by Beth Mende Conny(This week, I am offering some words of wisdom by a guest blogger, Beth Conny, a writer and founder of WriteDirections.com)
1. Be inclusive
When writing for the Web, use simple terms and phrasing that everyone will understand. When in doubt, leave it out (or reword).
2. Know your audience
Be inclusive, yes, but know your audience. Just as people in different countries speak different languages, so do visitors to your Web site. Age, sex, educational level — all influence word choice.
3. Purge jargon
Jargon turns simple concepts into complicated ones. It’s unimaginative, even lazy and adds flab to what should be lean writing. Worse, it saps the life out of words (and thereby your message).
4. Be brief
People don’t read Web sites, they scan them. Forget writing a novel; don’t even think paragraphs. Think sentences, bullets and subheads.
5. Be subtle
Don’t sing your praises, hum them. Understatement more powerfully states who you are. It’s fact-based and thereby more honest.
6. Meet needs
People surf the Internet because they need something — a product, service or information. Choose words that assure them they’ve come to the right Web site; that they’ll get all they want, and more.
7. Speak benefits
Who cares if you offer the latest/greatest whatever. Customers are #1 in their own eyes. They don’t ask: “What have you done for me lately?” They want to know “What will you do for me now?” Tell them.
8. Be a good host
Your home page is an invitation; your interior pages are the event. Choose words that are inviting and useful, the equivalent of “nice to see you” or “the bathroom is this way.”
9. Get personal
To increase traffic to your site, establish one-on-one relationships with visitors. Don’t speak in the third person: “XYZ company does XYZ for its customers.” Rather, use words like “you,” “us” and “we.” And don’t be afraid of using “me” and “I.” Doing so puts a face on an otherwise faceless Web site.
10. Never forget
People today may read and write less, but words will always matter. Conversations, thoughts — all are expressed through words, so don’t ever discount their importance. Sure, visuals and bells and whistles grab attention, but words are what sustain it.
The content of this article may be forwarded in full without special permission, provided it is used for nonprofit purposes and full attribution and copyright notice are given. For other purposes, contact Beth Mende Conny at Beth@WriteDirections.com.
Attribution: © 2013 Beth Mende Conny. Beth Mende Conny is the founder of WriteDirections.com and the author of more than four dozen books and collections.