3 Web writing no-no’s to avoid

Greetings! In today’s how-to SEO copywriting video, Heather takes a different approach to her weekly “lesson” by discussing three Web writing mistakes to avoid.

If you’ve been following this weekly video post series by Heather, you know that she’s devoted much discussion to what you should do with online writing, such as what will help your make more money, get better rankings, and make your content more easily shared.

But today, Heather takes a different tact in discussing those things that you do not want to do when creating web content – and especially these three definite no-no’s. Tune in and see if you may be guilty of one of them…

In surfing the web, I continue to see these three fatal flaws in website content. If you have any of these terrible 3’s on your own site, now’s the time to go back and redress them!

1) Putting your company’s mission statement on your home page

The first thing that I notice – and especially on B2B sites, or sometimes on smaller business sites – is the tendency to put the company’s mission statement on the home page.

I understand that when a company has invested considerable time and resources into creating their mission statement that they want to share it with their readers. But the home page is not the best place to do that. Somewhere on the “About Us” section, perfect! But please, not on your home page.

  • Reality check: your audience doesn’t care.

And this is because what your site visitors are looking for is what’s in it for them: how can your company help solve whatever problem they have in the first place, for them to visit your site?

  • It won’t help you position better…nor will it “make more money”.

Putting your company’s mission statement on your home page will do nothing to make you more money, drive new business, or position better. Certainly, if it’s important to you, again, you can put that content in the “About Us” section. But leave it off the home page.

  • Focus your content on what you can do for your reader.

Speak to your readers and tell them exactly what it is you can do to help them.

2) Telling only part of the story…

The second thing I will see is where companies only want to tell part of the story. So you might have a services page that tells a little bit about the service, and then there’s “contact us for more details”.

In this instance, they’re only giving their reader peanuts – they’re not giving them the full story.  And there’s a couple of reasons for this that I hear:

  • Some people think that short, “incomplete” content will drive emails/leads.

The thinking here is that the site owner assumes that their readers will think ‘Oh wow! That sounds really interesting! I don’t know much about it, but now I really want to know! I’m going to contact them right now!  Nope. Doesn’t happen that way.

  • Other people are afraid of giving too much away.

I’ll hear this a lot in more competitive industries, when the business owner says ‘Well, we don’t want to have all of that information on our services page, because our competitors might copy us and then where will we be?’

The thing is that in order to get people to contact you, you have to give them a reason. Those sexy blurbs that don’t really tell the story probably won’t be enough to help increase your conversion rates, because folks usually want to make that your service is a good fit for them before they contact you.

  • The solution? Give your readers the information they need to know.

If you’re not sure about this solution, test it!

Send your readers to two different pages on an A/B split test, wherein the first you provide just a little bit of information, and the second you provide a more robust explanation. I’ll almost guarantee you that the page that provides more information will drive a higher quality and more motivated lead, and probably more leads altogether!

3) Writing “techie” content in order to sound smarter.

Finally, the third thing I see – and this is definitely a syndrome in the B2B world, although sometimes I’ll see it with B2C sites as well – is where companies have obviously told their copywriters to write “techie” content.

Why? Because they want to sound smart online.

Certainly, if you are targeting your site to highly technical people, you want to create content that appeals to them. So in that case, technical writing is perfectly okay!

  • It’s important that readers understand your content.

But if you’re trying to write over your readers’ heads just to sound smart, that’s probably going to backfire on you. At the end of the day, you need people to actually understand your content.

So remember:

  • Using big words and long sentences won’t impress most readers.

You also really need to think about this in terms of who comes to your site when they’re looking for vendors.

If you’re writing highly technical content, but the person visiting your site isn’t necessarily technical – such as an administrative assistant, or someone who needs to figure out if you’re a good fit for the company they work for – if you’re writing over their heads, they may think “Oh, I’m not sure this is a good fit, I don’t think I’m going to pass this along to my boss. I think I’m going to look for another source, instead.”

  • Your solution? Write for your target audience.

You want to write for your readers in a language that they will understand, and that in turn will definitely help you increase your time on site, and it will increase your conversion rates as well!

Thanks for joining this week’s SEO Copywriting video! Remember, if you have a question or topic suggestion, we’re all ears! Simply email Heather via heather@seocopywriting.com and she may well answer your question or address your topic next week! See you then!


If you are writing your own content and you’d like some tips about how to write Panda-safe and Penguin-safe content – and how to write for Google – simply sign up for the free SEO Copywriting Buzz Newsletter and download the How to Write for Google white paper – also free!


photo thanks to DanBrady











4 replies
  1. craig wright says:

    100% spot on, as usual. Having a technical background, I have to argue point 3 to clients quite a lot. Some get it, others don’t, and no matter how many times I tell them, they can’t get past the ‘it’s all about us’ approach.

    Ah, if only I could get nice, easy jobs.

  2. Lewis LaLanne says:

    Hey Heather,

    I love your point about your audience not caring about anything that isn’t directly connected to what they want.

    The following wisdom from the eloquent tome, “Winnie The Pooh” illustrates this point beautifully . . .

    One day when he was out walking, Winnie came to an open place in the middle of the forest. And in the middle of this place was a large oak tree. And from the top of the tree there came a loud buzzing noise.

    Winnie The Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree and put his head between his paws and began to think.

    “First of all,” he said to himself “that buzzing noise means something. You don’t get a buzzing noise like that just buzzing and buzzing without its meaning something. If there’s a buzzing noise, someone’s making a buzzing noise and the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you’re a bee.”

    And then he thought another long time and said, “And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.”

    And then he got up and he said, “The only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” So he began to climb the tree.

    What Does This Analogy Mean To The Person Trying To Increase Their Conversions?

    What you just read, is what you’re trying to do with their web page.

    Your perfect prospect is out walking in the field that is the world wide interwebz and every great once in a while, they hear a buzzing noise and they draw conclusions based on emotional buttons being pushed and they start climbing the tree and only after they’ve climbed the tree do the logical reasons get made for why the climbed after the honey in the first place.

    If you want to attract Winnie The Pooh to your back yard on the edge of the forest, you don’t put a block of cheese out there.

    This makes complete common sense a people may say, “Duh!” and yet, most people are trying to convince Winnie The Pooh that their website has what they need with copy that isn’t HONEY.

    Thank you Heather for reminding me to make sure that when my perfect prospect lands on my home page, that it’s HONEY HONEY HONEY that they’re seeing.

  3. Demian says:

    If a person think that use of big words and long sentences can impress the audience then he is totally wrong.One should use simple and understandable language. It will help the audience to get your point more quickly and easily. Right word at right time will look more impressive other then a big and bulky word.


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