Your Web site is like a grocery shelf. How does it display your products? Does it make your readers feel like foreigners?
As a recent foreign exchange student spending four months in Istanbul, I didn’t need to be reminded that I was a foreigner.
Yet, virtually wherever I went, I overheard yabancı, the Turkish word for foreigner.
I knew I was different, but having others remind me was uncomfortable.
For example, the first time I went to the grocery store, I forgot my dictionary. As a result, I got home with lumpy cottage cheese, a jar of tomato paste, and moldy vegetables.
This feeling of being an outsider might be how Web site visitors struggle upon encountering unfamiliar content. They, too, can feel like yabancılar.
Readers visit sites, particularly sites in the professional services sector, looking for assurance and solutions. Users look for providers who can fix their problems and make their lives easier. They’re also seeking some kind of personal connection to feel like less like a yabancı.
So, sites should encourage visitors to relax and stay put. Consider how well your site engages your visitors and if it is…
- Coherent: Well-organized content is attractive and inviting, encouraging readers to spend time on your site.
- Down-to-Earth: Readers are often put off by jargon. Use simple, clear language.
- Brief: Remember the Nielsen effect. Long looks hard, and hard doesn’t get read.
Eventually, I didn’t need a dictionary. What I remember best, however, were the times that my Turkish neighbors welcomed me and helped with my broken Turkish. They made me feel like less like a yabancı.