If as they say, 'Content is king',
then why does corporate literature on
most company websites sound so
unnecessarily formal and dry?
In my last post, I talked about Custom vs pre-built Template websites and the rise in popularity of DIY rental services like Wix or Squarespace. Many of these Templates or Rental services have been aggressively advertising themselves as a quick and cheap alternative where anyone can design their own website easily.
And yes, most people probably could create a website using one of these rental services, just the way most people could sculpt some sort of shape from a slab of marble if you gave them a hammer and a chisel. The reality is that most clients should not design their own websites. I’ve seen the results and believe me, they can be frightening to say the least. As Enzo Ferrari put it, ‘the customer is not always right’.
This DIY mentality carries forward when you’re presenting your design to your client and they start making major changes. And while you can in most cases, explain to your client why making controversial UI design changes is not a good idea, when it comes to the written content, it can become an uphill battle.
“There is this prevailing notion that business writing just has to be cloaked in a false sense of formality. And while I do agree that the language does need to sound professional and should be technically and factually accurate, it does not need to sound so stiff and ceremonial. The goal here is to connect and communicate efficiently, not to impress with fancy wordplay.”
There is this prevailing notion that business writing just has to be cloaked in a false sense of formality. And while I do agree that the language does need to sound professional and should be technically and factually accurate, it does not need to sound so stiff and ceremonial. The goal here is to connect and communicate efficiently, not to impress with fancy wordplay.
As a result, many business websites sound quite similar to one another making them almost impossible to read. One can almost feel one’s eyes glaze over and then start to drop. This does not bode well for a website whose target audience spends less than a minute quickly scanning through the page.
The main purpose of your content is to communicate quickly and efficiently. This is best done by avoiding unnecessarily formal language which can make your content hard to read. This of couse negatively affects your website’s conversion rates.
As a matter of fact, many governments and large global organizations like the UN have drafted Plain Writing Acts, requiring their departments to use clear communication that the public can understand easily.