As web developers, we’ve seen, built and improved our fair share of websites. Among the lessons we have learned along the way, is the crucial importance of polished, targeted and properly formatted copy for making your website do what it’s meant to do; attract custom. No amount of flash graphic design can undo the damage sloppy messaging can cause to your brand.
We asked our go-to copywriter, Michelle Reiber from Prose and Comms, for some of her ‘Top tips of writing for the web’.
Check them out below and visit her website for more on how she can help you with your business. www.proseandcomms.com.
The seductive art of writing for the web
So you’ve got yourself a website. An online platform through which to display your wares and convince potential customers and clients that your goods and/or services are exactly what they need.
Only, what should you write?
Writing for websites is bit like online dating. Often it’s the first interaction a potential customer will have with you and your business. So you need to make a good first impression.
Whether you sell mortgage advice, a body wash that’s gentle on the environment, or the ultimate non-stick fry pan, your website needs to grab your customers’ attention and answer some key questions they, consciously or not, have ticking over in their minds.
Here are a few handy hints to get your website visitors ‘swiping right’.
1. Get to know me first
It’ll do you no favours attempting to appeal to every man and his dog. Find out what makes your target audience tick and speak to them like they are the only one in the room. The language, style and tone of voice used on a kindergarten’s website should be significantly different to that of an engineering consultant’s.
2. Tell me why I need you in my life
Don’t be backward in coming forward about why your customer needs you. Your website is a golden opportunity to inform people about what your business or product does and how they can get in on the action. Tell them what you can do for them, or sell them, that no one else can. They want to be convinced. That’s why they looked you up in the first place.
By this I mean simple and brief. You’ve heard the saying ‘I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one instead’; punchy, articulate copy will communicate your key messages best and says a lot about how you present yourself. Complicated acronyms, big words and unnecessary jargon are as attractive as that piece of spinach stuck in your teeth that I’m too polite to tell you about.
4. Don’t play hard to get
So you’ve hooked your reader in with your targeted content, succinct language and amazing sell job, now what? If you want them to book a consultation with you, tell them how. If you want them to buy your amazing natural, vegan deodorant, tell them how. If you want them to book their dog in for a groom at your place, tell them how. And just so everyone’s clear, tell them a few times. Having strategically placed calls to action throughout your site makes it much more likely you’ll get to second base. We’re all too old for games now.
Photo Credit: freepik.com
* I’ve dropped the metaphor here to make the point as clear as possible *
For the love of all that is holy, please spellcheck. Even if it means you have to copy and paste the text from your web development page into Word and run it through the Microsoft language filter, DO IT, because spelling errors on a website are the number one turnoff for many a prospective customer.
This is our new video blog series that is all about helping you engage better in your business. We are going to be looking at a variety of topics, from engaging staff all way to engaging prospects and engaging current clients to retain them to get better results.
So, in this series, we are going to have a look at everything; things that have popped up in my life, things that I see that are awesome and you could get value from, and I’m going to share them with you.
There is so much information out there! There is a way of me collating it and giving you a different perspective that will help you.
In this first episode, we are going to look at business cards. I’m in the process of getting some new ones designed and I am doing my research on how I can create a business card that is truly engaging. You know, I am sure you have got a pile of business cards you have had over the years. You have probably thrown a hundred times that out.
You know you go to a networking event just to hand them out like candies on Halloween and 9 times out of 10 they just sit there and go to waste. It’s a roll! Why would you print something that is just not engaging? It is just a mental thing we have got and we have done for so long. So, how can you do that a little bit different? How can you create an experience with your business card that makes people remember you?
Because that is what it ’s about! You want to be remembered. That is what a business card should do. In my belief, you would be better invest a little more in your business cards so you can get a better result. So, I’ve been hunting around and looking for some great blogs with some good examples. I’m going to start off and look at some of these examples. This one is brilliant.
This is basically a cosmetic surgeon business card. They are trying to get wether to remember them. Now if you get this business card, you know beyond the initial shock of getting it and going ‘wow that’s a bit crazy”! How awesome is that!
Now this guy, this cosmetic surgeon, he is making a track out of mind so he can invest on his business card to integrate. This would not be cheap to print, design and create, but he knows in every
few dollars he makes, every few cards he gives out he might get work. You definitely would remember this, you pass it on and his card is listed in here so it’s more exposure. Isn’t that awesome?
You think of some cool stuff, like this yoga trainer business cards. You know, how cool is that? How simple is that? It’s not an expensive card to create.
What we are trying to look at is a business card that is successful, it is one that engages the person who gets it. It’s not just your information, to be honest, 9 times out of 10 if I want your information I just go on LinkedIn.
You know business cards are not what they used to be. If you invest in some, make sure you do something different.
I am just going to run through some of these quickly. You’ve got the Cheese Grater, isn’t that brilliant? You can actually grate cheese with a business card! It’s brilliant.
And this is my favourite, the divorce lawyer. It basically splits down in middle. How funny is that? And you’ll definitely remember that. You know, it’s not a fancy business card – except for that – but it does make a difference, doesn’t it? So, basically, you split it down and hand one side to one person one filler. Isn’t that great? I absolutely love it.
The Yoga mat looks like a miniature yoga mat as a business card, how cool is that.
This one, the fitness trainer one. The tear able business card where you can actually tear off the fat, oh stunning!
You have the seedlings, there’s a few of this out there, different ones with packs of seeds in the card for gardeners; the landscapers, we’re going to run through a few of these, some of them are great, some are 50-50; the stretchable cards; new industry opening up in America, maybe at the moment; the straw, isn’t that crazy? It’s something different; this lego one is also great!
This one wouldn’t work for everyone, it’s basically a little lego piece of the person. You’ll remember this person, you’ll keep that. Would you not have a lego piece sitting on your desk for at least a period of time?
That’s brilliant, the one with a face; great ones in here. This is probably the last one, I’ll finish on this. The multi-tool, something functional is really a good idea. If you can get some functionality of the business card that you could use, they’ll keep it. You have to try to think ‘why would they keep it?’ Why would they keep it in front of mind? A lot of what we do with engagement is how you stay in front of mind.
You know, people think sending a newsletter is all about content and that’s a key part of it, a very key part. Another key part is your name and your details in front of the person. This is the same with business cards. How can you stay in front of that person’s mind? They look on their wallet to get their coffee club cut out and they see your innovative business card there because they kept it. You know, you’re a friend of mine, next time an opportunity comes up, they might refer you on or when they need something, they’ll be like ‘uh that guy, that girl, or that lady, that man’.
So, I want to share up with you guys, this is the first engage to win. So if you are thinking of buying new business cards this year, start getting creative, use google, have a look and apply something that is absolutely awesome.
You can’t wait to show your friends, family and most importantly to get it in front of prospective clients.
Understandably, your focus goes from the website to attract visitors.
However, a few months down the track you start having issues. You look back at that incredible hosting plan you purchased at such a great deal for $8 a month – what a steal! Then, as your world starts crashing down, you realise why it was $8 a month.
This is a common story when it comes to WordPress hosting. People invest $1,000’s in a great site on a great platform only for it to underperform because of their hosting service.
In this article, we tackle the top 4 challenges in WordPress hosting and how to fix them.
1. Speed Baby
A slow website loses visitors.
We found this great image from KissMetrics about page loading time for readers that are more visual.
From the stats, you can see the pain that a slow website causes to visitors in this ‘I want it now economy’.
Discounted hosting platforms pop your website on a grouped server. You are at the mercy of what other sites bring in traffic wise. If they have a busy day, your site goes slower. Losing you traffic you may have paid $1,000’s for.
This is just the first reason for investing a little extra in a hosting platform that actually delivers your website fast.
2. Security – Stay Safe
WordPress is popular for being a free, open-source platform. This means that you own your website. Many website owners like this idea.
But when you own something it comes with more challenges.
I like to compare it from Mac OS to Windows.
Mac OS (Apple) is a closed ecosystem making it hard for viruses and people to hack you. It causes frustrations in other ways but the security level is the best (I’ve never needed a virus scanner on my Mac).
Windows is an open solution (or, at least, more open than Mac). It’s more prone to viruses and that Blue screen of death. You have to spend more money on security like virus scanners and other tools to keep your website safe.
WordPress is the Windows of the content management world. Being such a large platform, it is more prone to hacking and people finding loopholes.
You can look after these issues with the right security plugins, consistent updates and checks. However, many website owners don’t understand the importance of this because they might not have the knowledge.
This is where finding a good managed hosting partner comes in. It will protect you not only at hosting level but it will also do the required routine checks.
3. Maintain To Gain
Another great feature of WordPress is the ability to add extra features through plugins.
Plugins are little boxes of code that do specific things like for example, Live Chat, Pop-ups and a variety of other features.
It’s like buying a car and you want to add fancy mag wheels and a CD Player. You can do it when you get the car or add them on later.
As the internet grows and evolves, there are always new add-ons created. Just like a car.
When WordPress updates to new versions, some challenges may occur. Do the plugins still work? Has the developer updated them?
In the past, we have seen the lead to contact forms stop working, pages loading slower and at one point even nasty viruses finding a way in and taking over a website.
Maki sure you update and check your website every 6 – 12 months is vital to its success.
Don’t let your car’s engine blow.
4. Search Engine Optimisation
One of the selling points I have heard over the years is how great WordPress is for SEO. We have used it for the last 10 years and have seen great successes with it.
It has a great site map and its ability to set custom URLs along with a bunch of other geeky features, are a real plus.
WordPress on its own goes a long way but don’t be scared to invest in some specialised SEO work around the edges to get the best result.
When it comes to the WordPress hosting side of Search Engine Optimisation a few things matter.
Site Speed – Google will naturally lower your ranking if your site is slow on desktop and mobile. Thus the importance.
Outdated Plugins – Plugins update manually. If you are not updating them carefully as needed, you might miss an important upgrade. This will have effects on your google rank.
Site Downtime – If you are on a cheap hosting plan, you may have more downtime if something goes wrong. Downtime can lead you to a drop in rankings if Google decides to look at your site in that period.
You wouldn’t build a million dollar house and put it on a cheap piece of land in a bad neighbourhood would you?
So why not do the same with your website?
Whether you want to have a chat with us or you pick someone else, make sure you invest in people you can trust and that will care for your business website as much as you do.
Our customised web hosting plans start at just $49 + GST per month (less if you pay yearly).
Have you been thinking of upgrading your email recently? It seems like a minefield. Most of the time it ends up going in to the too hard, too expensive or too confusing basket. In this post, I want to explain why we chose to use G Suite. With 26 users, we know how important email is. I always share a joke with clients: ‘If your website goes down for a day, many businesses survive. If your email goes down for an hour, it feels like the world could end!’
Why is picking the right email service so important?
Email is still the most popular way to communicate. Even with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other chat applications we all still use email on a daily basis.
Below I have listed 3 things to remember when changing emails across (I have also included a code for 20% off your first year if you choose G Suite from Google. Scroll down to the bottom to claim it).
1. Your emails need to be in the cloud.
Whichever solution you choose, I implore that you make sure to have a quality cloud system.
In the old days, you would set your email address up on your own server, with your hosting company or with another IT provider.
It was a standard solution.
Many changes happened to email in the last 15 years. In our opinion, this means that the benefits of cloud email are better than the ones of self-hosted or smaller services.
Some of these reasons include:
Better spam filtration (Smaller companies struggle to get this right).
Technology (G Suite offers amazing technology across mobile and desktop to blow your mind).
Integration (Being able to push an email instantly into a task management program is awesome).
Security (These companies rely on security and have teams of people working on them 24/7).
Loss (All emails are backed up so you have next to no chance of losing them).
I could go on but what I want you to get from this point is that if you do have self-hosted emails or emails with a domain/hosting company, you need to consider the switch quickly.
2. Added benefits.
Google is always developing awesome stuff. From Google Analytics to Google’s free version of Word/PowerPoint & Excel. This can lead to a huge saving for you and your company.
One login means that you can login to all the services from one account. Less passwords to remember!
What we have seen in the market is the speed at which Google is leading the pack. From our view, Microsoft seems to be copying what Google is doing (let’s be honest, they all seem to copy each other but Google seems to be leading the innovation pack).
I remember a few years back when my laptop got stolen. It was a pain in the A$$. Once I replaced my laptop, within 15 minutes it was fully loaded with all my files (Google Drive), my email (Gmail) and everything I needed.
I was able to get straight back on the workhorse with zero loss of data.
3. Ease of setup.
In our opinion, after testing both platforms, G Suite wins for moving data across. They make it a big part of business.
I do suggest finding a consultant (ask us, we can recommend a couple). A consultant will make sure no data is lost. It is a seamless transition with signatures and all those little bits.
With any email change over 99% of the time, you will run into a challenge. I do not say this to scare you but to show you why getting a professional in is a must do.
If you are a small company and can back your current emails up you can give it a go yourself. However, if you have over 5 users get someone in. Let it go right; let it be their headache, not yours.
Take the plunge and move to the cloud.
Whichever company you choose, the cloud is where your emails should be. We have had a great experience with Google. If you have any questions just flick us an email and we will be happy to respond.
Did you know YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world?
It is not only that! 72% of consumers believe they are more likely to purchase a product or contact a company after watching a video about them.
Explainer videos are not free, but they could be one of your savviest investments for this year. Whether you are looking at creating just one to show off a key product or you are considering developing a series to educate your prospects and clients, you are on to a winner.
Why Explainer Videos?
A client said to us recently: ‘Explainer videos seem less salesly. They come across as they are trying to show me something instead of selling me something. I felt like watching the whole video’.
This is a sentiment backed up by data. Explainer videos are generally short and sharp. They keep attention better than many other forms of video.
If they are designed correctly and have a good script, they can get large amounts of information across in a very short time.
They cross barriers by putting complicated concepts into an easy to digest format that you can reuse many times.
Here are 3 ways you can use your explainer video. It will pay itself off quickly.
While you and your team sleep your videos is always available. Using a video at the top of your home page can increase engagement while driving people to take the next step and contact you or buy from you.
Not only that. Did you know that Google ranks your website higher if it uses video? Especially if it is on YouTube.
More with Less
People have never been shorter of time. Being able to condense 10 minutes of reading into a 1-minute video is exactly what people are looking for.
With the right transitions and a friendly voice over your visitors will remember you better and they will gain confidence in what you do.
If a picture says 1000 words, then a video says 100,000.
Ever wondered why so many big brands play the same ad repeatedly on television? Repetition works.
You can use your video in many places for your marketing strategy. It really becomes a no-brainer. Some of our favourite ways include:
Email Signatures – By adding a YouTube link to your signature, every admin email becomes a marketing email.
Remarketing – Visitors to your website will be able to see your video on Facebook. This reinforces your brand and product message.
Joint Ventures – Are you struggling to get referrals? Joint venture partners love sending out engaging video. You will get a higher return on those emails.
Do you want to learn more about getting your own explainer video? Speak to one of the Virtual Innovation team.
We have the expertise and skills to understand your message and brand and turn it into a potent piece of marketing content.
Have you ever sat in traffic thinking that’s another hour of my life gone? For what? With technology video conferencing is easier than ever.
As a software development company, we are always talking to our clients for feedback and we don’t have time to add 3 hours a day sitting in gridlock. With 40,000 cars being added to the roads in Auckland every year we have to do something else!
What reminded me of this was a call from one of our clients today who had 3 meetings in Wellington but for whatever reason could not get down. She managed to complete the meetings virtually and said wow. It would have taken me 8 hours to do those in person and I got them all completed in about an hour.
Can you imagine the time saved, the efficiency gained and the peace of mind!
This tool we share in the video is excellent. Give it a go, enjoy it and create your own meeting room virtually for your business!