Government agencies often treat each website page as a stand-alone fact sheet. This means they err on the side on completeness, leading to wordiness.
Most of us have seen the research. People don't read wordy, jargon-filled pages - they skim.
People prefer web pages with fewer words, with the option of drilling down to more depth if they need it.
The web is good at this. It's called linking.
All of us have good reasons for our websites being wordy,
- The communications team doesn't understand how to write for the web
- The legal team made us put in those extra (really big) words
- The concept is very complex and people may not understand without details
- My SES made me do it!
It's time to face the music
Why are government websites wordy?
Because website content managers let them become wordy.
As website content managers we are the custodians of what appears on the pages of our websites.
When people want to write long and involved content, it's our responsibility to advise and support them in making the text accessible, readable and effective for the online channel.
We should advise them when other approaches would work better than words - images, animations, audio or video.
They don't need to learn how to write for the web - we do.