One of the problems I face when I create a site is that I don't have formal training in every aspect of site development. I assume that's true for most lone webmasters/SEOs. If I was just one small part of a large company, I would most likely wear one or two (sometimes three) hats, and the rest of the hats would be worn by other company employees. But when I create a site, despite my lack of training in all areas, I have to do my best to fill every role myself.
I'm confident in my ability to optimize a site. That one's a given for me. But I'm not the world's greatest designer. Heck, I'm not even a good designer. I rely mostly on my ability to hack free templates to make them look the way I want them to look.
I used to be a programmer, so I'm usually able to handle technical details, but I still need to rely on outside resources now and then.
What's left is usually the meat of a site. The content. The copywriting. The landing pages. The usability. The conversion process. Since I was originally slated to be an English teacher way back in another lifetime, I can usually hack together a decent amount of copy and not have it sound like a third-grader wrote it. (Despite how I might write on my blogs...I'm not exactly formal here). But there's more to content than just proper grammar. Unless it's strictly informational, most copy needs to lead the user to accomplish some type of action. Over the years, I've gotten a fair amount of experience with this, but it's mostly been trial and error on my part. I didn't major in marketing, although I often wish I had. I've never worked for an advertising company. Many marketing terms are as jargony to me as my technical terms are to non-geeks. So, lately, I've been studying up on this area a bit more. I want to be better at this.
A while back, I had the chance to read several marketing-related books, and one of them was an ebook that I'd forgotten about...until I was reminded of it yesterday. I re-read it last night to refresh my memory. I also remembered that I'd wanted to tell you about it, but had forgotten to do so. (I've been a tad bit busy lately, sorry). So, I wanted to make sure I pointed it out to you now, before I forget again. I also plan to dust off some of the others I've read lately, refresh my memory on them, and let you know about them as well. (First, I have to find them...sigh).
Anyway, the one I want to point you towards today is called Landing Page Optimization. It was written by someone you've all probably gotten to know via one of the social networks that we all hang out in, Khalid Saleh, President of Invesp Consulting. I've included his avatar here because if you're like me, you'll recognize someone's avatar long before you recognize someone's name. (I wonder what that says about us?)
The Landing Page Optimization ebook is really good. It's 135 pages of solid, detailed information about conversions and landing pages with lots of case studies to clarify and back up the points made. This isn't an ebook that you scan through quickly. It's more like a textbook that you sit down and really "read". This one is for "learning", so if you truly want to learn how to create better landing pages, and get higher conversions, you'll settle down with this one. It's not free, but there's so much included that it's like having a consultant sit down and teach you everything he knows about the subject. Essentially, that's what Khalid has done, and I'm really grateful to have access to his experience.
Over the next few days, I'll try to find the other resources I liked, and share those with you as well. (Please remind me if I forget). That's all for now.