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rezzy
03-06-2009, 11:49 AM
So, now that I understand a bit more about what this is.

I want some ideas on focusing my site's call to action, while I am still in development stage.

I tend to examine alot of competitors sites but wanted to do things which were a better fit for me and learn how to improve copy writing in the process.

vangogh
03-06-2009, 12:28 PM
Well the first thing to know is you have to add one to the page. For example if you want someone viewing a page to contact you then you need to tell them to contact you. Maybe it's a link that says 'contact for a free quote' or maybe it's a button saying 'contact now'

You have to think about who your potential clients are. What's going to make them contact you. What objections might they have to contacting you. Also think about the purpose of every page on your site. What's the page trying to do? What can you reasonably expect it to do? Odds are people aren't going to contact you based on your home page so you don't need to have a hard sell on that page. With a contact form make it simple. Collect only the information necessary. Anything else is just another potential objection.

Understand why people buy. Thy buy based on emotion. They buy because you have something that will help them. They want to know what's in it for them. I like the way the Eisenberg brothers (grokdotcom) talk about it being persuasion architecture. I'd highly recommend their books. They're inexpensive and quick reads, but they pack in a lot of info.

Dan Furman
03-06-2009, 02:39 PM
So, now that I understand a bit more about what this is.

I want some ideas on focusing my site's call to action, while I am still in development stage.

I tend to examine alot of competitors sites but wanted to do things which were a better fit for me and learn how to improve copy writing in the process.

Before I offer input, let me ask: Are the sites in your links your web design/business sites? Are those the sites you are looking to get an action from?

rezzy
03-06-2009, 02:56 PM
In this case, I would say yes. But I am also looking for advice in a general sense. Which I can use for my clients.

vangogh
03-06-2009, 04:48 PM
Bryan I think the more specific you can be about the site the better the response. Sites are different and what would work for one might not work for another. You wouldn't do the same thing on a corporate site as you would on a site for children.

A general thing to me is matching the style of your copy with your visitor and with your strengths. I mentioned this in another thread, but over time I found many of my clients liked the personal touch I added to our business relationship. It was a strength for me and so I rewrote the copy to be more informal. I'm sure I do plenty of things a copywriting book would tell me not to do, but I'm also sure it works for me. It probably turns away more corporate clients, but since I don't have a great interest in working with corporate clients it just saves me time responding to email.

There are also small things like a message about how you value privacy (maybe with a link to a privacy policy) right next to every time you ask for a person's email address. There are things like streamlining a shopping cart to reduce abandonment rate. Are there too many steps/pages to complete the cart? Do you show in advance how many pages the cart is so the person filling it out knows how much is left? Is your cart asking for unnecessary information?

I can't tell you how many times I was willing to fill out a form, maybe for a free download of some trial software. Having enjoyed the freebie I may very well have gone on to purchase. However the site would require me to give them my physical address and phone number and other info not needed to let me download a file. So instead I left. If I really wanted the download that much I'd enter a fictional name. Let's just say Homer Simpson has downloaded a lot of things over the years.

Dan Furman
03-06-2009, 05:10 PM
In this case, I would say yes. But I am also looking for advice in a general sense. Which I can use for my clients.

Well, the first thing I can tell you is.... I don't understand your sites at all. It's not really a business website - it's a blog. So I don't quite understand what the focus is. It seems like I almost have to already "know" (in a fairly detailed manner) what you do. I can't see someone landing there and saying "yup, this guy has exactly what I'm looking for".

I don't mean that to pick on you or anything - I just don't "get it", I suppose. Is there any reason to have a blog over a regular website? Because for the life of me, I can't figure out what exactly it is you do. Again, maybe you mean it to be that way. Let me know if that's the case :)

See, to me, that's very first thing a site should do - that's my biggest piece of advice: make a customer say "yes, this is exactly what I was looking for". I don't see yours doing that.

My web visitors generally come from adwords - they searched for a copywriter (or similar), and clicked on my ad. So I want them to read for three seconds and say "yup, this guy has what I need... let me read some more"

vangogh
03-06-2009, 05:59 PM
Bryan I see Dan's point. Why not right under your name in the upper left add a simple tagline mentioning web design services. Your signature here says site design, but you don't see that right away on the site. You could also add some information above the first post.

You have a contact page, but why no services page? Why not list your services? If I arrived at your site now I wouldn't even know you offered any services.

You can set up WordPress to act as a full CMS with a home page at domain.com and a blog at domain.com/blog. Add some basic sales pages. About, Services, etc

Right now the most important thing is really to add some pages to let people know what you do.

rezzy
03-07-2009, 11:54 PM
Thanks Dan and Steven. I was trying to figure out what information should be placed there before jumping into it. I realize that information is very skimpy at the moment.

As I add content and improve the site, I wanted each move to improve the sites.

vangogh
03-08-2009, 01:32 AM
That's fine wanting to improve the site. Just don't feel like you have to make things perfect before you add something. There's a point where you have to stop figuring and start doing. It's ok to jump in sometimes and sooner or later you have to.

rezzy
03-08-2009, 10:34 AM
That's fine wanting to improve the site. Just don't feel like you have to make things perfect before you add something. There's a point where you have to stop figuring and start doing. It's ok to jump in sometimes and sooner or later you have to.

Well taken.:)

Dan Furman
03-08-2009, 01:02 PM
The first thing you need to do is have a clear focus on the website. Basically, I'd ditch the "blog as the site" thing, and look to a more conventional design. You know, link bar across the top/down the side - "home, about, services, FAQ, etc." The home page should be a static page, not the latest blog post - all that does is make it confusing.

I know some blog sites do that, and it could work, but you have to have obvious navigation. If you don't - if I can't tell what's going on within half a second - it's just a bunch of noise that nobody will look through (sorry, but "blog as the home page" sites are really tough to navigate). Look at my "books and blog" site below - that started life as a wordpress template that Steve (Vangogh) customized.

vangogh
03-08-2009, 01:19 PM
Dan I think the blog as site can work and it's becoming more and more common for web designers. I think the more important part is adding the other pages and getting the navigation in there. Also putting up a tagline to make it clear what the site is about.

Dan Furman
03-08-2009, 01:58 PM
Dan I think the blog as site can work and it's becoming more and more common for web designers. I think the more important part is adding the other pages and getting the navigation in there. Also putting up a tagline to make it clear what the site is about.

Yes, it can work, but I haven't seen very many blog sites that do it well.

I know for myself, if I don't see "clear" navigation (top or side), I'm gone. I don't have the patience to figure out where things are, etc. Having the blog categories act as navigation (which many do) is not the answer.

But I agree - if a designer touches it, it almost always works. Because a designer will ensure that navigation / tagline / banner are there and clearly explain what's going on.

vangogh
03-08-2009, 02:42 PM
I agree with you completely about the navigation. I'm just saying your main blog page can still be your home page and have all that same navigation. I don't think it's one or the other. There's no reason why a blog as home page can't have clear navigation. Seems to be two different issues to me.

Dan Furman
03-08-2009, 07:09 PM
I agree with you completely about the navigation. I'm just saying your main blog page can still be your home page and have all that same navigation. I don't think it's one or the other. There's no reason why a blog as home page can't have clear navigation. Seems to be two different issues to me.

well, here's the problem I see with that - are the posts always going to directly address the visitor and the reason he or she came? Because if they don't... well, I'm not going to click further just because there are links and a tagline - it's that beginning copy that says "yea, I landed in the right spot". Now if there's a static beginning, then go into the blog... ok, maybe I can see that.

I guess I just don't really see the advantage, on a typical commercial/business site, of the "blog" being the main home / landing page... why would someone want to do that?

Now I'm sure some exceptions exist - very well known marketers, etc can likely do this. But I would think most commercial sites would hurt themselves.

rezzy
03-08-2009, 11:23 PM
Ok, I see I am getting beatup about things, I havent had time to work on, so I will make this top priority after I finish a big project I have.

Dan Furman
03-09-2009, 01:07 AM
Ok, I see I am getting beatup about things, I havent had time to work on, so I will make this top priority after I finish a big project I have.

heh heh - I don't mean to sound like that Rezzy. :) Yea, I'm a little blunt sometimes, but it's all in an honest effort to help.

rezzy
03-09-2009, 02:46 AM
heh heh - I don't mean to sound like that Rezzy. :) Yea, I'm a little blunt sometimes, but it's all in an honest effort to help.
Oh, no. I appreciate it! I need the push to get my business card of the "21st century" completed. Without it I would not have stayed up all night and pushed the latest CSS updates and pages to the net. :)

Of course, there is still alot of fine tuning and development.

vangogh
03-09-2009, 01:29 PM
Dan you can still have an intro paragraph about the first post. You can do a lot of things really. You're making the assumption that your first visit will be to the home page. That may or may not be true.

I do understand what you're saying, but you really can get across what your site is all about without having to use the actual content. And since you don't really know what page someone is going to enter your site you kind of have to. I'd also argue that most home pages you come across don't exactly provide much useful information, but that's a different argument.

Dan Furman
03-09-2009, 01:59 PM
Dan you can still have an intro paragraph about the first post. You can do a lot of things really. You're making the assumption that your first visit will be to the home page. That may or may not be true.


Yes, I am definitely making a homepage / landing page assumption. Because, in most cases, that's where most prospects will end up.

I realize that other pages may get visited first, but we can certainly agree that most business websites will try to funnel traffic to specific pages (through SEO, PPC, or advertising that touts a specific URL, usually the index page). And those landing pages should directly address that traffic. Now, if they land expecting the latest blog post, hey, that's great!

But otherwise... if you are looking for the site to capture visitors and drive business, I just can't see the advantage of having the latest blog post being the central focus of the homepage, regardless if there are other ways to tell people what the site is about. Yea, maybe some exceptions exist, but I'd bet almost anything that most sites doing this will fail.

If I saw a site that wasn't converting / drawing people in, and the main landing page copy was essentially the latest blog post, that's the very first thing I'd tell them to fix.

edit: I don't really disagree with you - you just seem to see both sides and shades of grey more than I do - I'm more "no, that's wrong... do it my way". :)

rezzy
03-09-2009, 02:46 PM
I spent last night getting some more pages created, for the contact us, I used "Contact Us Today", good idea? Bad?

vangogh
03-09-2009, 04:12 PM
I'm not really disagreeing with you either. More stoking the debate than anything else.

I'm not sure people automatically end up at the home page needing to know about what you do. I agree most everyone will inevitably get to your home page, but when they do it could be more a way to orient themselves as opposed to needing to understand what you do. Depends on the site and the visitor of course.

You really have no idea where people are going to enter your site. I can tell you based on my stats most people don't enter at my home page. It's a popular page, but not the most popular landing page. Because of that every page of your site needs to be giving out that basic info of what your company does. Ideally people should be able to tell no matter what page they land on.

All it really takes to get across what you do is a couple of quick sentences. You're elevator pitch. You can add that above the first blog post of in the sidebar and make it visible enough to get the info across.

And again I'm not really disagreeing with you. If you look at my site you'll notice my home page is not my blog home page. I prefer to set things up the same way you're describing. Just trying not to limit the thinking that it has to be done that way. I've seen many sites that do have the blog as the home page and it still works well for them. Some depends on the business model and how and where they're promoting themselves.

Dan Furman
03-09-2009, 05:01 PM
you're so diplomatic. :) If we ever take over the world, you can be the president. I'll be the sec of defense or something... (i.e.: "bomb them")

vangogh
03-09-2009, 07:32 PM
Funny :) I do like stoking debate though. Sometimes I'll say things here just to see how the conversation develops.

Not sure I'd ever accept the job of president. I like working behind the scenes. Maybe adviser to the president.