Why your website is like a restaurant

RestaurantWhen you click a link on a website and a dropdown or popup list appears, it’s called a menu.

That’s not the only reason why I say your website is like a restaurant.

I was recently asked to comment on a client’s leaflet, which listed all 11 services they offer.

Quite sensible, you might think.

Trouble is, the people that want service 1 are probably not interested in services 2 to 11, and vice versa.

With most people being too busy to think, there is no point in distracting and confusing them with irrelevant information.

Continue Reading →


Copywriting has an image problem

TypewriterAs you may know, ‘copy’ is any text that is uploaded to the internet or printed on paper.

Copy: Middle English (denoting a transcript or copy of a document): from Old French copie (noun), copier (verb), from Latin copia ‘abundance’ (in medieval Latin ‘transcript’, from such phrases as copiam describendi facere ‘give permission to transcribe’).

The problem with the word ‘copywriting’ is that many people don’t know they need it.

Some people think they can do it themselves. But just because someone knows how to throw a sentence together doesn’t mean they can write copy.

Copywriting is not just about writing words that flow in a grammatically correct way. It’s the art of writing words that persuade the reader to take an action, change their attitude or spend their money. It’s a craft and a skill that overlaps with marketing, psychology and sometimes SEO.

Admittedly, it’s always been the case that people think they can write their own copy. But now there’s added confusion.

Continue Reading →


Top 30 eggcorns


To be pacific (instead of to be specific)
An escape goat (instead of a scapegoat)
Damp squid (instead of damp squib)
Nipped it in the butt (instead of nipped in the bud)
On tender hooks (instead of on tenterhooks)
Cold slaw (instead of coleslaw)
A doggie-dog world (instead of dog-eat-dog world)
Circus-sized (instead of circumcised)
Lack toast and tolerant (instead of lactose intolerant)
Got off scotch free (instead of got off scot-free)
To all intensive purposes (instead of to all intents and purposes)
Boo to a ghost (instead of boo to a goose)
Card shark (instead of card sharp)
Butt naked (instead of buck naked)
Hunger pains (instead of hunger pangs)
Tongue and cheek (instead of tongue-in-cheek)
It’s a mute point (instead of moot point)
Pass mustard (instead of pass muster)
Just deserves (instead of just deserts)
Foe par (instead of faux pas)
Social leopard (instead of social leper)
Biting my time (instead of biding my time)
Curled up in the feeble position (instead of curled up in the foetal position)
Curve your enthusiasm (instead of curb your enthusiasm)
Heimlich remover (instead of Heimlich manoeuvre)
Ex-patriot (instead of expatriate)
Extract revenge (instead of exact revenge)
Self -depreciating (instead of self-deprecating)
As dust fell (instead of as dusk fell)
Last stitch effort (instead of last ditch effort)

Source: OnePoll.com


Copy disasters of the month

Banana skinPeople often send me copy mistakes they find, and I can’t help proofreading as I go about my day. Here are some disasters I’ve seen in the past month, with added commentary.

Opening an online chat with Apple Support:

Hey there, Jackie! I am Senior Advisor, Brandon! First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to work with us on your issue. How are you doing?”

Brandon may be trying to be friendly but this is not helpful. All I want to do is find a solution to my problem. Not engage in inane chit-chat with too many exclamation marks.

But it got worse. Here’s how the chat ended:

“Since it worked prior to changing what was changed, then something may need to be changed again.”

Er, yes. Although that’s not exactly the answer I was hoping for.  

Continue Reading →