Don’t make me download

I’m on my phone. Browsing of course, not talking.

Somehow a link to what seems to be a really interesting event or festival distracts me. Blah blah blah festival runs from 12th-17th of Never. I will be in that city then. Yay.

Oh noes. What exactly is on that’d I’d like to see/do? I hope there’s something really great the morning I’m free. Now where’s the listing of times?

And then as I scroll through the lovely responsive mobile website I see it. Download the programme. I scroll up and down and click on the hamburger menu. No, no other option to find out what’s on only download.

Having updated the website of an event called The Kennedy Summer School this year, I know an awful lot of time goes into not only creating an actual events page on the website of an event, but also individual event pages. It’s not as much time as goes into the design of the physical programme for that year. But it’s time somebody has to do.

And unfortunately, in my travails around the web in the last few weeks, I have been offered no choice by a couple of event websites other than to download the programme.

On mobile, I want to see a listings page, click on what suits me and copy this link into a tweet, text message or Facebook post, or perhaps even a Whatsapp to share with friends. What I am effectively doing for an event organiser is converting one ticket into five, or even more.

So now that you’ve signed off your beautiful physical brochure is there any chance you’d give us web people simple text with details of each event and then a link to that individual event’s precise details. Thanks.

When you’re planning your social media posts you can then send out a tweet for example to that individual event mentioning a speaker or participant’s Twitter handle. They in turn can tweet out details themselves to their fanbase/followers. Don’t pinch the pennies on this one. It will pay for itself.

Trust with a capital T: a keyword in the copywriting process

Kilkenny castle, fantastic conference venue. That's a 13th century beam in a round tower #ciakk

T-shaped support holding up a 13th Century ceiling in a round tower. T is for trust.

Trust is the keyword in our business.

We know clients often choose to work with us because they don’t have the time or skills to write material for their websites in house.

Indeed many clients don’t even have the time to sign off on what we’ve written for them.

So where does trust come into all of this? Read more

Quote unquote: case studies

What do you think of testimonials? What do you think of recommendations on LinkedIn?

Sometimes you don't get the full message

Sometimes you don't get the full message

When buying a book or a DVD is the few words of praise from a well know writer, journalist or publication enough to make your mind up and hand your money over to the cashier? Or will you have made up your mind based on in-depth reviews or interviews with cast/crew/authors?

When it comes to choosing a service will you rely on testimonials on a company’s website or brochure to make up your mind? If they were available would you make up your mind based on in-depth features, articles or case studies on the company/service?

When it comes to your own business, do you think potential customers or clients might make a positive buying decision if they knew the full story of how you can help, how great your customer service is, etc?

If you think that’s a possibility, have you ever thought about useful and informative articles on your website, written in a journalistic style? Why not just ditch the boring About page and replace it with text written in article style, quotes and all telling readers about the company/organisation/product? How about a profile with quotes and background info from each staff member that would normally have appeared on the ‘Our Team’ page?

And when it comes to testimonials, do you think they give enough of a picture to a potential client about how you provide a solution to their problem? Why not tell a story?Tell a story with details of your client’s business, their problem, your solution and how you used this to solve their problem. Written in a journalistic style, with background information and direct quotes, it’s bound to help them more than a sentence or two on how great and wonderful you are.

Get attention, get content, inform, get more than a pat on the back, get people interested.

Is your online presence like a dodgy dentist’s drill?

The Facebook status update was horrifying. Somebody had been in a dentist’s and got out of there as soon as possible after the dentist started calling her teeth “toes”. It was a candid camera moment surely, except there was no Jeremy Beadle or Mike Murphy or one of the Naked Camera team to jump out from behind a curtain. The unhappy patient got out of the dentist’s chair and made a status update enroute to the next dentist. (There were other factors to consider like the dentist’s equipment breaking down and also the fact he thought the patient needed something serious done there and then, when a second opinion later differed completely, opting for a less serious and inexpensive solution).

The most interesting thing about it all is that the disturbed patient in question wrote about the dentist: “The fact that their website is a facebook page should have had me on awares!”

Lately, I had been of the opinion, in a bid to get all the businesses in the town of New Ross online, that Facebook pages would be a good stepping stone to an online presence where businesses didn’t have the resources for a website.

But maybe I was wrong. Because it seems, in this case at least, that your online presence is like a dodgy dentist’s drill. We may be talking about the fact that the dentist’s drill was dodgy but people may think we’re talking about drill belonging to a dodgy dentist. (Nevermind the fact the drill could have cost a lot of money – it’s also important to keep in mind that some organisations do go to a lot of expense in developing a Facebook page, so they’re not as cheap/free/inexpensive as a consumer might think).

Does a cheap (inexpensive) online presence cheapen the opinion clients and potential clients have of you? Is Facebook or a Google Local entry enough? Is it better to be online anyway and get in a few customers that way and risk comments like the above? What do you think?

Who do you write for?

Ask a journalist who do they write for and they’ll probably ream off a list of magazines or newspaper.

Ask a web copywriter who they write for and they may list of a load of clients. But really when you’re asking that of a web copywriter that’s not necessarily the answer you’re seeking. The first on their list should be the reader. Of course you do some writing for the client and of course if you’re including keywords and key phrases in the text to help with SEO, well you’re writing for the search engines and their algorithms and systems.

Dealing with inadequate content

Some people to seem to think that a Google patent in relation to ‘inadequate content’ means that keyword stuffed, uninteresting and useless content will be filtered out of results. That’s great for search engine users so – they’ll probably get the useful information they came to the internet for in the first place. It’s a great theory – but there are other things at play…

According to the Financial Times “Google obtained a patent this year for a system that would help it identify “inadequate content” on the web, based on comparisons of what people search for and what they find.” This information could be sold to online publishers or given away.

The SEO by the Sea blog raises the question as to whether people would start writing content on areas because Google suggests there’s a lack of content on that topic? He also says that sometimes people blame the search engine as opposed to content creators when they get search engine results they aren’t happy with.  He adds: “It’s possible that there may be information on that query or topic that isn’t in a very search engine friendly format, which couldn’t be indexed by the search engine. It’s also possible that there just aren’t very many quality pages that might provide results on those topics.”

Referencing the Financial Times article on TechCentral.ie they’re saying “If true this could lead to a paradigm shift in how companies handle copywriting to become more reader- over system-oriented.”

So how ready are you for whatever Google is going to next throw at us? Do you have quality content? Do you think it matters? Are you writing for the reader?