Swear Words in Copy: Hell Yeah, or Heck No?
There are a lot of opinions out there about whether or not you should use profanity in your web copy, emails, social media, etc. Some say it’s an absolute yes, if that’s how you speak in real life, while others are much less enthused.
So let’s break down the pros and cons.
– If you are the type of person who swears in real life, then using swear words in your website copy and email communications just makes sense. When you’re running an online business, showcasing your authenticity is one of the best ways to build credibility, and let people know that you’re real and they can trust you. Someone who is looking at a profanity-free website, but hears you swearing in your consultation might be a bit turned off by what can seem like two separate voices.
– Swear words are great for putting a bit of emphasis on something without having to overboard with the caps lock button. You know what’s annoying? When you’re reading a blog post or social media update and then ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU SEE CAPITAL LETTERS EVERYWHERE. For crying out loud, people. Stop saying things are “REALLY, REALLY COOL!!” and just say that they’re “really fucking cool,” and move on with your day. Ain’t nobody got time for all those caps and punctuation marks.
– Swearing makes you smarter. Which yes, is more of an argument for swearing in general, but studies have shown that people who swear tend to have a higher level of linguistic intelligence than those who don’t. Who’d have thought, right? Apparently, putting swear words in your website copy is just another way to showcase how brilliant and good at your job you are!
– A lot of people just don’t like it. There is still a bit of stigma surrounding the use of profanity, especially in professional settings. It can be very offensive to some, which would instantly turn them off from wanting to work with you, regardless of how qualified or otherwise perfect you might be for what they need.
– There is a risk that using profanity on your website can hurt your SEO and, by extension, your ranking in Google search results. If someone has Google’s “SafeSearch” filter turned on, for example, they won’t see any words or images that are marked as “sexually explicit” by Google. While the very worthy purpose of this filter is primarily to prevent a child from seeing sexually explicit content, it could potentially cost you some business if your site is blocked because you use the F word on some of your pages.
We can debate whether or not using profanity in your business communication is a good idea all day long, but it really boils down to your own personal preference. Do you swear in real life? Do you like using profanity in every day conversation? Then by all means, use it in your copy! You will attract customers who are completely un-offended by that language, an/or even use it themselves.
If swearing isn’t really your thing, that’s A-OK too. There’s no need to try and force something into your writing if it’s not something you feel comfortable doing. Something like that will only make you look and sound inauthentic, and make people question your credibility – not a good look for an online business owner at all.
What are your thoughts? Do you use profanity in your business communication, or do you prefer to keep your language clean as a whistle? Let me know in the comments, or give me a shout on Twitter!