Business technology

The woes of web copy waffle

- January 4, 2011 2 MIN READ

What is web copy waffle, and why is it a problem?

Web copy waffle is web copy that:

  • Is written in a rambling way
  • Repeats information
  • Constantly veers off track
  • Includes irrelevant information

The main problem with web copy waffle is that your website visitors can’t find useful information immediately, which causes frustration, confusion and quick clicks away from your website.

An example of web copy waffle

Below I’ve written about website waffle, using website waffle. I’ve also pretended that the waffle is web copy for a professional proofreader, just to highlight how easy it is for a business message to get lost.

Web copy waffle is quite different to the waffles that you eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love waffles, and in my youth I ate mountains of them. Some of them were extremely yummy too, especially the blueberry ones. But website waffle is quite different, completely different actually. Website waffle is where you write more than you absolutely need to. I am a proofreader, so I’m a master at helping you get rid of waffle. I get my red pen out, and whammo, I cross out all the waffle as though my red pen is a sword, and I am a warrior! Do you remember back at high school or university (ah yes, those were the days!) when you had to write a 3000-word essay or assignment on something really uninteresting and you’d just sit there and allow your pen to vomit ink all over the page? Well that’s waffle. When you put those words onto a web page, those words become web copy waffle. Of course, not blueberry waffles, that’s a different kind of waffle altogether…

Okay, so a professional proofreader would never write like that (if they did they’d have a lot of spare time to eat waffles). But I think you get my gist!

Want more articles like this? Check out the website content section.

Get rid of web copy waffle

The example above is an extreme one, but if you’re worried that you might be waffling even just a little bit, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the purpose of my web page obvious?
  • Is there a maximum of one idea per paragraph?
  • Have I included the most important points in a way that’s easy to scan?
  • Have I stayed on track?
  • Are the sentences or paragraphs short and simple to understand?

If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above questions, then delete all the waffly bits and re-write your copy so that your message is sharp and clear.

Reminder: When you’ve got your red pen out, you’re on the hunt for any sections of copy that are too long, too confusing or bordering on rambling.

Lose the waffle. Gain leads.

When your web copy is sharp and clear, people will understand your message and be more likely to take positive action as a result of reading it. So remember, waffles are yummy, but not in your web copy.

Do you think web copy should have less waffle and more clarity? If so, ramble about it below.