Think about why other people’s words on the web matter to you
In order to realise the importance of your website content, you need only think about your own online experience. Why do you visit other people’s websites? You probably wouldn’t need too many fingers to count the number of times you’ve bought a product or service on the basis of design alone.
Beyond that, consider the sort of information that you’re looking for when you visit a website. That leads us to…
Tell your readers why it matters to them
When you land on a company’s website, you’re probably not overly impressed by being bombarded with information about what generation of the family is currently running the business or the minutiae of what the business does. Similarly, people visiting your site don’t really care about these things. The reader needs to know what’s in it for them. Insular, self-centred copy is off-putting to readers. Continue reading
Do you ever think about what the narrative voice of your website says about your business?
I’m writing this blog post in the first-person narrative voice (or grammatical person) because I’m hoping to engage you directly in the content. I want it to be clear that I’m talking to you about your website. I also want you to know that this is not going to be a stuffy piece of writing.
It’s like a personal pronoun convention in here! Continue reading
I was having a quick browse in a National Trust bookshop over the Bank Holiday weekend and came across a book by Gerry McGovern entitled Killer Web Content.
Now, we all know not to judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to books about the web it is often essential to judge it by its publication date. I must confess the first page I flicked to was the copyright page to see how dated the content was likely to be.
When I saw the book had been published in 2006 I very nearly put it straight back on the shelf. I had a quick glance at a few other pages before convincing myself that, at £1.50, it was a cheaply priced artefact of a simpler time in the online world.
Despite not holding out too much hope I have been pleasantly surprised so far at how well the book has dated. Obviously I’m not very far into the book just yet, so it may well lose the plot in places (I’ll update you, if so), but as yet it is all sounding surprisingly current.
It’s a bit simplistic in places, but that’s probably why it still stands up today. It avoids getting too technical on focuses on the core principles of website content.
So, what I’ve taken from the book so far is:
- an endorsement that the techniques I’m employing to create web content will continue to be integral to the success of a website regardless of the next technological twist.
- the comfort that people have been ignoring these key messages since long before Voz Media was in existence!
If everyone else has been informed as many times as I have about the sad demise of the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy in the online world, it is safe to say it is becoming a bit clichéd. To be honest, I’m not entirely convinced the age of build and they will come ever really existed, but as long as we’re agreed that it doesn’t exist at the moment then everyone is happy.
But with people being told that having your online presence is not enough, you ought to be doing x, y and z to promote it, my concern is that the building process is a bit shoddy. Continue reading