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Websites should tell a story

10. Building your Website & Online Shop

10.1  Websites should tell a story
In discussing online store photography it has been suggested that you begin by setting your camera to AUTO and that you just “point and shoot!”  In a similar way, to get the process underway, it is suggested that you begin to document your story by not being concerned about the detail and that you start by just jotting down bullet points of the message that you wish to communicate. Remember, that if you are to sell products that it is the deals, specials, guarantees, servicing support, etc., that should be the hero of the story. Where you supply a professional service, as does, a doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc., then it is your knowledge that needs to be showcased alongside the stories of your client's. So too, for other services such as carpet cleaning and motor car servicing, etc..
10.1.1 Tell it like it is

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter opened the door to “al fresco” story telling. On these sites, one does not have concerns about meeting professional journalism standards. Social media users believe that they should just tell their stories from the heart. You are the best person to tell your story and thus what is best is that you do so. The world will allow you to be you and to let you tell it like it is, straight from the fireside.
10.1.2 Go window-shopping

Let’s say that you have accepted the challenge to write your website content but have no idea of where to start.  In this case, it is no different to needing a solution to a problem that needs to be window shopped for ideas before one commits to buying something.
It is true that even the best “Wordsmiths” go Window Shopping for Ideas. Like all good journeys you need to plan the trip before you pack the car and head off, and so too, before you start writing, plan the story content topics by window shopping for ideas on the thousands of websites out there on every conceivable topic. Go browsing by window-shopping old magazines; attention-getting adverts, asking women, family, friends, strangers and by browsing the Internet and more for creative expression, attention getters, layout ideas and more. If the presentation of content in an old magazine is impressive to you, then use the layout design for your website story. Plan a Blog post to not exceed about 2,000 words. Activate the voice recognition option on your phone so as to record ideas when you are reviewing magazines at your local newsagent etc.
Finally, follow a few "eyeball trails."  It is what browsers will be doing. Eyeball trails normally start at local shopping malls, then they may take you to flyers, lists and handouts. From these links you may end up on a local directory where your progress will speed up as you browse listings and link to blogs, websites and online shops.
10.1.3 Use lists and ask questions

You will be writing some short stories. These stories will become your website pages, and thus you need to get your facts across, show that you are knowledgeable on the topic plus you will want to entertain the reader.
Wordsmiths Use Lists; they Focus and Promise Content. Ideas include:
  • Ask questions: are you looking for a spectacular holiday destination?
  • Create a top 10 list – if you do, it better be the best of something such as the top ten reasons for joining us on a bush safari.
  • List problems and then offer solutions.  Those that had engine problems on the last safari solved them like this...
  • Group your ideas into categories – browsers become readers when the “shoe fits.”  For the safari, you need clothing, food, maps ...
  • Use multiple keyword rich introductions to bait up. Bait say ten keyword hooks then … land their interest with compelling content.
  • The seven common mistakes many make – oh dear...  Being on safari can be fun but....
  • If you don’t, this is why you will regret it … - there is value in averting someone’s misery.
  • Will you recognize the warning signs… - we all want to know so, go on and tell us all.
  • Do you make these mistakes… - This introduction will build buy-in to… because of…
  • 6 Ways to...
  • If you are a 1, 2, 3, - you can get, and a, b, c, - this type of story plot builds audience inclusion.
10.1.4 Think
•    Think small and or crisp.
•    Think punchy and or compelling.
•    Think surprise and engage.
•    Think human; emotional and intelligent.
•    Think to yearn and fulfill
Think not what your business does. Show and tell: why you are passionate about your products and services, what you ache for and dream about and what your tips are to complete job satisfaction.
10.1.5 Get to the candy - fast!
  • Wordsmiths get to the candy…fast.
  • Readers have a busy life. The opportunity for distraction is huge. Are there hooks to why they should read further?  If there are no hooks, that website page will be closed.
  • Wordsmiths identify and talk to an “itch.” Many browses because they “itch” for knowledge about something or they seek to be amused or entertained. Anticipate user needs, identify search keywords and offer a solution to that itch!
  • In promoting your safari, rather than drone on about a boring sequence of events on a safari: we got up…, it was cold...,  I added sugar to my coffee..., - et cetera, rather than push the sequence of events, sell candy to itches.
  •  If they seek to experience wide open spaces; “one of the most freeing discoveries of the safari will be that it takes about an hour on your back, in bed, to realise that you will never be able to count the stars.”
Never assume that you know everything about your business. Get to know your business better by discussing what others find interesting, amusing, entertaining, inspiring, informative and educational about your business.
•    Do your website pages address user’s desires?
•    Why would they want to go to your website and what keywords would they search?
•    Why should they know what you have to tell or what is your unique selling point?
    What is the one thing that you want them to remember about your business or the advice that you have for them?
•    What’s the benefit of knowing and or understanding what it is that you have to share?
When you know what your friends have found interesting about your website then write compelling headings and sub-headings and link the benefits of reading your website pages to the shared content on them - consider the following:
•    How to ( The Topic) and ( The Benefit) - How to drive safely.  
•    (TOPIC) that (BENEFIT) - How to drive in a way that saves you money.
•    Illustrate. See how easy it can be to clean your 4x4 on safari.
•    Make a promise. It worked for me... it is ready to work for you.
•    Start with the candy. I do the safari every single year and why you too could get hooked.
    Subtle Bragging. Banker (unlikely person) inspired by the stars, discussed an idea for a new off-road trailer design around the fireside and then upon his return built it on weekends within three months.
•    Ask questions,e.g. Do you battle with..?
•    Commenting, e.g. This is what I love about being on safari and why you should join us...
•    I need not tell you why I love my 4x4 but here’s why you will...
•    Phone me if you do not agree with these reasons for....
10.1.6 Do not hard sell - chat
  • Invite your customers and suppliers to submit questions for your website so that you can address their needs and allow them to make informed choices.
  • Invite conversations, relationships and interactions designed to inform through a more social interaction on your blog or social media sites.
  • While big budgets often market content by saturating (or is it bombarding) our senses with graphic design (bling) meagre website budgets can be effective by making your site social and personal.

10.1.7   One more time and in short:


  • Wordsmiths advocate benefits… promise value… and wherever possible… measurable service delivery to the reader.  As soon as readers assess the value that you have to offer on your website your story will become a conversation, which is a very different experience to driving by (browsing) a big bling advert.
  • Browsers do not read they scan headlines. Catchy and compelling headlines attract.
  • Writing is about converting browsers to readers.
  • Browsers become readers when titles promise something of interest.
  • Consider outsourcing the writing of your website stories. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Try elance.com or webo.directory.
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