Your website isn’t just for telling people about your products and services. It’s also a way to build your brand and let the personality of your business shine through. The tone of your site is extremely important. By using the right words and sentence structures, you can create a tone that is appropriate for your business and lets potential customers get a feel of what to expect when they get in touch with you.
Of course, what works for one website won’t necessarily work for another. It’s likely that the tone of a solicitor’s website, for example, would be completely inappropriate for a plumber’s site, and vice versa. So how can you ensure the tone of your site fits with the type of business you offer, and creates a fitting personality for your business?
For most business types, the key is to write in the same way that you would talk to your customers face to face. If you’re very chatty and friendly with your customers, the website should reflect that. There’s a tendency to go very formal with website copy, as if you’re writing a newspaper article, but it’s not always necessary. For starters, the internet is a much more casual platform than a broadsheet newspaper, and users don’t expect the same level of formality. Secondly, if you create an overly formal website, y0ur customers use that to build up an image of you. If you then phone up and you answer with “‘Ello, Bob the plumber ‘ere”, they’re going to feel confused and alienated. It’s okay to reflect that level of informality in your website if that’s how you operate. As long as the copy makes sense, and has some professional designs to support it, it’ll come across as friendly and approachable, rather than unprofessional.
Of course, if you’re running a law firm and most of your client meetings have a more formal feel, the website should have a similar tone. Lengthy paragraphs and long words are necessary to explain your services in detail, and for this sort of site, they’ll actually reassure clients who are looking for professionalism and in-depth knowledge.
There’s a simple test you can do to see if the tone of your copy is appropriate. When you’ve finished a page, read it out loud. If it sounds like the sort of thing you’d say to your clients in conversation, you’re probably on the right track. Easy.