Archive for the Content Category
The Tollbooth Has Moved Up The Road

Would you consider yourself a printer? I’ll bet you don’t, but you are.

Think for a minute about what we had to do 20 years ago to print a color brochure, a mailer or a quote for a job – if you were lucky, you had access to a copier. Or a fax machine. Now, think about what technology allows us to do today. For relatively little investment, we can design and print or distribute astonishingly professional documents and media from our computers that rival what we went to “professionals” for not that many years ago.

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Make Your Web Site An Advocacy Toolkit

Follow me here, ’cause this is important:

How do you or your employees use the Web to “buy” stuff?

Don’t bother answering. These are the basic rules that define your online research behaviors to support a purchasing decision:

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Does Your Online Message Matter? It Sure Does …


The Web is the preferred channel where manufacturers, prospects and purchasers go to research sources and partners to build and develop their products. If you think it ain’t, you’re smokin’ rope.

But many manufacturers miss opportunities for new business because they present incomplete or insufficient information on their Web sites. Let me explain.

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Hey, Manufacturers – Write For Informavores

There’s been a lot written about how to write for the prospects that visit your Web site. Which is a little odd, when you think about it … writing more about writing less.

You’re supposed to keep it short. Informative. Written specifically for the people you want to attract, for the moment they’re most likely to be interested in you.

There’s a really good (albeit generalized) article from last summer called “Lazy Eyes – How We Read Online.” Manufacturers would do well to start with this piece to get right with what your site should say and how it should say it. It was written by Michael Agger over at Slate. In it, he references the good works of Jakob Nielsen that finds online “readers” aren’t really readers at all – they’re “… selfish, lazy and ruthless.”

They’re on a mission. They want answers, they want them now, and they don’t want to see or hear more than that.

They’re like animals looking for food – information foraging, it’s called – and you must consider this before all else when writing for or designing your site.

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Why 90-9-1 Should Matter To Manufacturers

I’m a big fan of Jakob Nielsen. He’s a Web usability cat with his head screwed on straight. Why? Because he focuses on what’s important on the Web, especially for manufacturing – that is, what a site says and does for a business, not what it looks like like or SEO as an end-game. Much of what Jakob has discovered and brought to the fore as a first-tier Web advocate is perfectly applicable to manufacturers and their Web initiatives, and the 90-9-1 rule is no exception.

The 90-9-1 rule is about “participation inequality” on the Web, particularly as it applies to its social qualities (forums, comments and other facets that depend on community contributions). Jakob observed through data and observation that online, 90% of visitors to sites are “lurkers” (viewers and researchers that never contribute), 9% are “viewers” that may contribute a little every now and then, and 1% are serial participants that contribute the lion’s share of content. (graphic hat-tip:

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