Does your website need rehab?


Here are 6 ways to tell if your website needs rehab.

  1. Ask yourself these questions. Does it have a goal? Is it useful and readable? Why would someone come to the site? Most people don’t go to a site because they just feel like sitting in front of a computer and reading about your company. Is your site full of in-house thinking? That simply means is it written for the people using it or is it written for your employees? Websites should use real words and not be filled with industry jargon.
  2. Does it identify you? Your site should:
  • Tell everyone about you – who you are, why they should listen
  • Be clear where the information is coming from
  • Be current and relevant – outdated information is a killer
  • Have a point of view – find a tone and style and stick with it

3. Great sites are scannable. Use bold type to highlight key points. Use lists and subheads to make information easily digested. Don’t underline anything that isn’t a link.

4. Write less text.

5. Downloads should be labeled appropriately. If it’s a PDF, mark it as such. If it’s a large document tell them before they initiate the download.

6. Interactivity is key. Use virtual tours. Add video. Use polls and surveys. Anything that draws the reader in and keeps them on your page is the key. Polls and surveys also give you quick information about what interests them and what you need to consider adding in the future. You can build future posts based on what your readers are telling you matters.

Just a few tweaks can help you create a website that draws readers in.

Is an E-newsletter for you?


A lot of people look at an electronic newsletter as the PDF version of their standard print newsletter. I think it needs to be more than that. Digital time is valuable time. If you are going to ask your readers to invest the time to read what you are saying, don’t make it just a repeat of something they already get.

They have signed up, given you their valuable email address and expect something for allowing you to fill up their in box.

Before you hit send on your next electronic issue, ask yourself some questions:

Why do you need it?

We have an evolving base of readers and customers. You must adjust what you do periodically to meet the needs of that changing demographic. Are you losing touch with the customers who contact or interact with you only through electronic channels? Are you making it convenient for them to get your information? With today’s mobile population, you’ve got to be where they are. Maybe a busy mom will open your newsletter while her kids are at soccer practice – does it function right on all kinds of devices?

Next you should determine how often you will deliver your information. Make sure you are consistent with this. You need to arrive on a regular schedule so your readers will know when to expect you. Make sure you don’t abuse fact they have allowed you in their inbox. Make what you send timely, relevant and entertaining.

Make the sign-up process easy. Use a service like mail chimp to deliver your information. Services like this allows you to track the number of readers, shares, which information got the most views and how many email addresses were valid. Most importantly, don’t send them information they don’t ask for. Just because they give you their email, doesn’t mean you have the right to flood their mailbox. That’s called SPAM!


Is it time to rethink your writing?


What is your job as a communicator?

I’d say it’s to make the important information interesting enough to capture a reader’s attention.

People respond to your stories on three basic levels: 1) intellectually, 2) emotionally or 3) visually.

That’s where creativity comes into play. If you can get them to visualize the story you are telling or get them to imagine themselves in that situation or event, you’ll have a better chance at them remembering it and passing it along to someone else. People share stories, not facts.

Creativity also lets you enjoy your job more. It’ll make you a better seller and keep your customers coming back for more. It creates interest for the audience. By telling them a story in a different way, you increase the likelihood they will remember it.

Stories are better than numbers. People can relate to them and they find them more believable. That means your material is easier to understand. If you can bring difficult information to life for your readers it’ll make the material more meaningful.

So how can you bring this creativity to your writing?

First, dig for information. How are others presenting it? Are their facts you haven’t considered? Put it all down on paper and then brainstorm. How can you fit all the pieces together? Is there a way to tie the information into the everyday life of your reader? How can you make it relevant?

Still need more inspiration?

When you are writing, change the perspective. Reverse it. Instead of “how parent effect children” try it as “how children effect parents.” Show them the wrong way to get them thinking about the right way to do something. Change the who is doing the action. Change the when it happens. Make it bigger or make it smaller. What if an article about heart healthy nutrition started with the headline “How to kill your husband”? Bet you’d read the first paragraph to see what all the fuss was about.

Finally, focus on new combinations. Look for everyday events as inspiration. How can you use daily activities to create topics that draw your readers in? What problems can you solve for them? What’s making headlines? What’s trending? If you can piggyback a topic or trend, you can use that to draw readers into you blog or publications.