What you need to check on your web copy
28th August 2012 | Posted in Web content
There are still plenty of people in the world who will think less of you and your business if your web site doesn’t read well. So here are a few things to check before you press publish – and again after you have.
- Are you a “we” or an “I”? Tricky one for anyone who’s a sole professional. Do you want to portray yourself as a company, and talk about yourself in the plural? Or are you going to be honest from the start and say “I”? The trouble with the latter approach is it can seem very egotistical. Someone told me we should write copy that doesn’t talk about ourselves at all. That’s very hard. I advocate you just make up your mind and be consistent throughout. Then explain yourself later.
- You’re almost certain to be talking about organisations and companies – your own or your customers’. Publishing wisdom says they are all singular. So use “the BBC is”, “IBM uses”, “my company has”, and so on. The only situation we can’t make that work here is football teams. “Arsenal is” just doesn’t work for anybody. My advice – avoid talking about football teams.
- Choose your English. There are differences between British English, US English and other shades of English. Some readers will be deterred by terminology and slang from the wrong side of the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or anywhere. Know your audience and select the strain of language that works best for them.
- Talk to your customer. My mantra – it’s not what you do, it’s what you can do for your customer. In fact, it’s not even that. It’s what your customer can get from you.
- Get to the point. That’s another way of saying number 4 really.
- Break it up. Long sentences and interminable paragraphs are hard-going, especially on a web site where words are fighting for attention.
Take these pointers on board and you can apply them to all your marketing writing output.