1. Use a casual narrative voice. To build intimacy with your reader, use "we" and "us"--instead of "the company" or your business name. This casual, second-person narrative voice makes you seem approachable rather than cold and formal.
2. Focus on benefits to the visitor. Too many websites show off the great features of their product or service and fail to describe how they help customers. Features tell, benefits sell. "We protect your family from theft and personal injury" is a much more powerful statement than "Wireless PIR motion detector included."
3. Write in common, everyday language. Technology companies are particularly guilty of using "techspeak." If readers can't understand what you're offering in 60 seconds, they won't buy. Use plain language. It's better to say, "We make software that helps you write great HR reports" than to say, "We offer completely customizable human resources software solutions for every vertical industry."
4. Less is more. One of the biggest web content mistakes businesses make is simply creating too much. A standard web page should include no more than two or three paragraphs. Anything beyond that should be "chunked" into a separate page or subpage.
5. Speak directly to the reader. The third-person reference to "the customer" is impersonal and outdated. In an increasingly familiar social media world, it's better to address your audience directly: "We take your needs seriously" or "We care about you." This casual approach is not only becoming a web standard, it's also a way to show your customers that you do care about their needs.
Paula Peters is an award-winning entrepreneur and the author of The Quick-and-Easy Web Site and The Ultimate Marketing Toolkit, which help businesses write better marketing materials. Learn more at www.paulapeters.com.