Have you noticed this recently? It’s a bit of an epidemic.
Instead of the usual titles on the top navigation bar of websites, where you’d expect something like this:
you get something like this 😱:
On brand? Perhaps. Cool? Debatable. But useful to the average visitor? Hell, no.
I don’t know where I find out what they do or how much it will cost. After a bit of clicking I’m likely to give up and move on.
And I’m not alone.
When we read on the web, we don’t consume every word like we do with a book or newspaper. Online, we’re flightier than a teenager on Tinder, tending to:
- read in a Z pattern across the screen, starting top left
- avoid reading every word and instead scan for familiar words that grab our attention
- move on as soon as we’ve found what we need
What does this mean? Well, we have to help visitors on our website get the information they need as quickly as possible. Otherwise we risk losing them. Fast.
Repeat after me: clear beats clever every time in marketing.
So ‘Whassup, doc?’ might be a fun way of describing your blog, but it makes your visitors’ experience on your website frustrating and confusing.
And it’s not just the hipsters who fall into this trap. I often see navigation bars like this from more technical businesses:
Unless you’re super clued up with their business, these titles mean nothing. They’re positioned from their perspective, not yours.
So how do you get it right? Well, try my handy acronym to keep you on track.
(These concepts are also transferrable for all online writing, from website copy to online brochures and social media posts.)
Familiar – use words and concepts that are easily recognisable to your average visitor. For a navigation bar, most B2B businesses should use titles like: Services, About, Blog, News, Contact etc. rather than being too ambitious.
Audience first – ask what information your audience want to get from your website and make it as easy as possible for them to find it. So, that might be signposting where they need to click e.g. ‘For SMEs’ and ‘For Corporates’.
Basic – try to think of the simplest possible option for what you’re trying to get across. So instead of getting all highfalutin with ‘Outperformance’, try the simpler ‘Case studies’.
So, my challenge to you: Take a look at your website now and let me know if it’s FAB or needs some rehab. Go do it!