Beware of a web content pet peeve that may turn your visitors away in droves

Have you read the fantastic book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott? It’s definitely worth reading if you have an interest in improving your website content and online marketing results.

One of my favorite sections of the book features David’s disdain for websites that use meaningless, cliche, corporate-y phrases that businesses often feel they have to use in their web content… such as “providing robust solutions for today’s economy,” or “leading-edge” and best-in-class.”

You know those phrases. They’re everywhere! And they mean nothing unique or useful to the web visitor.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to hunt for examples within the business-to-business software world (well-known for using jargony verbiage). I found these doozies:

  • “Balancing today’s needs with future imperatives”
  • “We help your company achieve differentiated capabilities”
  • “Optimizing the distribution network and rationalizing inventories in a multi-echelon supply chain is critical…”

What? Exactly.

David Meerman Scott calls this “gobbledygook.” And to help web marketers avoid this kind of writing, he created the free Gobbledygook Grader with I encourage you to try it out.

I did with my websites, and I scored very well (thank goodness!). The Grader didn’t like my use of the phrases “offline,” “user-focused” or ‘focused on.” I’ll have to work on those.

The point is, try to speak in plain English to your web visitors, with content that sounds as if you’re talking to a friend at a coffee shop or meeting a new contact at a business trade show.

Would you say to that person, “My company is a best-in-class leader among global solutions for organizing data blah blah blah.”? I’m thinking no. You’d more likely say, “My company can help you organize your day so you can work more efficiently and go home at a sane hour.”

So my tip of the day is this: Include real, conversational messages on your site… and leave the gobbledygook to your competition.

Contact me if you have a suggestion for a specific tip to include in this newsletter. As always, you can read all my free ContentClear Marketing Tips on my newsletter archives page.

Until next time,

Here’s to a clear and prosperous site!