- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 06/22/2009
- Writing for the Web
Marketing consultants and web designers often create checklists of items to include on your website. You hear about the need to have a headline, compelling opening paragraph, bullets and a lot more. You realize you need an “about” page and a page that describes your ideal clients. But many independent professionals find they gain profit when they subtract rather than add. Here are three things you should never put on your website. First, lose the welcome mat. When your site opens with a welcome message, you are telling the world your site was not written by a professional copywriter. More important, you waste valuable Internet real estate space. Every word on your website should contribute to your promotion. Visitors want to know if you can help solve their problems. They know they’re welcome. After all, you created this site and bought a domain name, right? You aren’t exactly signaling that you want to be a hermit and live in a cave.
Second, lose the “Under Construction” signs. Either your site is ready to face the world or it’s not. Having an “under construction” or “excuse the mess” page is like greeting your party guests in your bathrobe because you didn’t
have time to get dressed. Your guests might be willing to hang out in your living room while you change, but you will have to offer them some refreshment. Your website visitors won’t wait. When they come to your site, they want information. If they don’t get it, they’ll click away. I can’t imagine a visitor bookmarking a site that is under construction. What can you do instead? Create an opt-in page so visitors can sign up to get something useful. Then you’ll have names on a list and you can email them when the site is ready. Third, lose the quotes from Deepak Chopra (unless you are Deepak Chopra). After all, you are promoting yourself and your business. Quotes are fine in books because you’ve got readers who are already hooked. Once they have gone to the trouble of choosing a book (even an ebook) and opening or downloading a copy, they will want to keep reading. They can flip through pages and see quotes.
In contrast, your online visitors have short attention spans. When they see your quote from Deepak Chopra or some other noted author, they will get distracted. They may decide to go over to Amazon and search through the author’s other books. Or they may click away because they already stopped reading the text and they’ve lost their place by now.