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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

What’s holding me up?

Who are these two young stalwarts, holding up the tottering edifice that is Bird?

They are Ben Jesson and Dr. Karl Blanks, partners in www.conversion-rate-experts.com.

They are the only Authorised Google Optimiser Consultants in Britain, which sounds rather grand but more to the point they are pretty damn good at filling up tired old men with lethal-strength Cobra lager, which is much more dangerous.

Besides being a helpful life support, they told me one thing that I recommend to everyone reading this, which I will reveal to you in a minute

How did I meet them?

I was talking last year at Ken McCarthy’s System Seminar in London, and so were they. Ken - the first person ever to run an internet marketing conference back in 1993 - says this was one of the two best events out of all the scores he has run since.

I suspect Karl and Ben's content was better than my jokes. But then again, if you go to their site and read the bit on the right under “Send me my free newsletter" I guarantee it will make you laugh. And when, pray, was the last time you got a giggle out of anything to do with website conversions?

I thought so.

So what is the idea I mentioned? It is almost ludicrously simple - and a wonderful way of educating those whose websites are full of meaningless drivel (which means most firms).

I am amazed I never thought of this simple, yet clever idea, because for over 30 years I've been telling people to read their copy out loud before they run it. Good writing is just organised speech.

They just say: "A prospect has just rung up to ask what you do and how you can help them. Now answer them by reading the copy on your home page out loud."

As you can imagine, this results in embarrassment for many whose sites are full of corporate waffle.

If you love words, as I do, there is a splendid, rather odd word for this little exercise. It is eleemosynary, meaning, "intended for a charitable purpose."

And God knows, it is charitable to show people what awful tripe their website people are banging up on their sites.

Which reminds me: for some reason people pay more for website copy than for the ordinary kind. I can't imagine why. People who read copy, wherever it may be, do not mysteriously change into something else; and the task of persuasion is achieved in pretty much the same way.

So I write in exactly the same way (like this, in fact) wherever my stuff appears.

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