Last Wednesday, as part of our series on writing better web copy, I talked about the cave man brain and how you should tailor your copy to resonate with that part of the brain. This is such an important concept, I thought I’d pick up where I left off.
Speak simply. Do you ever stop and think while you’re writing, “What’s a better word for ‘x’?” If you find yourself doing this, then you’re probably writing copy that’s lofty and is over your customers’ heads. A good rule of thumb is to write copy so that a 7th-grader gets it. Now you may be thinking that you have a really sophisticated audience and that they’d be insulted by your dumbed-down writing but they’ll appreciate it rather than being offended. When you write in a way that’s simple and easy to understand, more people get it. Now I could have said more people comprehend it but there’s no need to puff up my writing. Were you insulted when I said people get it rather than comprehend it?
Around the office we enjoy a funny website that “unsucks” complicated, over-thought business jargon and tells what it really means. Why use the phrase “core competency” when you can just say that you’re skilled? I get a lot of résumés and most of them have puffed-up language. It’s obnoxious. You don’t want your website design to sound like a résumé so keep it simple.