“How could I expect people to trust my expertise when the website conveyed a different impression?”
I spent the start of this year on a project that not everyone thought would be the best use of my time. Shouldn’t I be writing blog posts to share my insight? Yep, probably. Why not schedule in more meetings with prospective clients? Fair point, that too. How about not tinkering with the website? Whoa now! What if someone clicked on one of those blog posts or a creative agency checked me out before we grabbed a coffee…?
I WAS EMBARRASSED - I COULDN'T STAND THE THOUGHT OF ANYONE SEEING THE WEBSITE!
It’d been four months since the original website went live and I’d been making increasingly more excuses to avoid sharing anything that linked back to it. I was too embarrassed and my confidence was starting to take a hit. Something was wrong and coming back to the site with a fresh perspective made it clear. It didn’t appropriately reflect the proofreading and copy-editing service I offer or the brand. Crikey.
I work to give audiences an enjoyable reading experience and improve brand perception. I eliminate confusion, improve communication, ensure accuracy and make things that extra bit swish. The website needed to communicate that. How could I expect people to trust my expertise when the website conveyed a different impression?
Overhaul objective #1: DesignFor most, our first impressions of a website are formed on what we see before we get to the text. If the visual message doesn’t cut it, your audience will have made their opinion before they even glance at your nav menu. The site had meant to project a clean and crisp style but it never matched the image in my mind. I needed to further enhance those elements to convey the clarity and space that I offer.
Overhaul objective #2: ContentThe original content was fine. But fine isn’t where I like to hang around. I knew that the time away since writing it would bring a list of improvements. I pulled it apart, started again and...
– Read what was actually there and not just what I ‘thought’ I'd written when my head had been too far in it
– Deleted or edited text that didn’t inform, clarify or solve a problem
– Scrapped sentences that had already been said similarly elsewhere
– Used queries I'd received to ensure I shared all the knowledge that the audience was looking for
There was one more tiny change and it made a big impact. I’d been very careful to consistently write words in full, rather than their contracted form, so ‘you will’ rather than ‘you’ll’. This gently slowed the reading pace to increase the perception of having time and not being rushed. It now sounded too formal and unnatural. That small (although time consuming) change elevated my copy to a more genuine, approachable tone.
Overhaul objective #3: Business nameIlluminate Editorial, the original company name, was to convey brightness, shining a light to reveal the hidden and not easily seen. The first web graphic I designed was a lighthouse beaming brightly into the darkness. It symbolised a guiding light to avoid disaster, and a constant and reliable support.
Yet, I’d regularly hear, "what is it you do?". Closely followed by, "do you write copy as well then?". They were only asking because I hadn’t been clear. It had made sense in my mind. The mind that had the developmental process in there too. I listened and I made the change. The Lighthouse was the right message all along and still sits on the homepage. I just needed to keep things simple to spell it out. For myself too.
Overhaul objective #4: SEOStyle shaped, content crafted and I was chuffed with the new site. It was visually appropriate, and accurately represented my services and approach. Now I needed it to do some work for me too. I’d already enlisted Float Digital to run the keyword research so the SEO audit and Google Analytics set up followed. I know, I know - I should’ve set it up on the old site. The stats would’ve been so beneficial to making the improvements. You learn.
So, welcome to the improved site! It’s lovely to have you here.
What about you... Do you feel like your website content isn’t working as well as it could? Or you’re close to going live and could do with an objective perspective before the launch?
Here are a few questions to help you create the clarity your content and audience need:
WHAT– Do you know your ‘who’ ‘what’ and ‘why’?
– Does your website design reflect your business and brand?
– Is your website laid out logically and easy to navigate?
– Can your audience find what they need easily, in only a couple of clicks?
CONTENT– Does each page, paragraph and sentence have a purpose?
– Is there any duplicate content?
– Do you know your keywords?
– Is there a call to action on each page?
STYLE– Does your writing style and tone of voice reflect your business and brand?
– Is your writing style and tone consistent across the site?
– Is your use of typography consistent too?
ACCURACY– Has your draft been copy-edited by someone not involved in the writing process?
– Has the final draft been proofread?
– Need a hand with this? I've picked my top 7 proofreading tips to make things that bit easier
Be your audience. And be honest.
It’s easy to become too familiar with our website and the content we’ve created. I’ve discussed taking time away from our work to check for typos before and it applies to overall tone and purpose of the content. I needed that distance too. If you need someone to offer that new perspective for you, give me a shout.