“It’s got messy and there’s too much on there.”
“We’re getting a new CMS, so we might as well refresh the copy.”
“It’s a bit out of date.”
We’ve rewritten websites for all sorts of reasons. But it usually comes down to one big one: the tone of voice is missing.
Websites get cluttered. Then someone gets permission to declutter
They clean house, and get it down to just a few beautiful pages—usually without much on them. Then something happens, and within a couple of years it’s a teenager’s bedroom floor again. Rinse, repeat. (Around every 3 years, in my experience.)
But why does adding more content make it messy? Surely it’s good to have plenty of new stuff for Google to crawl?
It’s not that there’s too much content. It’s that it’s not all good content.
Somewhere along the line people stopped asking the simple questions: what do we want to say? And how should we say it?
Perhaps your developers made a product update written entirely in tech speak. Or the legal team whacked up some wordy Ts&Cs. Worst of all,
guest blogs thought leadership on behalf of the C-suite couldn’t get signed off unless it sounded ‘professional’.
Good luck trying to stitch together a single brand personality from all that.
You can spot a missing tone with a two-click test
Pick a brand, any brand. Check out their lovely home pages, with fresh, punchy, pithy headlines. And then see how many layers down you can go before you’re wading through passive sentences, formality, and jargon. For the worst websites, it’s no more than two clicks.
It’s a pretty clear sign that their brand voice hasn’t filtered through every level of their business. Which is a wasted opportunity, given we know a strong tone means business.
If you want a better website, find your voice
If you’re starting to think this might throw up other issues, don’t panic. Maybe you don’t really have a tone of voice yet (if you’re not sure, you can check here). Or you do, but your senior leadership is a bit fuzzy on it, and they’re the ones signing off your website content. Perhaps compliance needs a nudge to be more human—at least on paper.
Trust me: it’s all fixable. We’ve done it over and over again, for everyone from investment houses and charities to hotel chains and start-ups. So drop us a line if we can help you, too.