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Writing tip 3 – address your reader early

Conventional wisdom has it that a website should strike a conversational tone and address a potential customer with a personal touch. It should “talk” to you, the reader, as soon as possible to pull you in and stop you from moving on.

Here is an example of a homepage where the introduction wastes a staggering 81 words before it does that.

The example is a British cleaning company, let’s call it Sparklee Rooms, and it opens with a general statement:

“The running of our homes reduces the time available to us for doing the things that are most important, and often leaving us torn, trying to decide how best to spend the small amount of time we are then left with. So we decided to do something about it!”

This introduction fails to address you, the reader, directly, having used nearly 50 words to deliver a detached message about “the running of our homes”. You may wonder what’s in it for you.

It goes on:

“Sparklee Rooms provides support for a complete spectrum of clients who are either working professionals, disabled, elderly or recovering from illness or injury; juggling the demands at work and home. We enable you (finally! My comment) to relax and make the most of your free time, knowing that the jobs you could do, are being done efficiently by professionals!”

So a full 81 words later you start to understand that this company is offering to clean your house for you. By the way, no comma is needed after “… you could do …”.

I would have started it something like this:

“Are you fed up coming home after a long day at the office and realising the house is in a mess? We can help because we are a cleaning company. We will enable you to relax and make the most of your free time, knowing that you can leave the cleaning to professionals.”

Starting with a question is a clever way to keep the reader preoccupied with your homepage. Please also note that the text addresses you, the potential customer, at once. This cleaning company is your friend and next you may want to click on services and fees.

Statistics show that we spend an average seven to eight seconds in search of information on a website. If we don’t find it immediately, we move on.

I welcome your comments.

Rolf Soderlind

http://www.absolutwriting.com/ absolutwriting

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