The Dark Side of the CMS

There has never been so much bad photography as there is now. Why? Because mobile camera phones and cheap digital cameras have made enthusiastic snappers out of a huge proportion of the population, most of whom don’t have the first idea how to create a compelling image.

Check out Flickr’s most recent photos and you’ll see what I mean. There’s page after page of mostly ill-conceived and boring photos.

It’s always been this way when advances in digital technology put the power of creation in ordinary people’s hands. The advent of user-friendly page layout programs unleashed a tsunami of badly designed documents, as business took their graphic design in-house. The first wave of web design tools helped populate the web with ghastly looking sites built by business owners with zero design knowledge.

And so it is with content management systems. They make it much easier for businesses to update their websites. And so they also make it much easier to publish poor quality content that erodes brand equity.

Businesses need to seriously consider not only how they update their website, but who is going to create the content updates. My advice is to appoint a qualified editor or site manager to ensure only top quality content appears on the site. If there’s no one in-house they can always hire a freelancer to make periodic updates. All staff that contribute content should be briefed on writing for the web.

Website development roadblocks

Yesterday I got a call from a web developer who needed a copywriter to refer his clients to. He told me he has several stalled projects. The clients had paid a deposit, he’d built the sites, but there was no content forthcoming… for several months!

This is a very common scenario. In fact just about every developer I’ve spoken too says there’s almost always a hold-up if the client is responsible for supplying web copy. The other scenario is the client supplies the copy but it’s rubbish.

This is a lose/lose situation. If the content’s bad the client gets no value from their website, and the dud site also makes the developer look bad. The client is upset when their website doesn’t work so the developer gets no repeat business or referrals.

There is an alternative. Developers should convince their clients to hire a copywriter. Clients need to understand that they can’t maximise the return on investment of their site without high quality content. With a copywriter onboard, everybody wins.

How Content Can Create Web Development Roadblocks

Yesterday I got a call from a web developer who needed a copywriter to refer his clients to. He told me he has several stalled projects. The clients had paid a deposit, he’d built the sites, but there was no content forthcoming… for several months!

This is a very common scenario. In fact just about every developer I’ve spoken to says there’s almost always a hold-up if the client is responsible for supplying web copy. The other scenario is the client supplies the copy but it’s rubbish.

This is a lose/lose situation. If the content’s bad the client gets no value from their website, and the dud site also makes the developer look bad. The client is upset when their website doesn’t work so the developer gets no repeat business or referrals.

There is an alternative. Developers should convince their clients to hire a copywriter. Clients need to understand that they can’t maximise the return on investment of their site without high quality content. With a copywriter onboard, everybody wins.

Charles CuninghameWebsite Copywriter

Online Punctuation #2 – URLs, Full Stops and Semi Colons

If you have a URL at the end of a sentence, don’t put a full stop after it. You’ll only confuse people.

You probably shouldn’t be writing out URLs on a web page anyway. Rather than writing: “Visit the text-centric website at www.text-centric.com“, you should create a text link e.g. “Visit the text-centric website.”

I avoid using semi colons when writing online. They’re too easily mistaken for colons. According to Strunk & White, the proper use of a semi colon is to join two independent clauses into a compound sentence e.g. “It’s nearly midnight; the restaurants will probably be closed.”

On the web you’re better off using a full stop (period for my US readers) or an em-dash (long hyphen) e.g. “It’s nearly midnight. The restaurants will probably be closed.” or “It’s nearly midnight – the restaurants will probably be closed.”

Charles CuninghameFreelance Copywriter

Related posts:

  1. Online Punctuation #1 – General Principles

3 Visual Marketing Tactics that You Should be Using

Perhaps not all 3 fit your niche, but in his recent post at SEOmoz, Gregory Ciotti points out that these tactics are seriously underutilized.

If you’re feeling a little “dry” creatively, you may want to check out Gregory’s article. He breaks down three creative inbound marketing tactics, and uses mini case studies to show their potential.

The three tactics:

  1. Animated video
  2. Big visual content
  3. SlideShare (and similar platforms)

Check out the full article to see how you can implement one or more of these tactics into your marketing strategy: 3 Criminally Underutilized Visual Marketing Tactics (Case Studies)