Nobody can deny the impact of the World Wide Web since it first weaved its way into our consciousness nearly two decades ago. Its influence has been at least on a par with that of the printing press, radio, television and cinema. Maybe even more potent.
Businesses – big and small – need a web presence these days. It’s a given, like a business needs a name, assets and a set of accounts. It’s our twenty-first century shop window and if you don’t have one, how can you expect people to look in? Just like a shop window, a website needs to look good; it has to shout quality and warmly invite the would-be customer, safe in the knowledge that they will be served a good product with a professional attitude.
I enjoyed writing that last paragraph – it sounds all lyrical and lovely. There’s even a metaphor! But, alas, at its heart, it belongs to the school of the ‘bleeding obvious’.
Why, then, do so many companies these days continue to set so little store by the quality of their website? It’s like they know they should have one but they are way too busy to invest some time, a little imagination and, yes, a few quid to make it look damned professional. I suppose ‘WordPress’ and its ilk have something to do with this. Not that WordPress is a bad thing – it hosts this blog for a start, so I’m not going to be too judgmental!
But the Internet has been a boon for DIY-ers – any Tom, Dick or Harriette can create a website these days apparently. That’s fine if you’re a spotty teenager in need of some attention or want to set up a site eulogising Olly Murs (umm, tempting). It’s not great, though, if you want to win six-figure contracts from people accustomed to reading flawless text and eye-catching design.
The plethora of bad writing out there may not bother most people but it bothers me because, well, I’m a bit sad. But I make no apologies for expecting the owner of a website to treat me as an intelligent being who can’t abide bad grammar and over-the-top sales-speak. Oh, and the news is that Google will soon be getting all antsy about subject-verb disagreements and the like. With search-engines being programmed to reward quality sites, time will soon be called on the CEO’s who don’t care much about their P’s and Q’s or dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s.
And so…an army of copywriters lays in wait.