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Put Your Online Text to Work!

By Judy Vorfeld

Do you strug­gle through a maze of Internet words, acronyms, and phrases, won­der­ing if you’ll ever learn enough to suc­cess­fully oper­ate your online busi­ness? Is your brain buzzing with thoughts of asso­ciate pro­grams, e-commerce, con­flict­ing sta­tis­tics, just-in-time trans­ac­tions, B2B, B2C, B2Whatever, and branding?

A mar­ket­ing expert once said, “The prob­lem that most web site own­ers and Internet mar­keters have is that they are focus­ing on pro­mot­ing the site rather than build­ing the busi­ness.” Sounds good. Can you do it?

Perhaps you have vis­ited, or cre­ated, a site whose text began, “Welcome to our site. Grab a cup of cof­fee, sit back, and browse through our site. We want you to enjoy your visit, and hope you will take time to give us feed­back. Your opin­ions are very impor­tant to us.”

Compelling text? Um, not exactly. The prob­lem: thou­sands of busi­ness own­ers mis­tak­enly believe that because they intro­duce them­selves in a warm, casual man­ner, vis­i­tors will eagerly devour every­thing on their site. Warmth in text is okay, but it usu­ally takes more than warmth to con­vince peo­ple to read on.

If the aver­age vis­i­tor takes less than 20 sec­onds to decide whether or not s/he will inves­ti­gate your site, it is vital to give enough infor­ma­tion or clues on your first screen to “hook” that person.


Now what? If “wel­come to our site, have a good visit, and let us hear from you” isn’t effec­tive, what is? How about:

http://www.whatsnextonline.com/: “Want to sell the pants off your com­peti­tors? If you want to build your Website’s traf­fic, and turn more vis­i­tors into buy­ers, Call us! We’re the real deal.”

If your busi­ness is dwelling in the dol­drums, and your abil­ity doesn’t lie in mar­ket­ing, pub­lic rela­tions, and pre­sen­ta­tions, wouldn’t you think twice about hir­ing BL Ochman to get you up and run­ning? Especially when she says, “The rules of busi­ness have changed in the infor­ma­tion age. Yet most com­pa­nies are still using tired old tech­niques to try to draw atten­tion to their busi­ness. We’ll show you what works now!”

If you needed help mar­ket­ing your snazzy online busi­ness, would these words be enough to com­pel you to read on? In this case, they’re so good, they should! Especially with the clean, clear graph­ics and layout.


Let’s take things in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion for just a moment. Let’s bor­row some of the text from whatsnextonline.com and use it on a page with dif­fer­ent graph­ics, just to see how these sim­i­lar words come across: Whatsgarishonline: The words you see on this site are iden­ti­cal to those used in a pre­vi­ous example…if you can even find the words. Only the graph­ics differ.

QUESTION: Would the words on this page con­vince you to hire the com­pany to cre­ate your graphic design? Can you even find the words? Moral of this digres­sion: there must be a bal­ance between crisp copy and graphic presentation.

Want to try an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment in cre­at­ing a page from scratch? Try craft­ing the text as if you didn’t have any graph­ics or col­ors avail­able. By start­ing this way, and build­ing from there, your site may bet­ter reflect you and your busi­ness than if you start with graph­ics and fin­ish with text.


You may think I’m totally text-oriented. Nope. Look at Grow Younger. The home page is clean, con­cise, and com­mu­nica­tive. Well-crafted text inside this nicely designed site helps con­vey the per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter of the business.

Did Grow Younger offer suf­fi­cient infor­ma­tion about its busi­ness and the prin­ci­pal? Were graph­ics and text focused and pro­fes­sional? Did you find the first screen of the first page com­pelling or at least unusu­ally descrip­tive regard­ing the site’s con­tents? Would you, based only on this one visit, seri­ously con­sider giv­ing Grow Younger your con­sid­er­a­tion? Analyze why you would or would not, given the need.

Most small busi­ness own­ers have no choice but to design and re-design their sites. Rather than using graph­ics as a crutch, use them to com­ple­ment your text. Try to keep every­thing sim­ple. Simple doesn’t have to be ugly or boring.

Build your Web pres­ence, in part, by the care­ful, cre­ative use of words. You and I need vis­i­tors who view us not only as effec­tive busi­ness peo­ple, but as good com­mu­ni­ca­tors. Words matter.


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