Create a website that works – eight key ingredients

Hand draws with chalk on chalkboard, website layout, design, words stating "slider", "text", create a website tha works: eight key ingredients

The best-laid plans: make sure you have a clear idea before embarking on the design process
 
By DAVID BOYES

HOW to create a business website that WORKS is a tough trick to pull off.

The problem is that many organisations make a mess of website content and they become blinded by over-fussy functionality.

Whether it’s an all-singing, all-dancing e-commerce mega-production or a simple brochure design, [Read more...]

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

A few words about content

THE written word is often overlooked in the rush to embrace website pyrotechnics, yet it is the single most valuable tool available to organisations striving to secure or enhance brand reputation and performance through their online presence.

Statistical analysis shows that 99 per cent of all web communication is done by word, yet technical and functional wizardry have been allowed to elbow their way past eloquence and traditional communication values to claim a vaulted position from where they dazzle and win the attention of suggestible corporate executives who hold company purse strings.

All sensible evidence would suggest that to permit something as fundamental as language to become an afterthought worthy of only a meagre share of available budgets is irresponsible or foolish.

Yet this dismissive treatment of words prevails in many quarters, to the dismay of those who value language and use it professionally and who, despite having been kept out of the design-stage loop as often as not, are frequently called upon to chuck some words on to a website skeleton, months after its conception and in return for a pittance – because funding has been gobbled up almost in its entirety by the technical developers.

Why web developers outnumber content developers is a mystery.

It is widely accepted that media magnate Sumner Redstone is the man who coined the phrase “content is king” (although some say Bill Gates has that accolade).

Redstone was and is convinced that content is the only thing that will increase business, make a brand popular with the public, build sales and scorch a company name into the minds of millions.

More and more businesses – from small, start-ups to corporations that are held to be the best in their sector– have altered their marketing plans over the past decade to prioritise written or spoken messages, despite each new development in the world of technology.

From the creation of the internet to the establishment of cell phones and their increased capabilities, to Google, Facebook and Twitter, companies have learned that content is the one thing they must master in order to build their client list.

But the one problem that is still being dealt with is: What constitutes valuable content? Speak to us at WordMediaCo, and we’ll show you.

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Testimonials

What others say about us

“WordMediaCo are ahead of the curve, when it comes to websites. They are providing a service that is unique – and vital. Furthermore, the integration of social media and PR has proved invaluable for us.”

Brian Gallacher, Managing Director, Pacific Building Ltd

 

“WordMediaCo are the kings of content.”

Jim Convey, LadderIT

 

“Our website needed a massive makeover to match a corporate rebranding. The website design and the content produced by WordMediaCo came together beautifully. The end results exceeded our expectations. By adding public relations and a Twitter-based social media strategy to the mix, we are now communicating more effectively with our clients, abroad and at home.”

Diane Irvine, CEO, Healthcareskills Training Ltd

 

“If it hadn’t been for WordMediaCo, our company would have had just another, so-so website with no coherent and engaging message and no logical information stream. Our business would not have benefitted.”

Ian Byers, CEO, Stravaigin coach tours

“Heard a lot about social media but not really sure what it’s all about or if it applies to your business? Want to know more about how social media can improve your company’s business performance but not sure where to start? Need some solid advice about what works and what doesn’t? Then the Beginners Social Media Class (half day) I attended, led by David Boyes of WordMediaCo, is a must for you. David delivered a very simple, well thought-out class which debunked urban myth and legend about this communication phenomenon.  IT IS APPLICABLE TO ALL TYPES OF BUSINESS. Best of all, he’s running more beginners’ classes as well as master classes.”

Phyllis Joyce, Pure Jenius

 

“We bought a website for our business and were shocked to discover we had to supply the word content ourselves. No one told us this would be the case. To be fair, we should have realised that the words on websites don’t fall from the sky – someone has to write them. Fortunately, WordMediaCo came to our rescue. Their expertise and experience meant we could have the website we always dreams about.”

Helen and Kevin Woods, owners, The Potting Shed

“WordMediaCo brought a badly needed focused dimension to our online offering, allowing us to better identify our target audiences and communicate more effectively with them. The experience they have in the fields of public relations, communications and social media are impressive indeed.”

Dawn Murray, CEO, Westend Aveda Ltd

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Case studies

Pacific Building Ltd

PACIFIC are a small company with a big-name client list. By big, we mean BIG. McDonald’s, KFC, JD Wetherspoon, Bupa and the Gleneagles Hotel are just some of the companies who enjoy a fruitful relationship with Pacific Building, who have just 30-odd employees. Pacific, like many small to medium-sized organisations, desperately wanted an enhanced brand profile and a presence in the media – mainstream and industry-specific.

Pacific were justified in wishing to highlight the fact they were “leaning into the big picture”. But they were typical of smaller companies, in that they did not have the time, know-how or resources to actively pursue a full-blown media campaign.

WordMediaCo initiated an integrated strategy that drew attention to Pacific’s achievements and their admirable ethos of ”respect, fairness, collaboration, quality and a right first time approach to everything we do”. Public relations, media engagement and a programme of vigorous social media activity were the foundations of WordMediaCo’s strategy to place Pacific in the spotlight as one of the success stories of Scottish, if not United Kingdom, construction during one of the worst economic downturns the world has seen.

Pacific managing director Brian Gallacher stated: “WordMediaCo’s huge experience, know-how and powerful contacts gave us the outcome we wanted. From website to public relations and social media, our company’s message is being conveyed to our target audiences in a consistent and integrated manner.”

HC Skills International Ltd

HC Skills, who provide renowned clinical training programmes for medical professionals in 30 countries, were in a conundrum or two.

First, like Pacific, they wanted an enhanced brand profile and deeper media involvement. Second, they had purchased a high-end, bespoke website that included a host of complex features but was devoid of content. Problem No1 involved the regulatory, data protection and confidentiality requirements that affect the flow of information both within and from the medical sector. Problem No2 was to write to a website structure already in place.

Vast media experience and a light touch were the key ingredients. WordMediaCo’s unmatched know-how in target audience engagement, even in a regime of strict controls, and and our ability to apply a consistent, professional tone in message delivery were the cornerstones of a strategy that allowed HC Skills International to achieve their objectives. A discreet social media outreach was also thrown into the mix.

WordMediaCo also helped HC Skills – who are based at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank and have a satellite office in Madrid – to cement a prestigious partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons and to explore new business relations with corporations the United States.

Hc Skills CEO Diane Irvine acknowledged: “Without WordMediaCo’s unmatched experience and their innate media understanding, we would not have had a successful outcome. Social media, about which, if I am honest, I was dubious, has also given us an edge in a business sector that is in large part reluctant to engage with new communications platforms.

“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with WordMediaCo who will, no doubt, continue to come up with creative approaches for the benefit of our product portfolio. Reputation is everything for our company, and we know it is in safe hands with WordMediaCo.”

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co

Blogs and social media

Reach for the sky: get your message out there … clearly

IT’S a bit like “good cop, bad cop”. IF a website is viewed as the place where an organisation does its “hard selling”, blogs and social media can be regarded as the softer side of transactional business.

The engagement with people using social media channels is much more personal than the traditional business/client relationship and so a more subtle approach is required.

Blogs can be used to add a fresh dimension to corporate offerings, providing an almost non-business feel to whatever topic is the subject matter. Furthermore, search engines absolutely love blogs because they contain fresh content, and that is good for website SEO.

Blogs can also be syndicated through RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Visitors can “subscribe” to them and receive regular updates delivered to their desktop. Unlike attempts to engage an audience through email, blogs cannot be blocked by filters. Audience engagement? It’s a bit of a no-brainer.

Social media performs a similar “off-page” function. Take Twitter as the example. Consider Google, Bing or Yahoo as search engines of companies but Twitter as a search engine of people’s minds. The subjects of Tweets and those sending and receiving them can be a rich source of business leads and inspiration for organisations who wish to maximise their public engagement.

WordMediaCo understand that many businesses frequently cannot devote the time or resources necessary to ensure website content, blogs and social media activities are constantly optimised, when a plethora of other demands vie for attention.

Read all about it: blog posts are a good way for companies to come across as authoritative

©WordMediaCo Ltd. If you wish to reproduce or translate this article, you may do so, provided you add the following credit: This article was written by David Boyes. He is a media consultant and trainer who empowers businesses to use social media more strategically. For more information visit: http://www.wordmedia.co