Just plain bad writing

rogersgeorge on August 13th, 2010

First, I must speak in this fellow’s defense: He’s a contractor, and he drives a really straight nail. But he can’t write, or his web developer can’t, which is worse. Here’s a shot of some of the screen:

I cropped the heading and deleted the phone number to protect the guilty.

Here’s the first bad sentence:

We are a company that has been in business for over fifteen years making some wonderful home improvements to your biggest investment, your home.

It’s not true! He hasn’t touched my home! (ahem, well, actually, he did, and he did a fine job. But he’s not referring to me on his site, right?) And he certainly hasn’t been working on my home for 15 years. The whole sentence needs rewriting. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to fix this poor, misshapen attempt at trying to sound experienced and competent.

Actually, that was the second bad sentence. He’s been in business for more than fifteen years. (I quibble. “Over” is common, but “more than” is better.)

Here’s another bad sentence.

The bottom photos display some of our work by just clicking the tabs below.

Who’s going to click the tabs? He says it’s the photos. Did you notice that moment of confusion when you read the sentence? That’s what you don’t want to happen when someone reads your writing.

The word “just”—it’s fluff (see previous post). Kill it.

The site has another problem, too. The tabs are independent from the pictures. You don’t even get a tab for each picture. And though the pictures have links under them (not underlined—they don’t look like links), they aren’t mentioned. He does mention the pictures, but clicking them has no effect.

That’s some of the top half of the first page. I could go on, but I won’t. This is enough curmudgeonly ranting for one post.

His web developer needs better writing and user interface skills, but the owner of the site is a very good, scrupulously honest, outstandingly capable builder. If you live in Delaware and need some work done to your house, drop me an email and I’ll put you in touch with him. He’ll take good care of you. Just don’t ask him to write anything.

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