Verbosity Is Killing Your Website (And This Title Too)
Credibility & Writing for the Web
Your website tells the world who your company is and what you do. But, presented the wrong way, your messaging could actually be hurting you.
You know that well-crafted 100-word company description featured on your homepage? And that fact-dense, multi-paragraph overview about your product’s features? Spoiler alert: Your visitors aren’t reading it. They’re scanning it at best. And most likely, they’re still confused about what you have to offer.
On average, only 20% of your content is read by a visitor (Nielsen 2008).
Once you accept this reality, take a moment to consider if your current content is clear and concise. Bottom line: Verbosity decreases your company’s credibility and leaves your visitors confused.
How Can You Improve Your Credibility?
- Use Plain Language — Forget about technical writing conventions and leave your collegiate jargon for your term papers. Write straightforward, easy-to-read content. Have a conversation with your audience.
- Chunk Your Content — Shorten your sentences and paragraphs and use lists (like this one) to break up your text into small, digestible bites.
These two concepts go hand in hand. It’s not just the words you use, but also how they’re presented.
Using plain language is about creating easy-to-read and easy-to-understand content so visitors take action the first time they read it.
Plain language is NOT about:
- Dumbing down your content
- Being imprecise
- Taking out important technical information
- Talking down to your audience
At this point you may be thinking, “But my target audience is highly educated, specialized, and technical! I need to use these words to show my company’s expertise and connect with my very sophisticated audience.”
Nope! Not if you want your website messaging to work! In “Plain Language Is for Everyone, Even Experts” (Nielsen 2017), user experience expert Hoa Loranger found that “even highly educated online readers crave succinct information that is easy to scan, just like everyone else.”
Getting Started with Plain Language
- Active voice and personal pronouns
- Common, everyday words
- Technical and industry terms your audience knows (This helps with SEO too — but that’s another story!)
- Jargon and buzzwords
- Elegant variations and verbosity (like this)
- Imprecise or vague language
- Long sentences or titles
Chunking is grouping small, digestible bites of information to present your message clearly.
How Do I Chunk?
- Use shorter sentences
- Use shorter paragraphs
- Use lists with 4 to 6 items of visually similar lengths
- Use numbered lists when order matters
- Use a consistent phrasing style
Your visitor is skimming and scanning your content but your chunks are clarifying your message to them. And making you look good in the process.
It’s Not About You — It’s About Them!
Your website isn’t just about providing information; it’s about engagement. Engagement starts by crafting an experience for your visitor. It’s about nurturing them before you even know their name.
If you want to be seen as credible in your market, clearly communicate your message. A visitor who finds you credible is more likely to engage with your website — by filling out a contact form, giving you a call, downloading your new whitepaper, or watching your latest webinar. In the end, engagement is the purpose of your website and it all starts with your content.
Need Help Crafting Your Message?
Katzcy does that. Our Digital Marketing Team is experienced in taking highly technical jargon and repackaging the content for the web. Whether you have paragraphs upon paragraphs that need to be simplified or you’re just starting out and need help describing what you do, we can help.
Contact us for a free website evaluation! Our web experts will analyze your site and provide you with ideas for improvement.