Skip to content

Break a Rule to Get Web Traffic

One of the rules of business writing is to use consistent language to describe something. For example, steps in a process should be called steps–not actions, phases, or points–throughout the document. Likewise, a series of tips contains tips–not suggestions, instructions, guidelines, strategies, or bits of advice.

The reason for consistency is to keep readers on track. If your readers are following your steps, shifting to the phrase "action steps" makes them wonder whether the earlier steps weren’t also action steps. Are you offering a new kind of step now?

But if you want to get more traffic to your site, varying your choice of words makes sense. Here’s an example: People looking for advice on the rules of business writing are likely to arrive at this very blog post if they use any of the search words I used in the first paragraph: rules, business writing, language, tips, suggestions, instructions, guidelines, strategies, advice, readers, or steps. And now that I have used the words again, they are even more likely to arrive here.

When it comes to searching the Internet, variety is the spice of life–or of your site. Use different words to describe the same thing, and searchers will be more likely to find you and what you have to offer.

Syntax Training

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

2 comments on “Break a Rule to Get Web Traffic”

Comments are closed.