Some years ago, a particularly successful farmer suggested to me: "If you want to be assured of a great harvest, you better put in the right kind of work"! Sage advice, especially on the web today. Having the right words in your articles, sales pages, social media entries, or videos, can indeed make the difference between stunning results, or dismal failure. However, words alone are not enough: you need more!
So what goes into an effective sales page or ad on the web today?
24 Delightful Ways To Make The Web Work Better For You
Let's explore some proven ideas:
Tip 01: The Myth Of Working Too Hard
As our wise farmer above noted, just working hard is not enough: we have to apply ourselves to the right tasks in the right ways. We can either learn how to do that, or buy in talent. Both paths are valid options depending on your resources and time-line.
Tip 02: How A Tip 01 Spin-Off Can Also Stall Our Efforts
How so: if, from a point of desperation, you're working especially hard and fast on creating your web pages, your solution and plan could be sending you in the wrong direction entirely, so you may just be moving further away from your goal, yet at a faster rate than ever before.
The first part solution: stop. Just stop, pause. Get some perspective. Why: you could be too emotionally close to the problem you're seeking to solve. Instead: consider asking for outside help. Just choose your sources wisely.
Tip 03: About Tools And What You Can Do With Them
Tools are valuable. Using the right tools in the right way at the right time provides great results, no matter what goal we seek. Easy statements can hide the true price of much knowledge gained, pain endured, and fortitude experienced. Leverage your tools and skills combined.
Tip 04: Developing Your Inner Wordsmith, Or Asking For Help
Sometimes, words alone enable you to meet your goal. Yet, getting the right words in the right order can transform a lackluster delivery, to create simply stunning material results!
"I love you" is clear, concise, and means something important. "I might love you", is something else entirely. A single word can change meaning and, more importantly, completely transform emotional impact!
Tip 05: About Murder And How To Slaughter Your Darlings In Style
How often do we see web pages with paragraphs so long that we start falling asleep on the third line? Self distraction is rampant among web visitors. Life today is busy and minds that are full of noise can become our enemy. How can you create a new space in the minds of your readers and visitors? That's the key challenge.
Occasionally, our biggest challenge is that we love our words. That's why sometimes the answer is: murder! Yes, kill long boring sentences. Kill every irrelevant word that doesn't contribute to what you want to say! Don't be afraid to murder your darlings, just make sure you limit such homicidal thoughts to removing unnecessary wordage.
Tip 06: Have I Bored You Yet?
This tip is about dealing with another big action preventer: unadulterated boring yada, yada, yada. Slay mediocrity if you want to experience the joy of sales and orders and a bank balance that swells. Feeling better? Still with me? How are we doing so far?
Tip 07: The Awesome Power of Research
Remarkable web results in words, graphics, video, all start with one essential process: research.
Background research is essential in understanding how to put together communications that engage and persuade and convince others to your way of thinking; to try your product, to react to your cause, or to share what you have to say.
Tip 08: Can I Have The Next Dance Please?
Just having the right words is not enough. Instead, using your own unique word dance helps too. Find a way to arrange and choreograph carefully chosen words in the right places to recoup the effect you want.
Tip 09: Your Words Are Where The Heart Is
Words and phrases, whether spoken or written, are only symbols that lead us to something far deeper, more poignant, evocative, and valuable: emotional responses.
Our emotions are what drive us to do mostly everything that we value. Sure, we like to think we make logical, sensible decisions, but more often, underneath that facade, our emotions are what drive us to take the paths we take. Get to understand emotional drivers. A great place to start is TED - ideas worth spreading.
Tip 10: How The Right Choices Help People Win
Often, a few carefully chosen words can make up for a page of drivel. Sometimes, a full page, or more, is exactly what you need. Knowing the difference makes all the difference. Ask Mr. William Shakespeare: "If music be the food of love, play on."
Tip 11: Commit And Show You Mean Business
If you try to please everyone, you'll slip down the pipe into the great unknown. That's where most of the web lives. Enjoy the view - or not!
Better: nail your idea, your message to the tree of commitment. With all the white noise of the world drowning out most voices, you've got to say something memorable, come up with ideas worth listening to. So choose your pitch, think, ponder, and say your piece. Stand for something or you stand for nothing.
Tip 12: Take A Measured, Calculated Risk
All great results come with some risk. If you don't like risk, do nothing. Yet sometimes, that too is more risky than doing something, or jumping on to the path that in your heart, you know you should.
If you're going to do something worthwhile, strategize and make your risk count, and you're more likely to succeed and bring home the results you want. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Decide, commit, then do. Yoda says it differently.
Tip 13: For Web Materials, Don't Forget Meta Descriptions
You need great, well thought out meta descriptions as part of your article or sales pages. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others will appreciate the extra efforts you go to.
If you're not sure what meta descriptions are, search on Google, or ask someone who can explain the topic clearly to you.
Tip 14: How Is Your Website Code Looking?
The quality of your website code can magnify, or crush, all written efforts you build into your article, sales page, video, or social media entry, dramatically affecting the words you write.
Shocked? Unfair? Sure, without doubt! A few years ago, we could write what we wanted on the web and still get great results. Today, for best results, your writing and your website code choices go hand-in-hand.
If you're not sure what to look for, ask someone you trust who does understand what smart, modern, website code should look like.
Tip 15: Ask Your Writers To Write Directly Inside Your Website Content Management System (CMS)
Please stop using word processing programs to write out website content and then use copy and paste to insert directly into your web Content Management System. Why, you'll almost certainly introduce "junk code" into your previously clean web pages.
Instead, get to understand the beauty and simplicity and sheer righteousness of writing directly within your CMS. That's precisely what your Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, or any other CMS is for.
Power tip: if your browser editing window is too wide, simply temporarily reduce the width of your browser window to say within about 6 or 7 inches, or 15 - 20 cm wide, whatever works best for you. Why: writing will be easier that way for you, your eyes do not need to constantly scan across from left to right, so typing, writing, and reading is more enjoyable, and creates less eye strain. Your eyes will thank you.
That's what I'm doing now as I write this. Writing web content is so much fun when done this way.
If your text or web page is not yet ready to be made live, simply mark it as non-public for now (in Joomla, we use an easy to access setting called "Special" access permissions: problem solved).
Alternatively, if your web writers can not yet break their bad habits, ask them to save all their written input as plain text. Why: word processed text when copied directly into a web page, usually introduces so much "junk code" invisible to humans, but highly detectable to search engines. Junk code does not help your relationship with search engines, ever!
If search engines could vomit, the mass of useless web pages made up of copied and pasted text from word processors would be probably be enough to create a sea of - well you know what. Not a pretty sight. Your web pages can be in that sea of web vomit, contribute to it, or better still, be above, in a clean environment.
Yet web vomit is all largely invisible to human eyes - that's the problem. So I recommend, abstain from the bad stuff by copying and pasting only plain text if, for whatever reason, you can't yet use one of the great free web content management systems.
Then ask your writers to insert their (cleaned) "plain text" directly into your web pages, and format text, headings, and sub-headings from within your website system. In Joomla CMS, with a little familiarity, the process can be so easy and enjoyable.
Tip 16: Using One or More Images In Your Web Page Content Is Essential
The right image, or images, included within your written piece is like adding color to a black and white photo (though sometimes, the stark, raw effect of monochrome is precisely what you might want).
In most instances, the right image, or images you choose, form an essential part of your "story". Pictures transform. Some people are more motivated by text, others by imagery, and others by movement, video, animations, or from everything on which your web page delivers.
Tip 17: What Is So Special About A Caption?
An image alone is simply a picture. Yet sometimes, to some people, when we add a carefully worded caption, your image becomes a self-contained selling machine.
You can add a caption below an image, or even above, to the left or right of an image. What's more, today, smart web design techniques also allow you embed captions directly onto an image when the user moves a mouse over your image, or touches the image on a touch device.
Even better, your caption can be created automatically as part of inserting your image on the page. That's why intelligent Joomla web design can also provide yet another remarkable time saver.
Never underestimate the power of adding a simple caption.
Tip 18: How Movement, Drama, Impact, Color, And Sound Work Together To Make A Point
Videos: don't we just love them? Great videos can entertain, educate, enthrall, and appall us. Yet one thing is for sure: they stay with us.
One thought-provoking video that has stayed with me can be found over at Ted.com: a remarkable story from Janine Shepherd. Yet even after you create or chose your video, how your video is inserted into your website pages can make a difference to your results. Details matter. So does reputation.
Tip 19: Resist The Urge To Over-Think Your Web Pages
Analysis paralysis, continual procrastination, inventing unnecessary delays, and writing countless drafts of articles for the web.
Sometimes, we can become so driven to think that we must be successful "this one time", that we fall into one of the many unexpected traps.
We can over-think and like a rabbit dazzled by car headlights, we don't know which way to turn. So we do nothing, or we do everything: continual writing and re-writing.
Power Tip: relax, apply focus, think clearly, ponder the goal, do your work, step by step is good, carry out your due diligence, simplify, then aim, fire, shoot. Then measure impact. Clarity of thought often brings accuracy of result. Taking lots of consistent little steps is better than risking all on a one-shot wonder.
Tip 20: Delivering Web Pages For Your Two Groups Of Visitors
On the web, all components that make up your web page text need equivalent web code elements, as part of your articles and sales pages.
These are part of the process of writing in the 21st century. You may think that you're serving people alone; that is incorrect.
On the web, you have two audiences: people, and search engines, both of which you would be wise to serve and consider equally.
Why? If you seek to understand the requirements of search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, without breaking their rules of engagement, for zero, or low cost, they can bring you benefits including exposing your web materials, articles, social media creations in front of more people: surely one of the most valued goals you seek.
Tip 21: Be Kind To A Web Robot Near You: Use Search Engine Optimization
High performing web materials today require search engine optimization. Search engine optimization of your written efforts is not about trying to trick search engines.
Rather, it's a process steeped in learning, and sometimes, re-learning about the web and helping search engines better understand what your web pages are about.
Please read that last sentence again.
However, that said, there are ways that you can do this well to deliver better results for you, and approaches that will perform poorly, or have you essentially banned from the web.
Everything you do online leaves a breadcrumb trail. On the web, we leave signals wherever we go, even when we think there is no trail.
I suggest, leave a clear, good trail, and present tasty biscuits to your followers at the end. Just help people help themselves. Think quality over quantity.
Again, if you're not sure how to go about this process, ask someone who understands what is required. Why: SEO done incorrectly can hurt your website.
Tip 22: Seek To Understand The Web Today And Your Unique Place Within This Drama
Explore, investigate what people want; what works, and what doesn't, in relation to what you do.
One more point I want to suggest to you is somewhat hard to describe, yet no less valuable. If you're online today, you - yes you - are a player in this field of dreams. With web access and some know-how, anyone can win, or lose.
Most sit on the sidelines, and that's okay if you like the view. Yet if you are a business, an organization, an individual who wants to earn more, get better results, build a better income and build a better way of life, the sidelines are not for you.
Instead, using the web in the right ways can help you so much more today than ever before! If the results you have now aren't working, then change: do something differently. The points in this article, and many others, can help you get started.
Tip 23: Try To Be Aware And Mindful Of "Over Planning, System Traps"
Sometimes, we can so easily become over absorbed in the technicalities of using various tools, spending so much time and resources on measuring, analysing, etc., that we forget that the main focus should be on communicating what we want to say, and how best to say our piece.
More men especially seem to be prone to this affliction. However, I suggest, for now, just keep this tip in mind. The following item, Tip 24, is the remedy.
Tip 24: All Plans, Intentions, And Initiatives Are Nothing Without This One Crucial Ingredient
Action: I've kept the best for last. The web loves movement, change, evolution. Be part of the change you want to see on the web.
Taking considered action steps toward your goal is one of the best single things you can do. Action, above all else transforms.
Without action, all of your plans and ideas are like a ship without a rudder, heading nowhere.
Take action. The action you take, you alone own. Start now for now is just about as good a time as any. Tomorrow won't wait and today will be gone soon enough.
Knowledge is a wonderful thing, and we can always be learning something new. Yet experience in using the knowledge we have and the knowledge we gain, is something else entirely. Like the sublime taste of a fine wine, some things just take time.
However, you can benefit. You don't need to trail blaze through the jungle that is the web today: just ask someone else who has already made the journey and knows a little more about a winning path.
Clients and many regular visitors know that while I develop websites, I also come from a background is as a technical writer. I am a member of The Society of Authors.
In recent years, I'm mindful that I've been spending far too much time developing websites, focusing on the code that makes everything work well. That's why I want to re-balance what I do; writing more web pages, articles, and so on, for clients the world over. I can work on one-off projects, or create regular content creations, and also offer retainer-based delivery.
When you hire me to write your web materials, to work on your problem or challenge, I will bring to bear on your project, well over 60,000 active hours spent testing, perfecting, writing and creating high quality, performing, search engine optimized websites, web pages and articles. If you want better results, contact me today. There's no time to lose. Let's get started!