So many websites are packed with words but bereft of any actual content.
If I see another company website claiming to leverage its client-driven culture to offer bespoke solutions tailored to customer needs, I think I'm going to scream.
When I find content free copy (CFC) opening the batting on website's home page, I always feel sorry for the website developers.
It is seldom that I can convince my customers to employ a specialist web author to write their content, so I know what has happened. The client has decided to cut and paste the words from their paper brochure, not understanding that you need different words for the web.
Now many companies have become infested with CFC, ever since their marketing director came back from business school with his MBA.
So their brochure is riddled with platitudes, cliches and buzzwords that were fleetingly trendy but now have a slightly embarrassing odour.
You know the ones: proactive, synergy, out-sourced, value- added, core competences, best-practice, result-driven and, my personal favourite, paradigms.
These words are all "key indicators" that the " corporate culture" has allowed CFC to enter the "business process". Unfortunately the company cannot hear its prospects shouting "buzzword bingo" as they drop the brochure in the bin.
You can't get away with CFC on the web, as your straight-talking competitors are only a click away.
The human eye can handle 25 per cent fewer words per minute when reading from a screen than from paper.
Your copy should therefore be at least 25 per cent shorter than your printed literature and use much simpler language - remember Americans might be reading it!
People tend to scan read online. So make bullet points and use bold text and hyperlinks to catch their attention. Lead with your best content, as your opening proposition may be your last.
Always ask yourself "What problem does my website solve for my customers?" Use the word "you" twice as often as the word "we" and you'll put yourself in the right mind set.
A web author will know all this and have one eye on your Google ranking too. This doesn't just simply mean repeating the targeted search terms, but considering the heading, hyperlinks page layouts and structure.
Using the world "Welcome" as the home page title is by far the biggest mistake. Follow it by your mission statement or a forward from your chairman and you might as well pack up and go home.
If you must have CFC relegate it to the "About Us" page, don't waste valuable home page real estate.
I always subject website copy to what I call the "Daz Test". If you can swap your company name with the word Daz, and your copy still makes complete sense, you've got a bad case of CFC and it's time to call in the experts.