I heard it again the other day. A website designer said to me, “The site is built, it’s ready to go – we’re just waiting for content from the client.”

Ah, “waiting for content.” The architecture’s finished, the graphics are in, the links are done if only we didn’t have to wait for that pesky content.

Somewhere in the past 10 or 15 years, much of what we say and show to communicate with one another has been subsumed within that great democratizer, “content.” And where are the writers of yesteryear? Why, they are now “content providers,” of course.

I’m treating the subject somewhat lightly, but there are ramifications within the business world.

With all that content filling the screen – websites, blogs, e-mails, profile pages, videos, downloadable apps – how much actual communicating is going on? Are we generating lots of heat but little light?

Ask yourself, how often do I actually read the copy on a business website? Not just look at the photos of the management team, not just watch the video showcasing the new green headquarters, but actually read the copy? You know, the words. The content.

That’s OK, you aren’t alone. Most of us tend to skip past the words because, well, they’re just words. They can’t easily compete with moving images, colorful icons or tantalizing links. Reading and comprehending words requires a whole raft of sophisticated thought processes that don’t necessarily coincide with the dynamic zap of the screen.

Even so, right now thousands of content providers are diligently working on About Us pages and white papers and client testimonials and FAQs and team profiles – that no one will ever read. Well, perhaps not “no one.” The content provider’s mother may be reading them, out of loyalty, but she’s unlikely to be the target demographic.

I’m not talking about news websites; we go to them specifically to read, to take in information much as we always have.

But when it comes to business websites – increasingly the dominant or sole presence for companies and nonprofits – they may be filled with screen after screen of text, but few people are reading it. So the legal department is happy and the marketing department is happy, and most everybody else is looking at YouTube.

Funny thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way. One can convey what an organization believes and does without invoking Personalized Recommendations or Click-to-Continue buttons. The secret is (are you ready?) good writing.

I know, I know, it would be nifty if the secret were something sexier or harder to imagine.

But the plain truth is that good writing is the basic underpinning to (good) content and (good) comprehension, no matter where they occur. Notice that I didn’t say short writing, the all-powerful bullet points, or persuasive writing, the five-paragraph essay. Sometimes good writing is long or works in circuitous ways. But good is good is good.

Like good children, good wine or good customer service, good writing is apparent when we experience it. It might spring from the pen of your 9-year-old, writing their fourth-grade paper. Or it might be a report authored by your vice president of finance.

No matter its origins, good writing is clear and original. There’s a reason that the “White” of Strunk & White is the same fellow who wrote “Charlotte’s Web.” He was able to practice what he preached, much to the world’s delight and benefit.

Good, clear writing is evidence of good, clear thinking. That’s the kicker: Business clients should demand good writing in all of their materials, most especially the digital ones. Why not? Those same clients expect snappy logos, artful graphics, clever videos – shouldn’t they also demand the good writing that good thinking engenders?

So let’s start with that, with the expectation that our very next website or blog or white paper will be written well. Instead of waiting for content, let’s make sure it accurately and concisely conveys a clear message.

Better yet, instead of waiting for content, let’s write it ourselves.

Then let’s hand it to the designer and ask her to give it the attention it deserves.