To me, Web 2.0 darling 37signals has always served as a great example of a company that “gets” copywriting. They built their highly-successful business using a longer-copy format with a powerful centered headline that instantly sucked you into the page to learn more.
Earlier this week, 37signals introduced a new home page. While the text no longer scrolls as far down the page, it’s still “copy intensive.” I personally find the page to be aesthetically pleasing, so I was anxious to see what kind of testing had been done to justify changing winning copy, especially after I saw the new two-word headline:
You can see a side-by-side comparison of both the new and former home page copy here (the new is on the left).
Now, I’m not saying you can’t have an effective two-word headline. Joe Sugarman made a fortune selling gizmos and sunglasses using pithy two and three word headlines that were high on the novelty factor. But I wonder whether the new 37signals headline empirically beats the old one, which has been updated and is now the first subhead:
Over 1 million people and small businesses use our web-based applications to get things done the simple way.
It seems to me that the specificity and strong social proof of that heading would beat the pants off of “Work Well” in the lead spot. But who knows, right?
That’s what testing is for.