Take Away the Internet Language Barrier

Is there a language barrier on your Web site? No, I'm not talking about someone who does not speak English. I'm talking about the actual communication that goes on between your Web site visitor and your Web site content. Sometimes the communication breaks down and your message is not understood. I'd call that an Internet language barrier.

Take a look at your Web site; are you unwittingly putting up a language barrier? Here are some "red flags" that you might be creating a communication breakdown:

1) Your Web site uses "jargon" or technical terms that your audience does not understand.

Who is your target audience? Are they familiar with the terms in your industry? If the answer is no, then you need to make sure you eliminate all jargon or technical terms from your Web site.

Effective communication occurs when the reader can easily understand the words of the message. Engineers can talk to engineers, but when engineers try to talk to consumers there is often a problem. The message becomes unclear.

Right now I'm working on a Web site for a medical device company and most of the content was written by engineers. However, it's not just engineers who visit the Web site. The company realized they needed to rewrite the content so that it can speak in a non-technical way that is less dry and more conversational.

By doing this, the company is tearing down the language barrier and creating a site that is friendly and welcoming to all prospective customers.

2) Your Web site does not provide enough information for the reader to make an informed decision.

Before you put your message together, take the time to analyze your audience and think about what they know and do not know. How educated is your audience? Do they need more explanation or do they already have the information they need to make a decision? What information would make it easier for them to make a decision?

Quite often people are ready to buy when they come to a Web site, but they want all the information they can get to make sure they are not making a mistake. Internet shoppers are informed shoppers. They tend to do research before they make a purchase. If you provide them with the information they need, they will be more likely to buy from you. After all, if they do not have to go to another site to find more information, it's easier to make the purchase on the site they are on: your site.

3) Your Web site's navigation makes it difficult for visitors to get to your product.

You need to use a combination of good writing and graphic layout that gently moves the reader through your content and to the eventual sales page. Do not make the reader search page after page for the product or piece of information they need to close the sale. Remember the 3-click rule; do not make them click more than 3 times to make the sale.

Make sure it is easy to find your product by using text links and graphic highlighting. Do not bury your product in a long paragraph or hide it in a list. Let your product stand out and make it easy for the visitor to make a purchase.

I like to include multiple ways to click to my sales page. For instance, I put a text link in the content description and I make the graphic of my product a text link.

Remove the Language Barrier

Your goal should be to make it easy for your visitor to understand your message and easy for them to make a purchase. Take away the language barrier on your Web site and you are on your way to huge Internet success!