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Content topics ID like to know more about
What about you?
paynt




msg:927022
 12:51 am on Aug 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here are a few discussions Ive thought about starting because I want to know more about them. Would you like to discuss of these or can you think of any others?

Creating an online archive I use this to organize past content including news, tips and articles. Would love it if folks had ideas and tips theyd like to share about creating and utilizing archives.

Persuasive writing Weve talked about it before but theres still tons Id like to learn about persuasive writing.

The web site as a business card very simple business card sites for the very small business that only needs to provide contact information for regional or corporate searches.

Determining how to produce and arrange web site content for different demographics and how do you determine your best audience.

 

skirril




msg:927023
 6:41 pm on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here are my ccmments on the subjects:

(Lengthy and tedious post, but sums up my views)

The web site as a business-card:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Personally I do think sites just psecifying
contact info are a thing of the past. The web
is not there for blatant advertising, or c
ommercials.
What the web needs is information. People coming
to your site want information on cerain things,
like widgets. The postal address, together with
a collection of email/fax/phone usually ownt cut
it.
So, for me the minimal website looks as follows:

-Main page with company info, contact details,
vision, opening hours, etc.

-Products page: what can the company offer to the
customer, whats the li9nup of products, with short
product descriptions

-For each product: a page offering more details
about a product, technical specs, etc.

- A Provide-Feedback/Contact-us page (sends an
email to a specified address)

- A recommend this site to a friend page. simply sends
a hyperlink (plus a comment) to some mail address
the customer can specify.

Of course, everything should be valid html, and the site
should still be useable in a text-only (no client-side
scripting, no images or imagemaps) browser.

Creating an online archive
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

I am also new to this, but see the following
pitfalls:

- Different formats/media: Unless you do it in XML
and convert all the time, you have ot live with
the fact that something done in pdf cannot be viewed
as html, and that something odner in html can not
easily be fitted to printing pages.

-Searching & Indexation. You want one search function,
preferably full-text. however, how do you convert
all ot a ocmmon format+ (without xml,xslt?)

- The scope: how much data are we looking at
(online?)

Persuasive writing.
-------------------
Need some hints on that too..

Skirril

brotherhood of LAN




msg:927024
 6:55 pm on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd like to know more about

-metrics for measuring website performance

-more about what drives people to make certain websites.

-more on that persuasive writing. Whoever Google had a scuffle with (something to do with science)- I read their home page and found that VERY persuasive. Not that I'd visit such sites of course....but I'd say visiting some "extremist" sites would be good for that topic. It would be good to raise points as to why they mention certain things and the line of thought they try to "persuade" people with. Some people would call it propoganda :)

There are dozens of things I'd like to know more about....just not sure which order I should ask them in and whether I know enough to get knee deep in.

Sadly, most of the stuff I REALLY want to know about is meant to be secret, either by people making a ton spamming algorithms or the ones trying to keep the algo secret :)

4eyes




msg:927025
 6:57 pm on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

Re: Persuasive writing

I am now trying to get 'into' writing 'effective' copy

Combining SEO and persuasive writing on one page is one of the key skills we all need to cultivate.

More than that, if we are doing it for clients we need to try to understand their business a little in order to make any kind of sense of the damn thing.

I don't have any solution, but I see being able to combine SEO and "writing good copy" as one of the few real opportunities left to gain an edge on those competitors nipping at our heels:)

I am trying hard to read everything I can on the subject - So If you have tips to share, help an old man out and spill them now!

As they say, some people have a way with words

..and others,.. errrr.. not ..have ..way:)

Even_Steven




msg:927026
 9:37 pm on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

About online archives:

The way I approach this is that your entire website is an archive. I think that is how people use websites. When people want to research a subject, they usually start with a search engine (Yahoo, MSN, Google), and sift through the results.

When they find your URL, they click on it hoping that your page will provide them with the answers they are looking for.

In that sense, your whole website should be an archive. Your site should be comprised of 3 types of pages: Homepage, directory pages, content pages. Your homepage should highlight your newest content pages, and provide access to your directory pages. Each page on your site should be specifically optimized for search engines.

About Persuasive Writing:

This is what makes a copy writer a rich person. You have to put yourself into your visitor's shoes. That means first, you have to figure out exactly why your visitors come to your site, and what they are looking for. Then, talk to them in their own language.

What I mean be that, is use the words that turn on the lights in their heads. For example, if you publish content about creating websites, don't tell your visitors that you are the #1 resource for website development. That in itself, doesn't explain much detail. Rather, tell them that you can teach beginners how to create a website, which software is the easiest to use, and how to attract people into visiting their site.

Another way to look at this, is don't tell people that "Taking Vitamin C is good for you". Rather, tell them, "If you take Vitamin C everyday, you can develop a stronger immune system, help prevent bruises, and maintain healthy looking gums."

About Websites as a Business Card:

When people are looking for information about you or your company, what they are looking for is usually information that they cannot get through other existing channels. Most people can get your phone number and address through other means. What they want is extra information, to help them make a decision about you.

Provide your company history
Provide a list of your accomplishments
Provide mini-biographies of your key employees

Arranging Content for Different Demographics:

I don't try to do this at all. I focus on providing one type of content, and sticking to it. Now, I'm just a one-man operation on my website, and I cannot afford to separate traffic into different demographics, and figure out how to best address each one. Rather, I focus on my area of expertise, and let the public decide whether or not it is attractive to them.

If you are having trouble attracting visitors, or getting people to return to your website, then maybe the problem is that people are not interested in your content. I think that is the smartest way to manage a website, rather than micro-managing each demographic.

paynt




msg:927027
 5:19 am on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great points, worth a good save and thanks to everyone for posting.

stever




msg:927028
 7:26 am on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hope I'm not too late, paynt...

Persuasive Writing

Many people find it hard to believe that effective or persuasive copy has much in common with sales techniques. Perhaps that is because the word _sales_ has a negative connotation in connection with copy that is supposed to be informative. However, one could could argue that the act of publication shows a desire to _sell_ that information to others. Some of the posts above touch on various stages in the process, especially Even_Steven's.

Who are the people who come to my site? What do they desire? Is there an unfulfilled demand, or an unconscious demand that can be brought out? Why does my information apply to their dreams? How can they make themselves a better person through my information?

Some sites work well with the attitude of displaying their products and a way to buy them. But this is display and not writing and certainly not _persuasive_ writing. Persuasive writing deals in dreams, not reality. How many of you book a hotel with a swimming pool and fitness centre - and then never use it? The hotel is selling you a dream of a holiday where you will emerge a better, brighter, fitter and younger person. Skiing holidays are another classic example of marketing the desires.

Discover what my readers are looking for.
Make them feel special for having found it.
What are the highlights of my information/product? Why is it special?
What the benefits to them of my information/product? (Why will they be more special?)
Find the positive. (Compare and contrast:

"The road winds up 1000 metres through 20 hairpin bends overlooking the steep gorges of the mountain scenery."
"The 30-minute journey up the road to the glacier allows plenty of opportunity to admire the surrounding mountain scenery."

Neither is wrong - but they are designed for different markets.)

Finally, most often forgotten off- and online - make the sale there and then.

tedster




msg:927029
 7:48 am on Aug 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

ARCHIVES
When there is a regularly published column, I try to give it one URL and then never change that. Surprising how many sites change the URL if they archive an article. A little forethought for your file naming and directory structure can preserve the value of all those hard earned links, search engine listings, bookmarks, etc.

Also, if there is a site search, make plans for how it will return related or similar articles from the archives. You want clarity for the user, not confusion or apparently duplicate articles

An index/site map for archives when they get large is also extremely helpful. Again, if the structure and filenames are planned with archives in mind, this job is a lot easier.

PERSUASIVE WRITING
This takes more than clarity of argument, or good logic. It takes more than concrete facts, numbers, and good research.

Those factors all help, but the key ingredient is passion and the ability to awaken emotion in the reader. People often take illogical actions - and I dare say they let emotion overrule logic much more than than they let pure reason dominate emotion.

One pathway to emotion is the use of sensory words - particularly the more primal senses of smell and touch. Awaken the senses in your metaphors and anaolgies and even the most intellectual of topics can come alive.

I suggest you serve up a full mix of feeling and logic, or your piece may end up as dry as dust in a crypt.

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