Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dos and Don’ts of scannable website copy

scannable website copyWriting for the web is a lot different from other forms of writing. Not only do people spend precious little time on a web page, they also tend to scan, rather than read, the content.

Which means it is vital that you avoid reams of information on your web site, and instead create scannable copy.

Here are some dos and don’ts to help you write website copy that people want to read.

Do

Use Subheadings: these are a great way to not only break up copy, but also highlight main points. They make it easier for visitors to just read the sections that interests them, rather than having to wade through copious amounts of information just to get what they need.

Use break-out quotes: Got something important to say? Highlight it with some breakout copy (that is, copy that is not part of the main body of text). Put it in quotes, or a box, or italics.

Use lists: People love lists – this post is an example of how to use them. Make them punchy and interesting. And not just in blogs. For example, your landing page might have a list of “5 ways Acme Widgets will save you money”. Try not to go over 5, and put the most important stuff first. Scannable and intriguing.

It’s OK to break the rules: Professional marketing copywriters are constantly berated by clients not to start sentences with “and” or “but”, because that is what we learnt in primary school. But it’s really okay. And it can be a great way to make sentences stand out.

Be generous with the whitespace. This is probably more a design than copy issue, but as you write your content, keep in mind that it will not be one big mess of words, but rather a good website designer will break up those words with lovely, lovely whitespace.

Think font size and colour: Got something important to say? Then use a larger font, or colour the words red and put them in bold. Just make sure you do this judiciously, no one needs to see a website littered with too many different font sizes and colours.

Don’t

Go overboard: As mentioned above, make sure that you use different fonts, dot points, subheadings for important information only. You don’t want your website to look like Disneyland on acid.

Use too many exclamation marks and CAPITAL LETTERS: No one wants to be shouted at by an some kind of excited sales monster.

Justify the text: We see so many websites with the text centre-justified. This is very hard to scan and just looks messy. By all means centre your subheads, but keep the body left-justified.

Feel you have to say EVERYTHING on your website: This goes double for people in the ‘professions” who seem to want to prove their expertise. Trust me, no one cares, so just put enough information to tease the reader into calling or emailing you. Your copy should complement the design funnel, encouraging visitors to turn into leads and customers.

When you need scannable content that turns visitors into leads, contact Direct Sites Online 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au.

6 small business trends for 2014

small business trends 2014The crackers have been pulled long ago, the tree and decorations are in storage for next year, you’ve put away your cheesy Christmas CDs for the next 11 months and the kids are all back at school.

So it’s about time you put on your planning and strategy hat and have a think about what will help your business grow in the coming year.

With the digital economy growing by the day, you can no longer get by on traditional marketing alone – you need to get your digital house in order.

Here are seven things to focus on to ensure your business not only survives but thrives in 2014.

Give it away

The best way to grow your business is to give something away – and the businesses that give away things with the best value will scoop the pool. Great freebies include through writing an informative blog in your niche, offering downloadable videos, PDFs, app or even a free consultation to new clients.

But remember, like any marketing, you need to think about your return on investment. So if it costs you $200 in lost productivity to take a free meeting – you need to do your best to make sure that meeting is worth more than $200.

Content, content, content

As mentioned above, a blog – or any other fresh digital content – is a great way to give away free advice. You are not longer just in the widget business, but the media business as well. So start churning out photos, videos, slides, podcasts, blog posts and downloads.

Every business is an IT business

In order to survive, you need to be tech savvy – or pay someone to be tech savvy for you.  But whichever way you go, it’s important to know what’s worth outsourcing and what you can do in-house. For example, it’s worth getting a website expert on board to develop and launch your site, but you don’t want to be shelling out every time you want to uploaded a new photo, or blog post.

 Get mobile

Who could imagine a few years ago that we would be using our phones to access the internet, check out restaurant reviews, find a business address or check the weather. But these days, it’s the norm. Which is why your site needs to be not only fond via smart devices, but also readable and understandable on the smaller screen.

Personal brand is everything

With the advent of social media and Web 2.0, businesses can no longer get away with bengfaceless entities. So the person, or people, behind the business need to be visible – and creditable. It’s why your “about us” page is vital and why you need to be active on social media.

Get paid for results

Stop thinking in terms of trading time for money, and instead price your service and products based on results. In other words, track what you are worth and don’t accept anything less.

Get on the front foot and make 2014 your best business year yet. And if you need any advice or assistance on how to make the best of the digital age, contact Direct Sites online on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au