I’ve been working away on a few things on my website to make it oh so much more appealing and effective
Okay, so, I’m not a web developer and these things can take a lot of intense eye squinting and expert movements of the tongue. But, if you read my last blog where we did an audit on my website homepage (cos we’re taking projects on in small bite-sized pieces here) you will know that two things that I said I’d start with were:
Well, I did it! Here is the new look:
Look I could spend hours trying to get a better design look on this but actually I just need my logo and service to stand out because that is what people are looking for. Might I add that it’s the words that count and good direction from your website.
Your website should be saying “Hello, my name is **** and you’ve come to the right place. What would you like today, let me show you how to get there”
So let’s move on to the next tasks which were to:
So I’ve changed the tone to match my brand voice and now my homepage sounds just like me. I love her! Lol! I do think that I’ve made it appeal to my ‘best customers’ because I’ve targeted the sorts of things that they may think/feel/want. I’ve written the copy to reach out to the kind of people who I want to work with. They don’t want to write their own web content and they know what kind of person I am--cool, easy-going, a genius, I could go on...Honestly, why wouldn’t you choose me? And, I’ve reduced the writing on the screen to offer a ‘value proposition’.
The next task is:
And there it is. Clickable links in bold with clear next steps will usher my clients from reading to enquiring or buying.
See how instead of having a whole blurb about my Web Content writing on my homepage I have just used this powerful statement:
I can make your web content talk effectively to your target market so that you don't accidentally give a poor impression to your customers.
Click here to talk about how I can help you to be 'super' content with your website.
My link redirects to a new spot for my Web Content information where the rest of the blurb, and a clear next step is available. What sort of next step? I have a buy now option that allows people to click and purchase my packaged items. Packaged items? That’s right remember my next task:
How will people know what you’re selling if you don’t tell them?
This is a lot simpler with product-based businesses because you can show and tell, but with service-based businesses such as You Have My Word it can be a bit tricky. When people ask me what I do I say ‘I write stuff’. That doesn’t really tell people much and they say ‘what kind of stuff?’ and I say ‘anything’. It’s not very helpful really and doesn’t do the job of ‘converting’ an innocent person into a customer.
So, I’ve packaged my services into products. I’m going to let a picture speak a thousand words here:
Now that I have packaged my services I have a place to usher people from my homepage to where they want to be. Trust me, they do want to be there. When they click on the product they are interested in they get the full compelling blurb that used to be on my homepage. Also, I can use the URL of the product to advertise my services on Facebook or any social media platform and when people click on it it will come right back to the product on my website. This will allow me to make Facebook Ads from them when I want to market my business services (more on this in later blogs, stay tuned).
What do you think? Has my website homepage and web content improved overall? This is just the beginning of a long journey into the world of effective websites and additional platforms which usher your clients towards conversion (that’s a fancy word for ‘buying things’).
If you’d like me to audit your website and whip-up some web content to delight your clients then you know what to do--contact me here if you want to work with someone cool (See what I did there? I just linked you to my web content product package--boom).
Let’s do a Web-Content Audit on my Website
This will be embarrassing, but I will do it for us. Let’s have a look at my website content and structure and do an audit. We’ll identify the strengths and weaknesses and make a plan on how to improve things . Sometimes it’s just easier to look at something and find problems than to come up with a plan of what should be there. That’s where that tired cliché about mistakes being 'learning opportunities' comes from. I like to live my life embracing all my flaws and mistakes. Guess what? I’ve learned a lot of lessons with my ‘fools rush-in’ habits.
What do the experts say?
If you’ve read my previous web content blogs you’ll see that I regularly refer to other experts who have good advice on offer. I'll always try to check-in with what’s happening in the web-content world, you can’t just write your website once and leave it that way forever. Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t need to? You can either use other’s advice and replicate it, or you can put your own creative spin on it. Anyway, this blog post by copywriter Jessie Lewis tells you all about what you should have on your website homepage. And, we can’t just use one source of information so there’s also this comprehensive checklist detailing how you can optimise your website homepage by Stream Creative. So let’s assess my website homepage.
What is your home page doing?
Jessie Lewis suggests that your homepage should accomplish these four things:
They seem like pretty good suggestion to me. I’d also suggest that as much of this story is told to your client in as short and easily accessible way as possible. So, does my home page do this?
Making my homepage great again!
Okay, well I guess you’d get the idea that I write stuff and my tiny little logo at the top does indicate that I have something to do with words. Am I being intriguing? Or, am I pissing people off with my subtle hints about what service I provide?
Here are the things that I need to change on my homepage
People should be able to tell in a matter of seconds what it is that I do and at the moment my website is not doing a good enough job of that. So I need to:
I like the picture, so that’s staying, and my menu is accessible and visible (basic navigation) so that ticks a few boxes.
We’re only part of the way through my homepage, so let’s move on.
Is my web content working?
So this could be described as the part where I’m ‘communicating my offering and its value’. It does look like a bit much writing though, and I’m not convinced it’s as impactful as it could be.
Jessie talks about making value propositions. Basically it’s a way of framing what you do to tell your clients what benefit your service will be to them. We are all pretty selfish people so most of the time what we want to know is ‘what about me’. So, it’s time that I change my wording to reflect that.
Why would someone want to use my service?
One reason is because I am great fun, and another is that I am an excellent writer. Who wouldn’t want that? Some people do not want that actually, so should I tone myself down to broaden my appeal? Um, I don’t think so. Let’s not get too far down the rabbit-hole of brand voice here, but I just want to say that my brand voice is articulate, sassy, and lots of fun and I only really want to work with people who are after that level of service. Nobody puts baby in the corner. Last time I updated my website I did tone down my authenticity and made my web content more ‘professional’. I pretty much hate it.
So, the task for this part of my home page is to:
What is the purpose of your website?
My purpose is to tell people what value I can add with my service and help direct them towards getting in touch with me so that they can start their ‘customer journey’ (this lingo for getting people to continually buy stuff from you is gold isn’t it?). So I need a system that acts like a virtual usher to push them through the whole ‘experience’.
How to guide your customers towards your service
Here’s how I plan to do this:
How to build trust
We’re nearly at the end of the homepage audit, hang in there! As you can see below I’ve got a contact form which invites people to contact me. Tick. I also have a testimonial slider that helps to ‘build trust’ because it shows why people love me and my work.
Now that we’ve finished my homepage web content audit it’s time to put things into action! I’ll let you know when I’ve ticked all the things off my to-do list so that my website is shining as brightly as I do which is so, so bright!
You can get your web content performing like a superstar
I can help you out with your web content too. Just click this link and let’s talk about how I can make your website an absolute beast!
Club Cabaret Part Deux!
Director: Dan Pengelly
Review Date: 21/09/2019
If you were lucky enough to catch Club Cabaret at Centrepoint Theatre last year, then you will be just as excited as I was to see ‘Part Deux!’ (if you’re scratching your head—it means part two) get brought back along with many of the same lovable characters and a seasoning of fresh ones.
‘Life is a cabaret’ and that is what we get to see at Club Cabaret Part Deux! All the messy and untidy real-life drama between lovable MC ‘Pierre’ played by Dan Pengelly and his wife ‘Darlene’ played by Darlene Mohekey spill out onto the stage. Pierre somehow manages to hold things together and keep ‘Club Cabaret’ moving along in an entertaining yet disintegrating way.
Emulating the low-budget vibe of your average cabaret there was a very similar set to the last Club Cabaret and if I am not mistaken the sign above musician Kane Parsons had been dusted off and put back up in the same old position. Clearly, they wished to be extremely authentic.
Darlene Mohekey graced the stage in a variety of different roles impersonating many cabaret stars. Personally, I think she is bloody great (and I think I am in good company in that opinion). On opening night Mayor Grant Smith was in attendance and that made him a prime candidate for being dragged up on stage by a drunk Shirley Temple impersonating Darlene. How she managed to get his fingers in her mouth shocked both me, the audience, and Grant Smith I suspect, and gave me an absolute belly-laugh. I really hope she washed her mouth out after that.
If my life is a cabaret it is certainly a cabaret with shit costumes. Darlene is an absolute darling and rolled out an exhausting number of costume changes which were all amazing. Apparently, her Mum was in the audience on the night and is responsible for creating her many beautiful outfits, what a legend (I hope I heard that right).
I’m considering changing my wardrobe at home to the ‘costume department’ and stealing the reused ‘Club Cabaret’ sign from Centrepoint Theatre after the show is over so I can hang it above my front door. I’ve also talked to the hubby about installing a trapeze/swing in the front yard so that I can dress up from my ‘wardrobe department’ and swing like Pink and yell feminist rants at the top of my voice. But this is not about me its about Club Cabaret Part Deux!, I was just getting carried away after all the inspiration on the night.
David Ladderman returns to the show with a personality that’s big enough to fill the room and the room next door and the one next to that. He seems like the sort of guy who would be fun at parties but annoying all the rest of the time (I wouldn’t know cos I’ve never met him off-stage but if he brings that much energy to a room on a regular day—no, sit down.) David always enters the stage with a variety of regular looking props and somehow makes them seem like the most interesting thing you’ve ever seen. You won’t need to see the show if I tell you what he gets up to, but I can promise his acts will keep you riveted.
David Heaphy is one of the fresh acts to join Club Cabaret Part Deux! and he gets up to some stuff that is both riveting and sickening. It was a love/hate situation for me. Every time he came onstage, I couldn’t help but wonder what sick shit he’d get up to this time. I think I held my breath the entire time he was on stage, covered my eyes and mouth and squealed ‘no’ or ‘oh my god’ repeatedly. What he could do with a tennis racket was mind-boggling.
Ellyce Bisson was also a new kid on the block at Club Cabaret Part Deux! and wowed everyone with her gravity-defying dance and aerial acts. I’ve never been able to get my legs to do what Ellyce did with hers. Seeing is believing and I believe I can’t.
Indy Henman is also new to Club Cabaret but not to Centrepoint Theatre where she has been involved in a number of excellent shows. Indy plays an intern at Club Cabaret Part Deux! and is delightful to watch as she refuses to be deterred by Pierre from bringing her own act to the stage. As usual Indy’s charming personality is infectious, and her dance skills are impeccable.
Pierre is a lovely, stoopid, sarcastic character. Personally I'd like to hug Pierre with my arms and legs wrapped around him. Unfortunately that's unlikely to happen because Pierre doesn't look like he could hold that kind of weight, and I don't have the strength in my arms to hold myself up. However, if you feel compelled to leap at him and squeeze him hard with your arms and legs I reckon he'd appreciate it.
Maybe you think your life is complete without the sparkle and drama of a good cabaret— it’s probably not. When you go to Club Cabaret Part Deux! you get to laugh and see cool things, and if you don’t want that in your life you should really ask yourself—why not? If you want to live life dangerously, I’d suggest booking one of the VIP tables at the front of the stage but if you’d just like to watch and laugh from a distance then the back row is a nice safe place to reside.
Now that you know you need a website for your business you’re chomping at the bit to get started on creating it--right?
My recommendation is that you hold your horses!!! I am one of those fools who rushes in and has regrets later (and before you do too much tut-tutting I just want to point out that fools like me have strengths too, we get shit done). I desperately want to be one of those people who restrains themselves while they perfect every part of their plans (I’m improving, honestly) but I’m not, and I did exactly what I’m advising you not to do. I grabbed the first website-builder platform I found on google search, wrote some very hurried and poorly planned copy and boom, my website was online. So my website situation was a bit like a speed-dating relationship and it’s working out okay, but I probably could have done better if I’m honest.
So how do you decide between building your own website or getting a Web Developer to build it for you?
One of the major determinants of this will be financial. If you have bucket-loads of money and you can be as free with it as confetti then hire the best Web Developer possible and get yourself the most beautiful and functional website that you can. I’m not trying to throw shade at Web Developers here by the way, you can get a huge range of prices and specialties among web-development professionals who will deliver what you need for your business. I would definitely employ the services of a graphic designer and web developer if my business required it.
The more complex needs your business has the more likely it is that you’re going to need a website designer to build your website for you.
You should start by thinking about what sort of website you need, for instance, do you need a shop, are you wanting to automate some processes like invoicing etc? Knowing what your needs are as well as your future plans will help you narrow down your options.
Some things to consider when you are choosing a Web Designer are:
If you’ve decided that you can, or have to, build your website yourself then you have a plethora of options to choose from for your website builder.
If you want to make a measured decision to select the best platform for your needs and not the speed-dating style selection I made then I suggest doing your research. There are heaps of articles with information out there about the pro’s and con’s of different platforms. I’ve selected this article to share with you because it ranks the most popular ones and tells you everything you need to know about what sort of website they’re appropriate for.
You will find that Wordpress is the most popular web-building platform and often used by developers.
The drawback with this, and the thing that made me avoid it, is that it takes a bit more technical nouse to build on this platform (though I think this is improving all the time) but ultimately it is probably worth pushing through the pain and doing it anyway. I didn’t, but hindsight being 20/20 and all that, I would totally choose it now.
I chose Weebly for mine which ranks at number seven on the Best Website Builder in 2019 chart. And, like I said before--it’s okay. It is easy to use with drag and drop functionality, has a good selection of templates and I have had minimal problems trying to achieve what I want on there. The downside is that it can be a little restrictive and apparently can be a bit problematic with SEO (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, I’ll write a blog about it in the future--you're welcome).
Where do you start?
Well, regardless of whether you’re building your own website or employing an agency or web developer you will still will need to gather some resources. I did a poor job of this initially but once again a small amount of getting yourself organised ahead of time will pay big dividends in the end.
You can build your own website with beautiful professional looking logos
I had a graphic designer create my logo and when I replaced the absolutely shit one I had initially made with the beautiful one the designer made I felt so much more pride and legitimacy in my business. If you’re strapped for cash and you can only afford a small amount of outsourcing then I’d recommend spending it there.
You’re going to need some high-quality photos
Do not use shit photos on your website. We’re not arguing about this, just don’t do it. If you don’t want to employ the services of a photographer to create a good selection of photos for you then at least get some high-quality stock photos online. I can’t remember where the one on my home-page came from but in general I use Unsplash for their free photo library.
You’re going to need a domain name too
That's the www.yournamehere.co.nz address, the address of your website so choose wisely. This article will tell you everything you need to know about selecting a domain name for your website.
What will you write on your website?
How will you tell your customers what you do? How will you make it sound interesting? This is where you need to really juice yourself for every drop of creative writing /marketing expertise that you’ve got. Here’s some help to get you on your way by way of another article not written by me. If you’d like to have a fairy godmother turn-up and take the pain out of writing your boring and ineffective web content then you should:
Hire a top-notch copywriter who knows a thing or two about writing web content.
I know of a great one--it’s me. Contact me here to get started. Tell your friends. Follow me on Facebook here, or keep an eye out for the next handy blog so that you can learn all the tips and tricks to DIY it!
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