You are about to step out of your car. Suddenly you catch an interesting show on the radio. You don’t even realize that your hand is still on the key, the door is half open, winter breeze bites you, you start getting cold, you don’t care. You hear the host’s voice but you don’t get his name. The topic is great, he speaks the right words with the right tone and pace that makes you want to stay there forever. A voice in your head forces you to ‘turn it off now, or you’ll be late to work!’. Later in the evening you’ll try to download the entire show in your iPod and will finally get the name you was searching for, Google it, Like his page on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter. You’re a fan! And the podcast is still playing.
You know this scenario very well, right? Great content sell product and services like crazy. As a matter of fact, you’ve been sold. Remember, you heard it on the radio first, and opened your web browser, searching. What if it all started on a website. Your website? These are the 5 ways leading to a succesful online experience.
1- Plan ahead
People invited on talk shows are there for a reason, they know what to say and how to say it. They rehearse their content, like a basketball player rehearsed his shots until it becomes second nature, you need to get your content right. Who are you going to talk to? What are their problems? Do you have the solutions? How are you going to make them feel better?
2- Know yourself
Nobody is like you nor want to be like you. You are different. Get the idea that you are ‘just’ a professional among others out of your head. If you don’t tell the stories your way, you’ll become a commodity. By knowing yourself you’ll attract the right type of customers for your business. You’ll also have the courage to say no and set your boundaries. It seems obvious, but hard to put it to action. Your website is you, your business.
3- Design sells
Design is not about things looking nice but how they work. Where is the spirit that your logo and graphic charter should convey? It’s story. The colors on your site mean something. And you have to know what they mean to ‘you’. Same for the typefaces. Look for the details. Test things out: if this paragraph was shorter and placed elsewhere? Is this photo tue right one to tell my story? Shall I crop it, make it bigger?
4- Make it simple
Simple doesn’t mean cheap or easy. If you can’t find a talk show episode on a radio’s website and download its podcast easily, if you can’t find the ‘Post A New Thread’ button on a forum, it’s going to be a painful experience and you’ll use the ‘Contact us’ form to vent your frustration. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
5- Great content is in the journey
Sometimes you’ll not be in the mood for blogging, your promotion footage will suck and will need more edits, your Facebook post will not perform well. Great content is about trials and errors. It takes years and a lot of practice to nail it. Your website is just the tip of the iceberg. Content is key. Your website is the case, please make it awesome.
Most entrepreneurs got it all wrong when they bring their online presence up. They think it’s all about putting things out quickly, using free or cheap online publishing tools. They skip the fundamentals of design, marketing and positioning. They don’t think about great experience. They hope that using shortcuts, it might do the trick. Oh! If it was that easy! I often hear this ‘we are short on the budget’. No, maybe you are short of ideas, that’s normal. But just because the money runs short when you start building a house doesn’t mean you have to find shortcuts to finish it. Pause the construction. Spare the money. Finish the house like you planned. A house is never finished anyway…