Bigger isn’t always better: the power of using short sentences on your agency's website
By Emma Cook | Updated on: Jun 22, 2022
No, it’s not just something an ex once said to make you feel better.
We could write thousands of words explaining how to use different literary techniques with wanky names (chiasmus anyone?) but that would be boring. For you and us. Plus, the best writing advice is annoyingly simple: write shorter sentences.
Here’s why we love ‘em…
At the most basic level, short sentences are easy to read. If the whole point of writing something is for it to be read, readability should be pretty high on your priority list (read: top).
Easier to read means easier to understand. Sure, you could fill your website with beautiful, meandering sentences featuring clauses, conjunctions and good old chiasmus. But if your would-be client doesn’t understand it, what was the point?
For example, take a look at how agency behemoth Ogilvy says this:
Rather than this: Nowadays people have higher expectations of brands than ever before, expecting them to go above and beyond.
And tech agency, Accenture, writes this:
Not this: We enable you to digitize the things that you make and revolutionize how you make them.
Small but mighty
Like a cubic zirconia ring from the Argos catalogue, short sentences keep people engaged. They add pace. Suspense. Impact. They encourage the reader to wonder what comes next… And gently whisper in their ear “keep reading, baby”.
Cutting to the chase
Our short friends also help us to get to the point quicker. This is particularly handy in a world where most of us are time poor, attention poor and, if you’re me, cash poor.
In school we were taught to hit word counts, bulking out essays by dancing around the point like a pissed uncle at a Cèilidh. But, we’re not in school anymore. Say what you need to say and move on.
The place where us agencies are most guilty of not getting to the point quickly enough is the About page. Here it can feel tempting to flesh out your company’s life story with wild embellishment. But even on this page, your audience is looking for how you can help them. So leave out the long sentences about how you were founded and get straight to the good stuff.
Helping you write like a human
When was the last time you were down the pub with your mates chatting exclusively in complex-compound sentences? Exactly. Unless you’re in the final of your local debate club competition, short sentences are the basis of human conversation. Assuming your clients are people too, you should probably talk to them that way.
Are you a multichannel agency that enables enterprises to supercharge their profits by unleashing their unseen powers and unlocking their hidden potential? Nope. Nobody is. You’re a digital marketing agency that improves your clients’ sales. Just say that.
Waving bye to boring
Long sentences are monotonous. And god knows there’s enough monotony in everyday life already. Let’s avoid any more by keeping our sentences short.
La fin (almost)
We’re not saying never use long sentences. Like a great support band at a gig, long sentences can set the scene for your shorter ones to shine. But we all know it’s the headliner that really gets the crowd going.
So, next time you’re writing something, see how few words you can use to get your point across. Or try our new drinking game and take a shot for every unnecessary word you find on your agency’s website.
Drink responsibly. And remember - size does matter. Just not in the way you thought.