Inspiration from a Conversation

I started this blog with an article about conversations, and I feel compelled to revisit the topic. Often everyday experiences can be leveraged for writing. In this case, a quick conversation and questions that arose from it made me think about what can be lost in translation. The weakest form of communication, writing, is what we primarily rely on for our websites. A renewed focus on your church website’s content may help improve your message, and further the Gospel.

Fine

I tried to strike up a conversation with a co-worker in our break room by asking them about a project we were both familiar with. They responded with “Fine.” and continued filling their water bottle. Both their wording and tone seemed innocent enough; but it left me confused. Were they simply in a hurry to get back to their desk? If that were the case I should not interfere anymore and let them get moving. Or did I offend them in earlier dealings and they are now avoiding me? If that is the case, perhaps I should approach them and see if I can make amends. Regardless, an answer to a question left me curious.

Your website is responsible for one side of a conversation your users wish to have with your church. When they ask themselves “where are they located?” the address in your site’s footer will answer that question. The problem in this is that you need to come up with the answers before the questions are asked. That is a topic for another day, but what I do want to talk about now is that the length of your response matters.

Too short

As with the case of my conversation with my co-worker, even though it was perfectly acceptable to say “fine”, I was hoping for much more. I was far more interested in how they were in general. Do not simply say “We are Christians and believe in Jesus.” when describing the tenants of faith for your church. Delve into each pillar in your church’s belief structure with one or two concise sentences.

Too long

We all have people in our life, that when they just stop to say “hi”; we resign ourselves to not doing much of anything for the next hour. Do not write content for your website that bends a person’s ear far longer than they originally intended. This is ill advised because websites do not have feelings; so your users will not be afraid to lose interest and walk away without even saying goodbye. Put your tangents in other sections of the site where your free-roaming speaking is expected, such as a blog or forum. However, keep your primary informative sections of your site clean and tidy.

Action Item

Examine your content on your site in light of this article. For additional help, review my articles on conversations and writing for the web. Then consider if your answers are too short, too long, or just right for your audience. If you feel you need to add more, re-write it as blog articles and link to them; but keep your main site clear and focused on your message.

Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.

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