I’ve mentioned before that we use a tool with our clients before we begin writing copy for their website. It’s a pretty simple tool. It’s four paragraphs. Each of them say about the same thing but in different writing styles. The tone varies from very technical to very conversational. Every time we’ve asked the client which tone they prefer we use for their site, they unanimously say that they like the conversational tone.
So what is it that makes the tone conversational? It’s the short sentences. It’s the use of contractions. We use “don’t” instead of “do not.” In fact, for a time, we even had a script that replaced all of the “can nots” with “can’ts” and all of the “should nots” with “shouldn’ts.”
Plus, we speak to one person. We write to you, not to a large audience. If you have trouble with this conversational tone, try recording your voice into a recorder and then type it up. Or try putting a picture of one person in front of you as you write. Write the copy to that person as if you were writing a quick sticky note.
On a sticky note, you’d write, “Mom- went out with Tommy. We’ll be back by 3:30.” So then why is it that you’d write the same thing on your computer, “Dear Mother. I have decided to visit Tommy. I plan to arrive home by 3:30.” Don’t go into that stoic mode.
Keep is simple. Keep the conversational tone by using contractions, writing short sentences and talking to one person informally. That develops rapport. Stodgy, formal writing keeps up the wall between you and your readers.
Hope that helps improve your website design through improved content.