Every once in a while, you get asked a question that is so awesomely silly that you have to take a breath, stifle a chuckle and try not to snort coffee through your nose,  before you can answer.

“Can you make the black darker?”

“Can you turn up the fun factor by like 50%?”

“Do you have images of people having non-specific types of fun?”

“I want it to look like this website.  Don’t copy it, but keep it the same. Can you do that?”

“The target market is men and women so make it appeal specifically to them.”

“I don’t have time to write about what my company does.  Can’t you just use some standard language?”

Those first questions tickle my funny bone.  With a bit of questioning, you can find out what the client means and wants, and then you can design a site for them.  That last one, though, really gets to me.  It is essentially saying:

  • I have no plan for my website, or even my company.
  • I haven’t thought about my target market.
  • I can’t tell you what makes me different from my competitors.
  • I can’t articulate why my products/services will solve this or that particular problem.

That’s not going to get you and your company noticed.  It’s not going to be effective marketing.  It’s not going to generate sales.

Ten years ago, to get web traffic and search engine rankings, many companies just put cookie cutter content on their website, stuffed full of key words for Google to find.  That’s no longer the case.   Search engine algorithms are increasingly sophisticated.  Duplicative content, keyword oversaturation, irrelevant information, all contribute to lower search engine visibility.  Original content is a must for your website.   With 1.6 websites created every second, there is a lot of competition for attention.

Your website is a great marketing tool – and every good marketing piece starts with persuasive and effective ideas.  So write about your company, what it does, what makes it unique.

Not sure how to write to get noticed?  There are two ways to engage people – use a solid, compelling logical argument; or tell an engaging story.  And nothing says you can’t mix them up and use both.  People have both rational and emotional sides, so don’t be afraid to appeal to both.   Spend some time thinking about what you want to communicate, and evaluate which approach might work better.  And then just write.  Don’t put it off, don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, just get your ideas down.

And then review it, edit it, rewrite it.  Lather, rinse and repeat.  It takes more than one pass to get your ideas out in a coherent, appealing fashion.

Spend some time getting testimonials and good quotes.  In the back of everyone’s brain is the idea that of course, you’re going to say your product or service is superior to the next guy’s – it’s your company, what else would you say?  When I shop online, I always read product reviews, and that influences my decision.  When I’m looking for someone to fix the broken water heater (don’t ask … it’s a sad, sad story), I won’t consider someone that doesn’t provide testimonials.  The same hold trues with your website.

The days of (1)Website; (2)???? and (3) PROFIT! are gone (if they ever really existed).  Start creating your original content and get noticed.