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Has Your Website Entered the 4th Dimension?

  
  
  

For much of the life of the commercial web, websites were one dimensional, essentially online brochures that over time became large and often unruly repositories of tactical content. But, in just a few short years after the recession, websites have catapulted to the 4th dimension.

Skip forward to today where I just returned from a meeting with a client for whom we were hired to do a website. As it often turns out, we identified that their website was the strategic doorway to the other dimensions of the business in which the website lives: brand strategy, content (marketing) strategy and design strategy.

Brand Strategy for Websites - the 2nd dimension
forest through the treesMany of our clients have multiple products or services, speak to different audiences and have a different set of competitors for each product or service. They are often confused about how to architect their websites because there is often no apparent commonality in their audiences or offerings, so they focus on product or technology, which quickly gets tactical.

At this juncture we take them back to their brand strategy (or identify need for one); that underlying value proposition that unifies the seemingly disparate. If we discover that they are not able to articulate a clear and compelling brand strategy, they will have trouble architecting or providing concise, compelling content for a website. In the rush of trying to get s____ done, the brand strategy, which yields the ever important "messaging platform" can get glossed over. Doing the brand strategy work upfront saves massive time on a typical website project.

Design Strategy for Websites - the 3rd dimension
With websites increasingly addressing visitors on mobile devices, the ratio of words to images infographic samplecontinues to shift toward less copy and more images. Our clients no longer want a whole site of generic stock images but instead want the images to convey meaning. Infographics are a way of expressing often quantative data in a qualitative storytelling mode. Infographics, icons and other graphics must work much harder now that there are less words to tell a company's story. We must distill strategic concepts into compelling visual stories that are visually branded in a cohesive way and can be leveraged on the web, in Powerpoint, tradeshow booth graphics, digital presentations and collateral. And repurposing is the essence of content marketing.

Content (Marketing) Strategy for Websites - the 4th dimension
content strategyWhile copy for websites used to begin once the information architecture (site map) was finalized, today the most important dimension of the website is the content (marketing) strategy. Assuming that the commonly accepted purpose of the website is to serve as a customer engagement channel and generate leads, you must address your content strategy much earlier in the web process. The components of your content strategy include:

  • Buyer Personas - In order to make your website relevant to solving the problems of your audience, creating a persona of the buyer or the problem a buyer has is the first step toward a relevant website. And relevancy is the watchword Google considers when ranking your site.

  • SEO: although Google has made it harder to track keywords, they are still enormously useful in crafting content for your site. Getting keywords right goes a long way toward producing relevant content.

  • Calls-to-Action - Think less about your home page as the be-all and end-all. Every page in your site should be considered a landing page and have some sort of "call-to-action" to enable your audience to engage with you. This can be a white paper, webinar, related link, phone #, etc.

  • Offer Creation - Create offers for visitors to engage with you at increasingly deeper levels. This builds your "thought leadership credentials" and over time, a valuable library of resources through which visitors will engage.

  • Website Analytics - Tracking site visits to specific pages, repeat visitors and "bounce rate" are some of the ways you can gauge whether your content is resonating. The data will tell you if your content strategy is getting the desired results or whether you need to rethink or refine content to meet your goals.

    Website copywriting is just tip of the iceberg. Like everything else, it requires a considered strategy.

  • Continuous Improvement - Thinking about your website as a continuous process of improvement rather than an event to get done and check off your list is the surest way towards it becoming the powerful strategic channel it should be.

Is your website operating in the 4th dimension?


5 Reasons Why Most Websites Look the Same Today

  
  
  

Just last year we won a terrific job by showing the client 10 competitor sites, which all looked almost exactly like theirs. The need for differentiation was alive and well.

describe the imageI did a double take the other day when I happened on the website of a venture capital firm. It was a perfectly nice website, but I was taken aback by how identical it was to the site of a consulting firm or a high tech firm. In fact if the logos were removed, you might be hard pressed to guess what kind of business you are viewing. Homogenization is good... if you're a container of milk, not so good if you're trying to market.

What's behind the "Me too" movement?

There are five causes I can see for why websites have become much more simple, modular, prone to large type and created as a series of long, scrolling pages.

Mobility
Technology is defining design by "mobilizing the desktop." The new standard for websites is "Responsive Design," which describes a way of designing and programing, which allows the website to detect the viewer's device and reconfigure itself accordingly. Designers have discovered that simplifying the design by removing complex image/type overlays, using small type, modular units of bold color, and scrolling navigation, makes the design process easier and the user experience less problemmatical.

Google
Last year, Google changed their Search algorithm, making it much harder for businesses to track which keywords bring the visitor to their site. The density of website content had been somewhat a product of including as many keywords into the copy as possible such that Google would deem the site relevant and award a higher page ranking. Now that Google has changed their definition of what "relevancy" means, to something attempting to be more authentic, businesses have lightened the content load by simplifying the quality and quantity of their language.

ADHD
It's a well-known fact that people are less able to focus on anything without multiple beeps, rings and interruptions, and are generally stretched so thin that reading a long web page of tightly spaced text was not high on the list of priorities. Some of our new clients had also been seeing steady dips in site traffic and felt that a more simple approach was an idea whose time had come.

B2C
In our B2B world, we always look toward B2C to see what trends will make their way to the world of professional services and technology marketing. Bold colors, big shapes, icons instead of words, pictures in place of paragraphs and infinity scrolling are what was happening in consumer websites over the last two years and is now the defacto standard of the B2B website.

Storytelling
The word "engagement" has become very important to businesses that are trying to cut through the noise and make a connection with their prospects and customers. Guiding a site visitor down a simple set of screens that gradually and simply tell a nice, clear, simple story with muliiple calls-to-action along the way is a more engaging way to generate leads and connect with people.

describe the imageThese 5 reasons explain the homogeneity of websites but don't entirely excuse it. Online brands still need to express themselves in compelling and unique ways, while adhering to best practices. B2B buyers are still people, and people react from emotion, as well as for rational business reasons. A recent site RainCastle did for former Procter and Gamble CMO, Jim Stengel, is a case in point, a hybrid of longstanding website best practices of clean design, deep content and ease-of-use with the new paradigm of modular calls-to-action and scrolling page content. It is also responsive, optimized for search and lead generation, and visually interesting, and not a copycat site. I think it is a fair expectation for clients to expect that as designers, we will create site experiences that aren't easily replicated by the masses.

I'd love to hear from you about other excellent new websites that exhibit best practices but do so in unique ways.

SEO Tips for 2014

  
  
  

SEO considerations in 2014If one believes that in life nothing is permanent, then the constant changes in the science of SEO are just a fact of life. But for those who tend to get uncomfortable with things arcane, it's good to refresh yourself now and then. Managing your website's SEO in 2014 looks a little different than it did in 2004.

Let's quickly trace how SEO has evolved. SEO has been traditionally broken down into on-page SEO (keywords) and off-page SEO (links). The more keywords and links, the better the search. I've had many discussions with people who wanted to permeate their websites with search terms and links, which at times challenged principles of grammar or the creation of a natural "voice." And with everyone adapting this attitude, one's Google ranking constantly fluctuated as competitors outworded or outlinked one another.

Audience Focus - What people often overlooked was "their audience," i.e., providing full pages of content tailored to their audience's needs, and associating this content with compelling offers that would motivate visitors to register or in the case of a blog, share your content.

Relevant Content - As the arbiter of value in today's websites, Google rates "relevancy" more than quantity of links or keywords. By making repeated, incremental modifications to your website over time, Google views these steady additions as relevant, hence your rank begins to rise.

The use of Buyer Personas - Branding and marketing professionals have used "buyer personas" for some time and these are becoming more important for the creation of the more personalized web content your web visitors expect and which Google rewards.

The value of a keyword - "Are keywords still relevant?" I can hear you ask. The answer is a qualified yes, because it is now a quality rather than a quantity game. The value is in picking the right keywords. How do you judge the value of a keyword? Mozhas a simple, 5-step process, which I will summarize here:

  1. Relevancy: Will searchers find what they need on your site based on the keyword?
  2. Do your own Google search: Seeing who already ranks for your keyword will suggest how difficult it will be for you to rank. The presence of paid search that appears at top or right side of the page indicates the presence of a conversion-prone keyword.
  3. Consider a Google Adwords test: Test traffic by buying the keyword so that it appears on the first page of Google, and track impressions.
  4. Use the data collected to determine the value of each keyword.

Additionally, HubSpot provides these keyword research tips for marketers:

  1. Understand "transactional" vs. "informational“ keywords.
  2. Use alternative tools like www.similarsites.com ormarketing.grader.com for competitor research.
  3. Google’s keyword tool is now “Keyword Planner
  4. Use AdWords auction insights.
  5. Look at data from Webmaster tools.

Google Changes - Digging in a little deeper in his excellent Forbes article, "4 Changes Google Is Making And How They Affect Content Creation," John Hall explains the busy year Google had, trying to make Search more relevant. Foremost of the Google algorithm changes is "that you can no longer mine Google Analytics for keyword data, leaving website owners in the dark about what word searches were used to find or stumble upon their site." Google has done this to discourage those who keyword loaded their sites but were not necessarily the most authoritative resource on a subject.

"Ultimately, the key to Google’s algorithm changes lies in its guidelines for content creation:

  1. Content is key. Good content — clear, concise, informative — is better than bad content.
  2. Use plain English. Write for real people.
  3. Keep links to a reasonable number. Make your content readable.
  4. Really, it all goes back to one idea: Create quality content, and you won’t have to worry about it riding the Google update rollercoaster.

Key SEO Takeaways - In conclusion, 5 key high-level, takeaways for SEO optimized content are:

  1. Tailor more unique content to your audience (personas).
  2. Create more educational content. The blog is most useful for this and social media for sharing.
  3. Make meaningful, incremental content updates, don't add content to "bulk-up" your site.
  4. Google ranks for relevancy to human beings, so go for quality, not quantity.
  5. Have clearly defined business goals greater than ranking for Google.

HubSpot has additional resources; some of my content here is distilled from their e-book, "SEO- Past, Present and Future."

5 Reasons Why You Need a Website Content Editor

  
  
  

I've seen many clients, who with the best of intentions fall into the same rut year after year. There are certain universal truths about successful websites; one of them is that on website projects that include a quality content editor as part of the dedicated team, the process is smoother, stays on schedule and client satisfaction is high.

Here's a common scenario. Insanely busy client initiates website project and can't wait to get the new site up — the current one is five years old (give or take a couple), which is three technology generations ago, and the company is looking tired.

The writing and other content development is divided among topic leaders around the company and a schedule is distributed. We provide guidance on writing and desired word count and counsel brevity. One of the company's writers gets called out of town. Another goes on vacation. Copy trickles in from others, some of which seems novel length long. Other copy switches from third person to second person in the same paragraph. An engineer writes in the passive voice with all the details of a product spec, and so forth. 

So, how can a content editor help?

5 Benefits of a Content Editor

1. Understanding the Web Reader

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." This quote attributed to Mark Twain, holds true in the Internet Age and even more so as we morph into the Mobile Age. The most prevalent mistake people make when writing for the web is to tell a story in microscopic detail.

f reading pattern eyetracking

The Jakob Neilsen Eye Tracking Study tracks web readers' viewing habits, which can take a distinctive "F-shape" pattern indicating that people read the header, skim the first few lines of a web page, skip down to the next subhead and skim some more. The implications of this are for the writer to craft copy that one can skim in this way and still glean key concepts.

Keeping the reader’s viewing habits top of mind effectively and consistently requires expertise, training and the ability to pare back detail --- skills the Web Content Editor has honed through experience.


2. Objective Perspective  

A content editor will begin by asking about website objectives, key audiences, messaging and tone. S/he will come to the assignment with a fresh perspective, without preconceived notions, or the inherent need of an insider to spell out every last detail for fear that something is missed. S/he will assume of the audience either too much knowledge or not enough.

The content editor will objectively evaluate the internally created content, based on stated site objectives. A good copy editor will continually challenge the inside team to focus on the value the company provides rather than the details of how something works or that it is great.

Providing consistent reminders that a website is about the audience and not the company is arguably the greatest value of having an objective resource.
 

3. Messaging Expertise

Bringing a consistent "clarity of purpose" to the content is something a good editor keeps top-of-mind. From the inception of a web project, s/he will glean key messages and brand attributes that are necessary to convey in the content. With each piece of content, s/he will ask, is the key message coming through? Are the details overwhelming the main point? Is it clear to the reader?

Content editors understand the power of cohesive messaging, consistently executed, and will cut through the clutter to simplify and promote the right ideas.
 

4. Single Voice

With the number of participants and various backgrounds of team members writing for the web, it's no surprise that copy is widely uneven in quality and consistency of message. The website is not only an educational and marketing tool, it is a representation of a company's culture, which is a reflection of the brand.

Reading the work of a single, objective, professional content editor is not unlike using an app to create a playlist of one of your favorite artists, versus listening to an uneven conglomeration of songs grouped into one “radio station” that ostensibly delivers the same sound as your chosen artist.  
 

5. Maintaining Schedule

When a client has a new product launch, various events to prepare for, client management and website writing on his/her plate, guess which one tends to fall lowest on the list of priorities?

While writing for the web may be something a company executive feels the team should do, the reality is that the website falls to a "when I can get to it" status. I can't think of a website project where a missed schedule wasn't the result of client produced content not being ready.

In our experience, there is no question that having a dedicated content editor is most important for keeping the web project on schedule. Building it into the initial project from the start removes the greatest impediment to launching on schedule.

What are your thoughts on having a dedicated content editor?

Creating Websites People Love

  
  
  
We create websites people love. Of course I can't say that officially — although it's true — as HubSpot has already created a great campaign around "love."
describe the image I admire HubSpot's website because it says in big bold letters, "Create Marketing People Love." Then it qualifies that brand statement with a "here's how we help you do it" statement: "Use HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing software to consistently generate more visits, leads, and customers." HubSpot has not only managed to create a product people find useful, they've created a brand and a culture associated with a powerful human emotion, love.
As we've been designing a new website for ourselves, we've been giving thought to what makes a website people love. The obvious answers are that it generates leads, is easy to use and maintain, performs well, contains relevant content and looks good. Marketers might add that it needs to be interactive, have calls-to-action buttons and enable users to interact. While we focus intently on all of that, we have found that what makes a website people love is to bring emotion and a sense of purpose to the web experience, which is derived from a supporting brand that embodies these deeper attributes.
describe the imageIBM's "Let's Build a Smarter Planet" is another example of a B2B company that has created a culture not around technology or services, but a collaborative goal of building a better planet, something everyone can feel good about.
Our recent work for AirStrip, a mobile healthcare company is an example in the HubSpot/IBM mold. AirStrip is filled with passionate physicians, technologists and other healthcare professionals who have a sweeping vision for improving the American healthcare system through mobile technology. We harnessesd that passion into a powerful tagline, "HealthCare Transformation is in the Air," which distilled their passion and goals and tied back to their name and to mobility. What makes the AirStrip website "loveable," aside from the increased traffic they've seen, is that the brand tagline spawned a whole language, i.e.,RainCastle website for AirStrip
  • Healthcare mobility is in the Air
  • Better Quality Care is in the Air
  • Clinical Efficiency is in the Air
  • Improved Performance is in the Air
As web designers, we see our job as "bringing company brands to life... on the web." More often than not, we are provided copy, which is written by engineers or others steeped in the one hundred percent buzzword compatible terminology dictated by financial goals, product details, perceived customer expectations, loss of objectivity or leadership that hasn't articulated a higher purpose. Even great graphic or interactive design can't transform mundane language or undifferentiated notions. People see right through that. Our most successful website projects are collaborations with organizations that have articulated, or are open to doing the work to articulate, a brand that in some way can be associated with improving people's lives, and carries both emotional as well as business weight.
Send quote to a friend
images 2"All our words from loose using have lost their edge." So said Ernest Hemingway, probably at a Spanish bar one night in the company of other inebriated literary elite. I imagine if he could see the current state of B2B marketing content, he would have the smug smile of the prescient. In 2013, there is still no more powerful communication tool than your website. It is also true in 2013, as the cliche goes, that "content is king." But it's not just the quantity of content, it's the quality. The best way to create websites that people love is to start with content that rises above and touches people on a human level, conjoining them with your mission.
Want people to love your website? Give us a call!

6 Steps for Getting People to Read Your E-mail

  
  
  

6 steps for having your emails readIf you've ever struggled to convey a lot of information in an email — knowing the recipient or recipient type (hint: client) doesn't read, but skims content — and did not receive any response, then the article I just read in Fast Company is for you.

Titled, "How to Write a Convincing E-mail," the article highlights 6 key points that when followed, result in effective emails that will actually get read. My own perspective is that your emails are an extension of your brand and if they are concise, clear and action-oriented, your prospects, clients and colleagues will respond more frequently and hold you in higher esteem. I encourage you to read the full article as it provides great examples of poorly crafted emails and then the same messages written effectively. Following are article highlights. When composing an email:

1. Have a specific decision in mind.
What is the outcome you desire?

2. Start by writing your conclusion.
As opposed to the way in which you compose an essay with and Introduction, supporting text and a conclusion, go for the conclusion and work backwards to support it.

3. Structure your supporting argument into digestable chunks.
Use bulleted copy where possible or two sentence paragraphs if content is not listable.

4. Bolster each argument with evidence.
Opinions hold little sway. You're seeking action. Make it easy to respond by using facts.

5. Repeat your conclusion as a "call-to-action."
At the end, repeat the conclusion you began with and invite a next step.

6. Stick a benefit in the subject line
Self-explanatory.

I found myself analyzing my own emails and certain points immediately resonated. Point #6, I put in the "last but not least" category. Composing a subject line is analagous to crafting a great tagline in that it successfully distills a theme down to just a few words, which can express facts and intention with clarity of purpose.

Which points do you find most helpful?

Six Easy Ways to Refresh Your Website

  
  
  

We like to say that your website is a living, growing thing; it's not static, but rather constantly changing. Many people believe that maintaining a website is a lot of unnecessary work, so we've brainstormed six quick ways to revitalize your website that will improve your design, marketing, and visitor engagement.

1. Update your SEO

If you’ve got your company name in every page title on your website, you’ve got a problem. Take a look at your organic search and see what opportunities you’re missing. Revitalizing your website SEO can help bring in new traffic and potential customers, and strengthen your existing site in the eyes of Google.

2. Create simple calls-to-action

Adding calls-to-action on your homepage and select secondary pages is a great way to reflow traffic, bring in new leads, and spice up your current design with minimal effort. It shows that your business is on top of modern marketing practices and draws the eye in a distinctly visual way. Our blog post on what makes an effective call-to-action is a good place for inspiration.

Do this:

Innosight call to action

Not that:

bad online ad

3. Make sure latest content is highlighted on the homepage

Haven’t updated the “news and events” or “articles” section on your homepage in months? Yeah, your visitors have noticed. It’s a good bet that your homepage is the most viewed page on your site. Instead of thinking of it as a welcome mat, think of it as a welcome center – a place where visitors can come for the most up-to-date information about your business, employees, and industry. Engaging visitors here means higher site engagement and a lower bounce rate.

4. Add current case studies and client projects

Chances are, potential customers are visiting your website to see your portfolio and examples of past projects. Seeing success stories from a couple years ago won’t inspire confidence in your current offerings. Updating your case studies with stories, findings, and photos is a simple way to generate more interest and remain current.

5. Revise the copy on secondary detail pages

Things change, and if you’re in an industry that is constantly developing, revising copy on your important secondary pages is a great way to stay fresh for your visitors and for Google. It’s also a great opportunity to update your internal links to other pages on your website or to your partners and clients. 

6. Update your website images

Do your website images look like this?

Old website photo

Or worse, like this?

bad 90s stock photography

Old images, bad stock images, or a lack of images can all hurt your website. They instantly make a site look outdated and unprofessional. Changing up your images with professionally photographed company events or well-chosen stock photography gives the appearance of a redesign without any of the work.

Once you have a plan for all of these elements in place – fresh content, calls-to-action, improved SEO, and quality images – you can easily maintain the habit of updating your website and keeping it current, engaging, and interesting for your audience.

5 Examples of Effective Calls-to-Action

  
  
  

Calls-to-action are the pick-up lines of Internet marketing; if you don’t have a good opener your efforts are lost almost immediately.

In creating a lead generation campaign, an effective call-to-action (CTA) is necessary to drive initial interest in your offer. At it's most basic, a good CTA should:

  • Be branded
  • Be eye-catching
  • Have proper page placement
  • Have clear messaging

Beyond this, there are different elements that make up an effective CTA. We've put together a list of fantastic CTA examples that encompass best practices, which you could use on your future CTAs.

 

Priceline

Priceline call-to-action

Immediately, the slanted, all-caps font Priceline uses on its bid alerts tool creates a sense of immediacy. The terms "alert" and "instant" capitalize on a feeling of urgency in using this tool, and the visitor is easily convinced that the end benefit is worth the simple two-form first step. By including the minimum first step of the process in the CTA, Priceline is already driving more conversions than saddling visitors with one long form.

 

PayPal

PayPal call-to-action

PayPal plays on humor and a sense of ease as its CTA's first impression tactic. The CTA is branded in PayPal's clear messaging: "We take something dangerous and make it safe, so you can rest easy." The considered use of blue and orange company colors enhances this idea that PayPal's got your back. It also highlights the three most important benefits of signing up with simple wording "Free to Buy," "Safer and Secure," "Flexible Funding," and uses personalized language and a concentration on "you" to connect with the visitor.

 

Barack Obama

Barack Obama call-to-action

Politics aside, President Obama has capitalized on Internet marketing from the early days of his 2008 campaign. His entire homepage is essentially a compilation of CTAs, with the most important one sponsored at the top in prime real estate and rotated in a timely manner. Currently, his "Dinner with Barack" Offer countdown amplifies the need to sign up now in order to be the first winner chosen. This, paired with a distinct red button that differentiates itself to the eye in color choice, and a smiling president create one great CTA.

 

Writer Access

Writers Access call-to-action

Writer Access, a B2B company that matches companies with content creators, is unique in that it's the only website that has a consistent CTA across nearly every page of their site. This CTA utilizes three best practices from left to right: personalization, simplicity, and promoted benefits. The appearance of "Jenna" adds a face to your content creator search, and entices you to trust the friendly, well trained, and available partner behind your conversion. The second item quite simply allows you to do a search and browse without the interference of Writer Access in your process. The third is a more traditional CTA tactic: it lists the various benefits associated with the offer and everything you would gain, should you convert.

 

Skype

Skype call-to-action

Skype's CTA differentiator is its use of numbers to demonstrate value. Most of their CTAs hinge on a numeric offer that prompts further use (mainly subscriptions) and appeal to the visitor's logic. The bright colors, bubbly font, and trademark rainbow clearly brand it to the Skype identity while the consistent green "submit" button sets the click-through action apart. Going even further, Skype uses social media integration to promote sharing and enable trustworthiness by incorporating online approval from strangers.

Ultimately, your CTA should represent you as a brand and demonstrate value in your offer; the creative details are up to you, your marketing team, and the analytics and A/B testing they're using.

Have you seen any other great CTAs to add to the list?

Copywriting For the Web Part 3: How To Write to Your Audience

  
  
  

Copywriting for the webAfter examining Parts 1 and 2 of Copywriting for the Web: the three C's and five great examples of writing for the web, it's time to concentrate on addressing the right people.

The first step in finding your followers, is to question…

What is the mission of your website?

Examine your company's mission and branding and how they are supported by the website: what do you want to accomplish with your site?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Exciting visitors about your mission, approach, and impact
  • Informing visitors about your expertise, activities, and achievements
  • Inspiring visitors to explore the ways they can participate, contribute, and benefit
  • Attracting visitors to your services

You want them to think and act, and come away with a basic understanding of your company and it's mission.

Next, think…

Who are your audiences?

Before you sit down to crank out what is sure to be fantastic website copy after this 3-part series, you need to identify the types of people who will visit your site. These could be:

  • Potential clients/customers
  • Prospective team members
  • Industry professionals
  • Investors or board members

Try to do a little research and check web traffic analytics to see the kinds of people coming to your site, what pages they're visiting most and the bounce rate of each page. This will give you a general idea of what kind of content they're looking for and who they are, which will enable you to tailor your writing to them. Which leads us to…

What do your audiences want?

Understanding your audiences' motivation will give you insight on how to approach them. Consider:

  • What motivates them?
  • Why should they care?
  • What will they gain?

Think about why you visit certain websites and what you hope to take away from them, and then pair this knowledge with the traffic research you've done and look for the consistencies. Then, consider what do they want in relation to…

What do you want them to do?

This is the ultimate goal of your website: aligning your audience with what you would like them to do. Is it about lead generation? Building a community? Gaining customers? Your writing should build on a consistent theme of action; if not, you run the risk of it serving only as a brochure.

Taking these steps will help you create content that is aimed at providing for your audience. However, it is always important to remember that while the visitor's actions may be fairly consistent, you should always:

Speak to one person.

The diversity among readers is often overlooked when it comes to marketing copy. There is no "one size fits all" approach, and writing copy that implies a generic reader will be of little value. When writing, make sure to address this by tailoring your voice to the individual.

So go forth with quality content, tailored messaging, sharp writing and an eye for the individual, and create fantastic copy for your website.

Copywriting for the Web Part 2: Five Great Examples of Writing for the Web

  
  
  

Now that we've examined the "three Cs" – be clear, concise, and compelling – it is easy to see where they come into play when writing web content. But good content also needs to be styled, in form and function.

This week, I'll take a look at five guidelines for web writing and corresponding examples on how a focus on the right kind of language can improve existing content.

Icon CopywritingForWeb11. Focus on powerful ideas

Think like a journalist and don't bury the lead. Consumers are looking for what sets a company apart, so focusing on your goals and the ideas that drive you will show confidence.

  • Before: "For over five years, our company has been bringing together directors of some of the largest corporations…"
  • After: "The power to increase trust in capital markets lies with corporate directors. Our company brings leaders together…"

Icon CopywritingForWeb2

2. Emphasize impact

Concentrate on concrete examples of your work that highlight progress.

  • Before: "We bring together a premier group of leaders who are committed to addressing the goals of improving patient health outcomes as well as the climate for innovation within the constraints of pressures to control healthcare costs."
  • After: "Improving patient outcomes. Encouraging healthcare innovation. Containing costs. Through our company, healthcare leaders are working together to address some to the most pressing societal issues of our time."

Icon CopywritingForWeb33. Use active voice, not passive

Using active voice creates more power in the text, as it grants the reader the feeling of action. It generates immediacy, a sense of now, and positions you as an active leader in your field.

  • Before: "Over 200 directors from Fortune 500 and equivalent companies have participated in private meetings…"
  • After: "We produce private meetings that bring together more than 200 directors from Fortune 500 companies…"

Icon CopywritingForWeb44. Avoid language with an expiration date

If it's absolutely necessary to include timeline information, be sure to make it a concrete start or end point instead of using vague language.

  • Before: "Over the past few years, our company has built…"
  • After: "Since launching in 2001, our company has built…"

Icon CopywritingForWeb55. Avoid overused words

Remember your motivation and stay on track with your marketing. Using "popular" or overused terms will do nothing but bog down content and hinder your messaging. It also can come across as amateur and lazy.

  • Before: "Our premier company provides unique insight and exclusive solutions…"
  • After: "Our networking services will…"

These examples are born out of the "three Cs," and will help you to create focused content that is accessible to the reader, whose attention you only have seconds to capture. Stay posted for the next part of the series, where I'll dive into how to target your web writing to a specific audience.

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