Sunday, May 1, 2011

Let’s Get Addicted to the Delete Key


Nobody wants to read your site. Nobody. They don’t want to pay attention to you. They don’t care what you have to say.

They’re busy. They need to jump in, get a task done, and get out. I’d like to just point my finger at Gerry McGovern’s book, Killer Web Content, and say, “what he said” and leave it at that. If you haven’t read his book, stop reading this blog and go get a copy.

According to McGovern:
• 5% of your site content accounts for 25% of your business
• A 100-word web page loses 25% of your readers…at 500 words you’ve lost 60%
• Killer content has six C’s, one of which is “concise”

Let’s stop drooling over our excessive text, expensive photos, and sophisticated animation. Cut. Cut. Cut. And cut some more. Get dependent on the ‘delete’ key.

In getting ready for a new site, my current client took a machete to all of its page text. In each editing session, we spent a good 25% of the effort paring back the volume of text - turning dense blasé messages into great information. It was concise, yet complete.

Too often organizations look at their sites like Narcissus looked at his reflection, falling in love with what they see and forgetting about the world around them. Lenox Powell wrote a great blog post recently saying organizations need to stop talking about themselves and talk to their customers. It’s in talking to the customer that helps create a natural incentive to keep it short.

It’s a simple concept, but takes discipline and time to enact and enforce it.

If you need help increasing your use of the ‘delete’ key, consider hiring a website content consultant.

Upcoming post: Ask good questions to produce great content