Website Content

A website puts the most powerful tool for communication right at your fingertips. Whether your website is career related, for ecommerce, blogging or any other reason, you have the unique opportunity to connect with the world and have your own say. How you go about saying what you want to however, is the main concern here.

If your objective with your website is to reach a wider audience and get them to actively engage with you online, you need to be providing relevant and authoritative information. When it comes to website content, no one is immune from making mistakes and sometimes, it helps to know what not to do in order to avoid them. Here are 20 of the biggest content mistakes that websites make so that you can steer clear of them and provide the ideal content for your audience.

Leaving Your Audience Undefined

The target audience of your website needs to be crystal clear, otherwise, you could be creating valuable content for the wrong set of people. People tend to overlook websites that do not directly connect with them but when your content shows you know who your audience is, and strives to provide what they need, a strong bond is created.

So how do you define your audience? By asking these important questions, you can determine to a large extent where your website content should be aimed at:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • Are they mostly men or women?
  • Where do they get their information?

Failing to learn your Audience

Generally, before putting pen to paper to create content, there needs to be a clearly defined understanding of the audience. This is where audience research comes to play in the process. Websites where this step is missed show the gaps in knowledge because they cannot determine how the site will be navigated by their supposed audience, what information is needed or whether the audience need a gentle reassurance or propositioning.

Leaving the Audience High and Dry

Making use of shocking statistics and promises will attract readers but failing to deliver or meet expectations will make you lose the trust of your audience. If the content under a sensational headline fails to provide what is promised in the headlines, then you have broken an important promise to your readers. As soon as people realise that they have been deceived, they will withdraw and any success or growth in website traffic will be fleeting at best. With website content, it is important to remember that people respect honesty, so that your content is aimed at building a following and not drive-by readers.

Using Lifeless Headlines

The headlines of website content need to stand out and be catchy. It’s a mistake to use boring or over flogged lines as your content title. Headlines should provide information about what your audience is about to read without giving away too much. Make them curious enough to be enticed into reading the rest of the content. When crafting your deadlines, your focus should be on the reader, and on what they need to do. Don’t rely on the headline alone to reel readers in; make effective use of sub-headings, tables, bullet points and whitespace.

Failing to Plan Your Content

Certain websites skip the planning stage and just jump to uploading a bunch of random stuff online. Understandably, planning and developing content for your website can be an arduous process. Planning can never be overrated especially if the majority of your content is written copy, where SEO is so important. Writing your copy for SEO takes careful planning to make sure that your terms are naturally included throughout the copy on your website. With the help of a professional SEO Copywriting Agency, you will avoid the mistake of overusing key search terms to the point where the content starts to make little or no sense to your audience.

Trying to Do It All Alone

The error with trying to do it all alone is that you could lose momentum and burn out. When it comes to creating or marketing content, you can only know so much. Ease the burden by learning to delegate tasks to your team or outsource work to professionals who can be trusted to do a thorough job. A Direct Marketing Copywriter can handle the task of writing effective email marketing copy for you, leaving you free to handle other aspects of your business. As your website grows, getting a team in place and giving them the training needed to boost their confidence will also go long way to ensuring that tasks are properly handled without constant supervision from you.

Not Using More Than One Tactic

Creation and distribution of content needs to be done using more than one tactic, and at least 13 different tactics should be used. Sticking to just one or two limits the amount of people you can reach, and lowers your creativity with your presentations. Some of the tactics include social media channels, infographics, blogs, videos and so on. Different tactics bring different results. So, if you are not getting satisfactory results from a particular one, switch till you find one that works great.

Using Content Only Once

Some websites make the mistake of using their content only once and then discarding it. You can easily attract a wider audience by re-purposing your content. Another positive result of digging up old content is that you can save a lot of time and resources that would have been spent creating new content. With a bit of creativity, you can use almost anything from scrapped client presentations to the best comments on an old blog post. As long as you reframe the content with a different presentation, you can get away with reposting old content.

Placing Too Much Focus on the Sale

While it makes sense to want to promote your brand or sell your services on your website, constantly creating content that makes you sound like a used car salesman will eventually tire out your followers. Even when you are trying to generate leads and convert more followers, build credibility and trust by making your audience feel like they are being presented with the opportunity to engage with you. Avoid this common mistake by remembering to interact more with your audience. The result is, they will naturally buy into your brand.

Inconsistent Blogging Behaviour

So many blogs have been created, started and died a slow and quiet death because of lack of maintenance or inconsistent blogging. These days, displaying your products & services and promoting your brand on your website is incomplete without a blog. This is because you would be missing out on traffic opportunities and in-bound leads. Also, your readers have nothing to hold their interest on your website after viewing your services. The key benefits of using blogging on your website include: connections to social media, exposure on search results and increased traffic. If your blogging is inconsistent at best, you should be dedicating more time to improving with relevant and current blog posts related to your business.

Forgetting to Check Grammar and Proofread

As simple as it sounds, proofreading and checking grammar errors is important and failing to do so could lead to a content disaster on your website. Be sure to check for spelling errors or the mix up of words like their, there, they’re and so on. A common mistake is the misuse of apostrophes, where ‘its’ is used in place of “it’s”, or where subjects do not agree with verbs in a sentence. Even if your spelling is poor, get someone to check spellings for you. With another set of eyes going over your content, your content will have less mistakes after you have published it.

No Priority on Content Promotion

Another big content mistake made is when time is spent to define your audience and create amazing content but nothing is done to promote your content. The more your content is in people’s faces, the greater the chance that they will stand up and take action. Content promotion strategy should include frequency, the right channels and the right time. Research how your content fits into your audience’s unique needs and tailor your promotion to start from that angle. With this knowledge, you are better equipped to promote and advertise your content in a way that sets you up as an expert with credibility.

Poor Use of Social Media

Websites have endless means of using social media to reach a wider audience, and a lot of those methods come at no price. It is inexcusable therefore, when mistakes are made when it comes to engaging social users, or not paying enough attention to the competitors – all of which can easily be achieved with the use of social media.       

Failure to Optimise Content for Mobile

Choosing to ignore website and content for mobile users is a big mistake because of the sheer amount of mobile users and the frequency of phone usage during the day and night. The way we connect and converse with each other and the brands we love has been completely changed by mobile devices. As a result, mobile phone users prefer short and easy to scan snippets of the overall message so that they can make a decision on the next action to take.

Failing to Create Content that is Relevant

To get results, content has to be relevant, current and show some measure of audience knowledge. Websites that fail to do so make big mistakes where their content is concerned. Relevant content begins from the title. When a catchy title is followed by equally captivating content, readers are eager to share it to their friends and social media accounts.

Choosing Content Quantity over Quality

Mistakes related to poor content quality include producing a large amount of content that has very little relationship to your business, rehashing old ideas by someone else, and making weak references. Understanding your audience will make the difference between producing high quality content that leaves an impression and mere page fillers.

Lack of Real Content Objectives

Websites with no goals for their content end up making noise instead of adding value through their content. Setting objectives for content begins with defining an audience, drafting a keyword list based on their search terms, understanding what they want and writing in a style they will enjoy. The next step is to plan the frequency of your posts, which largely depends on your audience as well.

Ignoring or Not Understanding SEO

The world of Search Engine Optimisation can be challenging and seem intimidating to website owners especially with the combination of changing algorithms, practices and constantly evolving practices. People who do not understand the importance of SEO ignore relevant content development, overload the website, stuff random keywords into content, and allow content to become obsolete – all to the detriment of the website, missing out on top rankings that may belong to them. It is therefore important to keep up with changing technology and provide the best content in the best way possible.

Failing To Take Advantage of Email Marketing

Email marketing helps to keep you fresh in the minds of your audience, as you will be building a massive subscriber base for your brand. Email marketing is even more beneficial and more effective than search engine marketing, mobile marketing, social media, and display advertising. For email marketing, focus needs to be on improving open rates through the use of custom social media links, mobile-responsive emails, multiple CTAs. In addition, the subject lines should be clickable, catchy and personalised where possible.

Not Establishing a Content Cycle

Website owners who neglect to map out future content aims or track content ideas will constantly be faced with late content. An editorial calendar creates a schedule to outline the new content that needs to be generated and measures how existing content is performing. In addition to updating and maintaining content, the schedule also includes blog post generation timelines and social media posts and engagements.

With professional copywriters, you can successfully navigate and avoid these website content mistakes. if you’re looking for professional copywriters to complete a project for you then get in touch with us or sign up for an account today here.

If your copywriting doesn’t resonate with some part of your reader, then it might as well just be gibberish. It’s that mental connection, that feeling of something speaking directly to you that opens up a reader, emotionally, to your website. If you want to sell a product, you must first get your audience’s attention and show what you can do for them, only then can you persuade them that you’re offering them something unique. From that point onwards, you can close the deal with a killer call-to-action and land another happy customer.

For all of these things to happen, however, your website’s content must be planned out from the very beginning. It must be strategised to effectively trigger that mental connection with the reader – you really have to get into the reader’s mind, but to do so, you must first place yourself in their shoes.

Decide Your Approach

First things first, you need a killer hook or ‘unique selling proposition’ to present to the reader. This doesn’t have to be done in the traditional sense. An example of a unique proposition might be starting off with a random story, to grab the reader’s interest straight away –  although, direct copy writing (i.e. a relevant story, rather than a random one) is usually best. If you’re unsure, then hire a professional website content writer.

Once you know your approach, your writing tone, and the general voice that you want your content to have, it’s on to the actual content creation.

While writing, you should use the AIDA approach.

What is AIDA and How Is It Used in Copy Writing?

AIDA is a marketing technique based on an order of events that need to take place for effective consumer engagement. Seeing as copy writing is essentially a form of advertisement, whether directly so or more subtle, the AIDA approach is very effective.

The AIDA principle uess: Attention (Awareness), Interest, Desire, and Action.

The idea is that the reader has to journey through each of these stages, before acting on your offer or consumer promise. You can’t close the deal at any one stage – just think about it:

  • You can’t sell someone something by saying, “LOOK HERE! Try our product for free today!”
  • You can’t sell someone something by saying, “LOOK HERE! Our product is 100% natural. Try it for free today!”

However, you CAN sell someone something by saying:

  • “LOOK HERE! Our product is 100% natural. No more jitters, headaches, or stomach pain – and you can even try it for free today!”

Notice all four stages of the AIDA principle are present in the last example, where only one or two are present in the first, hopeless examples. Basically, you have to truly engage the reader in order for the call-to-action to work, and the only way to do this is to hit all four AIDA stages.

Get Their Attention

You need something major, something OBVIOUS, that the reader can’t simply ignore. This should be in your headline, meta description (for search results), or the first line or two of your website copy.

The attention grabber will be used to start a conversation. It may be presented as simply breaking the ice with your customer, or it could be a more aggressive sales spiel, it’s up to you. You just need to grab their attention.

Grow Their Interest

Now you have them interested. You want to grow this interest further. You can do this by talking about the reader (everyone likes hearing about themselves!) instead of what you have to offer.

So, drop the talk about great features and all your supposed ‘key selling points’ and focus on the reader’s problems, their pains, and their desires. Let them know that their struggles aren’t endless; there is a solution out there for them.

Fuel Their Desire

Now they’re starting to take your words seriously. They can either turn you away with a simple mental rejection, such as “well I don’t really need this” or “I tried something like this before and it didn’t work” but if your copy is good, you will still have them wrapped around your finger. Remember, you’re offering them salvation from something that plagues them – not just a product from a shelf.

So, to fuel their desire, go back to that pain or problem that they have. Now, cross reference that with the features that make your product so great. Without hyping up your product, showcase just how much the reader would benefit from having your product. Through your copy, you want to establish the feeling that you aren’t trying to make them want your product, but that you’re simply showing them what it can do for them.

Close the Deal

Any reader that makes it all the way to the end of your website copy is ready and willing to take that leap of faith. To get them to jump, head-first, into your product, you need to write a fantastic call-to-action. Your approach to writing this call is the real sink or swim moment – are you going to improve your conversion rate with a sale? Or are you going to lose the customer’s interest at the last hurdle?

The Full Package – An AIDA Friendly Website

Incorporating AIDA into copywriting is fantastic, but it’s only as effective as its environment allows it to be. In this case, your website is the environment – the appearance matters. To achieve great results, remember that web hosting and Web Design should factor in AIDA too!

 

As a copywriter you are constantly scouring the web looking for ideas, sources and rich media to use in the formation of your opinions. That puts you at risk of encountering viruses. A slow computer is the scourge of any professional writer, so you need to get adequate protection to ensure there is a barrier between you and those that would like to infect your computer. Our writers often ask us about anti-virus software, so we thought it was about time we did a comprehensive guide to the best software out there on the market right now.

There’s no point in me telling you about the best antiviruses available if you aren’t clear on what computer viruses are and what an antivirus is.

A computer virus isn’t all that different from a virus that infects a living organism. It attacks, it multiplies, and it tends to spread from one infected computer to another (like the T-Virus).

The virus itself is a malicious program or code designed to infiltrate and influence the normal workings of your computer. They are usually either designed to be able to spread by jumping from one computer host to the next during transfer of data via the internet or plugged in storage devices. The virus accomplishes the transfer by attaching itself to a regular document or program, just as a living virus would attach itself to its host’s cells.

Once a computer virus has made itself at home on a system, it has the potential to wreak havoc or be a nuisance. Depending on its design, a virus can cause mischief on your computer by deleting files, disrupting programs, or even reformatting your computer’s hard drive.

Mind you; computer viruses didn’t suddenly appear out of some unknown abyss. They were deliberately designed by programmers to be the pests and the threat they are today. The threat is real and constant to anybody or any company with its own website, especially if that site deals with e-commerce and sales. That is why it is imperative you have a reliable web hosting service such as https://www.freeparking.co.nz/web-hosting/, which can give you confidence knowing it is providing the best security against a virus attack on your site.

Evolution of computer viruses

Some suggest the first computer virus was created in 1986 by two Pakistani brothers. The virus was christened Brain and was designed to infect files. Then came the Michelangelo virus in 1992, and Melissa in 1999 to attack servers and memory banks.

Another version of history claims a high school student created the first virus in 1981. This virus was named The Elk Cloner, and it was spread via a floppy disc.

Nowadays, we have a wider range of viruses such as malware, rootkits, spyware, and so on that can hijack your system and online accounts to benefit their manipulator or source. There have even been cases of viruses merging with worms to create a super virus.

 

What’s an antivirus?

To battle the scourge of the ever-evolving viruses, programmers began to develop antiviruses to protect computer users from the rising virus menace. Norton was one of the first in 1991 to develop an antivirus software to protect computers from the invasion.

Antivirus software is a program that’s engineered to search, detect, eliminate and bar viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and others. The development of this program has been a lifesaver as it has shielded millions of users from the threat of viruses.

As viruses have evolved to become more intelligent and dangerous, so have antiviruses. The average antivirus should at least be able to;

  • Indicate your computer’s health
  • Scan all files and directories for suspicious software and patterns.
  • Schedule antivirus scans to run automatically
  • Initiate a scan on a particular file, storage device or whole computer.
  • Remove any and all malicious code detected

Present day antiviruses are critical to both domestic and commercial computer users because they protect them from the following types of viruses and more;

  • Boot Sector Virus
  • Direct Action Virus
  • Resident Virus
  • Encrypted Viruses
  • Companion Viruses
  • Network Virus
  • Multipartite Virus
  • Polymorphic Virus
  • Stealth Viruses
  • Sparse Infectors
  • Overwrite Virus
  • Spacefiller Virus

This list is not exhaustive, but you can be confident that present day antiviruses have been engineered to deal with them. That is also why when deciding on a website host you need to choose a company that is experienced and has a strong policy on client website protection.

Below is a list of antiviruses that have excelled at protecting computers and even mobile devices from the danger of viruses.

Best antiviruses of 2017 for your computer

  1. Avast free antivirus: The best things in life can be free. This freeware is useful and effective and comes with a vast range of protection features. It is also fast and efficient with its scanning and detection. On the downside, it seems independent antivirus testing labs have mixed opinions about Avast’s software. Some rate it as excellent, while others as midrange. But all the labs do agree that while working, the antivirus doesn’t negatively impact your system’s performance.
  2. The Kure: With The Kure, you can rid your system of malware simply by rebooting without affecting your own documents. It also has the amazing ability to reverse effects of encrypted ransomware.
  3. Avira Free Antivirus: The top antivirus (AV) testing labs score this package highly and put it on par with high-end competitors like Kaspersky and Bitdefender. The package is also lightweight and hardly affects system performance while it’s running
  4. BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017: Its results are accurate and reliable. While it’s on the expensive side, it is still money well spent since major independent AV testers keep gushing over it. It protects your system from malicious sites and secures your online financial transactions while performing other core antivirus functions.
  5. Kaspersky Antivirus 2017: It’s even more expensive than BitDefender, but it is a top performance security package that focuses on core security essentials such as; blocking suspicious URLs, accurate searching, detecting and removal of threats, smart tracking and reversing of malicious actions. Kaspersky as consistently passed with flying colours across the boards of top AV testers.
  6. Norton Security Standard: Another expensive package that justifies its price tag with its efficiency. It is excellent at preventing your system from getting infected by offering an URL blocker, browsing protection, a firewall, and more.
  7. Panda Antivirus 2017: This freeware provides satisfactory protection and is certified by AV testers in this regard. This package also offers a bootable Rescue Kit that helps rid your system of viruses that have managed to infiltrate it. Not only that, its interface is good-looking and easy to use.
  8. Webroot SecurityAnywhere Antivirus 2017: This exceedingly lightweight package takes seconds to install and takes up hardly any space on your hard drive. But it’s lightness has no effect on its effectiveness as it consistently delivers core antivirus protection, a firewall monitor, network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, surprisingly accurate real-time antiphishing, and smart behaviour monitoring. The only downside is it is quite expensive.

Other notable mentions are; AVG Antivirus free, F-Secure Antivirus 2017, Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic, McAfee AntiVirus Plus (2017), Check Point ZoneAlarm PRO Antivirus + Firewall 2017, Emsisoft Anti-Malware 11.0, and ESET NOD32 Antivirus 10.

 

 

 

A professional web design company that’s worth its salt, like InfintechDesigns will tell you well written content is one of the key elements when it comes to designing a great website. Not just well written content, but content that’s packaged to deliver clear and relevant information to its audience.

Well written content should be engaging, accurate and unique. But if your content is all of that and poorly edited, it will cause the website to lack an air of professionalism and expertise, and that’s a big turn off for visitors.

To help you create, polish and share nigh perfect written content, the following tools are available to assist you;

Grammarly

While this tool can’t be used to create content, it’s extremely useful for editing a finished job. It’s an online proofreading tool which helps you write articles free of errors and create quality content both readers and search engines will appreciate.

My favourite part about using Grammarly is the review given at the end of every week which shows if the user’s writing skills are improving or depreciating. Stats such as number of words written, mastery of grammar, vocabulary, in comparison to other Grammarly users are all provided to let you know what areas of your writing need improvement.

Pages and Numbers

This Apple’s version of a Productivity Suite works on all iOS systems and is useful in creating and editing documents with advanced editing tools. The features of the editing tools include; adding comments, tracking changes, and highlights. All projects done with this tool are saved on the iCloud and are accessible via any iOS device.

Ginger

Ginger is a software that’s very much like Grammarly. It’s an online tool that proofreads your work for grammar and spelling, all with the aim of helping you write error free content for either websites or blogs. Its other features include, translation of text to over 50 different languages, an extensive dictionary, grammar checker and sentence rephrase to help you write the same sentence multiple ways. All very useful features that’ll make a content writer’s job easier. But to have access to other features such as text reader, and personal trainer, a small fee is required.

DocuSign

This very useful tool lets you sign documents digitally. It’s secure, reliable, easy to use, and most important, it allows you to stay mobile. It’s not just signing documents, you can also fill forms, and create a signature to be used by someone else on your behalf.

Google Drive

Due to their strategic thinking, Google has managed to permeate so many aspects of our daily lives. To take that permeation a step further, Google offers Google Drive, an app that makes it possible to remotely access all files saved in your Drive account. Almost every type of file can be saved on Google Drive, from various media formats, to various document formats, and more. It’s also possible to customize your permission settings to allow others access files from your account. Because of this app’s auto save feature to cloud storage, you don’t have to worry about losing important data.

GrammarBase

An alternative to Grammarly and Ginger, this exemplary tool checks your written work for; grammar, style, punctuation, contextual spelling, and most interesting of all, plagiarism.

This tool’s ability to search a body of work for plagiarism really sets it apart from its contemporaries. But it is not cheap to use. Nevertheless, if it meets your needs then it’s worth the price.

I didn’t mention Microsoft Office because I’m sure you already know what that is. If there are other tools you think should definitely be on this list, please share in the comment section.

 

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Writing, Story tellingFor as long as there have been people, there have been stories.  They were told around campfires, in the shelter of caves, in great castle halls, in a child’s bedroom.  Stories have cemented their place in our culture, in our very way of life as human beings.  We grew up listening to stories, telling stories and living out our own stories.

Of course, not all stories are created equal.  Some are simply better than others.  It is a fact of life that there are master storytellers among us, able to weave us into their web of fantasy and illusion.  These masters tell stories so rich and deep that they transport audiences into all manner of different worlds and universes with just a few well chosen words.

So, what makes for a great story?  Just what is it about these magnum opuses that set them apart from the rest of the herd?  Let’s talk about the parts that make up a great story, the puzzle pieces that form the masterpiece.

 Who Are These People?

A great story needs to have interesting characters, that much is obvious.  That doesn’t mean they have to be perfect and beautiful all the time; on the contrary, it’s often a good idea to have incredibly flawed characters.  Not only can perfection be difficult to relate to, but more importantly, it gets really boring.

What makes for a great character?  Characters should be as comprehensive as possible.  Every random person on the street is living out their own unique story, so why should your characters be any different?  Always have a back story for your characters.

What was life like for them growing up?  Where did they attend school?  Are they children of divorced parents?  Are they married?  What is their relationship with their families like?  Is your character a dog person or a cat person?

Nothing adds more spice to a great story than a great back story.  By developing your characters, you add a rich layer of added history to whatever tale you are telling.  Character development is just as important as your main story plot, so it would be wise to invest some serious effort in this endeavour.

Give your characters personality.  Be creative!  Take advantage of the fact that you can pretty much define the people you are writing about.  Is your character a kind person? Or is he a lying, scheming, manipulative megalomaniac?  Or maybe he is both, suffering from some sort of split personality?  It’s all up to you.  The very fates, nay, the past, present and future of your characters are all in your hands.

 What’s Happening?

Now that you know exactly whom you are writing about, it’s time to think about what happens to them.  There is one thing that all great storytellers have in common: they have a great story to tell.  Now, that may seem a little too simplistic, but it really is as straightforward as that.  The plot is the heart of every story.

Nobody wants to hear about nothing happening.  It is the plot that draws the audience’s interest, and holds their attention captive.  Without a brilliantly conceived plot, every story would simply centre on characters standing around doing nothing.  Who wants to hear about that?

When constructing the plot, a great storyteller must take all factors into account.  You already have the characters ready, but that’s only the beginning.  There are plenty of other aspects to consider.  Where is your story taking place?  When is it happening?  The setting plays a huge role as the backdrop of your story, and can be a defining part of your plot.  Defining the settings and the characters gives you the canvas and the colours with which to create your masterpiece.

As for the plot itself, well, the sky is the limit.  You can make your story about anything and everything your heart desires.  Monsters, dragons, spy thrillers, and romance – if you can imagine it, then you can create it.  You have complete and total control over what happens in this world that you have created.  However, this doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want without consequences.  Having complete control means that you can create either a beautiful story that touches all who encounter it in a lasting, profound way, or a terribly crafted story that turns readers away.

The fate of your story all comes down to vision and execution.  All great storytellers have a clear vision of what they want their story to be.  This determines the direction of the plot, and the events that will contribute to it.  However, vision without execution is worthless.  Execution is all about consistently working to achieve your story’s ambitious vision as perfectly as possible.  The characters, the settings, the events – all these things come together to complete a story.

 Why Should We Care?

A great story is one that its audience can relate to.  You can write about aliens or whales or dinosaurs, but there is always that human element to all great stories.  Aliens have feelings too, right?  And maybe the whale can evoke feelings about how beautiful the raw majesty of nature is.  The point is, the audience must care.  There is an entire universe of human emotions to draw response from.  By creating an emotional bond with your audience, you are able to draw them in, make them feel like they are part of the story.

This relationship is incredibly important because it ensures that your audience is personally invested in whatever happens in your tale.  All great stories are able to embrace their audiences and make them feel as though they’re personally involved with whatever is happening.  Great works of fiction are able to share the experience with their audiences.  The audience is no longer just reading about something, they are actually immersed in the world created by the master storyteller.

 I Don’t Understand!

Great storytellers recognize the fine line between a masterful plot twist and a simply illogical sequence of events.  While it is okay (and most often encouraged) to be as creative as possible, that doesn’t mean that you can throw all sense of reason and consistency out the window.  A story must still make sense. A tale can take place in the most fantastic setting, with the most outlandish characters, but at the end of the day, it needs to makes sense.  The audience must feel like your story is weaving a magical place just beyond reality, not like you are making fools of them.  Audiences are smart: if you don’t put enough thought into your plot, then they will recognize it and call you out on it.

That’s why great stories take great planning, which is also why the vision of the story is so important.  The best storytellers execute their vision, sticking to it at all times.  They have something they want to share with the audience and they do just that.  The best stories all make sense in the end.  Different people may feel different things about them, but everything makes sense when it’s all said and done.  A story that has no regard for logic and reason will usually lose its audience almost immediately.

End It Well

A great story always ends well.  Now this doesn’t mean that everybody is happy with the ending, or that it presented the best ending possible as far as your characters are concerned; it simply means that the story ended satisfactory.  It’s important that there is a sense of closure to the entire affair.  At the end of a great story, the audience should feel a sense of fulfilment.  They should feel as though there are no loose ends still remaining, and that all issues and crises have been addressed adequately.  Unless you’re planning on a sequel, it is of utmost importance that your audience walks away completely satisfied.

Everybody knows what it’s like to finish a story and be disappointed.  Nobody likes that feeling.  The goal is to leave your audience breathless at the end.  You want people to walk away saying “Wow.”  You may start beautifully, but you must make an effort to end just as elegantly.  After all, the ending is what stays with the audience.  A story with an unsatisfactory conclusion leaves one feeling worse off than when the story started, and that is never a good sign.  Start strong, but finish stronger.

 

To sum up, all great stories are masterful works of art.  The best storytellers pour their hearts and souls into the crafting of these masterpieces.  Everything, from the characters to the setting to the plot, is a work of art that can stand on its own, but it’s the perfect interaction amongst all these factors that truly makes for fantastic fiction.  All great stories have the requisite components, but true magic comes from the master storyteller’s unparalleled ability to execute his vision perfectly.

ContentWhen writing website content, most people become concerned with article topics and search engine optimisation. While these two factors are hugely important, sometimes another imperative aspect is forgotten: proofreading.

As good as your staff writers or your hired writing agency may be, there is always a chance that mistakes like typos, grammatical errors, or other issues will slip through the cracks and cause content quality to suffer.

This ends up being a problem because a company’s website and content directly reflects on the business as a whole; as a business owner you want to make sure that you and your company are being portrayed in a positive light through your web content. While typos are inevitable in the writing process, there should be a clear proofreading process in place so that the number of errors that slip through are kept to a minimum.

How Errors Hurt You

Typos and grammatical errors can actually affect the way your business is perceived by the reader. People stop to read web content because they’re looking for specific information on a particular topic. They want the information they’re reading to be credible and reliable, too; poor grammar, or careless writing, can harm your website and company’s credibility.

With an abundance of information available on any one topic, readers take the time to find an article that they deem to be the most reliable. Poor quality content may make your company seem amateurish rather than authoritative. This is likely to mean that people won’t share your article through social media or any other channel, which will hurt your organic traffic.

Writing errors may also make the new website content hard to comprehend; for example a lack of punctuation can turn a simple sentence into a jumbled mess. Frequent typos, especially mis-spelled keywords, can hurt your search rankings as well. While search engines can predict text and infer what users are searching for, your website will never rarely in its relevant search results if there are lots of spelling errors.

You shouldn’t rely solely on spell-check software when proofreading content. Spell checkers only point out words that aren’t in the program’s dictionary; they will never check for usage errors such as the misuse of words “their,” “there,” and “they’re” because they are all spelled correctly. This amateurish mistake is a sign of low standards, which can quickly affect a reader’s opinion of you and your company.

 Proofreading for More than Grammar

Proofreading an article for typos, grammatical errors, and other structural mistakes is important but the website content, as a whole, should be proofread. This has to do with the organisation of an article, the clarity of the writing and fact-checking.

Fact-checking is incredibly important, especially if you’re writing websites that are based on hard information (medical websites, industry-specific sites, etc.). Simple mistakes, like an improper transmutation in a statistic, can cause wide-spread errors throughout the article, not to mention embarrassment to your company; and possibly serious problems (publishing inaccurate research data or mis-labelling a sales brochure can result in legal issues). By fact-checking all hard facts used in an article, you can avoid these complications; most errors are obvious to the industry expert.

The organisation of an article is also important. If arbitrary facts are thrown together with specific keywords or keyword phrases, it will seem disjointed and difficult to read. When writing websites or content for a new website you (or your writing staff) should organise each article in a way that flows from one paragraph to the next. This will also ensure that the content is clear and concise.

The Proofreading Process

Proofreading can and should be a lengthy process; it shouldn’t be a one-step practice. Proofreading should start once the actual writing stops. All of your writers should proofread their own work in an attempt to catch as many mistakes as possible; the goal should be clean content that will need minimal or no editing. The content should then be passed on to a copy editor who will read over the article for any missed mistakes.

First, a copy editor should check for an overall sense of unity (font, colour, layout, type size, etc.). If there are necessary changes in typeface, colour, or any other style element the copy editor should make sure that it isn’t done arbitrarily.

Next, an editor should make sure that all text is readable. This is where typos, grammatical errors, and other structural mistakes will be rectified. They should also make sure that no colloquialisms or abbreviations made it past the writer’s proof; if your company uses a style guide it will be useful in this step.

At this point, the article should be free of all technical errors. Now, the editor should move on to the content itself. This will ensure that the article is properly organised and that all facts are accurate.

Finally, an editor may have to make sure that all links lead to their proper destination, that the article is optimised for search engines properly, and that all company information (copyright statements, email addresses, etc.) are present and free of errors.

Ideally, each article should be edited multiple times by different people to ensure that all errors are caught.

Content, Article length

Many businesses are unaware of the appropriate length for website content. Copywriting costs money: the longer the page, the more it will cost. So it’s easy to want to opt for the shortest word count, but it’s not always the best choice, editorially.

Deciding on the optimum length for an article or some other form of website content varies depending on an array of factors, such as:

  • The message or offer you are attempting to convey.
  • The amount of factual data, statistics, etc. that you want to back it up with.
  • The average intelligence of your demographic.
  • The difference in conversion rates, according to word count.
  • The quality and length of the content you are competing for rankings with in the search engines.

To make this all a bit simpler, let’s dissect each of these points.

What is the Purpose of the Website Content?

Each piece of website content has one deep-rooted purpose, whether it’s to help readers with future advice, or to sell them a product that can benefit them.

First, you need to figure out what it is you are offering your audience and then decide how many words are appropriate to get this message across.

However, don’t just think about how many words it literally takes to spell out your offer; there’s more to it than that. It is usually best to let audiences infer, or subtly pick up on your offer by ‘reading between the lines’ – most readers will be wary of direct, open and obvious sales patter. Think about things like developing a rapport with the reader; providing relevant information about the product or service as a whole; back this information up with facts and data. All of this comes together to complete a fuller picture and a more interesting piece of content.

How Much Factual Backing Should You Use?

As already noted, it’s important to include some type of assurance that your claims and products are backed up with some facts and data. This can be shown through analogies, referencing other websites, specifying certain statistics, adding charts or graphs or using insightful imagery.

However, a common mistake that businesses make is information overload. At the end of the day, effective copywriting is more focused on who the reader is, and identifying a problem they have – you then draw them in, and provide a solution to this problem or something that can benefit them as a person (creating desire for your product or service).

If, however, you are using this particular piece of content as a landing page to generate email signups, your factual backing would be more limited. You would likely build a rapport, then quickly hit them with an incentive to make them act on the signup request. With this in mind, you’d want to keep the material short, snappy and informative – perhaps around 500 words.

On the flip side, if you’re selling an Internet marketing course, for example, you want to provide proof of your claims, which means the initial rapport section will require something a bit more extensive and detailed. Writing material for a sales page could easily stretch into the thousands with regard to word count, so proper formatting is highly recommended. Think of how the page looks; is it all one big block of text? If so, divide it up with imagery, infographics or smaller sentences.

A good way to decide what data to include is by first creating a facts sheet for your business. This allows you to dip in and out, sprinkling relevant and interesting facts throughout the writing, where needed.

What is the Average Intelligence of Your Demographic?

The general, average, intelligence of your audience can also play an important role in establishing the ideal word count. You will want to include this in your ‘reader profile’ when strategising your website content (i.e. painting a picture of your ideal client/reader).

For example, a website that provides custom meal plans, for users trying to lose weight, gives the writer some authority. This means that the writer can write in short form, with close-ended points and claims, or stretch things out with factual backing to further emphasise their knowledge, depending on their thought process.

Sometimes a particular market just doesn’t need a whole lot of wording, not necessarily because the readership isn’t clever, but because there’s simply not much that needs to be said. An example of this would be an appliance repair company; they can quickly state what they offer and justify why you should choose them – writing anything longer, or more expansive will blur the original point, with too much information. Instead of getting the idea that they should hire you, they might, instead, focus on some other piece of irrelevant information that’s been included simply to bring up the word count.

What is the Anticipated Conversion Rate?

The conversion rate of your website content can vary depending on a huge number of factors. One of those may be the length of the website copy: a longer post can be justified, but it really has to hold strong relevance and every part of it needs to add value. If the material doesn’t remain concie and focused, you’ll end up pushing your reader away.

There’s no easy way to predict your conversion rate, prior to publishing, although you could use A/B testing to try out a few different approaches. This is particularly useful if you have a large turnover of readers, on a regular basis.

For example, factor the cost of two copywriting pages for the same product that are A/B tested. Calculate the conversion rate for each. Now, let’s say the results show that the second version pulls a 0.5% higher conversion rate on your 100,000 monthly visitors. This will provide 600 extra conversions a year. Now calculate your extra profits!

What Does Your Competition Look Like?

It is common knowledge that longer content tends to have a better chance of top 3 rankings in Google. Comprehensive information ranks, and that takes a long word count, often over 1500 words. If your competitors are savvy, and are writing mega content, it is probably advisable for you to follow suit. Otherwise, it will be difficult to compete for your main target keywords. If you are taking a longtail approach then you may be up against shorter, lower quality content, and be able to prosper with shorter content.

So How Many Words Do You Need?

Suffice to say, there are many variables that may influence the number of words that are necessary for your copy to convert well. Thus it’s hard to say exactly how many words you should request when hiring a copywriter.

It may be easier to explain the purpose of the website content and what details need to be included. The writer will then be able to indicate an appropriate word count.

At the same time, you may want to approach it with an open mind and allow the copywriter to write out the material naturally. Give them all the points to hit and let them add their personal touch.

AB Testing website productivity

When used properly, A/B testing can be a life saver for an online business. A/B testing helps you determine the best copy to drive the kind of leads and conversion rates you desire from your websites and marketing efforts.

So, what is A/B testing?

A/B testing: What you need to know

Before defining A/B testing, it is important to first understand what leads and conversion mean to your business.

Online business websites all have a purpose for existence. A blogging site wants to get readers, an e-commerce site wants site visitors to make purchases, a news website wants paid subscriptions, etc.

Before going to into A/B testing, it is, therefore, important that you first define how leads and conversion apply to your business, and then set up A/B tests accordingly.

Testing website conversion

A/B testing defined

A/B testing is a scientific approach to informing copy production. The test compares two different versions of a web page, app or sales copy to determine which one elicits the desired response from the user or target consumer.

A/B testing is administered by making the two different web/sales copies available to the same general audience, ideally at the same time, and then gauging which one brings the better responses. Brendan at Web Drive Cloud told us, “There are off page factors that can affect conversions, like your web hosting speed, the ad copy that attracted the visitors, and the brand reputation. Getting your landing pages right is crucial though. It’s often about the small changes; the fractions that sway visitors towards action.”

Note: Whatever your testing goal is, remember that you shouldn’t look out for conversion only. Other parameters like click-through rates and time spent on the copy can indicate whether you are making any progress.

Do I need A/B testing?

Yes, you do. It’s hard enough getting traffic to your site. Sometimes, you even pay for it. Whether the traffic is paid or organic, you are investing time, money and other resources to get reached by potential customers. So, if you want to make the most of your investments, it’s time to give A/B testing a shot.

Similarly, A/B testing can help you avoid having your marketing emails ignored or even deleted most of the time. By gauging what kind of copy resonates with your target audience, you can make the transition to being a success story.

In fact, if you need more convincing, then you probably have enough conversions already. Are you ready to A/B test? Then let’s get started.

Where to test

You can perform either onsite or offsite A/B testing.

  • Onsite Testing: This includes your web pages. These pages can include your main website, special offers and other promotional copy, product descriptions and landing pages.
  • Offsite Testing: This includes your sales emails and advertisements.

Tip 1: Your test subjects depend on the kind of copy you want to test. For example, headline tests are ideal for blog copy, news pages, and promotional copy.

Tip 2: Also, you must choose only test subjects that influence consumer decision for testing. If you are testing on your website for example, it is not a smart move to test just about everything on your website. If you are looking for general guidance on how to build a better website to boost conversion, you can start here.

Tip 3: You must know in clear detail what you hope to achieve from your A/B testing. This means that you should know what results you are already getting from your current copy. If not, you cannot know if a new copy will help you or not.

Choosing your A and B variables

You can use your current copy as variable A and a different copy as variable B. Alternatively, you can come up with two new and different copy as variables A and B.

Note: For each test, there should ideally be only one test subject. If you test more than one thing at a time, it will be difficult to gauge the effects of the changes.

For example, you may test only the call-to-action text in a given A/B test. If you try to test a call-to-action text and a headline in the same A/B test, it can be difficult to know the influence of the variables at each point in time.

Testing more than \ single factor at a time is called multivariate testing. If you are interested in that, then this article is a superb great guide.

Tip 1: You may carry out as many different A/B tests as possible on one test subject before you arrive at a conclusion on which drives the most conversion.

Tip 2: For each test subject, say the call-to-action text, carry out all the A/B tests simultaneously. This serves as a control for the influence of time on consumer behavior. Consumer behavior can be very transient; a time lapse can change a response completely, undermining the authenticity of your tests.

What test subjects to choose

Anything that directly influences consumer behavior. The most important ones include:

  1. Headlines
  2. Call-to-action button
  3. Call-to-action text
  4. Images
  5. Videos
  6. Layouts
  7. Colours
  8. Sales Copy
  9. Copy text
  10. Testimonials
  11. Offer contents

Note: Where the audiences are different for the variables, ensure that the two groups are exposed to both variables.

For example, if you are testing a given sales copy with group A and another version of the copy with group B at a given time, then make sure group B is also later tested against the copy you tested group A with and vice versa.

Ideally, you should run each A/B test for only one group at a time, changing only the variables.

For how long should I test?

Depending on how often you run the tests, it can last for several days to a few weeks. The reasons are:

  1. You want to get data from as many relevant users as possible
  2. You want to see how much the responses change with time

These make for more accuracy in A/B testing. However, do not carry out A/B tests on a given test subject for too long at a time. The changes in result over time can leave you less informed than when you started.

You can resume A/B tests on a test subject when you notice a drop in conversion, or when you are testing copy for a new campaign or a major restructuring.

A/B testing eliminates guesswork from conversion rate optimization. It enables you to make informed decisions on what works for your business.

Over the next few weeks, we will cover in-depth analysis of the actual A/B testing processes, especially as they pertain to different test subjects such as websites, marketing emails and ads.