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What your website REALLY says about you and why it matters

By Peter Simmons
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004

Everything you say and do says something about you. This has
never been more true than in a text based environment like
the Internet. You only have one chance to put across what
you want to say. Use it wisely.

Getting a website right does take work and commitment. If
you want it to succeed you must spend time to get it right
and present the right impression to your potential

During any conversation you can pick up extra clues from
tone of voice, the choice of words used, the way it is said,
pauses, etc. They provide emotion and meaning over and above
the actual words being spoken. The same is true of text and
other website content. There are extra clues of emotion and
meaning and what you choose to write and how you say it can
say a lot about you, your organisation and your priorities.
These priorities are often clearly visible to every
potential customer that visits your site and can therefore
reveal a great deal about you.

It can reveal:
*your business priorities,
*how your organisation is structured and run,
*whether you focus on your customers,
*how you deal with things,
*if you are easy to deal with,
*your attitudes,
*whether you pay attention to detail
*if you are trustworthy
*and more...

So, what is your website really saying about you? Are you
sending out a positive and useful 'message' to your
potential customers or practically posting a great big sign
that says something far less desirable?

How do you know? There are some key things to look for on
your website or any other website.
Bear in mind also that
there could be a combination of one or more of these

*Weak text/sales copy - text that lacks direction and order.
If you decide to buy our products, fine. If you dont buy our
products, fine. Big sign would read: "We're not really
serious about this new web thing"

*Text heavily focused on you/your products - The message is
clear. You are only interested in yourself and therefore
your site is too. Big sign would read: "We are great.
Customer? Who?"

*No/wrong website focus - website either not focused on the
customers needs or focused on the wrong things. The
potential customer doesnt receive a positive and clear
message about who you are, how you do business, etc. Big
sign would read: "We either dont know or dont care about
what our customers want". See also 'Not easy to use'

*Poor layout - poorly organised webpage/website. No clear
sense of order. Lack of clear prioritising and decision
making, probably a reflection of the organisation. "We cant
identify and meet objectives" See also 'Not easy to use'

*Not easy to use - difficult to use website and website
functions. Often these technical functions have the most
sophisticated software known to man to do a particular
function like buying a train ticket. Unfortunately they
didnt consider how real people actually want to use the
website or website functions. Big sign would read: "Oops! We
were so busy enjoying doing the great software bit we love,
we forgot the user"

*Too much text - we absolutely love to tell you how great we
are/our product is. We'll try and bore you into buying our
products with loads of text. Big sign would read: "Just buy
our product you fool, we know best"

*"Brochureware" - existing brochure has been moved online.
Token website. Does little for anyone. Looks great doesnt
it?... (Not really a question, more a statement). We thought
we should get a website because everyone else has one. Big
sign would read: "LOOK we've got a website too!"

*Too much animation/other - extra stuff that doesnt serve
any real purpose apart from distraction. We absolutely love
flashing things/gadgets/buttons/scrolls/colours/fonts... the
more the better. More an experiment than a business. Big
sign would read: "Our web designer is great isnt he/she? or
i should have been a programmer"

*Difficult to contact anyone - the online equivalent to an
electric fence. Typically employed by big corporations.
Theyve gone to great lengths to make sure its very, very
difficult to actually email anyone within the organisation.
Big sign would read: "We are far too big and rich to speak
to 'the little people' who actually buy and use our
products. Go away!"

Did you recognise any of these from your virtual travels on
the Internet? They are all present to some degree in
businesses of all sizes and industries.
Does your site have any of them? If so, the message you are
sending out to your potential customers is unlikely to help
you succeed online. More likely it will have a harmful
affect and direct influence on your image and reputation,
customer visits and repeat visits, sales and repeat sales,
company results, customer goodwill and contact, etc.

Make your site the best it can be. Work at it. Ask for
constructive feedback. Make a commitment to getting your
website to say the right things about you. It will still be
paying you back long after youve done it.

Good luck!
About the Author
Peter Simmons is editor of the DYNAMIQ EZINE. GET MAXIMUM
RESULTS FROM YOUR WEBSITE! Increase your traffic, prospect
conversions, sales, profits, referrals and more... START
ABSOLUTELY FREE at ( or email
me anytime for immediate assistance


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