It’s good to get back to basics. We forget them a lot of the time. Often times it’s what costs us the most online. We like “pretty” websites. We have visions for our companies and we want our websites to reflect that. But there can be a huge difference between pretty sites and effective sites.

It’s easy to forget that we can only ask a visitor to do one thing at a time. So what is most important to you? What will you direct their focus to? What is the most important action they could take? Are opt-ins most important? Are purchases most important? Are new client leads most important?

“UGLY” WEBSITES AREN’T A MYTH

It’s common these days to hear sales pages tout “ugly” websites that make gobs of money. I don’t doubt that these stories are true, because “ugly” websites tend to be focused websites. They give visitors only one option to choose. “Buy or bye.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for engaging visitors and gaining not just buyers but raging fans, but there is something to be said for not confusing those fans. Give them the content they’re looking for and then ask only one thing from them, be it a sale, an opt in, or a Twitter follow.

Now look at each page of your website. Is each one optimized for only one visitor action? What could you do to make it clearer for your visitors? What do you have on each page that just distracts from that desired visitor focus?

4 TWITTER RULES FOR THE SOCIALLY AWKWARD

Okay, so maybe you’re not so good with the words. Maybe people make you nervous. Maybe you just don’t “get” Twitter. Whatever. What matters is that you’re not so good on Twitter, but you want to be. So how can you “get” Twitter, when it just doesn’t come naturally?

LEARN WHAT TWITTER AIN’T

You’ve heard about “Twitter Marketing.” A lot of internet marketers hear that and think “Ads on Twitter” They post links and wonder why that shit don’t work. Why didn’t it work? Because that’s just not what Twitter is good at. Twitter isn’t a 140 character billboard. What Twitter is great for is an initial handshake.

It get’s your name and face in front of people in the shortest, most bite-sized snippet. 140 character billboard? No. 140 character cocktail party. Ding, ding, ding. Introduce yourself, be interesting, be memorable, move the relationship to a new venue when it’s appropriate. Don’t trap people or ask probing questions. I just met you at the party, I’m not ready to get that personal yet. Let’s see where this small talk goes and go from there.

SEE THINGS IN “TWITTER TIME”

Lots of people think following thousands of people on Twitter is just too much. They want 9 or 10. 10 they can handle. 10 they can keep up with. But this type of thinking just doesn’t jive with Twitter’s version of time. For one thing, Twitter isn’t meant to be a way for you to keep up with everybody. It’s not practical for that considering how often most people tweet. When I send out a tweet, it has a lifespan of a few minutes – at the most. That’s Twitter Time. That super short time span teaches us to do three things:

  1. Tweet more to be seen more.
  2. Don’t worry about any 1 tweet, be it yours or someone else’s. It will be gone completely from everyone’s attention within seconds.
  3. Don’t bother catching up. By the time you’ve “caught up” with one person’s past tweets, you’re already fallen behind what’s happened today.

Twitter is like a river that’s constantly flowing. Trying to dam up the river isn’t practical. Just dip in and out when you can.

FOLLOW MORE PEOPLE

As of the time of writing this, I am following 79 people on Twitter. Why is a really long story, but let’s just say that’s not enough by a long shot. Following too many isn’t a good plan either, but the more people you can see, the more connections you can make. Since Twitter isn’t about getting deep, you’ll have to concentrate on going wide. When you only follow a few people, it’s sometimes hard to jump into the conversation because you simply don’t have anything to say right then when you’re looking. Find more people to follow and you’ll instantly find new things to respond to and new connections to make.

FOLLOW FELLOW LITTLE GUYS

In any market it’s tempting to follow the A-listers only. We want to hear what they have to say, we want to know what they know, we want to be like them and, sure, we want them to see us! But concentrating on A-listers is not only short-sighted, it’s rude and hypocritical. Instead of hoping an A-lister will reach down and lift you up, find others at your level and work on lifting each other.

You’ll learn more. You’ll make more friends. You’ll be less of a douche. If all that hasn’t put you somewhat at ease when it comes to using Twitter, just remember that it isn’t a big deal. Be yourself. No one is expecting you to be brilliant/funny/charming/blah/blah/blah. We’re just expecting you to show up with what you have to offer. Be yourself, but don’t be a douche bag – if that’s not the ultimate Twitter rule, I don’t know what is.