It’s increasingly tempting to think that the more professional the better. Who wants to look amateurish? True, but if the human touch gets lost you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Take a recent example that happened to me. I had a wasps’ nest in my wall. I could hear those little critters rustling away as I sat in my living room. So I decided to call an expert to get rid of them. I searched ‘wasp removal bath’ (seeing as I live near Bath). The first few sites I clicked on had a bland, corporate feel to them, and from what I could tell were landing pages specially created for searches that included Bath. The same company would probably appear in a dozen different area searches.
It put me off. I thought: you’re slick, you’ve hired people who know about SEO, but you’re impersonal. Your design isn’t amateurish, true, but it’s bland and generic. And your web content keeps repeating the same phrases and sounds as though it was generated by a computer program. If your wasp removal service is anything like your website, I don’t trust it.
The last straw was when I came across a list of the areas they operated in and saw that it included Bristol, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. And this was on a site that had ‘Bath’ in its name.
Luckily on the second page of results I came across a company whose website told me a story. It told me about the company’s founder, his values, his background and why he works in pest removal. I even learnt that when he was a kid he once shot a wasps’ nest with a shotgun just for fun (he admits he was young and foolish), and when his dog went to investigate the wasps attacked in a vicious cloud. Despite being a greyhound cross, the dog couldn’t outrun them.
That kind of vivid storytelling sets a company apart. The website’s design wasn’t slick but it wasn’t off the peg either. Just what I wanted, in fact. He did a great job. Now my walls are deliciously silent.
It taught me the dangers of trying to be professional. Don’t let professional mean cold and insincere. If your website is where you’re getting most of your business, it’s worth getting right. It’s worth being human as well as professional. Your future depends on it.
Posted in Content strategy, Copywriting, web design