There’s one big problem with knowing your topic well. Sometimes it’s really hard to teach others what you know, especially if they’re a little short on background information.
This is more true in some areas than others. If you use a lot of acronyms, you’re probably going to confuse people who don’t know what you’re talking about. Mentioning SEO or PPC may be obvious to an online marketer, but just try mentioning those to friends who don’t do so much online. Even the word “blog” is unfamiliar to many people.
While the people reading your website are at least tech savvy enough to find you, that doesn’t mean they’re advanced in any other ways.
I started a website design company as my first online effort as I was getting bored with medical transcription. My very first client taught me how difficult terminology can be. She was a dog breeder, and decidedly not into technology. But she knew she needed a website.
She was adamant. Her website must be compatible with “trains.” One of her friends had told her all about them, and it was vital that the site be compatible with “trains.”
She couldn’t believe I didn’t know what she was talking about. Didn’t I know my own business?
After a bit of back and forth, it hit me. She meant search engines.
Once I said that, she agreed that this was what she was after. She’d used the word “trains” to help her remember “search engine.” She just forgot the mnemonic.
You can see that in many people. They don’t go to a favorite search engine. They visit Google, Yahoo or Bing. They probably don’t even think of these sites as search engines. They’re more the brand name than the function.
It Happens in All Industries
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re talking about. There’s what outsiders know, what beginners know, what amateurs know and what professionals and experts know. These are all very different levels of knowledge.
Your site should be friendly to all the levels of knowledge you intend to serve. Have sections that are friendly to those who just don’t know so much about your topic.
Tutorials are one way to introduce information to various groups. Have the most basic information in tutorials that are clearly just the basics. Bring in more advanced information in more advanced tutorials.
You may want to have an email course set up to help beginners get comfortable. This encourages them to come back to your site to learn more information. You can offer more advanced courses as well, but be careful of having too many subscription links all over the place. You might confuse everyone that way.
Talk to Your Friends
If you aren’t sure if your site is friendly to people with different levels of knowledge on the topic, talk to your friends. Have them review it.
Try to have people with different levels of knowledge take a look. The one who says, “Oh, but I don’t know the first thing about (topic), I couldn’t possibly help,” is the exact person you want reviewing your site if you want to be useful to people without any basic knowledge.
Have them go over your site not only for content, but for ease of use. If you had much at all to do with the design of your site, you probably know too much about it to really be able to know where things don’t make sense. Watching other people use your site is very educational.