Costumes got me thinking about websites and writing. I know, sometimes I have crazy thoughts. Here it is. On Halloween people dress up as witches or the guy with the baby from Hangover. Dressing up is great for Halloween but it would be weird if people dressed up all-year-round. So why are some websites in costume all year long?
What I mean by costume, is dressing your website in language that isn't appropriate for the product or service you are selling. Sadly, a popular costume for websites is lawyer. No one wants to read about the latest toy from the perspective of a lawyer. Moms want to hear about toys from a Mom's perspective. So let your website be a Mom, not a Mom dressed as a lawyer.
Often times on Halloween, people like to dress up as the opposite of what they are in real life. The same is true for websites. It is weird when an Oncologist website is dressed up as a 20-something hipster. This costume is not reassuring to the people searching for reliable information to make their treatment decisions. If you are a doctor, people expect your site to be professional and caring not cool or nonchalant.
During the Halloween week and weekend, often times people get invited to several parties. Usually these gatherings will have overlaps of people they know so they wear different costumes to each party. There are websites wearing multiple costumes. This can happen when multiple people are contributing to a website and there is no vision for the brand/voice of the site. This can also happen with small companies when they are not conscious of their changing attitude and perspective toward their business. Multiple costumes make potential customers feel that your business is disingenuous or wishy-washy.
So how do you make sure your website isn't in costume?
1.Don't use language you wouldn't say in a conversation with a customer or client
2.Don't try to be something you're not
3.Use the most simple language that makes sense for your target market
4.Talk to your brand evangelists