I was in a store yesterday and saw a rather odd sign posted everywhere:
Due to recent events, we are no longer able to accept Travelers Checks.
I thought, recent events — what recent events? I asked the cashier what recent events caused this? The cashier either had no idea or was not about to say.
What were they thinking? Why not just post “We no longer accept Travelers Checks” and leave it at that? Customers will not really need a reason and even if they did, “due to recent events” is not a reason.
That started me thinking about stuff we often see on web pages. How often do you get the sense that it’s just unnecessary fluff or extra words to fill in space? I like to change out web site text sometimes and when I do, I have other people read and critique it. Often silly statements like that sign end up in my writing and it may take another set of eyes to catch it.
This is also important if you are creating new content. If you can, have someone else read it first. But don’t give your customers superfluous messages. Spend the energy telling them what they need to know and how your business can benefit them. This store might have said “we can no longer accept Traveler’s Checks but we do accept Visa, MasterCard …”.