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Try then buy: A Web 2.0 update on an old idea

I just realized I did something interesting yesterday, and I didn’t even think about the broader implication at the time.

The short version of the story isn’t so thrilling: I bought a book.

But here’s the backstory. A year or two ago I discovered this guy on the Internet who had some useful, and sometimes strange, ideas about web design aimed at improving usability for information-seekers. He argued that lots of bells and whistles actually ruin the experience and usefulness of a site (unless it’s deliverately meant to be a fun-and games site) because people usually have a purpose for being there, and entertainment isn’t always the primary objective. For example, when your hot water tank has just exploded, you want to find a well-qualified, reasonably-priced, plumber… ASAP! It’s even better if you can find the plumber you need on your iPhone as you ride the Canada Line to the client’s office in Vancouver…

So I check out this guy, named Gerry McGovern, a little more, and he’s got lots of great, free advice posted all over the web. One day, he even popped up in a video interview on one of my favourite sites, Ragan.com. Cool.

Over time, I’ve come to trust that Gerry McGovern usually makes sense.

Yesterday, I was browsing a selection of business books — with no intentions of buying — and saw one entitled “Killer Web Content.” Catchy. Next bookshelf.

My friend then stopped at that shelf and chuckled over one called “Web Design for Dummies,” located one level down. Turning to see her title, I suddenly realized the author of the book above, the one I had just been looking at (apparently without really seeing it), was Gerry McGovern.

Huh, all those great — free — ideas gathered into one easy-to-access tome that I can keep at hand on my desk?

Ka-ching goes the cash register.

My point? I learned to trust that Gerry McGovern’s work would be a worthwhile investment because he’d earned my respect already from the lessons I’d already learned from him — for free!

Yesterday, I was willing to pay for them.

About Erin Anne Beirne

I use storytelling and "content marketing" to promote my clients' work. I develop and implement communications strategies using all the on- and offline tools and media at our disposal, publish books and ebooks and market them internationally, or even just simply create a new website and teach the client how to run it. If you have something interesting to say, a valuable service to offer, or an important cause to promote, I'd love to work with you, too!

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