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A service that makes websites more effective as sales and marketing tools has been launched by communications specialists, Optimum. Based on analysis of the way we talk to each other in everyday life, 'Web Content Optimizer' matches English used on websites with that spoken by their target audiences. The closer the match, the easier it is to read, understand and absorb the marketing message.

According to Malcolm Galfe, a consultant at Optimum, the words people take in most easily are those from the core English they use all the time. He says the extra effort needed with less familiar words soon builds up to the point where attention is lost and site visitors move on.

The research shows that websites use only about 60% core English while the public averages more than 80%. This difference adds to the inherent problems of reading from a computer screen, which is slower and causes more eyestrain than reading printed pages.

A million words of everyday conversation were analysed to provide language benchmarks for different socio-economic groups and regions across the UK. The service uses these benchmarks with new text analysis software to tailor Web copy to suit its audiences.

“To deliver more sales and marketing value, websites must make it easy for people to get the message,” said Galfe, “Until now it’s been impossible to see how close Web copy is to the English used by its audiences. Currently, ‘Plain English’ is usually measured using readability indices that ignore the readers’ vocabulary - even copy written in Welsh or Gaelic could be rated as good Plain English.

“The new service is a cost effective way to get more from websites without extra software or design costs. By bridging the language gap, companies can add value to their existing web investment.”

The web optimization service, priced according to word count, is available from Optimum at info@optimum-uk.com

Media Contact: Malcolm Galfe - 020 7243 2429

Published on: 12:00AM on 29th January 2004