Sins Of A Selfish WebsiteIt’s time for another awesome guest post.  This is someone I’ve known now for a little over a year.  

He is a very successful copywriter and has a flourishing business.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to meet Kevin then I’m so happy to have my blog be a way for you to see what awesome content he shares.

So let’s let Kevin give us some much needed advice okay!

Are you a regular follower of this blog? Or are you visiting here for the first time?

Either way, one of the first things you’ll have noticed is that Adrienne gets a lot of comments. One hell of a lot.

It seems there are relatively few other blogs that enjoy such a lively, dedicated and engaging community of readers.

And it’s easy to see why.

Because Adrienne’s blog isn’t just about her. It’s also about you.

Caring and Sharing

Adrienne understands that caring and sharing is so important to building online relationships.

And so do you.

It’s why you’re drawn here. And why you can’t help but keep coming back.

But not everyone gets it quite like you and I do.

For there are plenty of people out there who think business is just about taking and NOT giving. They have little understanding of the spirit of cooperation that underpins the web.

And you can often spot the tell-tale signs simply by looking at their website.

It offers little value to the visitor. It leaves you feeling duped, disappointed and short-changed. Sometimes even annoyed.

But they’re not the only people whose website comes across as a thoughtless self-serving platform. It could also be you. And you don’t even realize it.

So let’s take a look at some of the deadly sins you could be making and just remind ourselves that we all need to take steps to avoid them:

1. Your content is all about you

I am this. I do that. We stock this. We’re the leading that.

You see this in blog posts, PR releases, online retail sites … everywhere.

And be honest. You don’t much like people who only talk about themselves.

So imagine the effect it has when your website talks to people in the same way.

Whatever point you make in your content, visitors want to know how it relates to them. So put your readers at the center of your copy and turn the emphasis of your writing from I, me, we and us to you.

Brian Clark of Copyblogger once said the most important word in blogging is you. Well, the same applies to pretty well all the content on your website.

2. Your copy is for search engines and not real readers

How many times have we heard this one before?

Yet, despite all the warnings and all the search engine algorithm updates, you still find websites out there that are filled with over optimized keyword-stuffed nonsense.

If this is you then stop it right now.

If you’re lucky you might get more visitors to your site. But they sure won’t stick around.

All you’ll be doing is wasting people’s valuable time. And that’s just plain selfish.

3. Your site isn’t helpful to visitors

If your website isn’t helpful to your visitors then you’re not being helpful to yourself.

The bottom line is this. Every time someone visits your site, you want them to take some kind of action. For example, you might want them to:

· Get in touch

· Share your content on social media

· Make a trip to your store

So if you want someone to do something then make the process as simple and effortless as possible:

· Make your contact details easy to find

· Display at least one set of social sharing buttons

· Include your opening times and a map showing the location of your store

These are just three simple ways you can improve the user experience of your website. But there are many more things you can do – from checking and removing broken links to thoughtful error messages and microcopy.

4. You never link out to other websites

Many website owners refuse to link out. They think it’s bad SEO.

Yet, at the same time, they want everyone else to link back to their site as much as possible.

But think about it.

If you don’t link out to people then how on earth can you expect people to link back to you?

Links are the very lifeblood of the web. By including them in your own content you help your readers. You enhance their experience by providing valuable additional resources.

So don’t be greedy.

5. You refuse to give credit where credit is due

In the same way you won’t link out, you also never give credit to others. You dish out advice and talk about your achievements, but never acknowledge those who’ve helped you.

But just like your links, the more credit you give out the more you get back.

So take a leaf out of Adrienne’s book and mention people who’ve helped you on your way.

It’s that generous spirit, which makes her blog so attractive. And the same will work for you.

6. You never respond to blog comments

Some people think they’re above replying to comments. Others just think they’ve got more important priorities.

But this is the perfect approach to take if you want to alienate your followers.

Because people don’t like being ignored.

Sure, if you get bucketloads of comments then no-one will fret if you don’t reply to them all.

But, as guest author Mitch Mitchell said in one of Adrienne’s recent posts, responding to blog post comments is a no-brainer.

So, unless you’re inundated, make sure you respond to all of them – except the lousy or spammy-looking ones.

7. Your mailing list tactics suck

No-one likes a website that uses aggressive and invasive mailing list tactics. So beware of looking like the online equivalent of a pushy door-to-door salesmen and DON’T:

· Pester visitors with intrusive popups

· Sign people up without their permission

Many of the world’s leading bloggers swear by popups. And who are we to argue?

But if you’re going to use one then at least give it some careful thought:

Allow people to read your content first: Avoid showing your popup the very second visitors arrive at your website. Instead give them a chance to read and discover more about your blog first.

In real life, you wouldn’t ask a complete stranger for their contact details. So why do it online?

Pay careful attention to your wording: Make it clear what the visitor is signing up to and give them a good reason to subscribe.

Look at the alternatives: Consider using a notification bar, which appears across the top or bottom of the page. This can help you build your mailing list, but without getting on readers’ nerves.

The following example is one that Kristi Hines uses on her online marketing blog Kikolani:

KikolaniAnother alternative is to use a slider – a dynamic box that slides into view after a certain time. These are a little more intrusive, but nowhere near as annoying as a popup.

But remember: Your readers follow your blog because they share similar values. So if you hate websites that use popups and sliders then chances are they will feel the same.

And finally …

We have the most irritating website tactic of them all – signing people up to your mailing list without their permission.

We’ve all experienced it.

You enter your email address during an online transaction.

But then you start getting those exasperatingly annoying email newsletters, which you never asked for.

If you didn’t consent to them then they’re simply spam. And that’s bad enough.

But even worse are the companies we don’t know at all. The ones who scrape our sites or buy our details. The ones who send out bulk marketing emails that nobody wants.

You know them. And when you get them, they make your blood boil.

So don’t do the same to anyone else.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you made any of these mistakes without realizing it? What do you think are the tell-tale signs of a selfish website?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts so be sure to leave them in the comments section below.  Of course we also appreciate you sharing this post with your friends too.

Thank you so much.

Kevin Carlton

Kevin is a freelance copywriter and blogger with a methodical and no-nonsense approach to writing copy. He is owner of UK-based SEO copywriting service Write Online, which helps businesses large and small get the most out of their online presence.

Discover more insider tips on copywriting, blogging and SEO at his blog Make every word work for you.

Kevin Twitter | Kevin Facebook | Kevin Google+ | Kevin Blog