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Some tips sound obvious when you hear them, but they’re the kind of thing that elude us when it’s time to produce. This is just one of those things. Too often a website makes a simple yet fatal mistake that prevents visitors from engaging.

That mistake is creating a site entirely about the owner, written from that perspective, almost preaching at the reader. The content focus is primarily on the company itself, why it’s awesome, and why every visitor to the site should trust them.

An old mentor of mine used to call these “I love me” sites.

What the content is not doing in these cases is speaking to the reader directly in a way that makes it clear there’s real understanding about what brought them to the site in the first place.

Your site is definitely about you to a point, of course. But it’s useful as a shorthand to say, “Your site is about them.”

Make sure you’re answering the right question.

This is one of the ways story telling can be so powerful. People hear advice like, “consider what a reader is struggling with,” and may think it’s as simple as saying, “being broke is tough,” when the target market are individuals struggling with finances or being in debt, for instance.

What would connect with them significantly better is an opening with a story, or at least a few statements to capture what being in that situation feels like. What the real concerns are.

“How will this affect my credit score?” is not a question that person is probably asking. Not really. Not compared to much more painful questions nagging at them each day like, “How will I pay rent or feed my family?” Or maybe even, “What will my friends or family think?”

So you can see that assuming the wrong question can lead to content that equally misses the mark.

Content and design that gets this right might ask questions that leave the reader nodding their head.

Your website needs to establish rapport.

Everybody has some competition. But when you’re in a highly competitive industry especially you have to get this bit right.

It’s too easy for a reader to hit the back button and find another solution. There are too many other solutions right there, all saying the same things, all claiming to be reputable, all claiming they have a track record of success.

The only way you can realistically break through that noise is to create a connection. They have to feel like you understand them, and it has to feel different than the last site they visited.

This post is the first in a planned series on content suggestions you can use to see immediate improvements in your engagement. Join us next time!