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Does Your Website Need a Facelift?  By Mark Henderson, Henderson Enterprises

Part of my business involves reading websites.  I study to bone up for interviews to educate myself about a company or some industry, search for writing contract opportunities, search for products and product information, or review a plethora of web content for business trends.  As a business owner, what I find incredibly amazing is all the—and let me be euphemistically blunt here—doo-doo-ca-ca-poo-poo I find on the websites of so many businesses, large and small.  What I mean is that I find more times than not a myriad of typos, grammatical errors, or pieces of writing that force the reader to re-read multiple times just to infer what that company is trying to say.  This makes my head list to the port side like the RCA dog.

In all honesty, while disappointed in the amount of errors and defects that sullied my English-major sensibilities, I also saw this as opportunity for the superior business editing services of Henderson Enterprises.  The challenge was to connect HE capabilities to this near infinite need; or better stated, perhaps, to convince business owners of the need to let Henderson Enterprises come in and “clean sweep” their company’s web pages.

As any sales professional knows, the potential buyer must perceive a need that the potential seller can fulfill.  Let me try to lay out that need.

First and foremost, I tell business principals that their website is akin to the red carpet or storefront of their business.  You want to attract potential customers and not give them any reason to leave you and run to the competition.  And every reader of this blog knows just how easy it is to “run” from a website:  Click.  Gone!

Second, what does your website say about your business?  And I’m not talking about all of the thought you and your team poured into the layout and branding and marketing of your business message.  No, I am talking about what the content of your website says about your attention to detail, your focus on quality, or even your legitimacy as a business.  Remember, people perusing your website don’t get the benefit of meeting you or your people in person.

To use one of humorist Dave Barry’s lines “…and I’m not making this up…”, I read a company web page that read:  “Your [sic] gonna LOVE our focus on QUALITY.”  Oh no, I’m not.  Click.  Trust me, I could go on, but that one should be enough to make my point.

So, if you want to convey a sense of professionalism and high-quality to your existing and potential customers–for the love of all things profitable–hire a good editor to audit your website to remove defects and give feedback on awkward or ambiguous writing.  And, unless you have oodles and oodles of pages, the time it typically takes a good editor to scrub your website is negligible.  In other words, investing in this service can be some good bang for some small buck.

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“See My New Doll House!”

 

©2015 Mark Henderson

Prologue:  This position paper is the result of a wager between the lovely and talented Wendy—and the smarter half of the Henderson Enterprises writing and editing team—and I. She bet that I couldn’t write a cogent persuasion based on this line from a 1970s-vintage made-for-TV-movie.

So, back when I was a boy, we used to gather the entire family ‘round the console TV set and howl laughing whenever a rerun of the western comedy aired called Evil Roy Slade, starring the late John Aston and about a dozen other well knowns.

There’s a scene in the movie where the main character, Roy (a.k.a. Evil Roy) wades out into a maelstrom of bullets being fired by the “good guys”(who were really not that good) to kill the “bad guy” (who was really not that bad). As Roy runs into the open, he’s clutching a book yelling, “Pow! Pow! Pow!”

Then he looks at the book—bullet storm still in full force—and asks, “Why am I pointin’ this book at them yelling, “Pow, pow, pow?”

His love interest (who was supposed to be handing him a loaded gun to aid his escape) replies, “Turn to page 9!”

“There better be a stick of dynamite in page 9,” Roy mutters, thumbing through the book amidst a hail of bullets.

“Read it. It’s a prayer book!” she yells.

“I can’t read it. All I can read is ‘See my new doll house’, and it don’t say, ‘See my new doll house,” Roy replies, the welling angst obvious in his voice.

“It says, ‘Thou shalt not kill’,” she yells back.

Roy, out of options at this point, takes the only action he can think of:  He tries to “Exit stage left, even” holding the Bible up yelling, “See this boys? It says, ‘Thou shalt not kill!’”

Of course, Evil Roy Slade gets captured to end the scene. It is a hilarious scene in a hilarious movie chock-full of hilarious scenes.

Yes, it was a 1970s vintage comedic classic, but I think Roy’s words of exasperation have become a sort of a mantra of Everyman/Everywoman today. No, not the “There better be a stick of dynamite…” line (although some have thought something similar, I am sure). No, the “All I can read is ‘See my new doll house’…” line. I am convinced that for many of us, if something doesn’t read like our version of “See my new doll house,”—whatever our version looks like—we can’t (a.k.a. don’t) take the time to read it.

Whether it’s filtering through scads of emails, scanning through documents to get to “the bottom line”, or hurriedly reading user assembly and installation guides, if we’re honest, most of us can admit to missing the “See my new doll house” for which we were looking. I, myself, am guilty and I am a seasoned (a.k.a. “old school” or old) editor! Just recently, I initially rejected a draft contract when I read their “nuclear option” clause, because I skipped over the caveat clause that made the termination clause “fair and reasonable”.

My point is this:  We—as receivers of information—need to be cognizant of the fact that we live in the Age of Information Overload, with a constant barrage of information pumped at us through all manner of media. And, as a survival or coping mechanism, our brains have learned to filter out information not germane to our mission-of-that-second. I previously wrote a corollary blog aimed at communicators called Information Overload; it highlights how communicators need to be aware of the phenomena, taking special care to present information so that their target audience will receive that information and will receive it correctly.

For us, as information receivers, we need to be aware of our filter defense systems; we need to try to be more intentional in our information filtration when appropriate; and, we need to be able to learn when it’s important to stop, drop, and roll. In other words, we need to be ready and willing to hit our internal “SLOW SPEED” button, and intentionally receive (i.e. read, study methodically, etc.) information presented to us.

Maybe then, we’ll be able to read more than “See my new doll house.” Or better, maybe we’ll be able to successfully receive our “See my new doll house” for which we were searching on the first pass.

Epilogue:  I believe I won the wager. What do you think?

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