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Want the Best Website?

Start With the Answer!

It’s not about you. People are so busy today, they’re either surfing the net or have landed on your #website via #Search Engines or connection recommendations because they’re looking for answers to their questions or problems.

It may be to learn, for entertainment, to connect, to increase their business or to find help for themselves, family or friends, but basically they’re looking for answers. They’re looking for content that provides VALUE, solving their needs, essentially answering the question:

‘What’s in it for me?’
People are too busy today, have too many choices and things to do. You have 3-5 seconds for users to decide if they are in fact on the right website, the best solution that answers their quest. So, your site better give them what they want, NOW.

Who Are They?
When you start with the answer, make sure you’re addressing the right people. No matter how big or small your business or organization is, the truth of the matter is that you are ‘speaking’ with ONE person when they’re on your website. It’s just one person and their computer or other electronic device.

That one person may indeed be and likely is, part of a larger group, whether it’s business or personal connections. The one thing you can be sure of, is, when you’ve answered their questions properly, they will let others know.

Who might they be?
This is where you must know the answer to ‘Who is my target market and demographic anyway?’.  Knowing who you’re ‘talking to’, helps you to make sure you answer the right questions, for the right people.

Content, design, navigation and functionality. A website strategist plans what your website will DO for users, long before the pretty colours and pictures are in place.

When we know what your website will DO for people, the answers come, in turn, answering the ‘What’s in it for me? question. This in then translated into the website structure for navigation, functionality and ultimately, the look and feel of the design.


One of the biggest mistakes made on websites is the failure to tell people what you want them to do with the information that you are providing. Tell them with  ‘Call to Action’ text, images, navigation and buttons.

Think About It
Here’s some questions to help you to get started with the answers:

1. What makes me so great?
This is where you turn your features and benefits into the answer to their problems. What’s your USP (unique selling point)?

2. What are my readers really looking for?
Solve their problems. Know your target market, learn their needs and give them what they want.

3. What action do I want users to take?
Do you want them to sign up, buy now, read on, learn more, contact someone, share with friends or comment? Tell them!

4. Do they need the whole enchilada?
You’ve heard the saying less is more? Way to often, websites have so much text, content, generally speaking, that it actually drives people away from websites. How much ‘So, who cares?’ info do you have on your site?

Grab users with content that matters to them. Show them you ARE the answer. You will be rewarded in spades.
Discover Engine Communications online and offline marketing solutions here. 

How can I increase my open rate on enewsletters?

There are a ton of elements you can vary to try to entice more of your subscribers to open up your emails. Here are just a few things you could try:

  • Experiment with your subject lines: Try including details about the content of the email right in the subject line, instead of using your standard subject.
  • Send on a different day: Are your subscribers too busy on a Wednesday morning to read your email, leaving it languishing down the inbox? Maybe a Tuesday afternoon email would be welcomed.
  • Get the important content up the top: Remember that many people will see a preview of your email before deciding to open it or ignore it. Make sure your email is recognizable, and that your key points are in the top third.

Get custom designed enews templates and systems from Engine Communications >

Listening to Your Competition

Do you ever feel like everywhere you look, competitors are saying the exact same things in their advertising? There are merits to knowing what your competition is doing, in any industry it is crucial to know what is out there and make sure that you are offering a competitive product or service at competitive rates. What most people do not realize is that focusing too much on your competition can actually cripple your businesses and accomplish the opposite of what you are trying to do.

What happens all too often, especially in smaller cities, is that people have a tendency to copy. I’m not saying that they go out there with the intention of mimicking, but they become so focused on what others are doing that they forget to innovate.

I was reminded of this concept when I went to the store to compare tablets, the iPad 2, Blackberry Playbook and others. What became apparent the more I looked and researched was that Apple was focused on their business, on being the best they could be. While it seems everyone else is simply try to keep up with competition.

Makes me wonder, what could we accomplish if everyone stopped trying to be like everyone else, and just focused on being the best they could be. Now that gives you something to market!

What are Microformats and why should you have them?

Here’s my tiny explanation of Microformats, how to use them, and how they can help futureproof your website.

To understand how Microformats work I’ll use an illustration; a website is like a recipe containing instructions on how your web browser should build and display the website.  This is written in a language called HTML.  Microformats are a subset of HTML that tell the web browser what type of information is on the page instead of just displaying the information.

Think of it like a recipe inside of a recipe, like a pizza recipe that contains a complete recipe for pizza crust inside of it.  If it’s marked clearly enough, you could easily pull that pizza crust recipe out from the pizza recipe and use just that if you wanted.

What microformats are most popular?

The most popular Microformats are Address cards, Calendars, Product Reviews, Resumes, and Tags, and they’re all relatively easy for a professional to add to your site.

Why should you use them?

Microformats have existed for a few years now and so many large websites (Google, LinkedIN, Twitter, Youtube, Wikipedia) are already slowly adding support for them.

When we revisited our recipe pages on a few months ago, it was one of our priorities in Front End Engineering to embed hRecipe. We knew that it would be only a matter of time for tool support to come along to utilize our recipe data. As Front End Engineers, we have real control over what are pages output, and we have a real opportunity maximize the amount of data that a tool like Google can glean from our markup. It would be a poor practice to not take advantage of microformats when something as powerful as Google recognizes their importance.

Says Mark Wunsch, a developer for, read the rest of that article

At the same time people are slowly extending web browsers or adding support for Microformats to web services.  If you’re a business then your location will be far easier for web-based services to find you if you contain your business information in an Address card (hCard).  Some web browsers and web browser plugins can already detect any Microformats on a website and allow you to pull them out of the site and save the information on your computer or add it to your Address Book.

Sooner or later everybody will be using Microformats and you too will have them on your site – but if you’re the first of your competitors to embrace this technology then for a while you’re far easier for people to find – isn’t that reason enough?

Who can make Microformats?

You can, if you have an understanding of basic HTML. Otherwise any web designer worth his salt can make one for you; it’s not difficult and doesn’t take too long to do it properly, but the advantages (especially right now if you’re an early adopter) are well worth the investement.  It’s always easiest to hand-craft your microformats, but go ahead and check out the free tools available at

Where can I find out more about Microformats?

The home for all discussion of Microformats happens over at