Words Matter

Author – Alli Johnston

When I first learned to write for the Internet (waaaay back in the late 1990s) the web was a wild new frontier. This new and unknown media was challenging many of the “rules” marketers followed. Words had to be crafted differently because people were reading them in different ways.

  • We used bullet points to break down thoughts and ideas (see what I did there?)
  • We thought about the length of pages because anything beyond the first screen of information was less likely to be read.
  • We wrote succinctly. Paragraphs were short and to the point. Sentences even shorter.
  • We used bold text and HEADLINES so people could quickly scan to find information that was relevant to them.
  • Instead of writing sequentially, we began with the high level information and took advantage of hyperlinks to allow readers to dig deeper if they wanted.
  • We used words that anyone could understand because we had no way of knowing what our reader’s education level was or where they lived in the world.
  • As search engines evolved, we made sure to incorporate key words so we’d show up search results.

Two decades have passed, but all of these writing practices are still relevant. Maybe even more so as screens get smaller and people read less. Pictures are worth a thousand words and videos are worth millions. But words still matter.

They matter because they’re the personality of your brand. Words can be a call to action, a compelling product description, or a question that engages your audience, allowing you to connect with your customers in a meaningful way.

Don’t ignore the words for your web site or social media feeds. Craft them. It takes time, but it will be worth the effort.