Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Writing for the web

Before you ever get a chance to impress customers with your service and your expertise, many prospects will decide whether to do business with you based on the quality of your written communications. Therefore, when prospects find you on the web, the words that you write are your best and possibly your only chance to create a good and lasting impression.

But how can you make this positive impression?

1. Be correct: Errors tell prospects that you do not care enough to check what message you are projecting. Double-check everything before publishing it online. If you cannot proof read it yourself, get a colleague to help.

2. Be clear: Don't try to dazzle prospects with jargon and big words. Being clear and unambiguous will dazzle prospects with much greater effect.

3. Be economical: Say what needs to be said in as little space as possible. Readers will switch off if they have to plough through screeds of text to find what they are looking for and will go elsewhere. Respect their precious time.

4. Be yourself: Don't be too formal. Use words and phrases you would use in everyday speech. Also use words like 'you', 'us', 'we' and 'our' to personalise the message. You want everyone who reads the text to feel as if it is directed specifically at them.

Even more importantly however, think about who your customers are. Targeting your message effectively is the single most valuable part of your writing. Being correct, unambiguous, economical and showing the company's personality are all essential. However, it won't matter if you are writing to the wrong audience, because nobody will be listening anyway.

So, research before you write and take time when writing your text. Your readers will thank you for it, hopefully with the business they bring to you.



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