5 Steps to an Iconic Web Presence: STEP BY STEP!


Iconic Web Presence

“STEP 1: We can have lots of fun!

STEP 2: There’s so much we can do!

STEP 3: It’s just you and me!

STEP 4: I can give you more!

STEP 5: Don’t you know that the time is right!

HOOWOAH!!”   – New Kids on the Block

Did I really just quote NKOTB in a blog post to do with creating a solid web presence andcrowd content marketing? Wow, that just happened.  I guess it is fitting. The New Kids did an amazing job of knowing their buyer personas and then delivering what they wanted. They generated significant amount revenue off 10-18 year old screaming girls with catchy, sappy songs. They were effective and as it turns out they were also onto something with their song Step by Step.

STEP 1: We Can Have Lots of Fun with Our Web Design

When designing your website the number one rule is keep it simple, don’t over complicate the design. The design needs to reflect your company culture. This is where you make your first impression! Use colors that work together and are pleasing to the eye. The last thing we want to do is offend viewers with a rainbow of colors! Unless you are selling headache medication I wouldn’t recommend loud, bright and contrasting. The design and color scheme are the frame to the content. Your content deserves to be treated with respect as do the visitors to your web site. There is an exception to this rule and that would be with your CTAs (Call to Action). The visitors’ eye should be drawn to the CTA on the page. Remember, drawn not offended by! A good rule of thumb is to make your CTA in a color that is found nowhere else on the page, again without being offensive. The eye should be drawn to the CTA in a, “Oh, what’s this?” manner. The key to an iconic web presence is to have fun with the design process whether that means you are having fun doing it in house or having fun working with a professional web design team. It’s your online presence! Have fun with it, make it yours and make sure it appeals to the masses.

STEP 2: There’s So Much We Can Do

Once your website is built the possibilities are wide and varied. Consider your product and/or service and then you can properly select the add-ons for your site. You may need an online store to sell a line of products, or a blog to educate the public about your industry. You may consider one or more types of social media to help bring traffic to your site – CTAs, Landing Pages, videos, and/or webinars. There are so many ways you can make your website unique. It can be overwhelming!  When considering the possibilities it is important to consider a few things.

    1. Which add-ons will best suit my business?
    2. How much time can I invest into my site?
    3. How much money can I invest?
    4. Can I hire someone to run my blog and social media?
    5. Which social media am I comfortable with?

These are all important questions. Pick the add-ons that best suit the needs of your business. If you don’t have a line of products to sell then you don’t need an online store.

What you invest into your site whether it is time, money or both will play a major role I how effective your web site is. If you don’t have the time to invest into research, writing good content, and going over analytics to see where you can improve then I would suggest that you make sure you have a budget to hire professionals to crate your iconic web presence.

If you’re doing things yourself then select the social media you know and do it well! If you’re a tweeter then stick to twitter and do what you know. It’s better to do fewer things like a rockstar than do everything mediocre.

STEP 3: It’s Just You and Me

It is highly recommended that you have a blog on your website and that you post regularly and consistently. Writing posts of quality content regularly will, over time, establish a loyal audience. Another benefit to a blog is that every time you post you create more pages on your website which is good for the coveted organic page rank. More importantly a blog is a great way to nurture a relationship with your visitors. Establish buyer personas and then write your blog posts for them. Write as if you are having a conversation with them one on one. This is your opportunity to develop relationships and build trust with your readers.

A good quality blog will please both people and search engines. Your blog is the key ingredient to your iconic web presence.

STEP 4: I Can Give You More

It’s important to give more to visitors. This again, builds relationships and trust. Examples of what you can give to those that click on your CTAs is eBooks, webinars, white pages, samples and any number of other tools and services that you offer. By giving you will gain leads through landing pages and most importantly build trust. Why is trust important? Trust is important because when the consumer gets to the stage in the sales cycle where they are ready to make a buying decision, who are they most likely to make their purchase with? Most will go with the business they trust. It is my opinion that building trust is the most important element in the sales cycle. It does not come quickly or easily so take the time and have the patience to earn the trust of your visitors. Use your knowledge, personality and tools to earn trust over time and then reap the rewards.

STEP 5: Don’t you know that the Time is Right

Are you timid about getting online or about changing your current web presence?

Don’t be!

There is no single greater tool in marketing your business than a well thought out, solid web presence. If you have the budget, then hire professionals to work with and attack your online marketing strategy full strength. If that budget is not there at the moment then all hope is not lost. The beautiful thing about building or reinventing your online appearance is that you can do it a piece at a time. Nowhere is it written that it must all be done at once. Start with a blog and writing some fresh new content or update your design. Start making use of social media like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.  There are so many options. Pick one and do it well, then add another and so on. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but at the same time, the sooner you get started, the sooner your business will reap the rewards!

Silver ‘Re ‘ Cap

Create your iconic web presence STEP BY STEP! I know a lot of you just sang that! It’s alright, I’ve been doing it through the entire writing process.

    1. Have fun creating an effective design that makes the first impression you want. Take your time and do it right. If you don’t have the skill-set required, admit it and hire a professional. You only have the opportunity to make one first impression, so make it a good one.
    2. Consider all the different options to bring more traffic to your site. Blogging is highly recommended.  Past that, do what you believe is best for your business and do it well.
    3. Build a relationship with your target audience through well thought out personas and then delivering the content that they want.
    4. Create CTAs and landing pages offering something of value.
    5. Don’t wait, more and more people are making buying decisions online every hour of every day, get started and grab your piece of the pie!

otr_logo_3DAs always your comments and opinions are valued and desired.

Colin is the Social Media and Content Marketing guru at OTR WebSocial Media is a Conversation Solutions a web development & content marketing company since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

Follow Colin on Twitter @CBSilvercap


Targeted Content: Lock On


You’re on our way! You have started a blog and are posting regularly on topics that are relevant to your industry. You have upgraded your web presence to a responsive site. (Most people are using mobile devices these days to gain access to the web and will make buying decisions on their mobile devices). You did not want to miss the boat on that and have potential customers go with a competitor because of the lack of convenience with your web presence! You’ve got your “Calls to Action” and “Landing Pages”; you’re ready. But, ninety days go by and you are not seeing the results you expected. Why? The content is relevant to your industry which is great, but is that content being directed to the right person?


We now need to create “Buyer Personas” and do so in an intentional manner. Buyer personas will help us write content that is more relevant to our specific clientèle – both current and future. We need to think of writing content the same way we would write a letter. The first thing we need to consider is: who are we writing to? It would be awfully difficult to write a good letter to someone when  we don’t know the first thing about them!


Who are they? How old are they? Are they married? Single? What is their income? Are they workaholics? We can ask all sorts of questions to create our fictitious customers. The more we ask, the better. All the questions we ask ourselves will help us identify these personas. After we establish who they are, we need to name them and even give them a picture. This will help us identify with them. We will view them all as people and thus treat them as such. Now what do we do with these personas?


Now we need to find people who are unbiased and fit our profiles. We need at least 20. The more we get, the better our results. We need to make sure we’ve prepared a list of open-ended questions to ask them. Once we’ve gathered all the data on all our personas, we can begin sorting through it and discovering what our target market needs.


We know who it is we want to sell our product to and what it is that they want!  We know who we are writing the letter to!  Now we can make sure our content speaks to them and satisfies their needs. Now that we’ve locked onto their needs as a customer, they will be more likely to seek us out when they are in need of the products and services we provide … because we are building a relationship with them. We understand them. Who doesn’t want to be understood?


  • Who is our ideal client?
  • Are there several?
  • What are their needs?
  • Lock on and feed them targeted content.

Post comments and ask questions relative to your business and asSocial Media is a Conversation a community we can provide input and improve together.

Colin is the Social Media and Content Marketing guru at OTR Web Solutions a web development & content marketing company since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

If you have not yet moved to a responsive web presence  Read This Blog Post

otr_logo_3DFollow Colin on Twitter @CBSilverCap

Follow OTR Web on Twitter @otrweb

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Web Errors That Will Cause Your Visitors To Bounce Away


I received a notification today from a company via one of the Social Media sites about some tech predictions for 2012. It was an interesting headline so I clicked on the link and waited as the page loaded line by line for this HUGE image to download. At first I thought maybe my connection was acting up so I reloaded the page and the same thing … the image loaded line by line and after 30 seconds I could see that I was only about 5% into the image.

I never did read the article, though I suppose it had loaded below the image. I just bounced away and proceeded to write this blog article. The worst part was these people advertised themselves as web developers and designers! You can expect to see a non-optimized image in a personal website or blog … but from a firm that says they are web designers? As I started to compose my rant it made me think there are other things that make us go hmmm when we get to a website. Following is a short list of things that can make your website visitors go hmmm and inevitably bounce away.

Spelling it boggles my mind to go to a web page and find it full of spelling errors. How is anyone going to trust that you can deliver what you promise if their first impression is hmmm? Spell checkers are available … take the time to use them and then check the results, as you don’t want to just accept the revised corrections or you can end up with some very strange words that are entirely out of place.

Wrong Words – My dear oldest sister, who was a very successful mortgage broker almost always used “loose” instead of “lose” … that one will lose me most every time. Too many times we see “to” used when “too” was the correct word or accept when except was the right choice. There are some things we just cannot accept, except occasionally these word errors can cause us to laugh. The list of incorrect word usage goes on and on and I am sure we could fill an entire blog with just such words.

Grammar – This will be short as my wife (the copywriter) is always correcting my writing and if/when she reads this blog she will ask me politely if I would like for her to “fix” it. Most times I do send through my posts to her first, but today she is out writing for a client so you are getting the raw copy! The bottom line is if you struggle with grammar then make use of someone to edit your writing. Check back here in a few days for the “finished” post. 🙂

Color or Colour Usage the spelling of which depends on whether you are north or south of the 49th Parallel.  We write on our OTR site that anyone can build a website and it is true, today most anyone can build a website. However building a website that works and creates a good first impression is another thing altogether. Glaring colours, movement everywhere, a page that is not balanced and unwanted sound are all things that cause the visitor to your web pages to go hmmm and add to a poor first impression of your business or service.

Images are critical to your website. While it is true that the search bots read words it is also true that the search bots do not buy your products or services. People perform that function. Careful selection, optimization and page placement of relevant images will make the interest of your page increase exponentially. Clip art, irrelevant images, non-optimized images, annoying flash or too much movement will all drive your readers away and cause another hmmm.

Social Media Integration – How many websites even today do you go to and there is no social media integration into their website? Communicating with fresh up to date content and building a relationship with your target markets is vital to your overall web success. A blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all valuable relationship tools and can be managed with Social Media Management Software from your desktop. A workable Social Media plan can be found here that you can integrate into your web presence.

Search Engine Optimization – Often we go to  a website and it looks nice and can even be designed well, but the all important SEO aspects have been left out. Some web designers will throw in a few keywords in the meta tag and think that is what is needed for SEO … there is a LOT more to it. Key phrase research, niche market research, local area search, content marketing, website architecture, copy that incorporates the key phrases in a manner that is readable. Each page having a purpose and a call to action … the list goes on.

We have barely touched what goes into a website that works, and by all means build your website yourself … just take the time to research and do it right. If however you have come to the conclusion that you neither have the time or the necessary skills to create a website that works, then contact OTR Web Solutions and we will work with you to build a site for your business … that works.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.


Tired Phrases – “Reach Out” How about “Bug Off”


You open up any email or web post or blog article and somewhere soon you will find one of those tired phrases like,we “reached out” to our readers …” Okay folks, I don’t want you to “reach out to me”. It just paints a strange picture in my head as the image of you reaching out through the screen to touch me and make personal contact. It is not likely you would reach out to me if we met in the mall or on the street. Why? Because you do not know me.  I am just a name or email address in a long list of people or non-people that you have acquired through some means or another.

So marketers and copywriters, it is time you “stepped up to the plate” because the goal of readership and contact will only be attained one step at a time. I am reaching out to you in the hope that you will create a new phrase that not only you can believe in but one that clearly portrays my life has never been so good.

Truthfully, (does that mean everything before this was a lie?), if I could leverage this blog to produce a paradigm shift in copy content that is outside the box … well it just doesn’t get any better than this. (That really was bad bad wasn’t it!)

We all desire products of the highest quality and of course we want great value for our money. Furthermore, we expect you to deliver amazing results even extraordinary results all the while showing that you care for me your customer … and of course we expect this 24/7.

I am ” reaching out to you” this one last time to let you know that if copy is not your forte then we, the OTR copywriters, will compose professional, affordable and unique web copy for you that will provide solutions to your business web copy by taking your copy “to the next level!”

OTR Web Solutions Inc.


Your Website Delivers a Message … for Better or Worse.


How often have you searched for a product or service, and the sites you have come upon speak about themselves, their history and their great products or services? You, the potential client are then left to determine the “if” or even “how” this particular website can meet your businesses specific needs.

The reality is that many of your website visitors will then “bounce” away because they are looking for a solution to their problem and really do not care about you or your products … unless you can portray that your site can meet their needs. The question then is how can this be accomplished effectively?

  1. Determine your specific market. When I was in the life insurance business (a lifetime ago) I was told that if you throw enough mud against the wall … some of it will stick. I suppose there was/is some merit to the comment but I did not like it then and I do not like it today. To my way of thinking it made more sense to make 10 targeted calls and close them than to make 100 mud-on-the-wall calls and hope to close 1 or 2! If for example my target market is “trucking web designers” then we need to build the web pages to attract and qualify within that specific market and not dilute the message and impact by attempting to appeal to a broader market.
  2. Resolve a need. To accomplish this you must be knowledgeable about the market and the specific needs of that industry. Sticking with the transportation industry as our example, determine the needs and relate a story of how you can resolve that need in a manner that the reader can relate with and to for their business. Some of the example transportation needs:
    1. Driver Recruitment and Retention
    2. Market penetration to pre-determined segments
      1. Regional Carrier
      2. Over The Road Carrier – National
      3. Dry Freight – LTL, TL
      4. Refrigerated Freight – LTL, TL
      5. Bulk Carrier
      6. Household Mover – local, regional long distance
      7. 3PL
      8. Brokerage
      9. Warehousing and Storage
    3. Social Media Campaigns
      1. Facebook
      2. LinkedIn
      3. Twitter
      4. Blog
      5. Social Media Console Manager
  3. Tell Your Story. Once the specific market has been determined and the needs of the industry established then it is time to relate a story of how your company can resolve those needs. A short story with images that are relative to that story creates a memorable image within the readers mind and will bring about the all important next step … contact. Again using our example of “trucking web design” we could write about how a client called concerned that one of their customers had been looking for 3PL services in a particular city and when doing a search their trucking company came up … but not relative to 3PL services. Can you get that corrected  for us so that our trucking company shows for 3PL within this city when a prospective client searches for that phrase? A few weeks later comes back the response … that is fantastic, we are on the first page. How do you do that!? Or you can tell a story about Driver Recruitment and how with the new web pages, blog and Facebook we actually have drivers calling us and posting to our Facebook telling us that they are applying. You guys took the time to find out about us and delivered our message.
  4. If you caught my interest I might want to know more about your products or services features … but my first impression had better be about the benefits you bring to me because that is what is going to capture my interest. It might be relevant somewhere that you have been doing this for over 12 years as that shows me you will probably still be around when I need you again, but only if you can show it as a benefit to me.

Professional web development is a team project. In the same manner as truck drivers by themselves do not form a transport company; a web designer cannot make a website development company. It takes a professional team to build an effective website that works. If you are looking for a team approach to your website development then take the time to contact OTR. We are here to build for you … a website that works.

OTR Web Solutions Inc.


I Can’t See You – Is Your Business Invisible?


Quoting from a recent Google initiative –

“A business with a couple of dozen employees is a small business. That same business without a website isn’t even a small business. To potential customers, it might not even exist.

Visibility is a problem for most small businesses in the digital marketplace.

According to a study commissioned by Google Inc., 59 percent of small businesses in Michigan do not have a website.

And nationally, 63 percent of small businesses lack a website, said the same study, conducted by the French research and marketing company Ipsos. The study defined small businesses as those having 25 or fewer employees.

About 23 percent of Michigan businesses do not have any Web presence at all, said Michael Miller, director of online sales and head of Google’s Ann Arbor office. That means no social media, no online local listings and no presence on maps such as Google Maps, where close views show the locations of businesses and other landmarks.

“They’re completely invisible if someone is actually going to do a local search or trying to find a product or service online,” Miller said. Becoming visible represents an economic development opportunity for the region, he said, given that most jobs come from small business.”

You might recall an ad on TV where a customer comes into a bake shop and munches away on their samples … all the while telling the owner of the store that she is invisible to him and the many like him. He disappears out the door of the store as though he never existed and all because they had no internet presence. Great ad and I wish I had the budget to do one like it!

It is not self serving of me to say your business NEEDS a web presence.  If 63% of business does not have a website … well that seems like a statistic that suggest now is a good time to position your business in the forefront of your market.

There are some simple steps available to get you started such as Social Media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and an online Blog. Social Media will get your business at least out there where people can hear about you and your brand.

Local Search … local people or people coming through your town need to be able to simply and efficently find your business. Listing with Google Places Business is a great place to start to get your business listed in their maps.

Website … that one goes without saying. Here is where people find out who you are and what you have to offer.  There are template web hosting providers if you have the skill set and time available to write your own content. Remember though … you only have one crack at a good first impression. If you cannot do it right then you are better off to outsource and get a professional to do it for you.

Copywriting … one of the more critical aspects of your website aside from the actual design is your web copy. Research into Search Engine compatible key words and phrases and the integration of those phrases into your site architecture and web copy combined with delivering your companies message and brand are essential to your online web success.

If all of the above seems a bit overwhelming or if you just do not have the time to make it happen then contact us at OTR and we can help bring your business to the forefront. OTR delivers.

Ian Conklin
OTR Web Solutions Inc


What do copywriting and dentistry have in common?


A number of years ago I spent time perusing writing forums in search of help and inspiration. Trying to extract information from my clients was like pulling teeth.  I wondered if other copywriters were having as much difficulty as I was. I discovered many of them were experiencing the same woes with their clients.

For the most part, business owners are a busy lot and the tyranny of the urgent always seemed to override my pleas for content notes.  Unless the website had been assigned to someone specific at the company who had been tasked with corresponding with me, my questions and emails usually went unresponded to.

Ideally, we would meet with our clients, tour their facilities and then build their website.  However, the international scope of our clientele would necessitate travel and lodging and thus an added expense that both we and our clients didn’t feel was warranted.  A solution needed to be found because the slow and painful extraction of information method I was using was not working.

When was the last time any of us used a tape recorder?  For me it was the 8th grade and I was recording the top 10 count down from the radio or something.    While my techie boss is somewhat appalled at the use of such a dinosaur as a lowly tape recorder (he wants his “word nerd” to be a little more savvy in matters of technology-after all we are a web firm), even he admits that the result has been impressive.  The reward has been a copious supply of copy notes in a concentrated amount of time. I am able to get a “feel” for who the client is and effectively deliver their message in the web copy we produce, without the expense of traveling to them.  Because I am able to build a personal rapport with key people in the company, I have prompt responses to any follow up questions.  A process that used to feel like months of pulling teeth has been pared down to a few simple 30-minute telephone interviews.  Now that the value of this new method has been proven, I have no doubt that the boss shall force me into the digital age.  Until then, does anybody have some blank cassettes lying around?

Theresa Conklin BA Ed Hons is a copywriter for OTR Web Solutions Inc