Empty yourself is a bad phrase
If you want visitors to your homepage to take you seriously, it is better to avoid empty phrases. The empty empty words make your homepage untrustworthy and boring. Guest author Claudia Aschour gives you examples of widespread, empty phrases and shows you in 8 tips how to spice up your texts.
The phrase on the trail
The other day in the stairwell: Neighbor C. stands in front of the closed apartment door, bewildered. I asked her to come to me. We drank relaxation tea and googled an “emergency locksmith 1160 Vienna”. Click on the first one in the hit list. The smartphone browser throws me "Welcome to the website of the locksmith company." in the face. Without thinking, click on the next hit list result. The following text appears here: “Lost your key? We help! Dial 123456789 for our 24/7 hotline. ” Who did you think got the job?
The random self-test confirms my experience: websites of small businesses, one-person businesses and self-employed people such as consultants, coaches and trainers are peppered with empty phrases like the Christmas goose with bacon. I don't even exclude myself there. Finding words for your own offer is not easy for many. Often you brood over your own texts forever. Web texts are a very special category, as they have to bridge the gap between dry informational text and rich advertising. This is not easy. What about your homepage: Are you still talking or are you already providing information?
Why we use empty phrases in business texts
If you want to inform instead of babbling, you need will, patience and time. Switching from the first-person perspective to the reader's perspective can be a hassle. That is why we like to use the phrase: It is easier to describe your own point of view in the style that you do best. It is easy to orientate yourself on the known. Old phrases are familiar. Recourse to colloquial language is convenient. You weigh yourself in a misunderstood security and think that polite stereotypes are part of the good tone.
Anyone who uses empty phrases is therefore not doing everything wrong per se. But not really right either. I see it in a solution-oriented way: there is so much work in every website. From an entrepreneurial point of view, it should be used in a targeted and sales-oriented manner. But if you only talk on the website, you are wasting the precious chance of new customers.
What is a phrase?
You want the phrase to the collar? It helps to bring the unconscious into consciousness. The phrase is defined as a “meaningless” (Duden) or “meaningless” (Mackensen) phrase. In terms of content, we track them down by asking critical questions. Grammatically, a multi-part phrase is characterized by the solid cohesion of its individual words. The phrase can only be moved as a whole in a sentence.
The dingy look: disadvantages of the empty phrase on the web
Every phrase is a predetermined breaking point on your website. Where the text is weak to full of holes, there is a click-and-awayExit. The typical user is always in a hurry. Anyone who comes to him with a boring phrase shoots the possibility of a new customer contact into digital nirvana. Those who formulate the message in a vague manner cannot expect understanding from the reader.
Holey text patches cannot be used to sew a coat of trust for your user. On the contrary, the visitors to your homepage will make a bad impression if you show them yourself in a dirty outfit. Stereotypical statements, worn-out words, meaningless statements make your readers frown at best. Even if meaningless idioms and meaningless assertions are not actively taken into account, readers are left with the stale feeling of a lack of appreciation.
The phrase-free homepage as a unique selling point
Those who do the work and formulate their own offers in precise, typical language have a lot to gain. First of all:
- Authentic language, positive formulations, user-friendly content are modern.
- You show that you are up-to-date when you communicate without empty phrases. Your writing style is the framework for your personal brand presence (keyword corporate identity). If you will: a unique selling proposition. Your style is good if you formulate it precisely and clearly. This sets you apart from the competition. Always. Anyone who wants to win customers online cannot avoid a strong, content-relevant website. Anyone who replaces well-tried phrases with individual, user-friendly formulations proves professionalism.
- The effort to present the offer in your own style has a lot to do with appreciation. Readers (customers) feel that. Unique web texts make it easier for users to trust you.
Phrase detector: 11 phrases that you can delete from your homepage texts
What about the texts on your homepage: Are you still talking or are you already providing information?
Welcome to my / our home page!
The evergreen among the web phrases is a mediocre text catastrophe on several levels. The greeting on the home page is roughly the same as the ‘meal’ after the Sunday roast. Users expect the solution to their problem on the start page, served on the silver plate. The phrase “my / our home page” puts you or the company in the center. Visitors stand outside. The exclamation point is the roaring drum roll at the end of much ado about nothing.
The focus is on your / your desires.
Aha. A typical case for the counter question: Which service or which offer can afford to negate the customer's wishes? Isn't this empty phrase the basis of demand and supply? It would be better if you describe here how you respond to the wishes of your customers and what solutions you offer.
Aspect… module… system.
In technical jargon, these three words are called plastic words. Because you can use them anywhere to give the impression of importance. Ask yourself what knowledge they bring to your customer. Better to build the knowledge into the text.
First class quality.
... excellent / high quality ...
This is an empty phrase that is quickly uncovered with the counter question. Would you offer a product or service of the very last quality or inferior quality? This phrase is not a description but an assertion. It works better if you describe what makes your service or product stand out.
... tailor-made / innovative / tailor-made offer / solutions.
That is a saying that always raises question marks for me. If the medium-sized carpenter's shop promises me a tailor-made solution in the web shop, but then I find that the kitchen plinth is always 15 centimeters high and the worktop is delivered from the factory in a thickness of four centimeters, I feel ignored. What do you want to say to your customers with this phrase? Do you really create a unique offer for each customer?
... I / we take care of ...
This phrase haunted me since my first newspaper article. Back then, my editor-in-chief magnanimously explained to me that the weather will never care what consequences it causes rush hour traffic. He's right. As a service provider, are you or is your company so prudent that there is space for concern in every single customer relationship? Better that way: contribute, support, take care of something, take responsibility, guarantee, help.
I am one of the leading experts in ...
We are one of the leading companies for ...
That is a grandiose claim. My forehead is furrowed when I read this. Is there any evidence to show or describe this? For example, by the company specifying its market share, the service provider naming the number of satisfied customers or citing references (“known from ...”)? What customers care about is how you solve problems, not that you solve them (customers assume that).
... are available at all times.
Heaven, I always have to take a deep breath when I read this! Do you want to be available at any time - i.e. 24 hours, seven days a week, 356 calendar days? Just. In Germany there is a court ruling that stipulates that this phrase is legally binding. Because it gives the impression of offering help at any time and free of charge. If this is not the case for you, it is better this way: If you have any questions, please contact me / us….
Please do not hesitate ...!
The exclamation point is loud and the request is desperate. Do you need it? The phrase is usually found at the very end of a website, where the reader should take an action. Ask yourself: would you click the contact button at this point? If you have the slightest doubt: back to the start. Make the plot clearer, easier. Do you consistently lead the reader to action, but the request to contact is not yet consistent. Try it this way: Do you have any questions? / To ask. XY is happy to be there for you. You can reach me / You can reach me from XX to XX / within business hours via [email protected] or 0123456789
Another classic at the end of a website. Imagine you want to buy special sports equipment for your new hobby. You can get advice from a specialist shop. At the end of the consultation you ask the question: Are you curious? How do you react
Viewed through the customer's glasses, this formulation is out of place. It is negatively affected. That doesn't move readers to action. Better that way: Even more interesting details: Did you know ...? / Did you know … ? Or like this: Read on here and discover what only insiders know.
Attention, everyday language. We often use "no problem!" In the web text, this phrase is a stumbling block. What sticks with the reader: Attention, problem! Better to formulate it positively. This is a clear signal for users: Ah, the solution is being thought of here. Possible alternatives: I'm happy to be there for you. / We would be happy to do it for you. / Would have laughed. / We will make it.
Check your texts free of charge for filler words, superfluous adjectives and bulky formulations with the WORTLIGA text analysis tool. About the code clour2019 you also get five percent discount to the premium version. You can find the tool here: https://wortliga.de/textanalyse/
Checklist: Writing tips for simply better web texts
This is how you replace boring blah blah with user-friendly, precise words.
Use simple text tips to help readers understand your message. Short sentences get to the heart of your concern. Active and forward-looking language will appeal to readers.
Tip 1 | Put a window roar in front
The Internet user impatiently scans every new page. You take advantage of this reading style by using an old journalist trick - the window roar. Put the main message of the text in the first sentence. Little window whisperer starts at the beginning of each new paragraph. This makes it easy to follow you.
Tip 2 | Put on customer glasses
In modern web texts, you don't need index fingers or yells to arouse interest. Address the interests of your customers in a targeted manner and formulate them in a result-oriented manner. Putting on customer glasses is easier said than done. A great help is “Thinking of the readers” - the eighth chapter Doris Märtin “Writing successfully”. There you will find four basic types of customers and their identification features. This helps to classify, address and convince people better.
Tip 3 | Address directly
Use the direct approach you / you instead of us. This helps users to recognize their own concerns in your texts. You are giving the signal: You are in the right place here. The direct address creates a sense of commitment and strengthens trust. Readers feel respected and taken seriously.
Tip 4 | Make verbs sweat
Doing instead of sayingby using sweaty verbs. This shows your readers: This message comes from the heart! An example: The Orientation towards the customer is less tangible than the invitation to you on Orientate customers. Or? Sweaty verbs designate actions and activities: work, negotiate, master, succeed, strengthen, implement, turn the page, uncover, stir, support, build, undermine, …
Tip 5 | Set point
Write briefly and succinctly. Long, nested sentences that may prove that you have command of commas make it unnecessarily difficult for readers. Modern language is concise and results-oriented. Each sentence contains only one piece of information, only common abbreviations, no shop-floor talk. As a rule of thumb, a sentence has a maximum of 14 words.
Learn the technique for short texts in six days
The copywriter and book author Eva Laspas guides you through the process of concise writing in her WORTLIGA online course. You develop a slogan for your company and learn to convey emotions in texts. More information about the course: Slogan Creator
Tip 6 | Make it easy
Don't make me think. The usability classic for websites by Steve Krug is a guide for user-friendly homepages and at the same time a common thread for your web text communication. You shouldn't put more than one central message on any single page. It also becomes easy for users when you show them what to do. Talking links are better than links here. Pictures with captions supported your statement.
Tip 7 | Formulate positively
Don't think of a unicorn now! - You see ... negative formulations are part of our everyday language, you can do without them in a business context. We often use "no problem!" What gets stuck is: Problem! If you formulate positively, you are giving the clear signal to align yourself with the solution. You think ahead and are customer-oriented.
Tip 8 | Show facts
Forego the form of possibility and expressions of hope. Would, would, would, have, hope, and so on. Formulations with these verbs set off the alarm bells: The reader rightly asks about the reason for the doubts addressed to him. Forego the possible and instead be specific by avoiding passive constructs and offering specific solutions. Examples: I would look forward to an answer. Better: I look forward to your answer. I think it could be that ... Better: I am convinced that ... I have attached xy. Better: In the appendix for you / for you xy.
Find your own style
Advertise without annoyance. Inform instead of babble. Positioning without bragging.
Your business web text gets along without empty phrases as soon as you use your own words. Align yourself with the result for your customer and communicate it to him. Practice brings results: do not despair, keep writing. If you want, you will find your style - free of clichés, precise and modern. With this in mind: go ahead and write!
About Claudia Aschour
"Language creates awareness, that's why I believe in the power of words."
Claudia has a dream: helping self-employed people develop their text skills. Lives and works as a writing trainer and copywriter in Vienna. Her specialties are reader-oriented web texts and user-friendly online marketing. Regularly new writing tips on her blog www.text-und-content.at/blog
photo: Christoph Hopf
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