Q:  How important is it to have a tagline on my website and business cards?

Rebecca MatterA:  (Rebecca Matter) I’m so glad you asked. A lot of writers hem and haw for way too long when it comes to writing a tagline. And at the end of the day, a tagline really isn’t that important.

It can help you, certainly, especially if it provides prospective clients clarity about the services you offer. For example, “Jane Doe: Online Copywriter for the Aviation B2B Marketplace” tells the reader exactly what Jane offers and whom she serves. This is an effective tagline.

On the other hand (and I see this far too often), a vague and unbelievable tagline can hurt your credibility. For example, “Jane Doe: Best Writer in Town” tells me nothing but the fact that Jane is a writer.

It doesn’t address who Jane writes for, or what type of writing she does. Does she only work locally, and if so, in which town? And then there’s the false claim of “Best Writer.” According to whom?

A well-written tagline should make it clear exactly who you write for and what type of writing you specialize in, as well as any other specifics that are important to your business, such as location if it’s relevant.

If you can coin a short tagline (the shorter the better) that adds clarity to your professional or business name, go ahead. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time on it — I’d recommend no longer than two hours.

But if you’re still choosing a niche or a writing specialty and aren’t sure what your tagline should say, do yourself a favor and go without one. Having no tagline is better than creating an unbelievable or vague tagline that will potentially have a negative impact on your business.