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I mentioned in an SEO post a while back that people want information.  This is a good enough reason as any to not do certain things (like have a flash site), but it is an even better reason to do certain things.  As always, the indicative drives the imperative.  Studies have indicated that people want information when they go to your website.  Thus, it is imperative that you inform people when they come to your website.  That is what I try to do here.  If there is something you want to know about websites, graphic design or search engine optimization I want to be your first stop.

Why to Inform

It's What People Want
As I've stated several times already people want information.  People don't usually want to be taught, but they always want to learn.  They want to feel like they are figuring it out for themselves.  It's why DIY sites, How To articles and For Dummies books are always so popular.  The same is true for the online experience.  People want information.  Look at the most popular sites; they all contain, as part of their core function, a steady flow of information.  Facebook touts that it is an open social network, and it is, but the majority of us facebookers don't do a whole lot of social interacting with our online network.  We tell a little about ourselves, but mostly we read information about others.  We don't get on everyday to reconnect with old friends.  We get on everyday to learn the skinny about the person sitting down the hall.

It's What Sells
I used to sell shoes at Hibbett Sports.  I have never been into sports and always buy my shoes off of the clearance rack.  So, at first I found the task a little difficult.  I would just lie in wait for someone who knew what they wanted and just hope to be the first person to get to them.  Then it dawned on me that all of those people knew what they wanted because they had information about the shoes.  They were educated about the product.  That information varied, of course, from support to style, but it was still the information that sold the product.  I then made it my goal to have as much information about each of our shoes as I could.  When customers would come in not knowing what they wanted I would merely educate them on the shoes.  The information sold the product.

Whom to Inform

Inform the people who are coming to your site.  This may sound obvious, but take a moment to think about it.  Do you know who is visiting your site?  Don't try to inform the people that you merely want to come or that you assume are coming.  Take the time and use the resources to find out who is on your site.  Don't become a Tracy Chapman and find yourself singing to the wrong audience.

What Information

This is another one that seems like a no brainier but is actually fairly difficult.  The obvious answer is to give the information that your readers want to find.  However, actually receiving such inquiries is not easy.  It's not like your readers will sit down to dinner with you and say, "I want to find out what the capital of Utah is."  (It's Salt Lake City, by the way.)  Sure, you can ask, but you don't want to sound needy.  To be honest with you, I can't offer good advice here.  I do a terrible job of finding out what my readers want to read.  The fact remains that we all need to make efforts to find out what our visitors want to learn.

If you take nothing else away from this post, please take this: People want information; give it to them!