As Kim mentioned in her latest blog, we’ve been doing quite a few website reviews of late, which means looking and researching many, many websites.

Most people tend to underestimate the power of good wording on a website, for most it’s about making it visually appealing and maybe having some cool effects.   

So I thought I’d put together a bit of a list of the most common website copy crimes I come across.

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Feel free to suggest and discuss others that make your list.

1.   What do you actually do?

It’s surprising how many websites I come across where it takes me at least 30 seconds to figure out what it is they do. I think some businesses think that because they know what it is they do, they assume so does everyone else.

I figure you have 20 seconds at the most to communicate to a visitor what your site is all about and if you haven’t got them by then, they will be on to your competitor’s site.

For service orientated sites, the priority is not only telling visitors what you do but also giving them an idea what they will get out of it.

The trick in doing this comes from why clients use your service or what they are looking for.

For example, say you’re a business consultant that offers business planning advice, you might say on your home page,

          “Business consulting expert offering business planning services”

 But it would be better to say,

           “Helping you develop and implement business plans that work”

 If you are someone wanting a business plan, isn’t that what you want, someone to help you put together one that works?

2.   You’re more long-winded than my grandfather

In my opinion, one of the biggest website copy crimes is when people write copy for their website that is full of repetitive, long-winded statements to make them sound important or knowledgeable.

We’re all time poor, we want what we’re looking for yesterday. In short, don’t use many words for what you can say in a few.

3.   Proof reading? What’s that?

Now I’m no spelling or grammar police but I HATE seeing spelling and grammar mistakes on websites. Get someone to proof read your copy before posting it on your site.

My other pet peeve is seeing American spelling of words on Australian sites. Please let’s all set the default setting on our computers to Australian spelling so that we see no more organizations or behaviors!

4.   When reading the website is too much hard work

Many people write web copy like they write articles or prose, in long paragraphs. Copy works best on websites when it can be quickly scanned for relevant information.

Short sharp paragraphs that get to the point are best.

Also, signpost your copy by using headings to guide the reader to what you want them to read or what might be important to them.

 

So all ranting aside, if you need some help with your website, we’re happy to help.

@jo_drpr