This article may differ from what you’ve come to expect from articles about webmasters. This is because, in my opinion, it is a facet of the internet that few people actually consider.
That is what communication is. However, communication encompasses more than just speaking and writing.
What exactly is communication?
Communication is defined as the transfer of an idea or concept from one location to another with complete duplication at the receiving end. This final component is frequently overlooked. Therefore, a complete example of one-way communication would be Fred has an idea for a widget. He sends Ted this idea through space. Ted receives the message, comprehends it, and has a complete understanding of the exact concept Fred had in mind regarding the widget. Now, a complete two-way communication would be the process described above, with the addition that Ted acknowledges Fred for his communication, sending the acknowledgement across space to Fred, who then receives and fully duplicates and understands the acknowledgement. Fred would then express gratitude to Ted for this recognition.
So, what we have here is an exchange of ideas in which both parties have complete comprehension and are aware that their communication(s) is/are being received.
Why Am I Mentioning This?
Good question. The aforementioned communication formula applies to all situations. Relations interpersonal, business, familial, etc. However, we are in the website business. A website is by definition a communication medium. If your website does not adhere to this communication formula, you may be posting and emailing your visitors/customers in vain, as they may not actually receive your communication. I reiterate my emphasis on the receipt. If you send an email to a customer, I am not referring to whether or not it reaches their inbox. No, I’m referring to whether or not the recipient accurately reproduced your message and grasped your intended meaning.
Have you ever written an article that made sense to you but was difficult for others to comprehend? Have you ever written marketing copy that generated few or no sales? Have you ever encountered a client who, despite your best efforts, just doesn’t “get it”? If this is obsolete, then your communication strategy is obsolete. For whatever reason, they do not share the same understanding as you.
What Does This Mean?
It is much simpler to observe proper communication in person than online. First, when you are face-to-face with someone, you receive immediate feedback on whether or not they are understanding you. If someone does not comprehend your writing on the Internet, they will simply leave and you will never know. If the communication is flawed in any way on the Internet, you will likely lose the visitor. And due to the nature of the medium, you will not know.
But how can you do your part to ensure that your website adheres to proper communication standards? Let’s examine that:
The Meanings of Words Words are an integral part of the language. However, if someone does not comprehend the words you are using, the language will be ineffective. According to human nature, when a person reads something they do not comprehend, they will first forget they read it and then separate themselves from it. Ultimately, they will leave and never return. Therefore, it is in your best interest to employ words that your visitors can comprehend. Do not use big, fancy words for the sake of appearing intelligent. It doesn’t work. Also, if your website discusses topics of a technical nature, strive to explain them in an understandable manner. In conclusion, I believe that every instructional website should contain a glossary. Maintain a glossary of commonly misunderstood terms and include hyperlinks to their definitions in your content. You could also use ALT tags or DIV layers to display the word’s definition when you hover over it. Regardless of how you employ it, it is in your best interest to ensure that your writing communicates with your audience. And this begins with employing language they can comprehend.
2.Recognize Your Visitors As stated previously, acknowledgment constitutes half of the communication cycle. Therefore, if a visitor sends you email, you should respond. If you fail to do so, your visitor will believe you are ignoring them, and they may become angry. I do not intend to make your guest appear childlike, but it is true. Visitors who communicate effectively with a website are more likely to remember it. They will develop a stronger affinity for the website and a higher level of agreement with its creators. That is beneficial. Conversely, if you disregard their messages and do not respond to them, communication ceases to exist. Therefore, they will disregard you. Therefore, organize your website’s email lines so that messages can be answered. Set up a minimum auto-reply to let them know their message was received. Ideally, however, you will send them a response.
When necessary, require acknowledgement. Occasionally, a visitor will begin a transaction of some kind, only to abandon it. For instance, they may subscribe to your mailing list without confirming their subscription. The communication formula is no longer valid. They did not respond to the confirmation email. Perhaps it did not arrive. Perhaps they forgot. Regardless, the question must be repeated. As you would in real life, if someone does not respond to your question, you repeat it until you receive a response. In our example, you could send them cron-enabled reminders until they confirm their subscription. After a few attempts, they can be written off.
Design for Communication The design of your website should complement the message you are attempting to convey. The design of a website can impede the message if it is poorly executed. It would be comparable to attempting to communicate over the roar of a jet engine. In this case, you may be able to communicate effectively, but you must also manage the surrounding environment. Stop the jet engine or proceed to another location where you can convey your message. Your website is the medium online. Your content may be well-written and the words may be clearly defined, but if the website is difficult to navigate, your site becomes the noise that prevents the message from reaching the reader’s mind. I will save design theories for another article, but pay attention to (1) cross-browser compatibility, (2) the clarity of your homepage’s primary message when the user arrives, and (3) a functional layout. Do not overwhelm the page with so much information that the user cannot determine where to focus on it.
Allow others to express themselves. Communication is the fuel that drives life. It is what keeps the world spinning. This is why interactive elements on a website increase the site’s stickiness and traffic. People love to communicate. Create online forums, interactive quizzes, and anything else that encourages visitor participation and feedback. Your website need not be a one-way street from you to them. In actuality, a successful website will actively attract their return traffic.
Address Their Realities. This could be the subject of its own article, but I will only mention it briefly here. Even after considering all of the preceding, the fact remains that everyone has a unique perspective. And everyone believes that their perspective on the world is the correct one. They are aware that they are correct. If you communicate with them based on assumptions that are not part of their reality, your message will not reach them. A recipient must be receptive to your message. An illustration would be attempting to explain the health benefits of meat to a PETA member. Therefore, in any circumstance, you must determine the reality of your target audience and then tailor your communication to THAT reality for your message to actually be received. This is where requesting feedback from visitors comes into play. Maintain a log of feedback to determine their actual situation. Take surveys. Determine their level of expertise and speak to that. By doing so and adhering to the correct communication formula, you WILL establish yourself as the authority in your field. Look at Oprah. She is extremely wealthy, to the point where most people cannot relate to her level of wealth. However, Oprah is out there communicating with everyone. And she positions herself so that individuals can identify with her. She does not put on an act. She is GENUINE with people. She addresses their actuality. She is extremely successful as a result,
Finish It Up
In this article, I have touched on a few topics that I can easily expand upon in the future. And I most likely will. However, this should get you started. Examine the communication to and from your website to determine its quality. Any successful website cannot exist as its own little island on the internet. It must communicate in a significant manner. It must function as a six-lane highway with traffic in both directions. Put your website in this position, and you’ll be on your way.