Website Visitors Trust Confident Content. Can They Trust Yours?

Image of Scott Baradell
Scott Baradell
Published: Dec 29, 2021
Last Updated: Jan 5, 2022

You can feel it. You're working busily on copy for your company's website. You know how important it is—it's the first impression you leave about your brand online.

But for some reason, it’s going in the wrong direction. It’s getting wordy. You’re rambling. It feels unfocused and bloated. You don’t know where it went wrong.

You thought this would be easy. You’d sit down, pound the keys for a while, and on the other side you’d have a finished piece. Instead, you have something that isn’t finished, it’s way too long and you wouldn’t even want your mom to see it, much less a customer or potential client.

So, what happened to the perfect, pithy web copy you were going to write?

It got lost in your doubts.

The best writing is concise, and concise writing comes from confidence. Confidence in your knowledge of the topic. Confidence in the message you are trying to convey. When that confidence comes out in your writing, your audience will be far more likely to trust your words.

Creating Confident Content

If that’s all there is to it, then how do you build that confidence? Well, confidence comes from inside, so you have to find it yourself.

Here are three steps for getting started:

  1. Give yourself the time you need. Unseasoned writers typically have more difficulty clearly conveying an idea, and that's nothing to be ashamed of, so take the time to get it right. Similarly, those new to a subject won't write as concisely as others who have more experience. By all means spend enough time to familiarize yourself with your subject matter, but also don't expect to become an expert right away.
  2. Prepare for what to say, and how to say it. Give considerable thought to what it is you want the reader to take away, and be as specific as possible; the more focused it is, the more focused the writing will be. (Conversely, the broader the idea, the more likely you are to ramble.) Then, construct an outline, which is essentially a map that shows the point-by-point route from beginning to end. And rest assured that there’s no right way or wrong way to outline, so just use what helps you, but be mindful that the more specific it is, the more helpful it will be.
  3. Edit confidently, and strategically. Don't worry about being perfect in a first draft, just get the words out. We all have natural tendencies and habits in writing, and not all of them are winners, so accept that and worry about fixes after the initial version is done. That second stage is where it's important to identify what’s truly valuable and what can be eliminated.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

As you edit your draft, carefully review your work for these signs that your copy lacks confidence. Flag them and correct them.

  • Passive construction. The passive voice naturally requires more words, and in my opinion generally saps energy and purpose from writing. Active: "People love me." Passive: "I am loved by people.”
  • There is/there are. These phrases are often unnecessarily wordy. Bad: "There are lots of people around the world who love me.” Good: "People around the world love me."
  • Overuse of adjectives/adverbs. If something is starting to feel wordy or cluttered, look for unnecessary descriptors.
  • Really/very/actually. Some call these “weasel words,” and they are rarely anything more than clutter. You can take them out… really.
  • Unnecessary phrasings. "The vast majority..." "Studies suggest..." "A total of..." These aren't wrong, but if the goal is concise writing, make sure such phrases are needed.
  • Unnecessary words. Some familiar phrases are unnecessarily wordy. "Of particular interest" can be "of interest," for example, or "Completely unanimous" can simply be "unanimous.”
  • Redundancies. When we lack confidence in what we're writing, the tendency is to make the same point over and over, just gently reworded. These can be in a sentence, in a paragraph or large sections throughout a piece, so look for repetition and remove it.

The French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal famously penned, "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” So it is with any confident writing; it takes patience, preparation and smart editing to get it right.

A version of this article appeared at

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