Let’s be in no doubt here: there are lots of business websites out there. Simple ones, flashy ones, one-pagers, multi-layered sites, and they are all vying for users’ attention: selling, buying, explaining, introducing.

So, you are competing against a huge number of rivals to get your share of voice.

A well-designed, attractive and easy-to-navigate website is important in these fast-paced digital days. When someone lands on your page you probably have just seconds to keep them there.

Get it all wrong and it’s ‘click’ and they move on to the next site. Internet users don’t want to waste their time. Time is precious for everyone and if your audience feels they are wasting theirs by reading poorly-written, boring drivel, they won’t remain your audience for long.

Content is important. Content is king. You must ensure you’re presenting interesting, exciting and motivating stuff, and one of the most important elements here is your copy’s readability.

Readability is the way to measure words and sentences’ complexity and ease (or lack of it) of reading and understanding a piece of content. Long, complex sentences are more difficult to analyse, break down and comprehend.

Your audience will have a wide range of skills and knowledge, but not all of them will have a high reading level. Some people just find reading harder than others. The vital element then is to include everyone – not just the ones with a sky-high level of reading.

So, what should you look for?

A good, clear website design that’s not too cluttered is a must. But in terms of text, make sure that you use plain, familiar, spoken words. Keep sentences short, and avoid complicated structures littered with clauses and conjunctions that make them more difficult to take in.

Don’t use jargon or buzz words that are familiar only to your line of business, but which others might not have heard of. Nobody likes to feel marginalised or left out.

And write in the ‘active voice’ (the man picked up the cup) rather than the ‘passive voice’ (the cup was picked up by the man) because active is more direct, to the point, and easier to grasp instantly rather than having to unravel a sentence to fathom it.

Remember that the easier your copy is to read, the more chance you’ll have of people sticking with it to the end. Users don’t want to wade through text trying to make sense of it – and they won’t.

If it’s too difficult to grasp, they’ll simply let it go. Along, possibly, with your business.

To learn more, and to join Business Writing Academy, click here.
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