… And Why That Means Business for Talented Web Copywriters, Designers, and Marketing Consultants
Take a quick tour of any website and you will almost always find at least one of the “7 Deadly Website Sins” listed below. A smart web writer knows that any of these website faux pas actually creates a perfect opportunity to pitch your web writing and consulting services!
- Too much flash, not enough substance
Unfortunately, many business owners like to “strut their stuff” more than they like to face the truth about what works and what doesn’t on the Internet. Slow-loading graphics, logo after logo of affiliate links, and ill-placed, unrelated Google ads all distract from what should be a coherent, powerful message. Not to mention dramatic and pointless Flash entry pages which are incompatible with the iPads and iPhones in use everywhere today.
- All form and no function
At first glance, many websites look as though they’ve been professionally designed, well thought out, and customer-tested. But that’s just it — they LOOK as if they have everything they need … until you actually try to navigate the site. Once you start trying to find that specific information, product, or service that led you to do a web search in the first place, you realize with growing frustration that there’s no logic to the site at all.
The bottom line for an effective website: If customers can’t find exactly what they’re looking for fast, they’ll click away — never to return!
- Convoluted sales process
To give a classic example of how damaging this problem can be, let me tell you about a frustrated client who complained about his website’s less-than-impressive sales. A quick complimentary analysis showed him a jaw-dropping problem: he was making it almost impossible for his visitors to buy! After reading a long introductory landing page and clicking the large red “Buy Now” button, prospects were subjected to yet another sales pitch — this time a 12-minute video — before they could even give the client their credit card number! The most effective websites make it smooth, seamless, and effortless for customers to buy.
- Fonts and colors from “the dark side”
While a “creative” designer might recommend — and a business owner might love — a dark red background with pale yellow text in Old English font, just think of the customers who might be trying to read web pages not just on a computer screen, but on smaller hand-held devices. The best websites consistently use dark text on a light background — and simple sans-serif fonts that allow the reader’s eye to glide easily over the information.
- Nobody “behind the curtain”
Let’s face it, the Internet is full of great stuff — and unscrupulous, dishonest, and downright tacky stuff. How’s a surfer to know the difference? One way to ensure a business is granted the credibility and trust it desires is to provide complete contact information, including telephone number, mailing address, and street location so site visitors, leads, and customers know it’s a real business.
- Using other people’s stuff
Netcraft, a UK-based Internet services company, estimates over 582 million active websites on the Internet as of January, 2012, with more than 27 million added in the last month alone. Some unscrupulous webmasters never give a second thought to using somebody else’s words, music, pictures, or videos — after all, with so many sites on the Web, who’s to know? And if it doesn’t explicitly say “Copyright,” it’s up for grabs, right? Wrong. On so many levels. Copying someone else’s work is not just unethical, it’s illegal.
- Careless spelling and grammar
Nothing says “amateur” louder than simple grammar mistakes and sloppy proofreading. A misspelled word, a misplaced apostrophe, a misused turn of phrase all communicate volumes about the website owner’s lack of interest in: detail, quality of the marketing materials, and effectively connecting with prospects.
These “7 Deadly Website Sins” Can Help You Build Your Business!
With so many businesses on the Internet, the market is almost infinite for motivated, talented writers and consultants with an eye for detail. Turn these “7 Deadly Website Sins” to your advantage by offering current and potential clients a quick, complimentary analysis to show them you’re just the person to help them improve their online performance. Here’s how:
- If you’re just starting out, create “before and after” examples for your portfolio. Find “problem” websites, highlight what works, point out what doesn’t work, and recommend specific improvements.
- Turn a one-time project into a more lucrative consulting opportunity. Upsell new clients by providing a quick critique based on the “7 Deadly Website Sins,” pointing out how website mistakes may be inadvertently turning away business.
- Increase the perceived value of your services. Offer a complimentary 7-point critique as a premium or bonus to your most loyal clients, and show how you can help them improve their website’s performance.
- Set up a monthly contest for your subscribers — and offer a complimentary website analysis or critique as the prize. Each month, with the winner’s permission, feature the critique in your newsletter, or post it on your blog.
- Add “website auditor” to your job description, and offer a complimentary 7-point critique as an introduction to a more thorough, comprehensive, paid website audit. (To learn the most systematic, detailed approach to providing website analysis for your customers, I’d have to recommend Pam Foster’s Site Audits Made Simple program.)
The key to success in any business is to provide value above and beyond customer expectations. And one of the keys to becoming a Wealthy Web Writer is looking for — and taking advantage of — every opportunity to demonstrate your insight and expertise.
Helping your clients overcome the “7 Deadly Website Sins” will help you do just that. You’ll increase your credibility as a web professional, get more referrals from satisfied clients, and as a result, you’ll be able to ask for — and earn — higher fees.