You have 5 seconds to convince me!

As I peruse forums or freelance sites, I see a lot of people that I know REALLY want to get some work or improve their lives, yet clearly “just don’t get it”.

I was reading the “Why Us?” section of a web development firm where they were trying their best to say all the right things by using fancy words to describe what they do
ex. something like “through use of our innovative, collaborative processing of customer requests”

Then they had several pages covering marketing, web development, etc. As read these pages, I got the idea they were not written by someone who really knew all that much about it, but instead used fancy words that unfortunately would not be very convincing to an experienced buyer.

For a design firm, if I don’t fall in love with the design of their site on the first glance, I’m out of there! If it is a marketing firm, if I don’t feel a sense of confidence in them with something catchy, I’m out of there! If it is a programmer, if I see an error message, I’m out of there!

For me, I can look at a website of a design or web development firm and tell you in about 5 seconds if I would buy their services. It’s kind of a gut feeling, but I would assume it would be the same for other buyers too. I may look around for another minute or two, but 95% of the time I have made up my mind in about 5 seconds.

I was thinking we could discuss some of the common mistakes that people make when trying to position themselves as service providers (design, development, marketing). There are mistakes that are evident to the buyer, and quickly turn people away.

This falls under the umbrella of design rhetoric.

One basic starter element of design rhetoric you can check out is The Web Credibility Project. There are a list of these credibility factors.

One factor I don’t think they cover is message-to-market match. Of course, there wouldn’t be such a match if the presumption is being everything to everybody. You world have superficial, pretty, generic “content.”

One site had a well done splatter grunge site done in blood red on black. Nothing wrong with it.

The site was for a orthodontic surgery center; where blood red splatter symbolizes pain, grunge symbolizes unsanitary conditions, and black symbolizes the chance of death. Basic design rhetoric. Nobody “got” it until I spelled it out.

You get this when the site is built in a vacuum free of users or competition. Sure there are imaginary users (imaginary friends). And imaginary competitors. Just not anything approaching reality.

If it is a programmer, if I see an error message, I’m out of there!

:lol: funny but oh so sadly true. My favourite is the web development / design firm that try and convince you how great they are but have a wordpress website or google ads :rofl:

However, you’re going by what the website says and not what the people themselves say. Some web designers and developers are awful at updating their own website. The message on the website may not, and probably doesn’t match what they really say when on the ground and in the mix… if they leave the house or office that is.

First thing most places need to do is work out who their target market is, like what DCrux said. If you are trying to send a message to everyone that you are great then that is just “spray and pray”. That said, is there a major problem with having different sections of your site for different markets? Different copies of the “copy” written for different types of users?

Something that is happening more and more is adding a picture of themselves to the website. Now, I’ve worked with a lot of web developers and none of them I would bone :p. Please stop scarying people away with your photo. Especially if you are a programmer!

Feckin’ funny that - sound slike you’ve spent too much time on the job :wink: