PART 1: Prepare
Did you see the word “friendly” in the subtitle of this book? That one word, “friendly,” is why we’re starting with the WHO. Your website exists for your WHO, and only for your who.
That’s right: it’s not about you, it’s about them. Yes, this website is yours. And yes, it is about you, and about your business, and about what you are offering. But it’s FOR them (your who). If your website it doesn’t serve your people, you won’t have a business for very long.
You could call WHO your people, your customers or clients, your visitors or users. Whatever you want to call your WHO, it’s important to remember that WHO is a person and that WHO is the one looking at your website.
(If this seems obvious: my apologies. I’ve learned that most of us need to start right here, at the very beginning, with defining our audience.)
Why is it so important to think about your who, first and foremost? For one simple reason: your website is, at it’s very best, an intimate conversation between you and your WHO. That’s it! Just a one-on-one conversation. We’ll get back to that in a moment, but for now, let’s look a little closer at your who.
Not all WHOs are created equally. The best type of WHO is one who:
a. Wants what you are offering.
b. Has the $ to make the purchase.
Though you will have other people visiting your site, it’s important to focus on the people who meet this criteria. They are the ones who will ultimately make a purchase from you. Your website is FOR them.
Throughout the rest of the book, I’ll refer to the people who want what you have AND have the money to spend as your VBVs: your Very Best Visitors.
VBVs can be split like so:
Returning visitors: They have been to your website at least once before and will be mildly familiar with its layout/content.
New visitors: They have never been on your site before.
Returning visitors probably already know where they are going or what they are looking for. It’s the new VBVs we need to concentrate on most. After all, even the returning VBVs were once new visitors to your site.
THE EXPERIENCE OF A NEW VBV
When a VBV arrives at a new website they’ve never loaded before, it’s a little like walking into a new grocery store.
Stepping through the automatic doors, you expect that the store will have aisles and sections (Produce, Baking, Cleaning) and little signs hanging from the ceiling, helping you find your way around.
Your website is similar. VBVs arrive expecting certain pages (About, Services, Contact), and they expect that they will be able to find those things in the navigation (or nav) bar. In WordPress, the navigation bar is called the menu.
Now, back to the grocery store: after you pick up a basket, you might choose to wander up and down every aisle, taking stock of what the store has available. Or you might go straight to the baking aisle, where, more than likely, you’ll find the spices – you’re out of cumin for your favorite Taco Tuesday recipe.
The same with your website! Someone might have a whole, free evening ahead of them when they arrive on your homepage. They might navigate your site methodically, clicking on each page, reading it in full, and then continuing to the next. Or, they might stumble upon your site with 5 minutes left in their lunch break and all they really need to know is how to contact you.
Back the to the grocery store, again: How annoyed are you when you find out that the new grocery store keeps spices in the International aisle? Very. But with the help of a stock kid, you found your cumin and are on your way home to taco deliciousness and margaritas.
That’s not going to happen on your website. There’s no little web helper watching out 24/7 to make sure your VBVs find what they are looking for in unexpected places. Your site must have all of the information your VBVs are looking for, in the expected places.
Content organization is NOT the time to get creative. You don’t want to lose VBVs because they cannot find what they are looking for.
An Intimate Conversation with your VBV
Have you heard of “personas”? Perhaps you’ve created a few in other content attempts? A persona is a sketch of a “person” who represents your target market, an attempt to get to know your VBVs. There’s no doubt that personas can be a helpful tool, albeit one that should come in the product development phase, not the web content writing phase. I find them to be a barrier to content completion, so you will not find them within The POW Method™.
Instead, we are going to revisit an idea that I mentioned earlier: the idea that your website is an intimate conversation between you and your VBV – who, at any given moment in time, is just one other person.
That means that your website is really just a conversation between you and one other human being.
Think about it: how often do you look at a website with someone else? You might share it after you look at it, but, more often than not, it’s just you and your laptop/tablet/phone.
When you do sit down to write (we’ll get there!), this idea of one-to-one conversation is important to keep in mind. It focuses your writing, and it makes it easier, too! How, you ask? Well, you have conversations with people all the time. And that’s not difficult. Neither is writing your web content, if you pretend you’re having a conversation with a close friend – who just happens to really want what you are selling.
QUICK WRAP UP
You should now know:
- That your WHO is your VBV. (Say THAT five times fast… or don’t)
- That your website is FOR your VBV.
- That your content should be easily organized so that your VBV can find what they are looking for.
- And that you are always writing to just ONE OTHER PERSON.
Now, onto the next W: What Is Web Content?