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Really Communicate To Your Website Visitors
This article might be a bit different than you've come to expect from a webmaster-related article. The reason is that, in my opinion, it is a facet of the internet many people don't really think about. And that is communication. But, by communication I mean more than just talking or writing. Read on. What is Communication? Communication is defined simply as the transferring of an idea or concept from one point to another with full duplication on the receiving side.
This last component is one often forgotten. So, a full one-way communication would be Fred has an idea about a widget. He propels that idea across space to Ted. Ted receives the communication, understands it, and has full duplication on his end of the exact concept Fred was thinking about that widget. Now, a full two-way communication would be the above process, but with the addendum that Ted thereby acknowledge Fred for his communication, sending the acknowledgement across space to Fred, at which point Fred receives the acknowledgement and fully duplicates and understands the acknowledgement.
Fred would then thank Ted for this acknowledgement. So, what we have here is an interchange of ideas with full understanding on both sides, as well as the full understanding on both sides that their communication(s) is/are being received. Why Do I Bring This Up? Good question. The above communication formula applies to everything. Interpersonal relations, business, family, etc. However, we are in the business of websites. A website, by its very nature, is a communication medium. If your site does not properly observe this communication formula, you may be spinning your wheels posting and emailing your visitors/customers and they might still not really be receiving your communication. And, again, I emphasize that receipt. When you email a customer, I am not referring to whether that email arrives in their inbox.
No, I am referring to whether that person fully duplicated your communication and got the exact point you were trying to make. Have you ever written an article which, to you, makes sense, but others seem to not be able to grasp? Have you written sales copy that generated little to no sales? Have you dealt with a client which, no matter how hard you try, just doesn't seem to "get it"? If anything like this is out, then your communication formula is out. For one reason or the other, they are not getting the same understanding you are. How Does This Apply? It's far easier to observe proper communication in person than over the internet. First, when the person is right in front of you, you get immediate feedback as to whether they are understanding you. On the internet, if someone doesn't understand your writing, they will just leave and you'll never know. In fact, on the internet, if the communication is out in any way, you'll probably just lose the visitor. And the nature of the medium is that you won't know. But, how can you do your part to enforce a proper communication formula on your website? Let's look at that: 1. Definitions of Words.
Words are part and parcel of the language. But, if someone does not understand the words you are using, the language will not communicate to them. In fact, as human nature has it, when a person is reading something they don't understand, they will first forget they read it, second they will individuate from it. Ultimately, they will just leave and not come back. So, it is in your interest to use words that your visitors will understand. Do not use big, fancy words just for the sake of looking learned. It doesn't work. Also, if your site discusses topics which are technical in nature, do your best to describe things in an easy-to-follow way. Lastly, it is my opinion that every site which is an instructional type of site should include a glossary. Maintain a glossary of commonly misunderstood terms and, in your content, hyperlink those words to the definition.
You could even use ALT tags or DIV layers to make the definition pop up when you hover over the word. However you choose to employ it, making sure your writing communicates to your reader is in your interest. And this starts with using words they understand. 2. Acknowledge Your Visitors. As discussed above, acknowledgement is half of the communication cycle. So, when your visitors send you an email, acknowledge it. If you do not, your visitor will think you are ignoring them and they may become upset. I don't intend to make your visitor seem like a child there, but it is true.
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