts to experts »

Conclusion: readability is of the utmost importance on mobile

Copywriting for mobile is not that different from writing for a desktop. In both cases, you need to write for a real audience. ‘Mobile’ texts do demand an even better readability than ‘desktop’ texts. That’s because reading from a mobile screen is more challenging than reading from a desktop. But, if you make sure your readability is top-notch, your texts will have loads of readers, on both mobile devices and desktops.

Read on: Mobile SEO: the ultimate guide »

Coming up next!

15 Responses to Copywriting for mobile

  1. Fransisca Tan
    Fransisca Tan  • 6 years ago

    great article on the use of content in mobile versions.

  2. ????? ?????? ?????
    ????? ?????? ?????  • 6 years ago

    great article on the use of content in mobile versions.

  3.  • 6 years ago

    Great tips for each and every site owners that would like to increase their traffic as well as to gain more target audiences.

  4. Shivam Yadav
    Shivam Yadav  • 6 years ago

    Really impressive! very effective tips as when i was applied the user response time and engagement increased, also decrease the bounce rate. Thanks Yoast team.

  5. Song
    Song  • 6 years ago

    so useful for me thank you .

  6. Juhani Tontti
    Juhani Tontti  • 6 years ago

    Good tips! One question: if we use responsive site, like responsive WordPress blog, does WordPress take care of most technical aspects, like correct font size?

  7. Pooja
    Pooja  • 6 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. I will implement these in my mobile website.

  8. Rahul Bansal
    Rahul Bansal  • 6 years ago

    Yes, content layout and formatting is also very important, it help to keep your website layout and look better for visitors point of view.

  9. Alex CourseBurg
    Alex CourseBurg  • 6 years ago

    Thank you, we will try to apply these tips in our educational blog, already more than 63% of it is read from mobile devices

  10. Dennis Adriaansen
    Dennis Adriaansen  • 6 years ago

    Great article. Designing your layout is not enough. You have to design your content too!

  11. Android
    Android  • 6 years ago

    Nice tips. I use Amp plugin that generates mobile version automatically. Anyways. Is it good to use such plugins to generate mobile version? Please advise .

  12. James River Realty
    James River Realty  • 6 years ago

    Excellent resource! Mobile audience plays a great role in marketing your business, these ideas are just awesome! Thanks for sharing… Great blog, keep posting! :)

  13. Vinton Samms
    Vinton Samms  • 6 years ago

    Thank you most kindly for sharing this information. It is really a helpful and valuable article. I did not know that there is a special way to write for mobile audience so this is really an opener. The information is well researched and thought out for the most part. However, it would have been helpful also if mention was made or even guidance given on how to write so that both desktop and mobile are optimized at the same time. There might have been subtle hints here and there but I thought it could have been dealt separately. Good post though and I thoroughly enjot it!
    Thanks again.

  14. Mark Tennant
    Mark Tennant  • 6 years ago

    Hi Marieke,
    I can relate as a lot of my clients are local businesses and their audience’s are darn near 100% mobile.
    However, when it comes to font sizes and so forth on mobile, I get the ‘deer in the headlights’ look from them as I try to explain that exact point.
    Most are not that tech savvy. Hopefully their web folks have a separate style sheet for mobile and one for desktop.
    The best advice I give them is writing short stories and leaving enough white space.
    You’ be surprised how many marketers, let alone business owners, don’t realize this when all they have to do is look at the way they use their mobile devices.
    Good article, thank you.

    • ????? ????? ?????
      ????? ????? ?????  • 6 years ago

      Hi Marieke,
      I love your tips ! Thank you very much i really appreciate that! :)