Richard’s Blog

Writing – simple and beautiful, or impenetrable sludge?

This article features a distinguished-looking English bloke with 70 (!), years in the writing game. Sir Harold Evans, journalist and publisher, has a point (oddly) – good writing is still very important, in fact, clarity in communication of any form is critical. I have been writing professionally for a mere 30 years and have seen many examples of ambiguity leading to misunderstandings or conflict.

A great quote from the article ” Sir Harold is terminally frustrated that writing, an art form that can be so simple and beautiful, can so easily be turned into impenetrable sludge.” Click on the link:

Does It Matter What You Write On Your Business Website?

Professional Image or Reduced Sales? Are those the choices?

Oh, yeah, maybe. I just wanted to get something out there.

But what if the message you were actually sending was that you didn’t care enough about your customers to write clearly and  coherently?

Ok, so, let’s say Business A relies on a website for attracting customers but presents information containing typos or syntax errors. Business B offers the same service but their website is error-free and easier to read. A potential customer might reasonably give up on Business A and go to Business B simply because they appear more professional.

So, what does the Business A do? Wear it, because the potential loss in sales is not considered an issue (or because they don’t have the budget – which could become circular)?  Do something because those numbers could add up in the long term? It’s a cost : benefit question – not doing anything and perhaps losing customers, against getting something done now, with the expectation of long-term gain or at least remaining competitive.

What would you do – as a customer? Would you go elsewhere? As a business, would you wear it, or improve your website once you were told of the issues?

Here is one response:

“Bad use of language completely turns me off as a customer. Good use of language should be so seamless that it almost becomes invisible, whereas bad language stands out like a sore thumb. It looks as if the business doesn’t care – and that then extends to a customer like me assuming that if they couldn’t even get half decent English on their website then they sure as heck aren’t going to care about the job they do for me. So it’s not just about looking professional. To me, it’s about looking like you care.”

– Alex Gaut, Program Manager at Conservation Council SA