IT Jargon on Your Website: Alienating or Credibility-Building?

As an IT professional, your geek-speak earns you credibility among your peers. Unfortunately, among the business executives who are your prospective customers, it earns you blank stares, confused head tilts, and exasperated sighs.

Those aren't your desired responses. Ideally, you want to see nods of understanding and, subsequently, follow-up questions about the cost of your IT services.

How can you connect with your prospective customers without sacrificing your content's integrity? First, you have to understand how your audience responds to IT jargon.

How Prospective Customers React to Jargon

Picture this. Your dentist tells you your gums have receded too far, and you need to see a periodontist.

You jump on Google and find a local periodontist. The website is full of medical jargon like gingival graft, keratinized tissue, subepithelial connective tissue, pedicle grafts, and alveolar mucosa.

Instead of feeling informed, you're thwarted by indecision.

Is that the way you want your prospects to react when they find your website? How will they feel if your site is full of unexplained IT terms like VoIP, LAN, OS, virtualization, and endpoints?

If reading your website sounds like this, you have a jargon problem.

Why Laymen's Terms Connect with Your Audience

Now imagine an alternative scenario.

Instead of the original search engine result, you find a periodontist's website that uses plain English. It explains the problems related to gum recession. It describes your treatment options in simple, understandable terms.

After reading the site's content, you believe this periodontist knows how to communicate with patients. As a result, you're more inclined to make an appointment.

Why IT Terms Don't Land With Business Executives

Now, let's think about how this analogy applies to your IT website.

Business owners visit your website because their systems administrator, or an outside consultant, recommended they need a suite of IT services. Just as you weren't well-informed of periodontics, they likely aren't well-informed about information technology.

When they click through your website, its jargon-heavy content doesn't explain your services. It makes them feel overwhelmed, and further from the solution they need.

How You Can Replace Jargon Without Losing Credibility

To mitigate this game-ending response, replace acronyms and other technical terms with plain English and technical explanations with business-minded explanations.

Remember, the businessperson reading your site is constantly asking, "Why do I care?" and "What's in it for me?" The content on your website should answer those questions clearly and succinctly.

For example, it should address the following questions:

  • Why does a non-technical businessperson care about virtualization?
  • Why is intrusion detection important to their business?
  • How will their business benefit from server optimization?

If your website's content doesn't currently answer these questions, then it's time to create a new content strategy for your business.

How and When to Use IT Jargon

A certain amount of IT jargon cannot be, and should not be, avoided. Terms such as virtualization, are the very keywords your prospective customers will enter into their Google searches.

Provide brief definitions for the IT terms on your website. Use resources like Gartner IT Glossary and TechTarget's Tech Definitions to help you better explain what those terms mean.

Why You Should Think Broadly About Your Content Strategy and Its Language

Your IT website isn't the only source of content your business produces. Your company's online marketing strategy includes blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, and web ads. These pieces of content also should connect with prospective clients and demonstrate your IT expertise. As part of that effort, it should be digestible for your audience.

How a Web Agency Can Offer You a Much-Needed Outside Perspective

IT professionals use industry jargon throughout the day. As a result, it's easy to forget that business people, your prospective client base, don't. Moreover, most IT professionals don't understand how to successfully translate technical language to non-technical explanations.

For these reasons, it's critical to hire an outside web agency to build and execute your content strategy. At OptimWise, we specialize in creating custom content strategies and managing content production for IT businesses. Contact us today to learn how we can translate and optimize your content for prospective clients.

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