It’s Time for Some New Cliches

If you read just about any book on how to write well it will tell you to avoid cliches. Unfortunately most website owners haven’t read those books.

Two of my all time most hated, worn out web cliches are “innovative” and “solutions”. Trouble is, sometimes clients actually ask me to include these words in their copy. One client even described them as “power words”!

Just saying you’re “innovative” doesn’t make it so. It also violates another rule for good writing: show don’t tell. If you really are innovative, prove it to me by describing the innovations you’ve come up with or the innovative ways you conduct your business.

“Solution” is so vague as to be meaningless. If you absolutely must use it, please explain what your solution acutally encompasses.

An excellent reference for cliches to avoid (and a funny read to boot) is Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Cliches, Cant & Management Jargon by Don Watson.

Watson lists “innovation” and “solution” amongst his weasel words. He says: “There is a universal instinct to use weasel words, jargon and cliches as… vapour to blind or repel anyone sniffing out the truth about us… we parrot them without thinking.”

If you want your website to get results you have to reveal the truth about your business. Be explicit about what features and benefits you offer, what problems you solve for your clients and what makes you different from your competitors. If you take the time and effort to make these messages clear it will pay off in spades.

It’s Time for Some New Cliches

If you read just about any book on how to write well it will tell you to avoid cliches. Unfortunately most website owners haven’t read those books.

Two of my all time most hated, worn out web cliches are “innovative” and “solutions”. Trouble is, sometimes clients actually ask me to include these words in their copy. One client even described them as “power words”!

Just saying you’re “innovative” doesn’t make it so. It also violates another rule for good writing: show don’t tell. If you really are innovative, prove it to me by describing the innovations you’ve come up with or the innovative ways you conduct your business.

“Solution” is so vague as to be meaningless. If you absolutely must use it, please explain what your solution acutally encompasses.

An excellent reference for cliches to avoid (and a funny read to boot) is Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Cliches, Cant & Management Jargon by Don Watson.

Watson lists “innovation” and “solution” amongst his weasel words. He says: “There is a universal instinct to use weasel words, jargon and cliches as… vapour to blind or repel anyone sniffing out the truth about us… we parrot them without thinking.”

If you want your website to get results you have to reveal the truth about your business. Be explicit about what features and benefits you offer, what problems you solve for your clients and what makes you different from your competitors. If you take the time and effort to make these messages clear it will pay off in spades.

It’s all about “you”

Recently a client questioned the liberal use of the word “you” in the home page I had written for them.

A central tenet of a successful business website is that it is about and for your customers.

Too many businesses use their websites to talk about themselves: We’ve been in business since… We offer innovative business solutions… We have the biggest range of… We offer superior customer service…

These messages do not work. The hard truth is customers are not interested in you. They’re only interested in themselves and their problems.

You can make an immediate connection with your customers and prospects if you communicate that you understand their problems and can help solve them.

Compelling (and valuable) website content is customer-focused. Rather than speaking the language of “we” you need to speak the language of “you”.

You’re trying to build a relationship with another person – to build enough rapport to get them to take the action you want.

They’re more likely to respond if your website is written as a personal communication, instead of a corporate brochure, and orientated to their needs, wants and problems.

Also, the web is a personal marketing channel. Which is another reason why you should write your content in the first person, as if you’re communicating one-to-one.

Finally, using “you” a lot helps improve readability:

“…the word that is most important… is ‘You’. This was discovered by an American researcher called Rudolf Flesch, working 50 or 60 years ago on what makes writing easy to read.

He learned that if you wish people to read what you write, then the words ‘you’, ‘your’ and variations like ‘yours’ and ‘yourself’ should appear twice and preferably three times as often as words like me’, ‘I’, ‘our’, ‘we’ and the like.”

How to Write Sales Letters that Sell, Drayton Bird

Future Now have built a We We Monitor which calculates the customer focus of web pages.

Australia’s great web marketing brains

In the nine years I’ve been working as a website copywriter I’ve met many people who sell their services as web marketers: web designers and developers, copywriters, web marketing consultants and strategists, interactive agency bosses and creative directors, etc.

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of meeting someone who I rate as one of Australia’s great web marketing brains.

His name is William Swayne. Some time ago I found his website and I was greatly impressed by how spot on his web marketing philosophies are.

Will’s company, Marketing Results, specialises in online lead generation. His website offers a ton of free information on how to increase the ROI on your website. And if you’d like to transform your website into a lead generating machine I would definitely give Will a call.

Meet One of Australia’s Great Online Marketing Brains

In the nine years I’ve been working as a website copywriter I’ve met many people who sell their services as online marketers: web designers and developers, copywriters, online marketing consultants and strategists, interactive agency bosses and creative directors, etc.

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of meeting someone who I rate as one of Australia’s great online marketing brains.

His name is William Swayne. Some time ago I found his website and I was greatly impressed by how spot on his online marketing philosophies are.

Will’s company, Marketing Results, specialises in online lead generation. His website offers a ton of free information on how to increase the ROI on your website. And if you’d like to transform your website into a lead generating machine I would definitely give Will a call.