Tone in General Communication
While much of our customer-facing communication is done via support, it's important to also maintain consistency in other communication, such as blog posts, emails, or other media. Here are some guidelines for general communication to make sure our team's writing sounds consistent.
General guidelines on writing for SkyVerge so that our grammar and usage are consistent. While we all may have variations on our own tone, our style should be pretty much universal.
Oxford commas are not a suggestion, they are a way of life (picture me bringing my hands together here, saying, “Namaste”). If writing a list, a comma must appear after the penultimate item, and before the "and", "or", etc. For example, I like "new, original, and unique clothing" not "new, original and unique" clothing. Just writing that last bit as an example made me feel bad. 😞
See this? ‘Nough said.
Other than that, only use them where needed; be more creative about punctuation choice. I am quite partial to the semi-colon myself 😏
We typically follow Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for spelling (unless, of course, the word is “ referer” ಠ_ಠ), and typically Strunk’s Elements of Style for syntax.
- American spellings should be used, because they are my favorite, not my favourite
- It's "eCommerce", not e-commerce, e-Commerce, Ecommerce, or E-commerce
- Use frontend, backend with no hyphens
- Other words should use hyphens to prevent their extinction. Stuff like "one-year-old app", compound phrases like "easy-to-use", etc. If they should be joined, let them love.
- Each time you spell a brand name wrong, a baby seal is viciously clubbed. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but always look up how to spell company or brand names like "Prospress", not "ProsPress". Look at their website to see what they do. Nothing irks me more than"Skyverge", so I don't do that to other companies.
- Other common words:
- Shopify app store (not appstore, or similar)
- WooCommerce, not Woocommerce
- WordPress, definitely not Wordpress
- GitHub, not Github
bitcoin, not Bitcoin
- Use H3 headings to break up sections in web content. When writing a blog post, you can do this via Markdown with
###before the heading, or
- Should you start content with rhetorical questions? No. (That’s always the answer anyway.) Do not start content with rhetorical questions. This goes for post titles as well.
- Starting sentences with a gerund (
-ingword) is discouraged. Ugh. See? Hard habit to break, but keep calm and grammar on. 🤘
When making a claim, always try to include citations wherever relevant. A
(Source)tag with a link following the sentence is fine. For example, if you’re going to say that something increases conversions, we should link to a study for it. Any statistics should also be cited.
Images must be a photo you've taken, image you've / we’ve designed, or something approved for commercial use (CC license preferred). If attribution is required, include a link at the bottom of the post for featured images, or right below the image for in-line images. We respect copyright to the nth degree, so no images that disallow re-use. See how there’s no jokes here? Copyright is
seriouz bizniz serious business.
For blog posts: Featured images should typically be a certain size – ask Beka depending on which site you’re writing for. In-post media should typically use the "medium" size and link to the media file from the image (WordPress can do this when you insert media).
Use complete names rather than "screen names" or usernames whenever possible if mentioning an individual. Link to a personal website or Twitter account with the first reference.
If mentioning a company, link to the company website as well or instead of a personal site (depending on context).
Our "customer-facing" communication follows a small set of rules, regardless of whether we’re writing on our site, in an automated email, or via a support thread.
The Ritz-Carlton has a great philosophy and motto: "Ladies and Gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." While we're aiming to be a little less formal and more friendly, keeping our team motto in mind as well as some of our guiding principles is essential in delivering the kind of service and experience we want to give our merchants.
At SkyVerge, our goal is to help each shop owner improve his or her store: we're partners in success — we’re on their team, and we succeed when we've made the merchant's business better.
In emails, site comments, or support threads, greet all merchants in a warm, friendly manner: "Hey John," "Hi there Jane!", "Heya Sam,". Always use the merchant's name if available and double-check that it's correct. If no name is available, use something like "Hey there," to start. Stick with "Hi" or "Hey" if you're not sure that the user is a native English speaker, but feel free to use your own greeting like "Heya" or "Howdy" for English speakers.
These values should describe you while communicating with our merchants.
- I am friendly, warm, patient, and personable. I am grateful for our users and for their business. They do not inconvenience me, and I am here to help with their success.
- I communicate clearly and directly without overwhelming the customer with extraneous information.
- I use simple language that merchants understand, even when explaining a complex problem, feature, or change.
- I empathize with merchants' struggles because I am on their team.
- I solve problems first and foremost. If our app or plugin isn't the optimal solution for the merchant, I'll suggest another. If I can't solve an issue, I'll suggest someone who can. I'm here to help.
- I own and resolve problems; "not my problem" is not in my vocabulary.
- I’m also a human,
definitely not a robot BEEP BOP. I have quirks, likes, and stories, and it's okay to share them.