In my web browser, I have a folder called ‘business websites I like’. It contains random sites that, for one reason or another, drew me in. Looking back at the list, they have three ingredients in common that make them effective business websites.

These are: clarity, intelligence and personality.

Spending time on an effective business website is like listening to an engaging speaker. You can tell they know their stuff and talk about it in a way you understand. You’ve never met, but feel as if you know them.

For example, here are a couple of copy snippets from business websites on my list.

Kell & Rigby: “We’re builders. That’s about as complicated as it gets. We have a simple vision: to be widely known as Australia’s best builder. We’re passionate about doing things right the first time.”

Idea Shop: “Idea Shop is a full-service advertising and graphic design agency. Everybody says that, so we thought we should too. In reality, every agency has its strong points. Here are the things that we excel at – maybe we’ll be a good match for your company.”

IT Partners: “A leading law firm was pleased to find an IT support company that didn’t lose interest once the deal was done.”

Freshview Software: “Tens of thousands of companies use our software every day to become heroes, cure headaches, start revolutions, blow socks off and even fall in love!”

My Emma: “We think it should be easy to use (goodbye, cluttered interface). It should be made for you (farewell, generic templates). And it should even be fun (see ya around, support phone queue).”

Getting more personality into your own business website is not necessarily as hard at might sound.

Try this experiment. Read your website aloud as if you were explaining to a friend what you do. Does it sound natural? Are you cringing? Would your friend be wondering where the ‘real’ you went?

Next, strip out the corporate speak and impersonal language and boil your message down into plain English. You’ll know it’s right when you can read it out loud comfortably.

In the comments, I’ve listed links to the five effective business websites with personality. It would be great if you could list your favourite business websites (other than your own!) so we can all use them for inspiration.

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