By Miles Burke

Drop the Mumbo Jumbo

By Miles Burke

I was looking at a few web developers’ websites recently, and was appalled at how tech-heavy most of them were.

Sure, it’s nice to show off that you understand the lingo, but prospects want to read your website without having to look in a dictionary.

Here’s the opening sentence on the homepage of a small web company I looked at;


Our team of developers will create XHTML and CSS that passes all validation and at the same time, meets your project requirements.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Sure does; for the likes of you and I, that understand what is being said. The rule here is to use an active voice and keep the copy succinct and to the point.

I’m betting that the following sentence would work better for them than their current one;

We’ll exceed your website needs, and ensure everything ‘under the hood’ is taken care of as well.

Cast a critical eye over your own website right now; spot any acronyms or long tracts of text? Drop the mumbo jumbo and write your content with the reader in mind – not just other web developers.

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  • Evan Stewart

    Good point.

  • I agree but I think it depends on who your website is targeted towards. If I just sliced PSDs for example and I was primarily an outsource model for other web companies, this line would make perfect sense.

  • “… will create XHTML and CSS …”

    Well, to me that line is a bit of a giveaway, in that it implies the “team” might consist primarily of ideological purists who might find it beneath them to work on an older site that doesn’t use (or demand) those technologies. Or a site maintained and edited by users who aren’t going to be overly concerned with balancing every P tag.

    That said, it’s easy enough to have an overview “sales” page and a technology-heavy “advanced” page for those comfortable with the acronyms, or who need a better idea of your specialties and capabilities.

    For example: If a page talks heavily about OSS solutions: Linux, MySQL, PHP, Ruby, and so on, then I can be pretty sure that dropping them into my Microsoft-based C# SQL Server site would probably be a bad thing…. (grin)

  • The tech mumbo jumbo jargon has been loosing people for years. All these words are meaningless to the average person. There sites that does not pass XHTML and CSS are making a profit…or meeting goals and objectives. A good site is about far more besides the perfection of XHTML and CSS tweaked up to the nth Degree.

  • yeah, great point indeed. it actually describes how they communicate with their clients in real word.

    • It’s rather scary if that’s the way they talk to their clients. LOL

  • Speaking of Mumbo Jumbo, I’ve just started exploring Magento e-commerce. WOW, they really have some confusing labels for things. The more I dig into things, I’m sort of stunned that it’s as popular as it is. Clearly some of the taxonomy and labeling of things was done by Geeks that forgot how normal people think and talk. Why is it that programmers loose focus upon the words that none-techo geeks use and are familiar with? Anyways, more Mumbo Jumbo and technical hops of fire to jump through just to do basic things that should be easy to understand or simple to do. It never ceases to amaze me how people so bright lack such amazing common sense to keep things simple for others. Anyways, I’m back off to learn more “Magento speak” lol

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