Insights // Talking Shop

The most overused word on your website... and what to replace it with!

Last updated October 16, 2017

We’ve helped many clients improve and rewrite their website copy. 

It’s easy to remove fluff words and phrases such as very, just, really, and simply put.

And the especially trite and cliche including amazing, absolutely, and literally.

But the one that almost uniformly that gets overlooked is a little more innocent…

Who we are, what we do, and how we do it

Have you spotted it yet?

It’s that self-serving pronoun: we.

Visitors don’t care about you, they care about how your products and services can help them accomplish their goal of some sort.

These three phrases in particular have a habit of showing up on websites with no content strategy. After all, why didn’t the website come out and say who we are with a great, pithy statement?

This soggy, soft copy is a huge, missed opportunity.  For many creative companies, why are their websites so banally generic?

Good headlines and navigation are like billboards: would you lead with “Who we are” on a billboard and hope people read the rest? Of course not. 

Especially when it comes to website navigation, search engines are looking for content that matches what users are asking. We can almost guarantee that people aren’t searching your website for “who we are” or “what we do”.

But they are searching for your company’s products and services.

The Id and the Ego

People are inherently self-centered. Who would have thought right? 

Want to witness this in action? Visit Costco on a Saturday afternoon and see how many people are in a rush to get to where they are going. How about Black Friday at a big box store?

The goal of effective website copy is simply: how is your product or service going to help its target audience achieve its goal? 

It’s amazing how many websites beat around the bush with verbiage that sounds great to the marketing team but ultimately doesn’t inspire much action.

So, what’s your number?

Count the number of times your organization says we or us on its home and about pages.

How can this copy be written to be more of a benefit to the reader?

This goes back to not seeing beyond the company bubble.  

We don’t create copy to pump our chests, we write it to engage our visitors… but while still instilling that we are the best product and service for their particular situation.

It’s ironic how many companies will brag about how great their customer service is but you’ll find their verbiage is full of self-serving cliches and fist-pumping battle cries of how awesome they are. 

“Look at how great our customer service is… by focusing on how great we are! You’ll love us too!”

Focus on finished story benefits

We love beating our chests once and while. In fact, you can be a little arrogant when push comes to shove. 

But getting at the heart of why you do something and what benefit does that provide your audience is really what your copy should strive to achieve. Your brand, making money, is not a benefit to your reader, it’s really the side effect of a sale.

Simon Simek’s classic Ted Talk on asking Why is a great starting point. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. 

Along with removing fluff words, try crafting copy around that.

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