Don't Use These 8 Words on Your 'About Us' Page

Finding the right words to describe your business can be tricky. You need adjectives that reflect your culture and values (your business attitude) and show how different you are from your competitors.

Helen McCrone explains why a good place to start is knowing which words you should not be using...

Box full of words

Which words should you avoid when describing your business?

When tasked with writing the content for your About Us page, you could trawl the Internet looking for inspiration. Trouble is, far too many companies are using the same tired, old descriptions. What’s to choose between them?

Nothing.

Read one ‘About Us’ page, and you’ve read them all.

Okay, slight exaggeration.

But unless you want to join the ranks of indistinguishable companies, I strongly suggest avoiding the eight adjectives below because – quite frankly - they are overused, outdated or simply boring.

Let's play business buzzword bingo

Check your company's website for these adjectives. How many can you find?

Company adjectives that are overused, outdated or simply boring

Here are my top eight words to avoid:

1. Passionate
It’s not only in CVs that this word is overused. It seems to occur on every other corporate website too. Why is everyone so incredibly passionate about everything these days? Hey, we get it. If you’re not enthusiastic about your product or service, you’re going to be selling something else, right? But please save your passion for your hobby, sport or the love of your life.

2. Dynamic
This word always makes my toes curl. It’s clichéd and meaningless. According to the dictionary, to be dynamic means to have lots of energy and determination or be continually changing and growing. Therefore, it’s a given that every company is dynamic, otherwise they would have gone belly up years ago.

3. Service-oriented
Another cringe-maker, I'm afraid. If your company is not focused on providing a good service to its customers, what on earth is it in business for? It’s safe to assume that all companies aim to be helpful and thoughtful to their customers (even if the reality is different), so why state the obvious?

4. Innovative
This word has become so generalized that’s it’s becoming empty jargon, which is a shame for companies that are truly innovative. Please reserve this word for amazing or life-changing products (think smartphones, credit cards, microwave ovens and calculators). If your customer hasn’t got any hot water because the pilot light on the gas hot water heater keeps going out, don’t tell him you have an ‘innovative solution’. Tell him you can fix it in under an hour for just $50 by installing a thermocouple.

True passion of Brazilian football fans

Football fans have true passion. But do companies?

5. Committed to excellence
Yawn! It seems that everywhere I turn, companies are committing themselves to excellence. This is far too easy to say, which is why so many companies say it, I suppose. The sentiment is good, granted. But it sounds to me like a pledge you’d make when joining the Girl Scouts or attending one of those leadership programs that send you back to work slightly brainwashed. Please find something more original.

6. Quality-conscious
A variant of service-oriented. Would you tell us that you don’t give a hoot about the quality of your products or that your service stinks because you don’t realize it’s important? Of course not, so why say the opposite? Let’s just assume that you care about the quality of your product or service.

7. Green
Oh boy! ‘We’re a green company’ is such a worn-out phrase. Companies know that being green is a good thing so they sprinkle their literature with the word. Trouble is, consumers aren’t silly. They can spot a bandwagon a mile off, and they won’t be impressed if your commitment to being green extends to using recycled paper and using energy-efficient light bulbs. If you’re genuinely trying to reduce their impact on the environment, and if you really feel the need to advertise the fact, find another (more original way) to share your sustainability story.

8. Diverse
I put this word in the same bucket as ‘green’. Perhaps companies feel that, if they don’t say they’re diverse, customers will assume they’re not. But saying you’re diverse is akin to saying you pay men and women the same amount for doing the same work or that you provide a safe and sanitary work environment. In other words, you don’t break the law. If you have a genuinely diverse workforce that you’re proud of, your customers will know without you having to tell them.


So, that’s my list of words to avoid when describing your company. How many did you find on your website?

Of course, now you’re wondering how you can convince your prospects you’re such a great company if you don’t use these buzzwords. Good point. Below are a few ideas for you...



Sell your company by turning the spotlight on its achievements

Forget using tired and unoriginal adjectives on your About Us page. Leave them out, and show consumers how great you are using these website techniques instead:

  • Demonstrate your expertise with a regularly updated blog that contains great advice and with white papers that can be downloaded for free.
  • Show how service-oriented you are by placing testimonials from happy customers throughout your website and by making sure that visitors can contact you easily (call me button, live chat box, visible contact details, etc.).
  • Divulge your dynamism with case studies that describe the challenges you or your customers have faced and how you overcame them.
  • Express your passion with a fresh, modern website design, a selection of success stories, and injecting a joyful tone of voice into your content.
  • Prove your commitment to excellence by referencing your awards, licenses and certifications on your website and other marketing literature.
  • Reveal your diversity with a ‘Meet Our Team’ page that contains photos and a short bio of your employees.
  • Establish your credibility by disclosing your memberships of professional associations, chambers of commerce, etc.
  • Validate your attitude to quality with a well-designed website, professional-looking marketing materials, and well-written copy (no sloppy grammar or spelling)

Right, I’m off to check my website now, just in case some of those overused words are still lurking around. In the meantime, tell me below which corporate words leave you distinctly unimpressed. I'd love to know!

Helen

Helen

Helen McCrone is a British copywriter, copyeditor and translator who lives in Washington State, USA. She's been helping small and large businesses communicate effectively in writing since 2004. She relies on yoga, her American husband and her English sense of humour to keep her sane. :-)

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