What do you think when you come across a misleading or convoluted website? Perhaps you think the site hasn’t been updated in a while, and that would be a fair assessment. Perhaps you are annoyed with the language, and go seek another, more polished platform. Once again, a fair assessment. Perhaps you even look down at the brand and remember the business, product or service negatively enough that you choose to avoid it. As fair an assessment as any.
The fact of the matter is websites that communicate their ideas poorly are opening no doors for anyone’s business, no matter what their mission. If you can’t communicate what you are offering or doing, or if you can’t communicate as effectively as the next guy, you stand to lose to whoever can be more direct and transparent.
For a long time, I’ve seen plenty of good ideas go down the drain because of a bad site or site layout. Plenty of strong business plans, great services or good products simply can’t sell because they can’t communicate their offerings well enough. In a worst-case scenario, they communicate their ideas so poorly, that they repel people from interacting with their brand at all.
Fortunately, though, bad sites can be saved. Recently I went through a couple of different sites, plenty of which have wonderful plans, product and services to see if I could help them really refine their site. As such, I wanted to share a couple of tips from those website breakdowns with you here, as hopefully, you could gain insight into what makes a good sight possible, and how to polish up your website language to be as good as it possibly could be.
Tip 1: For the love of God, make sense.
One of the first sites I came across was a gentleman selling a course on memory enhancement tactics and study tips. His site, which hadn’t been updated in a while seemed hastily made and did not convey very much (sensically) at all.
Here’s a quick before photo:
The few notes that stuck out to me was just how little sense the site made. The title is convoluted with an unnecessary ellipse. The subtitle is long and drawn out and doesn’t really need the “Learning Systems LLC” bit, especially to continue being relevant to the average consumer, and the list begins with way more information than is necessary and a list that isn’t even grammatically correct.
People don’t want to wander on to a site that is crawling with grammatical errors, it reminds them of walking into a shop with bootlegged merchandise. Having clear, easy to understand and well-formatted language is key in coming across as professional.
Here’s the same site after a tune-up:
The title’s been changed to be quick, understandable and get right to the point. In 5 seconds of seeing it, the reader should know what the site’s about. Any and all unnecessary language has been dropped. People’s time is valuable, and it’s hard to keep their attention for long. The list actually makes grammatical sense so it doesn’t seem like a scam, and it quickly lists off all of the value that Mr. Howard Berg is offering. Additionally, anywhere that the exclamation can emphasize excitement or importance, it is being used. Just a few simple touches like dropping unnecessary wording, and adding interesting punctuation go a far way, even without grammatical tune-ups.
Tip 2: Explain what you do as fast as possible.
This tip cannot be stressed enough.
As information around us becomes consistently more abundant, our attention spans rapidly go down due to us having an extreme abundance of data. We need to identify what’s important to us quicker than ever before. Thus, the need to communicate things fast directly and effectively has become increasingly necessary.
Here’s a quick example from a site that could still touch upon this:
This title was decent, but there are ways to make it better. By changing up the title to where it uses as few words as possible, and communicates the central ideas as quickly as possible, users and potential consumers can comprehend what they are looking at, whether it’s relevant to them, and what their next steps should be within seconds of looking at your website.
Here’s a quick version that’s been optimized to show people exactly the value your website and/or business create:
This title very quickly states what Walkthrough is doing. You’ll notice the name of the business is missing from the title, and this is because even though it’s the name of the business, it’s not what your business does, and it doesn’t show users what value you create. The name can go elsewhere, the value is the most important bit.
Just cutting down on the words in the title, and making sure there is a direct communication of value within the first few seconds of a user coming to your site, will help you keep and maintain the most important, valuable and central users to your business.
Tip 3: Tell a story with your call to action
The call to action of a website is extremely important. It’s how you direct your users and consumers to where they can go to convert. Imagine for a moment if you couldn’t find the “buy now” button on Amazon, the business marketplace of the world will have gained a crippling wound to its conversions.
Businesses need to be able to show people how to buy, especially in as quick and efficient a manner as possible.
Here’s a quick example of a good business that could paint it’s call to action better:
Here, The Hoth’s call to action was phrased a simple question, which while inferring what The Hoth was offering, could have been better. The value is inferred, but inferring is far from being direct.
Furthermore, we can tell a quick story in just a few words about how The Hoth helps your business succeed in the marketplace. While this site is decent, decent doesn’t always cut it.
Here is an edited example of the site, optimized to make a narrative for The Hoth’s value:
By making a story, namely a problematic struggle of sticking out on the internet we can “set the scene” of how a business, in this case, The Hoth, can save the day. By showing the user the problem that they are facing, and we create an antagonist or the storied dilemma that the user has to face. By creating a second point, outlining how your business can help a given user overcome their challenge paints your business like a protagonist in the problems it aims to solve.
Creating a very brief story, that both illustrates and reinforces the problems faced by potential consumers, and paints your business or organization as a hero, is a wonderful way of strengthening your standing in the eyes of your audience. Make yourself look like a critical ally in the struggle that your audience is facing, and be direct about how you can be their savior.
You can stand out against the crowd of bad sites out there. You do not have to become another victim of confusing marketing language, playing second base to a clearer narrative. Make direct, clear, powerful, storied and speedy narratives as much as possible, and you’ll find your ability to market yourself will grow.
I hope you were able to find something useful about marketing your business or yourself in this blog.
Until next time,