Not to be outdone by the iPhone, Nokia has launched Great Pockets, a site that creates an entire line of fashion with special pockets just to carry the burgeoning supply of digital devices we all use on a daily basis. Of course, the fashion are horrible and after a bit, you are whisked to another site that sings the glory of the Nokia N95, an iPhone wannabe that’s a phone, mp3 player, gps, camera and video cam all rolled into one.
It’s easy to hold some romantic notion that someone’s going to brew up a mug of coffee, curl up with her laptop on the couch, and browse your web site for a while. Trust me — that never actually happens (except in commercials). If people are visiting your site, they’re there for a reason. As much care and love as we might put into crafting captivating copy, the honest truth is that most visitors won’t actually read it. In reality, they’ll probably scan it for a second or two to see if it’s what they’re looking for, and move on if it’s not.
Create Visual Hierarchy
Creating a consistent visual hierarchy throughout your site gives your readers visual cues to the importance of various elements by using color, contrast, size, and relative placement. You can use style sheets to apply these rules consistently throughout your site.
Make it Easy on the Eyes
Don’t tire reader’s eyes with small type, brash color combinations and wide columns. Conventional print wisdom tells us to use serif fonts for body copy and sans-serif for headlines, but Web Marketing Today’s user survey found that web readers tend to prefer sans-serif fonts. Type vendors have made strides over the last decade to optimize popular fonts for screen readability, but remember this golden rule: you can specify any font in your web pages, but people will only see the fonts actually installed on their computers. For this reason, I usually recommend commonly-installed fonts like Verdana or Arial.
Intro. Body. Conclusion. Repeat.
Remember back to your school days when you first learned to write essays? I can hear the teacher now: “Intro, Body, Conclusion.” Dust off that phrase and hum it like a mantra while you’re writing your web copy. Start by creating outlines — for each page and every paragraph within that page. Intro – Body – Conclusion. Summarize the page content within the first paragraph. Now go back to each paragraph and summarize its content in the first sentence.
Headlines can Build Interest
Legendary adman David Ogilvy once stated that “four out of five people don’t read past the headline, so when you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents of your ad dollar.” Though you may feel you’ve spent lots of time fine-tuning your copy, it’s time to go a step further and give your paragraphs a heading. Your first aim is to summarize content, but if you can tease readers’ interest, that’s even better. Why not ask a question to be answered by the subsequent paragraph? (And while you’re at it, see if you can use one of your key search terms in the heading or subheads to boost rankings).
Practice Makes Perfect
Like many art forms, writing effective web copy is a skill that grows with use. You don’t have to change your site’s copy all at once. I recommend starting with your most visible pages and working your way through the rest of your site applying these principles. Creating an easy-to-scan site enables visitors to find what they’re looking for, read what’s most important, and get further into your content-rich site without feeling bogged down.
We’ve covered on several occasions the notion that the future of mainstream media is local media – that the network effect of the web removes the need of news collecting organizations or editorial teams. On Publishing 2.0 Scott Karp explores the theme further by wondering if newspapers should become local blog networks.
Maybe what newspapers should become in the digital media era is a network of local bloggers — maybe there are three tiers of journalists at these blog network “newspapers”:
- Full-time reporters and editors, who ensure breadth of coverage, quality and standards, and public mission
- Paid freelancers who write on a regular basis, but not full-time — these can be stay-at-home parents looking for supplemental income, retirees looking for extra income or to keep busy, college students, etc.
- “Witness” reporters (avoiding “citizen journalist” on purpose), who contribute to the reporting effort when they witness news in some form
Many newspapers are closer to this model than they may realize, but there a few radical steps required:
- Use more freelancers who can post to blogs part-time
- Create a platform for anyone to report news — but on the established blogs, not in some big sloshing vat of random submissions — if someone wants to contribute regularly, give them their own blog, a focus, and (just enough) structure
- And stop publishing in print.
Which sounds like a promising direction. The problem that we see is that journalists can’t blog. Nor do the majority want to. We’re kind of reminded of all those industries where the workforce were replaced by fewer more technically-skilled staff with better machines to do the job…
Related PSFK Stories
Get ready to throw your PlayStation, Wii and iPod in the bin – the old-fashioned jigsaw is back.
But the traditional board game has been dragged into the 21st century and now a sense of self-satisfaction isn’t the only thing to play for – a $1million (£490,000) prize is up for grabs.
The Golden Jigsaw is about to take the world by storm (perhaps), but competitors will be looking for missing pieces on the Internet instead of down the back of a sofa.
The Golden Jigsaw – A new dawn for online marketing…
Imagine a huge stream of worldwide traffic visiting your commercial website, compelled to explore and experience your business, rather than just clicking away?
This is the holy grail of internet marketing – and now it can be achieved – by participating in one of the most viral and unique internet projects on the web – The Golden Jigsaw.
The Golden Jigsaw is the first incarnation of a new marketing technique. It is a blend of 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and online treasure hunt. Players can participate for free and the winner, the first to finish the puzzle, will win $1,000,000. The pieces that players need to complete the jigsaw are hidden on websites all around the internet. Players are given simple anagram clues as to the URLs of these sites to find them.
Come take a look at what is shaping up to be one of the biggest viral events of 2007, and what it could do for your business…
In the light of the current eco mantra that supermarket carrier bags are bad for the environment . I thought that this product may give a little bit of cred to this new ethos…
US based but nothing to stop it being a worldwide prodcut …..
Interesting article showing how in the last decade or so groundbreaking technology innovations and new channels and modes of consumer communications have fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with and respond to choice in the marketplace. Marketers may have a new toolset, but so do consumers. How does this affect the traditional marketing model? Should it? Is it even a meaningful model anymore?Marketing is an old industry.
For more on this and the need to change check out this link:-
Here is a spoof ad that Friends of the Earth has posted on YouTube, which bemoans the closure of local shops because of people making one big weekly shop at Tesco, Asda, Morrsions, Sainsburys, Waitrose……..
The spoof illustrates why user-generated media should be left to the amateurs, because they do a much better job at it than a committee sitting round a table. The FoE spoofs sounds like an overly preachy, 1970s Public Service Announcement. They’ve got a sensible message, the aim is to try and convince shoppers — who are increasing short of time an money short — to shop locally using a bit more fun and humour instead of relying so much on guilt.
Here’s the Friends of the Earth – Benefits of Local Video
Thought this quote made a compelling point:-
“Part of the reason to buy local is to create a sustainable community where you live. Isn’t that compelling reason enough?”
Local Site Targeting
Local sites aren’t just about news and weather anymore. They’re as vibrant as the cities they represent.
And here is site that is trying to help a little : Locally2U.com
This a great video presentation on how Hugh MacLeod took a little known South African wine (Stormhoek) from semi obscurity into the the world of the web and took it global. For info he was the guy who posted the Threser (UK Off Licence Chain) voucher on his blog (on purpose to promote the wine) and got coverage on the national news…
Here’s the link….
What is the tune to this ad it’s driving me mad…