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> Harness the marketing power of blogs to improve your search engine placement
> Creating a content rich website
> Five Facts That Will Have You Re-Writing Your Web Copy

Harness the marketing power of blogs to improve your search engine placement.

This newest web phenomenon can rank your site #1 in search engines, boost traffic and sales, and establish you as an expert in your industry.

A "blog" (derived from the term "web log") is basically just a website with two key differences: First, it's extremely easy to add information to it. A blog is like an online journal, so you just log in, type what happened today, post it, and you're done! Second, you can add a simple little feature that automatically tells a whole bunch of other websites that you've made an update to your blog--every time you make a change.

However, what you may not know is that a blog can also be a very powerful marketing tool for your business, and some people actually earn an income just from blogging alone.

The fact is, blogging is fast becoming an extremely important strategy for any online marketer. An effective blog can:

  • drive swarms of traffic to your main website,
  • generate more product sales,
  • create an additional stream of advertising income,
  • be a great customer service tool,
  • and much more!
Blogs have an informal, conversational style, and readers can join in by commenting on each post. Blogs can be chatty, informative, opinionated and often humorous, and it's this "human" aspect of blogs that draws many people to them. But the best part about blogs is how accessible they are to everyone. Blogs are free (or very inexpensive) to set up using services like Blogger or TypePad. They're also easy to use (you can literally create your own blog in less than five minutes) and easy to promote with all the new tools and resources that have been created specifically for blogs.

The fact is, blogs are no longer just online diaries of people's personal lives. Both online and offline businesses can use blogs to take their products and services to a wider audience, increasing their traffic, leads and sales.

Creating a content rich website

Six important tips to make your site compellingly content-rich.

Want to know what makes one website a stand-out when others fail? In a word, it's content. Visitors to your website want to find a clean, readable design that has the right fonts and colors and quick downloads--but then they want the design to "get out of the way." Web users are voracious consumers of information. In fact, today's web surfers are looking at more web pages in a single session than ever, but are spending less time per page.

  1. Specialize and Focus
    Major brick-and-mortar retailers with strong online sales, such as Target and JCPenney, can excel by being generalists, but successful small-business sites tend to become recognized resources in one arena.

  2. Build Confidence
    If you can't differentiate your site based on what you sell, try capitalizing on how you sell. Customers are keenly interested in the ownership experience and will consider every aspect of your business, from your return policy and company background to the quality of your customer service, when visiting your website. Don't skimp on content devoted to building customer confidence. First and foremost, your site must be "outer directed." That means the copy should focus on what the customer gets, not on what you offer, and the single most important word should be "you," not "us.

  3. Go Deep
    Content-rich sites give readers what they need and more. Why present merely a picture of a product and a simple description when you can also provide its dimensions, applicable size charts, customer ratings and feedback, expert reviews, warranty information, shipping rates, expected delivery timetables, or additional product or service suggestions? You get the idea. Since the vast majority of shoppers do their research online before buying on the web or in brick-and-mortar stores, if your site doesn't have all the information they need in order to quickly and confidently complete a purchase, they'll simply move on.

  4. Get Organized
    Can you guess one of the chief complaints voiced by web users about the sites they visit? It's that they can't find what they're looking for. Never expect prospects to wade through page after page searching for a single item. Set up your site according to the three-click rule, with no page being farther than three clicks away from the main page of your site.

  5. Get Customers Talking
    For many types of sites, creating a forum for customer interaction provides an opportunity for deeper, richer content. Message boards, posted customer feedback or reviews, a question-and-answer forum, or a blog can add dimension to your site that encourages customer involvement. And the longer customers spend on your site, the more likely they are to be fully engaged in a positive way with your company.

  6. Keep Information Safe
    As you can see, sharing information on your content-rich site is a two-way street. One of the best ways to build sales along with customer confidence is to have an established privacy policy. Prospective customers want to know what you plan to do with the information they give you, and need the reassurance that they'll not be spammed or have their confidential information shared. So prove that working with you is safe by publishing your privacy policy, and stand by your promises.

So for your site to deliver customer satisfaction and build sales, effective content is of paramount importance.

Five Facts That Will Have You Re-Writing Your Web Copy

Do you know the differences between writing copy for the web and writing copy for print? Some of the answers will go against your intuition and against cultural norms. But, these facts detail how people read on the web. There's no use in arguing against them...
  1. Where Do Eyes Go First When Your Homepage Comes Up?
    Contrary to what you might think, it isn't towards the graphics or photos like in print advertising. Instead your prospect's eyes will first go to the copy. Specifically your headline and sub-heads. Therefore, your first chance to engage the prospect is through copy. Not graphics. Seeing as most web users look at a web page for only 3-15 seconds before deciding whether to stay or move on. The fact that they look at copy first has massive implications for your Web Techniques. Fancy graphics won't make a prospect stay on your Web Techniques. But a really strong headline and strong sub-heads will.

  2. How Much Of Your Copy Do Users Actually Read?
    The fact is that online users, on average, read 75% of the length of any given page. This is big news because most web pages will have the important conclusions, calls to action, and order information on the bottom 25% of any given page. That's a big no-no. Because it will never get read. You have to have your call to action and order information presented early on your web page to ensure it gets read.

  3. Don't talk features - talk benefits.
    Think quickly... in 10 seconds, can you list the 5 key benefits you offer your customers? I bet you said "Yes". Chances are you're mistaking features for benefits. As a result, it's likely that your marketing materials aren't engaging your customer. Customers don't want to know what you can do. They want to know what you can do FOR THEM.

    Most business owners and marketing managers are so close to their product or service that they have a lot of trouble distinguishing benefits from the features of their offering. Ask a web host "what are the benefits of your service?", and you'll likely hear something along the lines of, "we offer load-balanced server clusters." But that's not a benefit... that's what they do. The benefit is superior uptime and performance. In fact, so many people think features instead of benefits that it can work in your favour - to dramatic effect. If you can accurately identify your benefits, and convey those benefits to your market, you'll be light-years ahead of most of your competition. You'll be converting leads into sales while they're still bogged down trying to promote features.

  4. Why Is Reading Online More Frustrating Than Reading Print?
    Turns out that reading from a computer screen causes a person's reading speed to slow by 25% when compared to reading print. That means reading long copy can be very frustrating online. Break up the copy to help users through.

    Have a few one line paragraphs.

    Use headlines and sub-heads to summarize information. So users who are tired of reading word-by-word can quickly scan the rest of your document.

  5. Are Your Web Page Users Not Getting The Whole Picture?

    If you haven't made your web page truly scannable, prospects to your site may only be getting part of the sales message. Only 21% of online users read word-by-word. The other 79% scan a web page headline to headline. Sub-head to sub-head. Picking up only the larger, bolded or italicized copy.

    Your sales message has to be read both by scanners and word-by-word readers. Therefore all your major selling points, benefits, call to action and order info must be in easily scannable type. Otherwise your Web Techniques will only generate 21% of the sales it could be. And for the money you put into your Web Techniques, that's not good enough.

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