Eliminate Weasel Words From Your Company’s Website

Filed under: Website Copywriting

Maybe your website’s content entices new customers to buy your product or service.


In a world where marketing bombard us with ridiculous promises on a daily basis, it can be tempting to not promise anything at all. This may not be a smart way to think, though.

Gail Goodman, author of “Engagement Marketing,” and a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, says you shouldn’t weasel out of making strong assertions about your products or services by using “weasel words”.

Weasel words are those that detract from what you’re really trying to say to your potential customers. It detracts from the claim your website exists to make—the claim that “Our product/services is the one you need.”

Weasel word examples

Weasel words include:

  • might,
  • may,
  • wish,
  • try,
  • could, and
  • strive.

In her article “10 Commandments of Copywriting,” Goodman suggests two replacements for weasel words.

Replacement #1: When you can 100% promise a result

Use the word “will”.

When you know your product or service will deliver the claim, use the word will!  Don’t wimp or weasel out and say it might.  Be bold. If you believe in your product or service, say what it will do.

Replacement #2: When you can’t 100% promise a result

Use the word “can”.

Anytime you can’t 100% promise a result, use the word “can”. This is especially useful when promoting giveaways or contests or results that rely on variables outside your control. 

For example:
Instead of “you could win a car,” use “you can win a car.”

Why this works

“Can” and “will” are active words.

Active words create belief in your product or service and strengthen its draw.

Active words in action

Active words in actionNotice the use of “will” in the Paul Mitchell ad copy above. “Rejuvenating scents could turn your shower into a spa-like indulgence” just wouldn’t have the same ring to it, would it?

An alternative technique

You can also experiment with taking the words “can” and “will” out altogether.

In the Paul Mitchell ad above, the copy could say “rejuvenating scents turn your shower into a spa-like indulgence.”

Suddenly the promise of the shampoo providing great scents becomes even more tangible, exciting, and compelling.

Improve your website now: Action Steps

If you work with an expert web copywriter or web strategy agency, share this article with them and ask for a discussion about how your website’s content could be updated.

If you don’t work with an expert copywriter or web strategy agency, strongly consider doing so.  After all, it’s impossible to see your company with outside eyes and understand what it’s like to not know your company as intimately as you do.  (And of course, feel free to reach out to our Denver web strategy agency at any time.)

If working with an expert web copywriter or web strategy agency simply isn’t an option at this point in time, review your entire website’s copy and make adjustments where required to boost the effectiveness of your company’s claims.