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February 10, 2012
Ad-Verse Reactions: Five Website Fixes
 
I “grew up” in this business working on print ads, brochures, and direct mail. (Although I did write an ad about a hospital’s new website, sometime around ‘95 or ‘96, with the headline “Click here for good health.”)
 
So now that I’ve been at Anonymous Digital Agency (not its real name, that would be awful) for a month, I know everything there is to know* about “the online space.” (Like how important it is to call it “the online space.”) 

*Writer does not really know or claim to know everything. He knows enough to know he knows nothing.
 
That said, I’ve learned enough to know that of the roughly 11 jakillion websites out there, a lot of them are doing something wrong. Granted, they don’t all have a budget to hire Anonymous Digital Agency (that name is growing on me), so here are...
 
5 Mistakes On Your Website*
*or the website of someone you know
 
1. If “content is king,” why are you treating him like King Lear?
Ah, a reference for my fellow Shakespeare fans. Nutshell: Two of King Lear’s daughters drove the old man crazy and treated him like crap. The other one tried to be nice, but hey, this was a tragedy.
 
What I’m saying is, love your content. Check it for spelling and grammar and broken links. And update it regularly, because if you don’t update it, I ain’t comin’ back no mo’. So your site will turn into a bitter old man that no one visits or cares about anymore.
 
2. Check your expiration date.
Most likely, you were smart enough to put a “Copyright 2007” at the bottom of your site. Maybe even one of those fancy-schmancy “Copyright 2007–2012” to cover yourself for five years.
 
Guess what? It’s 2012. Fix it or look stupid.
 
3. You have too much copy.
Odd to hear that from a loquacious, verbose, and magnificent copywriter. But it’s likely true. If you have paragraphs longer than three sentences, or pages with more than five paragraphs (without subheads to “break it up”), you have too much copy.
 
And if you don’t think you can edit it down, contact me through Talent Zoo. I have reasonable rates, especially for hatchet jobs.
 
4. Gone in 16 seconds.
Most studies will tell you that you have somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds to interest a website visitor before s/he clicks away. What are you doing to engage them or keep them reading?
 
It’s like an “elevator pitch.” If you don’t interest me between floors 1 and 6, I just might get off at 7...even if I have to walk up to 9.
 
5. Give them your digits.
Make it easy to contact you. A lot of site design folks throw a phone number in the top right of the homepage, and others include a “subscribe to our emails” box right underneath.
 
Most mobile phone companies (and other companies who don’t want you to contact them) will hide their contact info. They don’t want phone calls or emails.
 
But I’m guessing that you do want to interact with your audience, since you’re not a multinational, billion-dollar conglomerate of pure evil. So give customers and prospects easy ways to reach you.
 
So there you have it. My Ad-Verse Reactions to your crappy websites. (Again, not YOUR crappy website...but one belonging to somebody you know.) Tune in next time for more incoherent, semi-funny ramblings of a Mad Man. (Not the TV kind. A real insane person.)

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After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions. 
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