- Created: 02 April 2012
We find that customers with this facial expression are our favorite kind.
For some people of the internet world, professionals and creatives who use the internet to make a living almost seem like gods in their own ways. It can't just be dumb luck that makes a person's 15 minutes of fame last several years, and it certainly takes more than a quirky video to grab the world's attention (and keep it). YouTube Rockstars, Social Experts and Pro Bloggers are more than just clever magicians who are able to drive traffic to their elaborate tents of superior content and exciting projects. These men and women use simple concepts to build relationships with their potential (and loyal) customers, and you can start doing the same with a few small changes to the way you present your work to the WWW.
Attention first - call to action later
Whether you are a musician, an owner of a small business, web developer, writer or artist, there are a few universal steps that can be followed in bring the greatest audience to your domain on the web. It is not unknown that copywriters (in advertising) can charge huge hourly rates for their expert work, or that designers can estimate jobs to cost tens of thousands of dollars to create beautiful marketing material - but there is a reason for it, and the businesses/people that do invest in these professionals almost always win-out in a big way. Read "Ogilvy On Advertising", by one of the leaders in traditional advertising - David Ogilvy, and you'll get the idea.
If you manage a website, you aren't just keeping a virtual business card updated, you are managing the content deliverables that customers will see, and good content managers understand the importance of every little detail that makes up their blog posts, videos and viral content. The title of a book does not just describe what the novel is about, it has the purpose of capturing the audience's attention and bringing them in to read the first sentence on the first page (the first page leads to the second, the second chapter leads to the third, etc...etc...). The opening scenes of the best movies always have the most jaw-dropping views (and explosions... can never forget the explosions), because that's what keeps the viewers engaged.
We can take that concept further into our online careers as well, and can see that by using specific phrasing, imagery and "Oooh, SHINY!" you can begin to bring more and more of your customers to not only buying from you, but also staying loyal and trusting you.
Seeing actual numbers define actual results
Dustin Curtis, a very talented designer from San Francisco, wrote a fascinating article in 2009 about his tests with gaining Twitter followers. Over several weeks and months, Dustin would change the phrasing of his last line of text on every blog post that he wrote, and would track the click-through rate to see what changes brought the greatest response. For example, while "I'm on Twitter." brought a click-through rate of 4.7%, changing that sentence to "You should follow me on Twitter, here." increased the click-through rate by 173%! By making it easier to share his content on social networks and using specific phrasing to get the appropriate attention needed, Dustin increased his traffic significantly, and even grew his networks to include hundreds of new consumers.
This truth is again revealed in a quote by Brian Clark of CopyBlogger, "On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest." It is important to grab the reader's attention, then, with strong headlines and titles, interesting imagery or videos (above the first line of the first paragraph) and what I like to call "Ooooh, SHINY!" social network buttons.
It can't get much easier than this
Naturally, it takes a long time to master the art of writing powerful headlines, but luckily for all of us adding imagery and "Ooooh, SHINY!" could not be easier. Since HWDMediaShare has social networking buttons built into the component for sharing the content, you hardly need to think about that step when uploading media for your reader's enjoyment. Finding images and videos that relate to your article (and will grab the random website visitor's attention) are easy to add as well - simply search your favorite stock-photo gallery or video-sharing website, find the media that you think works best to capture wandering eyes, and connect it to your blog posts or articles.
Seriously, though. You can never have enough photos on a blog of cats being cute.
While these three tips are fairly simple to implement and will have a significant impact on the amount of traffic your website gets, they only represent the first steps towards being successful in your online endeavors. All of the great images and catchy headlines in the world won't help you if your content is of poor quality, the design of the site is less than mediocre or you present yourself as a less than pleasant person to read/watch/follow. But, by giving your readers an excellent experience while consuming your content, which includes making it easy for them to be engaged through the headline, piquing their interest using video/images and then letting them share that content via "Oooh, SHINY!" social network buttons, you are three steps closer to increasing your traffic and profitability.
Especially if you were just writing boring blog posts before because you felt like you had to. Seriously, for all that is good in the world, please don't do something just because you have to - do it because you love to. That includes managing your website; because if you don't love it and show that you love it through delivering higher quality content, then neither will the rest of us out here in the world. That would be your loss as much as it would be ours.