Jane Begs Your Pardon
Jane Gets Sort of Philosophical

Jane Gets Chick-y Times Two

Thursday morning, before the sun is up. Jane is on an unfamiliar computer -- we do hope you will bear with us, dear reader. Yesterday flew by more quickly than a day at the beach. No relaxing moments on the sand, mind you, just the hurried pace of trying to fit an elephant into a shoebox.

We must -- indeed -- complete yesterday's Fit by Five, and our discussion of Chick Lit; what does it mean? how can it help you market to women online? and where do you find it? Therefore, we regret to inform you, dear reader, there will be no Smart Man Online interview this week. Make no bones about it -- Jane has scads of smart men worth interviewing (we are talking about you, Tris Hussey, with your wonderful stories, and you, Andy Wibbels, with your original content and thoughts on the blogging process, and so many more), but their phenomenal insights will have to wait for another day.

Let us proceed with our Fit by Five:

Chick Lit: yes, it's exactly what it sounds like-- literature by and for ... chicks. Ladies. Girls. Women. Let's remember that women buy and read more books than men. Women are more verbal, hence, we enjoy a good read -- be that fiction or business; motivational or historical. It's safe to assume that if you offer us good books, Chick Lit, especially, we will find your site worth visiting.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Chick Lit comes in two flavors-- U.S. and U.K. They are similar, but different, much the same as groups of women. Men are constantly accusing women of "being all alike." We think men find us exasperating at times, which leads them to the conclusion that we do things to perpetuate that mystique...on purpose.

Not so! We are just being -- who we are. And, we are the same, but, oh so different! Chick Lit U.S. is different from Chick Lit U. K. to appeal to those of us residing in the states...but it offers the same great reads, and an easy to navigate site. We like it, a lot!

Click in to each of these sites and notice the similarities...and the differences. The first thing that hits you is the color. U.S. is an orangey-brown -- not the traditional pink so many folks associate with women. Chick Lit U.K. allows pink and purple to dominate...

Which do you prefer? Which would your web-visitors prefe? Do you know? Understand this: COLOR MATTERS.

2. The two sites have one major attribute in common, one that you would do well to learn -- they both serve the same master, in different ways. In the U.S. you find a site with more text than images, with more sales-speak than commentary. For instance, the About Us page (YOU have an about us page, don't you, dear reader?) tells visitors, "Based in Southern California, Chick Lit USA specializes in importing popular British modern romance titles, which are affectionately known as Chick Lit. Our books are shipped from our warehouse located in London England, directly to customers in the United States & Canada."

Jane left the formatting and text color as is, to show you what Chick Lit U.S. is using. This page mimics the homepage, with several informative paragraphs and a few cover shots of the books. Effective...useful...not necessarily compelling, but...the book images and descriptions do that.

Chick Lit U.K. startles the eye when you click into it. Jane LOVES it! Is Jane your target market, dear reader? Do you want to delight and amuse us? Look at Chick Lit U.K. and notice that they've engaged the visitor by providing several rows of clickable images. Very nice. The images, according to their captions and alt text (you do use alt text on your images, don't you dear reader?), offer writing tips, Busy Chicks, Chick Lit Authors, Fit Chicks, and so much more. Is the visitor going to click away -- we bet our lunch on it!

The beauty of what's been done here is that -- there is so much worthwhile stuff, one cannot partake of it in one visit! One MUST return for more! We wonder, do you, dear reader, have such compelling content on your site?

3. As Jane clicked through the U.K. site, we were delighted with one particular page: the Lad Lit page! How marvelous, thought we! And the explanatory note at the top of the page explains it so well: "Now, it seems men are getting in on the act and in some cases, doing it better. Nick Hornby has had three of his novels (High Fidelity, About a Boy and Fever Pitch) made into successful movies, and writers like Hornby and Tony Parsons have become household names."

We couldn't help ourselves -- we clapped and laughed out loud. (You see, dear readers, women do like men...every bit as much as they like us -- when they're willing to admit it!)

4.  On the Chick Lit U.S. site, we discovered a page full of neat words. The ChickLit Dictionary page. How many of you, dear readers know what a 'banger' is? What does 'brolly' mean? What about 'knackered'? Or, 'naughts and crosses'? There is a learning experience here-- are YOU offering your visitors lessons in life, language, or love? Maybe you should be.

5. We leave you with two more thoughts -- the U.S. site offers Paypal, an easy payment venue, one we in the U.S. are familiar with. In fact, some studies show that folks prefer paying with Paypal. The U.K. site does not offer (well, Jane did not find one) a similar payment offering. BUT...we did find a whole page of neat stuff one could win! If one lives in the U.K. More's the pity. We do wish the ChickLit folks would give U.S. women a chance at some of those delightful prizes. What do you offer your web visitors, dear reader? Other than the usual... surely, you can raffle off books, offer surveys with free give aways -- why, a pen with our name on it would suffice!Hearts2

We hope you give some thought to ChickLit, to the differences in the two sites, and to the similarities. We hope you take time to incorporate something you learned today into your site -- to make your marketing to women online venture ever more successful, as summer approaches and thoughts turn to --love! (image compliments of Gifts of Excellence.)

What's not to like about that?


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Tris Hussey

Aw, shucks. Thanks Jane. What is it about New Englanders and telling stories?

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