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8 Tips for Writing Content That People Actually Read

A Pen and Notebook For Writing a Marketing MessageAs a small business owner it can be very difficult to get found, never-mind be heard, on the internet. The competition is extreme and we are just one of many. Without something to set us apart, we just blend into the background. Is there a way to get an edge?

Our written content can be what saves us from mediocrity, IF we know where to start.

First, what do I mean by ‘content’?

Basically content includes written posts, pictures or images, and video, but it can also include anything that’s particular to your business, such as product descriptions.

Sales copy, or just “copy”, can also be considered, but it is much more finely tuned content than what I am discussing here.  (Sales copy is written advertising).

In general, making your content top notch is the very best marketing tool you have, because nothing attracts potential customers like useful, educational, and shareable content.

But how? How do people get the ideas that cause their posts or videos to go viral? Are they just better marketers than you? Better at business? More creative? Nicer people?

The answer is, no. They aren’t any of those. But I guarantee that they have spent lots of time learning how to write good posts, create interesting video, and use interesting images.

The following tips will help you to think about and see your writing in a different light:

  1. Bring your personality and voice to the paper. Show your audience your enthusiasm and passion for the product or services you offer. When your audience detects that you really are passionate about what you do or have to offer, they will be more interested as well.
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    Ensure that your voice is coming through the written word. Use your tone, your voice and your style. Eventually your audience will become accustomed to “you” and come to expect nothing less. When they return to your site, this is what they will be looking for. Personalize each written piece so that it is your own, and can be easily identified as such.
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  2. Always give. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I am in the cosmetics department and am given a sample of something and told what it is and how it works. I walk away feeling just that much more informed, not to mention impressed at their generosity.
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    It’s even more important online because you can’t be there to hand out the sample. Your writing has to be that sample. Make it educational and informative. Help that person so they can make an informed decision about hiring your or buying your products. If they leave your site not knowing anything more about you and your product/service than they had before they visited, they probably won’t be back.
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  3. Stay relevant. Are visitors going to get the information they came for about your business, or will they find something unrelated?
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    For example, if you are a Virtual Assistant and you are writing posts about your cute little pets, it’s not relevant to your business. People are busy and are looking for answers. Only include interesting, cutting edge, helpful, and/or newsworthy content that is relevant to the type of business you are in. If your content is all that, you can be sure they’ll be back for more.
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  4. Is there an element of surprise? Or something unexpected? I’m not sure what that would be in your business, but I’m sure there is something you could do that would leave your viewers thinking great things about you and your business, products or services. Give them something to talk about.
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  5. This next step is especially important for sales. Whenever possible, show your visitors what you want to say rather than tell them. Your content will be more powerful to your audience when you can show them testimonials or customer feedback rather than just you telling them how much your market loves your stuff. Anyone can say that, but the ones who can back it up will come out on top.
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    The internet can be a scary place for many people. They have no idea who you are or if you are honest. Let them know that others have tried your product or service and that they recommend them (social proof).

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  6. Edit your content to ensure it is clear and simple to follow. The easiest way to do this is to write the way you speak (conversational tone). You will come across as more approachable, friendly, and trustworthy if your audience feels like they are having a conversation with you.
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  7. Avoid using technical language or jargon that most people would not understand. If you have to use a word that your audience probably won’t understand, then it is completely OK to define it for them.
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  8. Get your content looking the best it can be. Spell-check and proof-read before publishing. Don’t present your website with a bunch of grammatical errors and misspelled words. Take a little extra time to check it before publishing it. Leave lots of white space so they can take a breather between paragraphs. Highlight words that are especially important (this is also awesome for SEO if that word is one of your business’s keywords). You’ll look more professional and capable of running a successful business. 

What did I miss? What is your writing ritual?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO: Simple Tweaks You Can Make to Your WordPress Content So Your Clients Find You

SEO… ugh… I know you’re probably thinking some or all of the following.

SEO: Simple Tweaks You Can Make to Your WordPress Content So Your Clients Find You

 

  • Search Engine Optimization is way too scientific for me–after all I’m an artist
  • SEO is way over my head–I’m a coach, not a techno geek
  • SEO looks incredibly boring. My eyes are glazed over even now
  • SEO is done by geeky guys who work in their parent’s basement and never see the light of day
  • SEO is illegal and, if caught, Google will banish you and your biz forever from search results

But in reality, SEO is a very powerful business skill that can get you a lot of traction in the competitive world of the internet. It’s really only a series of little tweaks you can make in your blog posts and on your pages that can amount to a huge rush of traffic, and clients that are finally able to find you in the search engines. (Of course, you can go much further than little tweaks and hire yourself an SEO strategist for big $$, but why not start small to see how it works?).

SEO is about “organic” search, meaning that you optimize your posts and pages for the people who don’t know a thing about you (eg: they are not friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking sites) They are the people who need you but don’t know it yet. They are the people who are in Google search right this minute, and are madly typing words into the search field trying to find a solution to their problem or answer to their question.

The words (keywords) they are typing into the search field are the only link between them and you (remember, they have never heard of you). If the words you use on your site (your keywords) match their search terms, then you will show up in the search results. The more exact your words match theirs, the higher you will show in the results.

You can probably see now that if you aren’t using the words (keywords) that this person is using to find answers, then you’ll never show up in the search results as a viable solution or answer to their problem(s). The better your site answers the searchers questions, the more Google will send you the highly coveted “organic” traffic.

So here is a summary of what SEO is:

SEO is the shortened term for Search Engine Optimization. As an online business and WordPress site owner, you need to know that SEO is what helps drive visitors to your website. And without visitors…well you know.

How Google Works

Search engines have names like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. When someone is searching for information on the internet, they type phrases or keywords into the Google, Yahoo, or Bing search field. They press “Enter” and receive a page with a list of search results.

SEO is “spoon feeding” your relevant content to the search engines so that it matches the searchers’ queries.

A search engine is a program that searches documents on the World Wide Web for a specific word or phrase. ~ Dictionary.com (SEO is tweaking your site to match those words).

Kathleen

SEO and Google Analytics go hand in hand. Check out this course.

[stickynotes title=”Google Analytics Course Just $7″ url=”http://www.thesavvyva.com/savvy-products/google-analytics-report/”]Click to Learn More[/stickynotes]

 

Related articles

The Secret to Getting More Visitors To Your Site Part 2

The secret to getting more visitors to your site part 2Search Engine Optimization

is a series of steps that you, the WordPress site owner, take to move your site up in the search results of the search engines. As I mentioned in Part 1, ideally you want to  increase your rankings so that your site shows up on the first page of the search engine results.

What Steps Can You Take To Optimize Your (New) WordPress Website?

1.  Keywords

Know the search phrases and words that your prospects type into the search engines to find the products and services that you offer. This is imperative — not an option.  If you missed the Free Keyword Research Tool and Tutorial from Part 1, you can GET IT HERE

Once you know them, use these words on your pages and in your content. There are entire books and  online courses about how to find and use keywords. A little research will pay off nicely.

2.  Good Content

Search engines look at the content on your website. They scan your content looking for keywords, keyword phrases and other relevant words and terms. Often people mistake the meaning of this and load their content with their keywords and phrases, even to the point of making their content nonsensical. But the search engines have very complicated algorithms to rate the quality of the content too. Search engines want to ensure that they are sending people to quality websites. not just those that are packed with the right keyword/keyword phrases.

3.  Linking

Another element that search engines look at are the links to and from your website. They look at incoming links – links from other websites and blogs and they look at internal links – linking within your own site (from one page to another within your site).

a. Incoming Links

Quality content helps create incoming links. Here’s what Google says about building incoming links to your site:

Create unique and compelling content on your site and the web in general

    • Make videos, do original research, and post interesting stuff on a regular basis. If you’re passionate about your site’s topic, there are lots of great avenues to engage more users.
    • Teach readers new things, uncover new news, be entertaining or insightful, show your expertise, interview different personalities in your industry and highlight their interesting side. Make your site worthwhile.
    • Participate thoughtfully in blogs and user reviews related to your topic of interest. Offer your knowledgeable perspective to the community.
    • Provide a useful product or service. If visitors to your site get value from what you provide, they’re more likely to link to you.Source:  Google | Webmaster Central Blog  You can click this link for more information

Social networking, guest blogging, and article marketing can all have a profound effect on the number of incoming links. Build relationships online to motivate people to link to your website.

b.  Internal Linking

Internal linking means that you have links from one page or article to another on your own site. Internal linking is perfect for situations where you have content that you want to draw attention to AND rank well in the search engines. Just create a link to it from other content or pages. For example, in my opening paragraph above you’ll see that Part 1 is a hyperlink to the first blog post in this series.

If you want have a sales page to a product or service and want it to rank really well in the search engines, then create a link to your sales page from your contact page, from your landing page, and any other pages that it makes sense to link to.

Keywords, Linking and Good Content are simple steps you can take to increase your ranking in the search engines. It’s not magic or difficult. Give them a try and come back to post your results here. We’d love to hear about your success.


How did my feed become invalid?

Feeds can go bad when they start hanging around with the wrong group of kids.

Feedbuner iconsActually, the most common cause of feed problems is the content that you post. A lot of folks like to use Microsoft Word (or other word processors, we just know this one has caused us a lot of headaches) to write up their blog posts.

When they do, sometimes these word processors can sneak in characters that are very difficult to render in XML. The most likely culprit is the dreaded Smart Quote, especially it you are putting quotations in your feed posts. Also, Word (we think) likes to put in special tags for formatting paragraphs, as well as address information. We don’t always know where these things come from, we just know that when they are introduced, they cause problems.

So how do I keep that junk from coming into my feed/blog?

Our best advice is to compose your postings in a straight text editor, like Notepad on Windows, or TextEdit on the Mac. You can get away with putting HTML tags in your posts, as most blogging engines correctly format those tags for placement inside a feed.

Source:  Feedburner

See this earlier blog post with an explanation on how to add your Microsoft Word content to a post or page without taking down your site:  Why Can’t I Copy and Paste Content Directly From MS Word?

WordPress Tip: How to create a hyperlinked reference to a Wikipedia article in a blog post or page

Creating Categories

You can create categories in two ways

1.  While writing a post or page, look over to the right of the editor and you will see the Tags and Categories sections.  You can create and select categories there.

2. Go to Dashboard –> then to Post –> Categories   A new window will open you can create your categories there as well.

3.  If you want to change your default Category, go to Settings (down the left side) –> Writing  and you will find a drop down menu where you can choose which category will be your default (especially good if you forget to select one).

Some blogging experts, Denise Wakeman for example, say that if you are using more than 6 or 7 categories, you are watering down your content.  This really does make sense.  Your business site should be laser focussed on your services or products.  Therefore, all of your content should be specifically about those products and services.

If you find that you need a lot more categories to list your content under, you may want to consider building another site.  (It’s easy too if you are being hosted by someone like Bluehost who allows you to have 5 complete websites hosted under your annual fee. )

Contact me for more information if you need it.

How to Change the Order of the Pages on your WordPress Navigation Bar

Would you like to change the order of the pages on your site?   Watch as I use the “My Page Order” plugin to do just that.  It is very simple and easy, as you will see.