The 2 Plagues of Web Content Writing
One of the things that makes web content writing a challenge - especially writing about your own business - is deciding what to include and what to leave out. Here are 2 very common pitfalls to watch out for when you’re writing web content.
Too much jargon. My dad always refers to this as “The Curse Of Knowledge” - you know your business (and all its technical terms) so well that your writing becomes difficult for a prospect to understand. Most of us have probably encountered this at one point or another. I think back to my first job and the benefits packet that was plopped in my lap on my first day. I didn’t know why I’d choose an HMO over a PPO, and I didn’t know the difference between an FSA and an HSA - it was all just alphabet soup.
Focus on using clear language that communicates the benefits of what you’re offering to your prospects. In what unique situations does your product or service benefit people? Better still, try to find someone who doesn’t work in your industry but might need the type of thing you’re selling and ask if they understand what you’ve written. (This is also a great task for new hires to your organization who may not be technical experts just yet!)
Too much information. Do you know which pieces of information your web visitors want or need the most? If you’re not sure, isn’t it best to just include “everything” and let them pick what’s most important to them?
This line of thinking makes sense - we want our prospects to have enough information to call us or decide to purchase something from us.
A colleague of mine recently sent this article, explaining that people actually use far less information than they THINK they do to make decisions.
Too often, we end up turning a relatively simple concept into something that looks tedious. How do you feel when you encounter large paragraphs of text or dense lists on a website vs. a simple graphic or a couple lines of text? Are you more or less inclined to read it?
I have encountered many business owners with the goal of educating on certain topics using their websites, too. This isn’t a bad goal, but don’t lose sight of the fact that prospects may be considering you because they don’t have the time or interest in learning it themselves.
The people who do want to learn are more willing to spend time reading, but that information is best suited for a business blog or a newsletter, not the main pages of your website. Don’t make everyone who doesn’t want to learn wade through your educational materials to find what they need - most people won’t even try.
I encourage you to think about your target clients, and ask yourself, “What information, at the absolute minimum, do these people need to make some kind of decision about what I’m offering them?” Remember: you likely believe they need more information than they actually do! Next, take a look at your website to see if it’s answering those questions concisely…and without a bunch of jargon.
Not sure where to start? Make sure your site answers these 6 questions.