Tag Archives: online content

Competing for the customer’s ear

One of the biggest challenges in our cluttered communication world is competing for customers – their attention and a share of their wallet.

Customers, or people as we plain-speakers like to call them, get bombarded by marketing and sales messages every time they watch TV, listen to the radio or pick up a device – Facebook, Insta, You Tube – even the games on their phones come with advertising.

So how do you cut through? Make sure your messages say what your customers want to hear. 

Get to know your customers

How? Ask them. Talk to them, survey them, send them an email or an SMS asking for feedback. 

Can’t ask them? You might have to revert the tried and tested Aussie approach of “suck it and see”.

I think my UX colleagues call it A/B testing.

Your customers will quickly show you what they like and what they don’t – usually with their mouse or finger – they’ll click on, tap or engage with the offers that speaks to them. They will ignore the ones that don’t.

Let me give you a real life example.

Meet Monty

Monty lives in my laundry (and on the couch) and makes my life very difficult when he doesn’t get what he wants, when he wants it. Sadly, he can’t just tell me what he does and doesn’t like. I have to go on what he will and won’t eat.

Simply put, if the bowl is empty my message got across, if not I have to change my offering.

Very much like designing offers and communications to customers – although some of them will tell you their likes and dislikes through chat and comments, most of them will just act / or not.

Competing for Monty’s loyalty

For most of 2019 Monty has been a cat biscuit kind of guy. Happy to chew his way through a bowl or more a day.

Midway through the year, I decided to try him out on cat milk – to see if I could get him sold on that value add and up his engagement with my brand.

The milk was a hit! For 6 months, he’d shout the house down twice a day until he got his fix.

A happy and loyal customer.

But, I dropped the ball. I went away for a few weeks and didn’t leave a supply of cat biscuits.

In stepped my competition (the husband). He had a product he wanted to get off the shelf quickly (sachets of wet cat food left over from before we got Monty). So, he went for the quick sell. No biscuits on offer, so no competition.

Two weeks later I get home to a cat that flatly refuses to consider biscuits. My product offering is over-shadowed by wet cat food. I can spruik my biscuit offering as much as I like – sprinkle gravy over the biscuits, mix them with tuna – but to no avail. My competition took advantage of my radio silence and sold my customer onto his product.

Serves the husband right really, because now he has to buy six cans of cat food a week, rather than one box of biscuits.

Customers aren’t cats, are they

OK so not all of our customers are cats, and I hope not many of them eat cat food. 

But, the same thing can happen to our customers if we don’t listen to them, anticipate their changing needs and communicate offers to meet those needs, in language and through a channel that appeals to them.

Monty never SAID he wanted cat milk, but I know a bit about cat likes and dislikes (life-long cat slave) so thought I’d give it a go. 

I thought Monty was happy with his cat bikkies, so it didn’t even occur to me to try something new. My lack of customer focus was the opening my husband needed to win Monty over to his product. 

Something similar happened to Kodak in the early days of digital cameras. Their customers had been happily creating Kodak moments for years. No need to change, the customer was happy. Until this new product comes along that is quicker and easier than film. No waiting for the chemist to print your photos – you can see them right away.

And you can carry them around in a small portable device, no need for big, heavy photo albums.

Just like Monty and the wet cat food, the customer is gone, never to return.

So what can you do?

Get to know your customers. Read their comments on your website and app, listen to them in the call centre, try to get out of the office and meet them. Find out what they like and don’t like about your offering (product, service, content – whatever you offer). 

Try new things – based on what you learned about their likes and dislikes. Track the success of each new thing you try. If it doesn’t work, stop offering it – no harm, no foul.

If it works, you’ve just created a successful new offering – or in the case of my disloyal cat won a new convert to wet cat food.

Obviously, you need to be sensible and not create expensive new product lines, based on a hunch. Start small (and inexpensive) and the next thing you know the cat bikkies will be pushed to the back of the shelf and your customer will be buying cans and cans of lamb flavoured cat mince!

How do you know if your web site is ‘succeeding’?

I recently worked on a website that was all about conversion. Every week, the marketing and sales people would get together and look at ‘the figures’.

They’d look at total views and unique visits and views to our latest content marketing article. Then they’d look at the total number of sales that were either made through our online form or through the phone number that we only published on our website.

In other words, all the sales that could be attributed to the digital team.

Then they’d try to guess why the sales had gone up or down.

There would be talk about what incentives the call centre had to make a ‘digital’ sale. A digital sale was either one made by answering the unique digital phone number or by calling a person who’d filled out our “I want to be contacted by a consultant” form.

We’d then move to any improvements that had been made to the sales form since last week. Mention would also be made of any changes our competitors had made to their offering in the market.

At no time would the discussion touch on any other aspect of the website. The focus was 100% on our sales channel.

This always puzzled me. What was the point of the rest of the site? Was it just window dressing? Something to pad out the site and give the sales form a place to sit?

Was success purely down to whether the Submit button was green or orange?

I felt there was more to it.

So I started to play with ‘the figures’.

Why I love statistics

When I got my hands on my first intranet, I was so excited! After years of creating radio and print content, with no idea whether anyone was listening or reading, I finally had a medium where I could see what my audience was doing.

That transparency has fascinated me ever since. So it was to the site statistics that I turned to see what was really going on with our website sales.

What is success?

Allow me to digress a moment to talk about success. Simply put, the success of a website depends on that website’s purpose.

If your website is a commercial one, like the one I was working on, success is often defined by the number of online sales you make. If your website represents a university, tafe or school, it’s fairly easy to define success by the number of students who sign up to courses, using that website.

Websites that provide product help and support stand or fall by the calls they stop from going to the call centre, i.e. how many customer questions they answer.

These definitions are fairly simplistic and only measure one aspect of a website’s function. But they’re also the measures most site owners care about.

Simply put, is the website making me money?

More than meets the eye

There’s a lot more to a website than simple conversion and there’s more to measuring conversion than counting how many orders came through the sale channel.

Websites are the first port of call for most people researching any transaction, be it a sale, an enrolment, a support call or booking a restaurant. More people research online than through any other media.

Websites are often the most viewed envoy of an organisation’s brand. Your website may be the only interaction your customers have with your company. It may define their entire experience of your brand.

A successful website can make its visitors feel good enough about a product, service or company that they decide to buy the product or service, or transact with that company directly – on the phone or in a bricks and mortar store.

I often research restaurants online, but I’m not very good at eating their meals through my browser.

What do you measure?

So what do you measure to know if your website is succeeding?

The first thing you have to do is define what success means for your website. The obvious answer, “Does it make money?”, will only take you so far.

Success can be many things.

Your website is only one conversion channel for your company. Success on your site can be giving your customers the information they need to pick your product, find your nearest bricks and mortar outlet and go there to shop.

Success can simply be your customer finding your phone number or email address so they can contact you.

Success is giving your customer whatever they need to complete the task they came to your site to complete.

If you really want to know how well your site is working, you need to dig deeper.

There are a few aspects to ‘success’ for a website.

  1. Search engine ranking – how your site stacks up against your competitors on the search results pages of Google and his mates is a key indicator of how well your site is performing.

    You will need to decide what keywords or terms are important to each page or section of your site and measure your ranking for those terms.

  2. Visits to your site – obvious but still a vital statistic. More people coming to your site means more people possibly transacting with your company.

    It’s a good idea to look at your unique visits as well as repeat ones.

    Unique visits show the success of your site marketing – cross linking, search engine ranking, EDMs etc.

    Repeat visits show the success of your site content – the page content, calculators, info graphics and other content your site provides.

  3. Behaviour on the site – what your site visitors do while they’re on your site tells you a lot about what the site is telling them. A very insightful exercise is to follow a site visit from beginning to end:

    How did the site visitor enter? – what search terms did they use to find your site or a page on your site

    Where they go once they were on the site?

    How did their path through your site match the way they came in? Did the pages they looked at match the search term or entry page they chose?

  4. The Exit – how and where your site visitors leave your site can tell you if they found what they were looking for.

    If a site visitor exits your site via the Contact us page, it’s good bet that they ended up calling you. This can either mean success – a customer called – or failure – they had to call us because they didn’t find what they needed on the site. Which one depends on where they went on the site before the Contact us page.

    If a site visitor exits your site from a product page they may not have found a product that suits their needs or they could still be in the research phase of the buying cycle.

    Where site visitors leave your site half way through your conversion channel – sales form, enrolment form etc – you can be fairly certain that there is something about the site that has put them off or blocked their task.

Measure these together and you’ll get a pretty good picture of how well your site is working for your customers.

So what did I do?

You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?

I looked at each measure detailed above and I learned a lot about our customers. I learned that they used different words to describe our products than we did. This meant we were targeting the wrong keywords and, as a result, we were not faring well in the battle of the search engines.

Then I looked at visits to our site, what people were doing when they visited us and where they were exiting. I found it took around 3 to 4 visits for a person to commit to buying our services, on a good day. What I also found is that the most popular task on our site had nothing to do with sales, but was all about revenue. Yet we put all our time and effort into our sales channel.

Our digital sales team were all over the pluses and minuses of our sales form, so I looked at the paths to it. I found that many people were dropping out before they got to the form, as we made the path to the form confusing and the messages about our services unappealing.

I pulled these findings together and shared them with my team and our managers. We changed the way we measure our site success and we changed how we prioritise our site improvements.

We started winning the search engine game, more of our customers found their way to our sales channel and we put a bit more spit and polish on that other revenue generating channel.

Now it’s up to you

All this requires a bit of lateral thinking and a large amount of Excel spread-sheeting, but I’m confident that you’re up to the task. You made it this far.

If you want to know more about how to measure and improve your website, I can help. You can find me at www.ftwo.com.au.

Dog with leash in its mouth

Obedience training for your website

Don’t make me scroll

When I started work in the online world, we had to fit all our content into quite small screens. The first site I managed was built for 800 x 600 px screens. The site was an intranet, serving content to 9,500 postal employees, ranging from corporate desk dwellers to posties, couriers, truck drivers and everyone in between.

We had a lot of content, tools, lookups and directories and every man and his dog wanted a link on the home page. Yet somehow we created simple, easy to read pages with very little scrolling needed to find the content – none on the home page or any of the menu pages.

Today even laptop screens are around 1366 x 768 px and desktop screens are getting bigger and bigger. And today every other web page seems to need screen upon screen to display its content. Scrolling is the new black.

Why?

With all the space we have at our fingertips, why are we hiding content ‘below the fold’ or worse off the side of the screen?

A colleague told me a while ago that “people like to scroll”. What people? I thought. Bored ones? Ones with nothing better to do than traipse around websites in the hopes of finding something interesting to click on?

I don’t think so.

I think this new trend of long web pages comes from somewhere quite different.

Ego

smug

We’re all so proud of our fancy websites, we’ve forgotten that site visitors are only interested in what the site does. Specifically, what it does for them and the task they are trying to complete.

Today’s trend is to pack our sites with glossy graphics and funky designs. We’re taking up all the room we used to give to content. All these pretty design elements make us feel so good about our swish looking websites that we honestly think our site visitors will love them as much as we do and scroll around them to take in the full experience.

Given how many websites these days have huge hero banners on their home pages and top menu pages, are you surprised that I’ve come to this conclusion?

OK, so we have the i-generation, swiping around their tablets with gay abandon but research shows that they don’t really like scrolling either. And why would they? Scrolling (or swiping) means the site visitor has to think about what they’re looking for and hope that they’ll find it in that mysterious space ‘below the fold’.

There is a very good reason why Steve Krug’s book “Don’t make me think” is so popular among digital UX folk. People don’t like having to think through whether a website has what they’re looking for. They don’t want to have to go looking for content. They want it on the first screen they see – no guessing, no effort, no scrolling.

There is another possible source for the trend towards long, multi-screen web pages.

Laziness

garfield

As a web content producer, it’s so much easier to dump all your content onto one page. Breaking content up into manageable pieces takes effort:

  • You have to think how to split the content into pages that can each stand up by themselves.
  • You have to then decide how to link those pages so that clicking between them makes sense.
  • And you have to build multiple pages (GASP) and fit them into the site architecture.

This all takes time and effort which you could be putting toward doing something much more interesting or creative.

Why put in all that work when it’s so easy for site visitors to just scroll down a single page?

There is a simple reason – because they won’t scroll.

Despite the swiping craze of the i-generation and the current trend towards longer, banner-heavy pages, site visitors still are still reluctant to scroll too far below the fold. If you don’t give them a really good reason, like reading to the end of this article ;-), people won’t pay attention to content below the fold (they are 84% more likely to read content above the fold[1] than below).

So if you put a link or interesting piece of content or functionality one or two screens below the fold, only one in seven people who visit that page will even see it, let alone engage with it.

What’s wrong with designing shorter pages anyway? They’re quicker to load, easier to read and more likely to be seen in their entirety by site visitors. Sure, they take a bit more effort to create, but we’re digital professionals aren’t we? We like to put a bit of effort into our work – it gives us something to be proud of.

And think – if your content is broken across three pages, you get three page views out of each site visitor who engages with it not just one.

[1] The Fold Manifesto: Why the Page Fold Still Matters Amy Schade – February 2015

The content writer who knew too much

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and wondered ‘What on earth are they on about?

You heard every word they said, almost all of the words were in plain English and the sentences were grammatically correct, but at the end of it you were no more the wiser.

Fortunately you can ask them questions and get clarification. “That sounds fascinating, I’d like to know more. What was that bit about jelly sky scrapers?

Imagine if you couldn’t ask questions. If you could only listen to what they wanted to tell you, with no way of letting them know that you were completely lost.

If you were a website visitor.

That is the exact situation our visitors are in when they come to our sites. All they can do is navigate around our sites and read we write. They’re at our mercy.

It sounds kinda cool when I put it that way, doesn’t it – I am the web writer, you’re at my mercy!

Sorry, I digressed.

Of course, they aren’t really at our mercy at all. They just have to click the Back button, or worse the Close button, and they’re gone. Off to a website that talks their language and makes thing clear.

While they’re on our sites, they can only have that one-sided conversation and we’re the ones talking. If we want them to hang around, we have to make sure we’re making sense.

Yes, I know, we have social media now. They can Tweet or comment or iMessage or send us a terse email. But none of those things will make what we’ve written any clearer.

Well, not without a serious time delay while we read what they’ve Tweeted, commented, iMessaged or emailed, thought about it, rewritten the content, had it approved and then (eventually) published it.

Hold on”, you say “I’m a professional online content writer, of course I make sense”.

OK, so making sense might not be the right phrase. We all know how to write concise, readable English. That’s not the problem.

So what am I on about?

Imagine if I started telling you about this amazing new present I’d bought myself.

It’s gorgeous. It’s a beautiful metallic blue, made from carbon fibre, goes like the clappers and it only cost me $7,500.

Plain English, the grammar’s not too bad. I think most people would understand what I’ve written.

But what on earth am I on about?

A bike? A car? A motorcycle. A jet ski?

At that price, it could be any of the above. I’m so keen to tell you all the positive features of my new toy, I’ve forgotten the most important feature – what it is.

It’s obvious to me what it is, I’ve been riding around on the thing all week. It doesn’t even occur to me that you might not know what I’m talking about.

OK, this is a fairly simple example and one we’re unlikely to replicate on a website, although I have seen product descriptions that aren’t that far off the mark.

But I think you get the point. When we write about something we know, and it’s really hard to write about stuff you don’t know, it’s easy to forget that your reader doesn’t know the things you do.

Steve Krug puts it this way “After you’ve worked on a site for even a few weeks, you can’t see it freshly anymore. You know too much.”

Another way to look at it is to cast yourself back to your geeky 12 year old self (or your geeky kid brother’s 12 year old self) when you played Dungeons and Dragons (or the ‘cooler’ equivalent you played because you weren’t a real geek).

Remember how that went? You’re in a maze. You don’t know how big the maze is or where it goes. The only information you have is the clues your Dungeon Master gives you. You get a little bit more information each time you make a move. You have try to remember where you’ve been, what you’ve picked up along the way and then figure out how to get to the ‘goal’ of the game.

Sound familiar?

Our website visitors have the same challenges. The only information they have is what we give them. They have to try to remember what they saw on previous pages and then figure out how to get to the page that will let them do what they came to our site to do.

It’s incredibly easy to forget that our visitors don’t know what we know. We spend all day, every day on our websites. We know where everything is, what it does and what it doesn’t do.

They don’t. All they know is what we show them on whichever pages they go to.

Steve Krug goes on to say that the only way to find out if your content works is to test it and I can’t say I disagree with him.

You’ll never see your site clearer than through the eyes of another – someone who knows nothing about your site or what it’s promoting.

As online writers, we have to know a lot about many things – how to write quality content, the ins and outs of website accessibility and design and every little detail and selling point of the products and services our site promotes – now and then it pays to turn to someone who knows nothing and ask them how you’re doing.

Sophie Fanning – Website Trainer – www.ftwo.com.au

Dog with leash in its mouth

Obedience training for your website

Servant of many masters – how do you create content for all digital devices?

I’m fascinated by how we use our different devices these days.

I was in a café the other day with a friend of mine and her phone rang. She pulled it out of her bag to answer it, but didn’t put it to her ear. She just plugged in her hands free.

And no wonder, her phone was huge.

I asked her about this and she told me that she mainly used her phone for reading and sending emails and texts and scanning online articles.

Her phone isn’t really a phone, it’s a mini tablet that just happens to take phone calls.

More recently, I was out and about with Mr Man and we were discussing an email he needed to send. He said he didn’t want to do it until we got home, as he hated the tiny keyboard on his phone. His phone is much smaller than my friend’s one and he mainly uses it as, well, a phone.

He does like to scan Facebook and read his various hobby sites on his phone, he just doesn’t like typing on it.

My phone is about half way between Mr Man’s and my friend’s in size and I know I bounce from it to other devices depending on what I’m doing:

Phone for quick scans – emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Weather App, etc – and oddly enough phone calls and texts

Tablet for surfing the InterGoogle, checking IMDB and reading things that interest me.

Laptop (with separate large screen) for doing serious stuff – like writing this blog.

I haven’t turned the TV into a web device, yet, but I am sure it is only a matter of time. Not sure what I’ll use it for, but I’m guessing on-demand movies.

Of course I’m an amateur compared to my step-children. The munchkins would be crippled without their iDevices. Particularly the girls! Low hanging fruit when it comes to disciplining them.

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, You Tube…you name it and they are glued to it as often as we let them.

OK, so they’re on iPads, so it’s all about Apps, but they do stray onto the InterGoogle now and then. They discovered the website version of Facebook the other day and couldn’t believe the amount of information on the page!

And that is the thing that got me thinking about this post. If people constantly jump from phones to tablets to laptops or even desktops, how do we build our websites to make sure they get a satisfying experience across the board?

We know that phone screens are small, unless you’re my friend in the café, so we can’t pack all the widgets and functionality into a phone screen that we might on a 1920 x 1080 desktop screen.

We also know that mobile phones are slowly taking over as the device of choice for online stuff – this year 33% of all web pages served globally were viewed on mobile phones (thank you Statsita.com).

So what do we do?

One approach is to design the whole web experience – desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone – to suit the smaller phone screen. I looked at some examples of this approach in my June post Banner-style home pages – beautiful design or annoying barriers and I wasn’t all that keen.

It’s the easiest solution – one site design, one set of content to maintain, but does it meet your site visitor’s needs?

I think of how delighted my step-daughters were when they discovered the Facebook website, having previously only used the App. It was a bit like Christmas, they kept discovering new things they’d never seen before.

Imagine your customers having the same reaction when they view your website on a computer and a screen larger than their phone or tablet. You could reward them for coming to your ‘full’ website by giving them useful tools or information.

Of course that’s a bit of a two edged sword, you don’t want your mobile customers to miss out on great content and functionality, just because they’re using a different device.

Many of the studies I’ve read suggest that the smaller the device, the more simple and task oriented the site should be. Having started using an iWatch recently, I can understand the logic in that argument.

As Jakob Nielsen and his team have pointed out in many articles, the small screen and large ‘click area’ of mobile phones do lend themselves to simpler designs and streamlined tasks. A point they also make, that resonates with me, is that the mobile phone has a major role as a time waster – giving you something to do while waiting for that bus or business meeting.

Recent studies are showing mobile phones stacking up the numbers as the device of choice when making online purchases. My query there is how much research do customers do on other devices before they make that purchase on their phone. I’m also curious to know what kinds of items we purchase our phones vs other online devices? Do we make smaller, trivial purchase on our phones, but keep the bigger ones on our laptops or even take them offline?

It pays to do a bit of research to find out what people are more likely to want to do on each type of device and then tailor your different web offerings to match.

A daunting task? Yes, but didn’t we get into digital because we like a challenge?

Of course you could always use a responsive design.

One set of content, with <div> tags reformatting it to display nicely on each device. This is very ‘in’ right now. I do it myself on my site.  It works quite nicely if your content is simple and renders nicely on a mobile – i.e. it doesn’t create a page takes up 20-30 ‘screens’ on the phone.

But I don’t think it solves the whole problem, it addresses how to lay out the content but I’m not convinced that it deals with the questions of how much complexity – tools, widgets, and more detailed content – is easily digested on a mobile device vs a PC.

I think we need to put thought, research and usability testing into identifying the different tasks, and the different content and functionality to satisfy those tasks, customers want to perform on each type of device.

Mobile devices haven’t been around very long, and they are constantly changing. I believe we have quite a way to go before we can confidently know what to serve to a phone vs what to send to a larger screen.

Who knows, maybe the whole industry will be overtaken by the ‘next big thing’ and we’ll be creating ‘websites’ that are served directly to a customer’s optic nerve?

Dog with leash in its mouth

Obedience training for your website

www.ftwo.com.au

Now where did that come from?

Try this trick…

Find our your site’s top ten internal search terms. Ask Omniture or Google Analytics, they’ll know.

Now type them into your site search. Better yet, type them into Google, using the site:your URL

Look at the results.

Find anything you don’t like?  That old product page you thought you’d ‘retired’?  That PDF application form you’d replaced with an HTML one? Maybe even some test content you didn’t realise had been published.

It’s very interesting to see your site the way Google sees it. This is the way most of your customers see it. You can learn a lot too.

Running internal site searches like this every few months is a good way to clean house.

Is there an unexpected page appearing at the top of the search results page? Look at all the links you have pointing to that page. What words are they using?

Many years ago, if you Googled click here you’d get the download page for Adobe Acrobat reader. An interesting use of link text but probably not what Adobe would’ve chosen as their top keywords.

Try doing the same in your ‘site:www[your domain.com.au]’ search. Type in terms like; click here or find out more. Try read more or simply more.

I bet you get a lot of results.

These are all the pages where your content writers took a time-out from their usual brilliance and creativity and defaulted to the four most popular, least customer-centric, link names on the web. Weeding these out of your site could improve your user experience significantly.

It doesn’t stop there. Google can let you know what other under-garments your site is showing.

Do your PDFs show really ‘codey’ URLs? Most content management systems give PDFs and other downloads URLs with terms like ‘blob’ and ‘blobheader’ in them. Total machine talk.

Usually you’d mask these with nice ‘usable’ link text. You can’t mask URLs in search results.

It might be time to talk to your server guys or your devs about a download repository with a human-friendly URL.

My favourite Google ‘site:’ search was when I found a rather heated memo from the project manager who’d built the site to the project owner, stating what was wrong with the site and recommending it not be put live. Now how that got there I’ll never know, but I can tell you it got ‘nofollow’ed and ‘noindex’ed in RECORD time.

The internet is a funny place. It has a long memory and nowhere to hide.

It doesn’t hurt to play customer now and then and look at your site with Google’s eyes.

So you want to write online content

Why wouldn’t you? Online is cool. It’s where all the action is these days.

And you? You’re a great writer. You’ve written heaps of stuff – direct mail letters, brochures, magazine articles… and you’re a gun at emails.

Writing for online should be a shoo-in for you. You use the web every day. You know what good online content looks like.

How hard can it be?

Well… It might be a bit trickier than you think. The online world is a fairly unforgiving place and web natives have really short attention spans.

Think about the readers of your non-online material, your DMs, brochures and magazines. They hold your content in their hot little hands. They have picked up your brochure or magazine and have committed their precious time to finding out what it says. They are already invested in reading what you’ve written.

All the visitor to your webpage did was click a link. They may not even know what was behind that link. They just clicked it because it looked like it might, possibly, lead to something they’re interested in.

The average web visitor takes less than five seconds to decide whether a page has the information they want. If it doesn’t, click, they’re gone.

Five seconds. Think about that. Five seconds to convince your reader that your page is the be-all and end-all of their information search. It’s not very long.

In those five seconds, your page needs to tell the site visitor what the page is about, what it can do for them and what they can do on it. No excess content or waffly words allowed. Every word on your page has to pull its weight.

And to make it worse, your page is fighting with hundreds of millions of other pages just to get those five seconds. Google, Yahoo, Bing and the others don’t play favourites. They won’t even find your page unless it’s ‘optimised’.

So not only do you have to write tight and transparent content, you have to make sure that content can be found in the first place.

Search engine optimisation. The art of outsmarting Google. Well, really, the art of playing by Google’s rules so you outsmart all the other sites competing for site visitors.

Google and its brethren are all about keywords. Whatever the site visitor types into the big white search box is the keyword or words for that search. You page’s only chance of appearing in the search results is by having that word or words in its heading, its html title and at least some of the links pointing to it.

If you’re lucky, your page appears on the first page of the search results. Why is this important? Well only one in ten people look beyond that first page, so if your page isn’t there, not many people are going to find it.

OK, so now your page is beautifully written, packed full of keywords and ready for all comers.

Well almost all comers…

Have you assessed your page for accessibility? Accessibility means optimising your page for page readers, as used by visually impaired site visitors.  Around 360,000 Australians are blind or have low vision. Have you made sure they will be able to read your page?

Online content, it’s not quite as simple as it seems.  It’s a lot of fun though.