Business & IT –

I am often asked, “How do you make money from a website?”
There are a variety of ways:

  • e-store – similar to a shop but without the premises, is the most obvious option people can understand. The website is a sales point or a bookings point (as in the case of a restaurant or hotel).
  • Pay per click (PPC) – the website features ads and links that the visitor click on and is taken to a sales or data collecting website. From the viewers point of view you probably know these as “Sponsored links”.
  • Pay per action (PPA) – this is where a visitor clicks on a link on a website, is referred to a sales page and the site owner will receive a commission if the visitor signs up for a service, magazine subscription, mailing list or buys something.
  • Joint Venture (JV) – the site owner and the product or service owner strike an agreement where the site owner sells products for a commission or takes orders on behalf of the product owner.
  • Data Mining – this is where a site gathers information from visitors and sells the data to a business.

The common element to all of these methods is visitors. The stream of visitors is referred to as traffic and each visitor is referred to as a “unique”. A website is regarded as suitable for on-line marketing when it has a traffic of 1000 uniques.

Attracting traffic to a website:
There are several ways to attract visitors to a website:
Firstly make the customer’s visit pleasant. They will come back repeatedly.

  • Provide good content – interesting material, well presented and easily navigated.
  • Good layout – no  large blocks of text. Text is interspersed with quality images.
  • Good  communication – the information is presented logically in appropriate language with any jargon  explained. Concepts are presented in logical order with headers, bullet points.

Secondly make the site fit the criteria that the search engines want and it will appear at the top of the first page of the search results, where most people look. 80% of all searches do not go  beyond page 3 of the search results. This is called SEO for Search Engine Optimisation. These are web design skills that are  best left to the experts.

How to write good copy for the Internet

Firstly, I have 5 websites and I write all my own copy. I started writing blogsite copy in 2006 and since then have developed a system that works for me.

I am still not writing full time. In fact, I probably spend as much time writing today as I did back in 2006 and here’s how I do it:
I sit at my computer and imagine the person I am talking to is behind my screen. I talk to them in my head (so they don’t think I’m crazy and take we away to the funny farm!) and type what I would say using the Open Office word processor ( I refuse to use any Microsoft software).

I never type direct into the website. This allows me to spell check and proof read it so you, the reader, never sees how stupid I really am! 🙂

This usually ends up with up to 3 pages of text on one topic. I then re-read it and work out where the best places are to divide it up into sections of approximately ½ to 3/4 of a page each. I add a broken line at that point in a different colour.

An overworked writer at her desk in front of a mountain of paper
I thought this is how I would end up like but I developed a system that works for me.

Next I look for any parts that would be better if supported with a picture and insert a picture there, having created a folder with the name of the topic.

Finally I save the lot into the folder for later publication. When I publish it, the text and all images are in the one folder.

I can’t just sit down and write good copy on any topic at will, any time, but sometimes get an idea or a point of view and that’s when I capture it for later publication. If I’m asked to write on a specific topic, I mull it over for a day before I start, weighing up the pro’s and cons, maybe doing some research. Often during the writing I discover gaps in my knowledge and dive on the Internet to search for information.

To summarise:

  1. Talk and type – don’t “write” – keep it human.
  2. Spell check and proof read – the World already has enough idiots on line!
  3. Divide the text into ideal posting sized segments ½ – ¾ page each.
  4. Look for places for pictures – improves communication and reduces reader’s boredom
  5. If you don’t like it – delete it. Bad copy will lose more traffic that a late update.

On the Internet, you are what you publish . . .  and you think I’m intelligent don’t you?     😉

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