Read At Your Own Risk
It’s a good thing nobody reads on the internet because the text on this page is really going to suck. We’ve searched the web and found the very worst verbiage we could find and brought it here for your non-reading pleasure. Why would we want to do that, you ask? Well, one reason is to show you why nobody wants to read on the internet. Another reason is so we can show you what three things not to do. Now, if you’re good and can sit still and read the whole article all the way through without fidgeting, we’ll give you a nice happy ending. Ready?
It’s Not All About You: Banishing the Blah Blah Blahs
Let’s begin by not reading this ‘Mission Statement’ copy from Lawrence Merchandising’s website:
Our commitment to our clients and to providing superior customer service is based on four principles that guide our daily operations as we deliver quality service that exceeds our client’s expectations. We apply these values in all aspects of our business to build our client partnerships and execute successfully at retail. These fundamental values lead the way to our vision and mission and are the cornerstone of who we are.
Is it just us or is that completely self-absorbed and totally indistinguishable from thousands of other websites? This kind of company-centric, watered down corporate-speak might turn the business owner’s crank but it does nothing for the client. When you visit a website, you care a lot less about how the company feels about itself than what the company can actually do for you. Mission statements might have been cool when Jerry McGuire was in the theatres, but now they all sound exactly the same and so mean nothing to the reader. So let’s have us a little happy ending right now and see if we can re-write that paragraph using real facts about the company that demonstrate its experience and skill—things that a customer would want to know when deciding if your company is worthy of his hard-earned dollars. Try this instead:
Lawrence Merchandising started off with a bang in 1980 when we were challenged with the merchandising of the now famous Rubik’s Cube toy puzzle. Faced with incredible overnight demand, Lawrence kept the shelves full, streamlined delivery logistics, and came up with packaging and point of purchase displays that made the Cube one of the greatest successes in toy history. As a three-time winner of the National Marketing and Merchandising Award, Lawrence loves to meet the new merchandising challenges of all our clients. Move your latest product to the front of the shelf with the proven experience of Lawrence Merchandising.
That sounds a little better, doesn’t it? Okay, so we made up the Rubik’s Cube thing, but you get the idea.
Taming the Jargon Jabberwocky
This next one’s pretty hard to believe, but even harder to understand. It’s real text from an actual webpage—we just couldn’t make this stuff up, kids—but the company has taken it down so let’s just say it’s from a cable-laying website. The words are so good at being bad we couldn’t resist it, but we’re betting you might not make it all the way through this monster:
We offer point to Point and Point to Mulipoint connectivity and we also offer a High quantity Fibre Optic cable laying to environments such as surface, underground and overhead. The main factor of the phenomenon of the superscription seems to be the temperature of optical fibre, because the more remarkable fluctuation of then parameter value in the overhead interval (duct) which is easy to receive the effect of ambient temperature. It is necessary that the system design is carried out by also considering the under laying environmental condition of optical fibre, when transmission system sensitive to the fluctuation of parameter value is introduced. Each optical fibre parameter value and temperature change by laying environmental condition is studied properly.
Wait….what was that? Now, we know you’d never let text like that creep into your website. But it’s very easy to forget that your readers might not know the latest lingo from your industry. Even we have to be careful not to use Internet geekese in our own text because nothing makes someone’s mind wander faster than a bunch of words they don’t recognize. Giving that text a happy ending is going to be a bit tricky, but try this:
The ABC Cable Company installs high quality fibre optic cable in almost any location, whether directly on surfaces, overhead or below ground. Because optic cable is very susceptible to temperature changes, our engineers carefully research, inspect and insulate your location so that the installation is completely isolated from all outside interference. And we fully guarantee all our installations so that your connected equipment will give you hassle free service for years to come.
The changes you made will be lost if you navigate away from this page.Are you sure you want to leave this page?
The Beast of Boredom
Okay, let’s do one more and then you can go back to just looking at the pictures. This is from a nice little Mom and Pop refrigeration website. Sorry Mom and Pop, but this blurb is just plain snooze-o boring, not to mention company-centric and grammatically cranky. That’s why we’ve brought it here, to our lab. So grab a nice cup of extra-strong double espresso and see if you can get through this bad boy:
Elvin’s Refrigeration Inc. takes pride in their work and craftsmanship on any job they perform. We are a very diversfied company which works on any heating, cooling, ventilation, refrigeration, commercial food equipment, and light plumbing situation. We are approximately 70% commercial and 30% residential service contractor. With being so diversified, we do not see as much of a swing in service calls throughout the year. But we still have an extreme amount of service during the peak of summer and winter seasons. During those “peaks”, Elvin’s does not rush out and hire someone off the street just to satisfy a demand of service calls, because that always leads to customer dissatifaction due to poor service. So our technicians understand that there are times of long hours.
They really sound like honest, hard-working folks, don’t they? And we bet they’re really really good at fixing refrigerators. Just maybe not so good at writing great web copy. But that’s okay, because—Mr. and Mrs. Elvin, we cordially invite you to steal the following happy ending:
Elvin Refrigeration is a completely bonded and insured company that installs and services all types of heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, from refrigerators and furnaces to commercial food exhaust systems. Our customers have appreciated our emergency same-day repair service for more than thirty years. And, if for any reason we cannot complete repairs that day, our portable refrigeration/freezer system eliminates any worries about food spoilage, whether it’s a home unit or a commercial walk-in freezer. Since all of our friendly technicians are fully (HVAC) certified, we are also very proud to install larger heating, ventilation and air conditioning projects, such as in the Lombard building in downtown Grandview. We’ve also installed over 600 fully guaranteed residential furnaces and AC units and won “Best Heating/Cooling Service” in the Kansas City Star reader’s poll for the last six years running. So, call us today for great prices and fast, friendly service…
True, refrigeration is a little hard to make really exciting, but at least now you might be a little more confident in giving them a call when your fridge is on the fritz.
The Last Word, Honest
The Internet can’t be a great source of information if so much of its content is so poorly written that few people want to read it. Whether you’re selling some new great product or service, or you just need to get the word out, make sure the quality of your copy is professional and you’ll get the results you truly deserve. Give us a call, write us a poem and get your very own happy ending.