Three Writing Mistakes to Avoid When Developing Online Content

April 11, 2012

We’ve all experienced it – a website full of copy, seemingly chock-full of information to help you out. But you click on one page and end up a little confused. That’s OK, hopefully you’ll get the information you need on the next page. Wait, this page is worse than the last. The third page is no better, and now your patience has run out. You click away and move on. You’ll never visit that site again.

Turning away customers with bad content can take just seconds. Engaging them with good content is a much more complex task. To do so, it’s important to avoid some major writing mistakes.

Mistake No. 1: Bad grammar and spelling

If you are applying for a job and submit a resume, you absolutely should not have any misspellings or grammar mistakes in it. This will get your resume put directly in the trash. Same goes for your online content. Incorrect spelling and poor grammar will not reflect positively on you or your business. If someone is visiting your site for the first time, it’s your one opportunity to make a good first impression and turn them into a customer. Before uploading new content, run spell check multiple times, have someone you trust proof your copy, read it out loud – do whatever it takes to triple check for mistakes.

Mistake No. 2: Missing your target audience

Truly engaging your customer is key, and to do this, you must know who that customer is. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately there are so many businesses that focus on the wrong readers, and they lose out on a big opportunity. When you develop content, you should always have this target audience in mind and tailor each piece to this group. If you communicate well with this group, your message will resonate. They’ll be more likely to visit your website time and time again, become an active customer, and tell their friends. These friends will likely be in your target audience too. Win-win.

Mistake No. 3: Using tech jargon or industry speak

Have you ever visited a website and started reading, only to be more confused than you were before your arrival? The Web is full of sites that only feature tech jargon and industry speak. Now this might be fine if you have a very specialized audience that understands such specific terminology, but most B2C businesses – like beauty products, health foods, computer supplies, just to name a few – should avoid the heavy language. Your customer shouldn’t need a degree to understand what you are talking about on your site, so simplify your copy and offer definitions when needed. Remember, your customer is coming to you with needs and hoping you have the solution. If they end up confused, they’ll jump ship fast and another company with an easier-to-understand website will reap the benefits.

April 11, 2012

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