Tag Archives: web culture

Becoming Social Media Savvy

Becoming Social Media Savvy is pretty much a “must” if you want to run a successful business these days. With this in mind Catherine Saxelby from Foodwatch.com.au and I went to a meeting of Social Media Women on Tuesday evening.

Catherine Saxelby (left) and Munaiba Khan

Catherine Saxelby (left) and Munaiba Khan

The speaker was Valerie Khoo of the Sydney Writers’ Centre and she spoke very eloquently and amusingly of her journey through the social media minefield.

Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo

There were four take home messages from her talk and these were:

  • educate yourself even if it’s only by reading “Social Media for Dummies”. You need to know what to do to get your business seen online.
  • engage in a conversation – social media is about multi-way communication not a monologue.
  • create relationships; really engage with others and business will follow.
  • be authentic and reciprocate kindnesses, information sharing and help.

Written out like this these all seem like common sense – and they are – but many people tend to regard social media as “gimme”. They just want to take and not contribute. Obviously there has to be a balance but my thoughts are that you if you’re only out for what you can get it will show and you’ll put in a lot of effort for nothing.

Hollow transactions

This has been a pet hate of mine for some time and I thought I’d have a little rant about it here because I think it’s relevant. Have you ever signed up for a free eBook only to find out that there is very little of value just a thinly disguised advertising spiel? Did you buy? Probably not. That’s what I call a hollow transaction. You were promised 10 Sure-fire Tips for something or other and what you got was an ad pitch. I see so much web content like this these days and I really think it is counter productive. Yes you may get sales, but only once. Maybe if you get thousands of one-off sales you don’t care but if you want a reputable, long-term business then be authentic. Interact with your customers and potential customers as a human being and not a money grabbing machine.

Sometimes you get ripped off in the process, it has happened to me, where I have spent time and effort helping someone only to have them go to someone cheaper armed with the knowledge I have given them but you know what? They wouldn’t have made a good client anyway so it’s no real loss.

Thanks valerie Khoo

Thanks Valerie for an enjoyable and informative talk and thank you Catriona Pollard for organising the event. I know it took lots of work and it is much appreciated.

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Add a blog to your site

Bring your website “alive” with a blog

Blogs are great for keeping your site up-to-date and as a tool for regularly communicating with your target audience. They don’t have to be lengthy, even a couple of paragraphs once a week is sufficient to maintain the relationship with your customers and potential customers.

What is a blog anyway? OK, I know by now most people know but just in case you don’t…

A blog is an online journal. It’s what you’re reading now. The name derived from web log. Blogs make your website interactive and interesting instead of just a series of electronic brochures. You get to hear what your customers like and dislike. You get to respond and you get sales leads. Technorati – a site devoted to publishing the latest blog contents as they hit cyber space – currently tracks 112.8 million blogs! So you can see that if you’re not blogging then you’re conceding the ground to your competitors.

The pros and cons of blogs

As with anything there are pros and cons to incorporating a blog onto your site. Here is a list to help you evaluate their usefulness to your business:

Pros
  • they make your site more interesting
  • they allow you to interact with your customers
  • they let you react to things quickly
  • they have an immediacy that a static site doesn’t have
  • they provide you with sales leads
  • they let you see into the minds of your customers allowing to you develop products and services that they really want
Cons
  • they take time to research
  • they take time to write
  • they make your site look dated if you don’t post regularly
The Copywriter Online can blog for you

Most business people are time poor and a blog comes a long way down their priority list. We like to make life easy for our customers and that’s why we offer a blogging service. We can write – and research too, if required – your blog for you. Call us today for a quote on your blog and bring your website up-to-date.

Is your website actively selling your products or services?

The content of your website is more important than the way it looks!

Don’t get me wrong! It is important that your website looks professional and attracts your target audience. However, it’s even more important that your message is clear, interesting and persuasive. The New Year is a great time to take a look at your site and see if it’s really performing the way you would like it to.
Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on fancy looking sites that don’t sell well. Why? Because the content is poor. It doesn’t engage with the website visitor. It doesn’t interest them, it doesn’t tell them what they want to know and it doesn’t encourage them to stay.

Amateur vs Professional

No company would pay thousands of dollars for a double page spread in a glossy magazine and then let an amateur come up with the concept, the copy and the design. So why do they do that very same thing with their websites? Writing copy for the web is an art and a science. I have done a lot of research into what works and what doesn’t and I can help you to make the most of your investment in your site.

Your website is a promotional tool

A website is a promotional tool. It shouldn’t just be a “presence”. Most businesses invest large sums of money in their sites and they don’t see a return on that investment. Let me help you to communicate with your customers by writing web content that is clear, easy-to-read and relevant.

Don’t throw thousands of dollars of web investment away for the want of a few hundred dollars worth of professionally written content.

Know when and where to spend your business dollars

There are places where you can save money by doing things yourself and there are others where you need to call in the professionals. Make sure you know which is which. If dollars are tight but you know that you need professional copywriting then do some of the legwork yourself to reduce your costs. If the copywriter has to do a lot of research then the job is obviously going to be more expensive than if you give them a full, properly written brief. (If you don’t know how to brief a copywriter click here for details.)

Happy New Year! Make it prosperous with a website that really works!

Content vs Looks

This is another of my articles that I used to offer free on my website but I think its message needs emphasising so here it is.

The content of your website is more important than the way it looks!

Don’t get me wrong! It is important that your website looks professional and attracts your target audience. However, it’s even more important that your message is clear, interesting and persuasive.

Don’t waste thousands of dollars on a pretty website that doesn’t do its job!

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars on fancy looking sites that don’t sell well. Why? Because the content is poor. It doesn’t engage with the website visitor. It doesn’t interest them, it doesn’t tell them what they want to know and it doesn’t encourage them to stay.

Amateur vs Professional

No company would pay thousands of dollars for a double page spread in a glossy magazine and then let an amateur come up with the concept, the copy and the design. So why do they do that very same thing with their websites? Writing copy for the web is an art and a science.

Can’t afford a professional web copywriter?

If you can’t afford a professional web copywriter to do your whole site, I have some suggestions to help you make the most of your website until you can raise your promotional budget. First, if at all possible, at least pay for your homepage to be professionally written and search engine optimised. Second follow the simple rules in my article Tips for writing for the web.

Your website is a promotional tool

A website is a promotional tool. It shouldn’t just be a “presence”. Most businesses invest large sums of money in their sites and they don’t see a return on that investment. So take the time to refine your message; write it – or get it written for you – in a way that really resonates with target audience, and then monitor it’s success.

A brand new website with Wordpress

Are you a small business with limited funds? Yet you need a website that has static pages and a blog? Then I’d really recommend WordPress.com. I got sick of shelling out fees for hosting and was finding it difficult to change things on my site easily so I took a look around at what was on offer. That’s when I found WordPress.

Free hosting and great features
It’s an impressive platform, that’s easy to use, easy to modify and best of all it’s FREE! They have numerous themes which you can make your own by adding photos etc. For a small fee there are upgrades you can have like pointing your own domain to your blog, or adding mp3 and video files.

All in all I found the the experience pleasantly straight forward. Once you’ve mapped your domain to your blog you can use a free Google service that allows you to have your own email addresses like me@mydomain.com etc. This too was easy and the Google instructions were great as were the WordPress ones.

Support
WordPress support is really fantastic, heaps of easy-to-read articles and very responsive, actually helpful (I know this is sort of unheard of these days but it’s true) email support.

Need a website?
If  you need a website with some static pages and a blog then I’d recommend you checkout WordPress. (And no they didn’t pay me to say that.) If you find even that too daunting then contact me and, for a surprisingly low fee, I can set it all up for you and write your pages too if you need copywriting help. Contact me today.

Old fashioned service still counts for a lot

You can have the flashiest, coolest website with the latest and greatest products and services but if your customer service is rubbish then why bother?

Why do people make it so hard for you to buy from them?

This is a topic that has exercised my mind before. See my blog entry. But it’s one that just won’t go away. Recently I surfed the net looking for a product and trying to find the best deal. Finally I found it but I needed to know if the supplier stocked refills for the item in question. I couldn’t find them on the site. No phone number! I had to look them up in the White Pages and when I rang I just got an answering machine. I left a message and no one replied.

Then I filled out the email form on the site. It took more than 24 hours before I got a reply. They said they did have refills and if I went to the site later in the day I could find it there and order both and get free shipping. So I went back to the site later in the day… that night… and first thing in the morning… Nothing. I emailed them again, and again. I left two more phone messages and eventually received another email saying that it would happen soon. A few hours later it did but now the price on the original item had been been increased by $10! So I wrote and asked why. No reply…

I decided I really needed this product so I gritted my teeth and went to fill out the account form. Date of Birth! Please! Why do you need my date of birth? I checked the privacy policy which in my opinion was more like an invasion of privacy policy and decided to look elsewhere.

So what is good service?

I found another site, slightly dearer that had both the item and the refills on the site. It had several phone numbers so I called to see how much delivery was. I explained my previous problem and the guy said “I’ll give you free delivery if you buy both. Go back to the site in half an hour and I’ll have set it up for you”. I did and he had! So here’s my list for good customer service:

  • Reply to queries quickly
  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Do it when you said you would do it
  • Make it easy for people to contact you
  • Don’t be sneaky (as in this case by hiking up the price without saying anything)
  • Don’t make your forms more daunting than they need to be. Do you really need someone’s Date of Birth?

That’s my whinge for today and congratulations to the supplier I bought from who wants to remain nameless – great service and modest too!

Make life easy for your web visitors

This last week I’ve been doing quite a bit of research online trying to buy a number of products and services and I realised once again how difficult some people make it for customers to buy from them.

Don’t make your clients jump hurdles

One of the main things I’m looking for when I want to buy a product is the delivery cost and I guess many of you are the same. Is it going to be cheaper for me to trek round the city looking for it or will it be cheaper if I buy online? This should be an easy to find piece of information and yet many times it is not. I’ll give you an example. I was looking on the search engines for a product and found it. The link took me direct to the product page. Nowhere was delivery mentioned. I added the product to the cart. Still no mention of delivery! I looked for a link on the site saying shipping or delivery – nothing! In the end I went to the contact page, got a phone number and called. No one available to take my call! I left a message and then kept looking elsewhere. Eventually I found somewhere where the delivery costs were up front and I bought the product. When the first company rang back I explained the problem to the sales person/owner. He was very affronted – “It’s on the home page!” he sneered. But I didn’t enter his site on the home page and none of the other pages had a link to this information.

Information should be easily available

Another “delivery information hurdle” is where you have to add the product to the cart, then register and login and then it will be calcuated. I learned long ago to give these sites a miss. Who wants to provide all their details only to find out the delivery costs are too dear?

Easy find, easy stay, easy buy!

That’s the motto web sellers should adopt. Ask yourself what information people want and need in order to buy from you and then give it to them up front. Make it easy and they stay on your site. Keep it easy and they’ll buy from you and not your competitor.