Using Humor On A Web Site

Here’s a quick tour of how humor was blended into a web site. It will focus on the humor highlights without having to wade through the entire site. And you’ll be provided with insights into the thoughts behind the humor. The site is www.HumorPower.com.

The first observation is that humor on a web site should fit the personality of the business or the person featured on the web site. A person with a laid-back personality and humor style should probably not have a web site written by a slapstick, pie-in-the-face comedy writer. The site should reflect your style and approach to life.

As an easy-going Norwegian kid from North Dakota, my style is to use understated humor. I have a dry, dead-pan delivery. It works for me. Therefore you’ll find the same subtle style of humor on my web site. An in-your-face humor style would be a mis-match. First visit the home page. There is the simple small caption under the head-shot photo. Not Actual Size. It’s so small and subtle that it probably goes unnoticed by some readers. But it represents my style and had gotten many positive comments from viewers. I would avoid using humor ideas you “borrow” from other people’s site and advertisements. I’ve always liked the use of baby pictures for a professional head-shot. It plays on the fact that people’s photos usually look younger than they do in person. But as much as I like the idea of the much-younger photo, I don’t use it because other people are already using the idea. For greater impact find your own unique twist.

Next, take a look at the bio page. It’s done in an interview format. This provides a good change-of-pace for the reader and the interview allows for weaving in several pieces of humor. The format permits you to easily give the necessary setup for each line. Notice the photo. It adds an element of humor by showing that the program is funny without really having to say it.

Here are some tips on capturing a photo where it looks like people are having fun. In my talks, I know exactly where the big-laugh points will come. If I’m having still photos or a video shot of my program, I create a roadmap of my talk, in writing, for the camera operator. I’ll show the photographer exactly when to expect the laughs, the exact words which will trigger the laughs, and I’ll recommend specifically where the photographer needs to be standing. Then as I approach that photo-opportunity laugh spot, I’ll make sure I’m positioned in the right spot for the photo to capture me AND the audience laughing. I also have to be alert to turning my head in the right direction so that the photo captures my profile and not the back of my head. A photo like this does not happen by accident. Also note that a good photo which captures excitement (let’s say you want a photo which shows patrons of your restaurant having a good time), comes as the result of taking MANY photos. Success comes in numbers. For people to look expressive in a photo, to look like they’re having fun…they have to be having a LOT of fun. Moderate laughter on a still photo looks like NO laughter. It’s a challenge to capture the emotion on film.

Continuing on the bio page, let’s look at the content. Typical of my humor writing style, I use the technique of “book-ending” the content of the page with humor. I both open and close with humor. There is a humorous answer to the first two questions and again for the last question. And there is a small amount of humor sprinkled in the body of the bio. I didn’t want a standup comedy routine because I wanted it to present relevant content in a credible way.

A good way to add humor to a web site is by featuring audio or video clips. I’ve included three sound clips to let my audiences show that my programs are funny. Program clips and Magic clip

Considerations for better audio/video clips are: Record in digital. Mic yourself. Mic the audience. I don’t normally mic the audience, but that’s the best way to capture the excitement.

It’s always better having a third party saying something good about you and your business than having to say it yourself. In addition to clips from live programs I also use testimonial quotes. You’ll find a half-dozen places where my past clients do the job of saying that I’m funny.

Here’s a great tip for collecting great testimonials. After a talk, people will likely tell you that they really enjoyed your presentation. You need to get those comments in writing. The problem is that even though they’d be happy to send you a testimonial letter, the average person just won’t get around to it. Here are two techniques you can use. Carry a digital voice recorder and capture the comments on the spot, along with their name. Another technique is to get their business card and write them a note afterward. In your note say, “I appreciated your taking the time to talk to me after the program. I especially appreciated your saying ‘That’s the funniest program we’ve ever had!’ May I quote you?” In my experience, they have always said YES. It’s a wonderful technique for collecting perfect testimonials.

On the Ezine signup page, I wanted to included the standard “we will never share your email address” statement, but notice the small humor twist.

The most off-the-wall humor on the site is found on the Las Vegas Tips page. Those photos happened by accident. I went to a local photography studio for some new headshots. During the session, I noticed some Las Vegas style props and costume pieces. A bright-idea light bulb clicked on. “I think I could use an Elvis shot and one as a Showgirl.”

The pictures came out great…the big question was where on the site would I use them. I made the conservative choice to put them on the Las Vegas Tips page. I was afraid that featuring them in my core marketing message would have been too much and could have been mis-understood. I didn’t want anyone to get the impression that I present my programs in a Las Vegas showgirl’s outfit!

When placing humor on your site you need to make sure you aren’t too cute for your own good. Avoid shooting yourself in the foot trying to be funny. That was a quick tour of a web site with just a sprinkling of humor.

Remember that when using humor, the concept of “less is more” almost always applies. Use what you feel is the highest quality of humor that compliments your personal style, and use it strategically. Over a period of time, as you upgrade your site you’ll sharpen the quality of your humor. It’s no easy task. But it’s worth the effort.