Am I on your website or have I made a wrong turn into Vegas? (Stuff that drives us nuts about websites)

As a freelance content writer and researcher, I spend a helluva lot of time on the Internet. And I visit hundreds of websites a week, for information, for amusement, to expand my knowledge and understanding of topics. In fact, most of us spend some time on the Internet and obviously visit websites.

As a free-market capitalist I’m not one to begrudge others of trying to make a living. I admire people who go out, brave the wild frontiers of online marketing, and hang up their cyber shingle. That’s awesome.

But if you make it difficult for me to visit, stay and absorb whatever your site has to offer, I’m clicking off. Me and everybody else.

It’s ironic that the first rule of advertising is not to annoy and most marketers and online businesses violate the hell out of that rule. So many sites are jammed with things that every website visitor loathes that it boggles the mind.

Following is a list of things that we all hate. Not dislike, not are slightly annoyed by or irritated with – but hate.

  1. Pop-up ads. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a link to read an article and have pop-up ads or worse pop-up registration and subscription windows jumping out at you. And to add insult to injury you have to sit and wait until it’s done popping up before you can click it away. And the only thing I’m looking for is the way to get rid of it. You’ll be lucky if I stick around and read the article I came to your site to read in the first place.
  2. Auto-play videos, ads, and audio. Again, I clicked on your site to read an article or blog post or find out about a product and now I’m being bombarded with music, a cat video, a video ad, or ten in the sidebar and my computer processor sounds like a muscle car stuck in neutral. I don’t have the time to search out all the auto plays going on to turn them off, so I can find that link I came to your site to read. Instead, I’m leaving. Buh-bye.
  3. Flashing, blinking, scrolling, twirling psycho animations. This is the nightmare scenario for me in particular. I click on your site and within two seconds animations, auto-play videos, blinking and flashing paid advertisements, and other interactive entertainment is jumping all over the page. I’ve now forgotten why I’ve come to your site because all the lights, noise and colors are making me feel like I’ve stepped into the Vegas version of cyberspace. And I’m not about to run all over your site trying to turn that crap off while my computer gets stuck in plug-in hell. Again, see ya!

All the flash and glitter may work for Vegas – they do serve free drinks and offer cash advances too, so bear that in mind – but they don’t work for a website. We get it – you need to make a living. Understandable. But does it have to be so loud, so flashy, so annoying?

My advice? Save the glitter, flash and songs for your Christmas decorating and give us silent, static, easy to understand ads. That give us freedom of choice to pay attention to or to ignore. If I can visit your site without being accosted by your ads I’ll probably come back.

But if you go for the Vegas theme and I don’t stand a chance of winning money? I’m clicking off.

What about you? Do these things drive you up the wall as much as they do me? Share your thoughts.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

No, Dear Client, Your Website is Not All About You

Does your website speak to your fellow professionals or your potential clients?

your website is not all about you

While my first true love is fiction writing and I am pursuing that actively (yes I have a new book which should be on Amazon by December), I’m also a freelance copywriter.  Specifically, I write content for websites and business blogs .  I write for a variety of professionals, like attorneys for example.  However, regardless of the profession or industry there seems to be a common misunderstanding about the purpose of website content.  And that misunderstanding is that the client believes their website is supposed to be all about them.  But the truth is that’s not really the case.

How to get people to leave your site quickly

Professionals, like attorneys, spend an enormous amount of time learning their craft, honing their craft and building up their practices – and it’s natural to want to brag a little bit about all that hard work.   However, law is a very competitive field and every day another 100 attorney websites debut on the Internet.  In fact, I read recently that there are over one million practicing attorneys in this country alone.  The problem then becomes, how does one stand out from the crowd?  The simple answer is you have to have a website that is more appealing to your potential customer than your competitors have.

Most attorneys I’ve talked to believe that the important things to put on their websites are their:

  • Experience
  • Accreditation
  • Awards
  • Peer reviews
  • Peer ratings
  • Media about them
  • Bar Associations
  • Memberships
  • Other important professional accomplishments or accolades

And while it’s true that the above are important things to include on website and should certainly appear on your profile page, that doesn’t mean that information should appear on every other page of your website.  You see, the above is what a copywriter calls a feature.  A feature is something about the product or service that is being offered.  However, features are rarely also benefits.  A benefit is the thing that your service or product gives your potential client.  And prospects are attracted by the benefits more than the features. Examples of features an attorney might offer are:

  • Can negotiate with the insurance company to get your settlement
  • Has won multiple jury verdicts for plaintiffs
  • Has obtained multi-million dollar settlements for clients
  • Can settle your case quickly
  • Does all the paperwork
  • Has a proven track record in  your type of case
  • Handles all the headaches connected to the case so you don’t have to
  • Handles creditors

Your prospect does want to know who you are, but only because they want to know what you can do for them and that they can trust you to deliver.

Hard as this may be to hear, people don’t come to your website so they can admire you or be impressed by you and become your fan.  They come to your website because they need something.  They come because they have this idea that you can do something for them – solve their problems or show them how to solve their problems.

However, if your website is all about you and never about them and the problem they have come to solve, they won’t stay long.  Actually, it’s the quickest way to get people to leave your site.

Want them to stay on your site?  Then speak to them in their language

Copywriters know something that most people don’t.  That copy is written for the people who the product or service serves.  It’s not written for the CEO of the company, it’s not written for the department head or even the owner.  Copy is written for the people who are the potential customers of the product or services that the company offers. Period.  End of discussion. It really is as simple as that.

To be successful in your online marketing, you have to tell a story that your potential client wants to hear.  A story your prospect can relate to because he or she is living that story. If you’re a lawyer then you’re telling a story about a person suffering because of some legal problem in their life, which by the way you can solve for them.  If you’re a business consultant, you’re telling a story about a business owner who is failing because they don’t know how to turn their business around,  which by the way, you can help them with.  Do you see the difference?

If you talk to them, they will come

If you want the world to know about how great you are, then feel free to fill your website with copy about you and your many accomplishments.  (And this may be effective if you are a celebrity. ) However, if you want the people you serve to find you and do business with you, then you have to show them that you know who they are, that you understand their problems, and that you’re just the person who can solve those problems.  If you can do this with your website, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013