Monday, March 27, 2006

Advice to corporate websites

Seth Godin's advice on making a successful brochure can be applied to corporate websites:

  • use less copy. Half as much.
  • use testimonials. With photos. Short captions. It's hard to have too many of the good ones.
  • make it funny enough or interesting enough or, hey, remarkable enough that people will want to show it to their friends.
  • show, don't tell. Don't say you have a tranquil setting... I won't believe you.
  • and most important, make sure you leave several obvious things out... so that people need to talk to you.

From the majority of corporate websites I have seen, the goal is not to convey information but to overwhelm readers, to somehow wow and baffle them into submission. This just drives readers away.

Given a limitless amount of information, I'm going to gravitate to the sites I can understand quickly. The moment writers start using words I don't use and don't understand, I leave. Web readers will not stick around unless you give them what they want to know.

If you are a writer for a corporate webstie, write a single sentence that describes what the company does. Now shorten that sentence to contain the least amount of words possible. That's the first sentence which should appear on the front page.