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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

6 Simple Tips to Writing Search Engine Optimized WordPress Blog Posts

1.  Use your keywords in the title of your post

6 Simple Tips to Writing Search Engine Optimized WordPress Blog Posts

Keywords (actually keyword phrases) are the words you use in your business to attract your target market, audience, and/or niche. These are the carefully researched phrases and terms that you use in all of your writings so your content shows up in search results. Think of them as the words that your potential customers/clients are typing into the search field when searching for answers. It is particularly important to use keywords in the title of your post because the title of your post will also show as the title in the search results (there are ways to modify this, but that’s another post).

2. Write WordPress blog posts that matter

First and foremost, your content has to answer the questions that your target market (or niche) has. People search the internet for information and solutions to their problems. Provide answers to their problems and there is a high probability that even a random search will result in your post showing up in the search results.

3.  Write your headlines so they include your keywords

WordPress offers a very simple method for creating headings and subheadings. The option is in your WordPress editor and are called H1, H2, H3 etc (the dropdown menu is beside the “Paragraph” option).  Each heading is a different font size and, depending on your theme and/or your theme tweaking ability, they can also be from different font families. (I suggest only using H2 and smaller because the title of your pages and posts are already H1 and you won’t be competing with the post or page title).

4.  Write your headlines so they include a benefit.

It’s from copywriting 101. Include a benefit in your headline wherever possible.  Why would someone want to read your post (or even the next paragraph)? How will it benefit them? Does it save them time? Are there tips that can be read and then implemented quickly? Will reading the post save them money?  Spell it out in the headline.

5. Use keywords throughout the post

And use your keywords early in the post. The first sentence is optimal, but at the very least, use your keywords in the first paragraph. You don’t necessarily have to use the same word over and over (which could be detrimental to your SEO efforts) because synonyms will also be recognized by the search engines.

6. Break up your writing with subheadings (paragraph subtitles).

SEO writing includes a technique where you break your content up with subheadings.  The search engines bots look for anything “unusual” in your post. Subheadings are “unusual” and they cause the search engine bots to pause and take notice.  They also make your writing easier on the eyes of your audience by providing some white space where the eyes can rest.

Have you taken the necessary time to do your keyword research?

Keyword Research Using Wordtracker’s Free Tool

One of the most significant keys to success is getting website traffic.  The more visitors you have, the better your sales and profits.

For maximum results, create a traffic and SEO strategy.  Outline your plan and your goals and then take the necessary action, but begin with keyword research.

Presumably you have a niche and you know your keywords, and regularly conduct keyword research to stay on top of what’s popular.  Right? If not, here are several tools that are great for not only doing your keyword research, but for learning everything there is to know about keyword research.

Enjoy,
Kathleen

 

 

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.


9 WordPress Essentials: Part 2

9 WordPress essentials part 2WordPress Essentials Part 2:

5.  Search

Have a search function 

Having a search function on your site is a great idea. Just like in Google, visitors can use keywords to search within your site for the content they are looking for.

It’s a good idea to have this above the fold (before they have to scroll) for the visitor’s convenience so they can speedily find the content they are interested in.

Some templates have the search field built into the navigation bar and others offer you a sidebar widget.

You can go beyond just the search function and add both archives and category widgets in the sidebar. The archives widget allows your visitor to find posts of interest that are sorted by date. The category widget allows them to search your posts by the categories you write under.

PS  The words that people use to search online are important to know because their keywords have to match the keywords you use on your site.  To learn more about this, get my free report: FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL

6.  Contact information

Have a contact page

The best option for adding your contact information is to have it on its own separate page. You’ll then have a link on the navigation bar and with one click, your visitor will have all of your information (telephone, email, and/or contact form) at their fingertips.

I have also included my toll free phone number in my header (banner) on my site.

7.  Opt in form

Offer a way to keep in touch

This is a very important step as this is how you will keep in touch with your visitors. Have it front and center on your site, before the fold. Offer a valuable gift to those who subscribe. It’s a great way to let your clients and visitors know about your products, services, special offers, and upcoming sales or events.

By the way, Aweber is the best service I’ve used so far. They are more cost effective, they have all the bells and whistles, AND they don’t charge extra to see your stats (how many opens etc).  Check them out for yourself:  AWEBER

8.  Design

Keep it easy on the eyes

The design of your page should support your brand image. But it should also be simple and not distract from your goals or purpose. Sidebars allow for the containment of additional information, and provide a way to have even more information above the fold.

Colors convey a lot of information and your color choice should be a good representation of your (type of) business or the image your are trying to present.

Word of caution:

  • Rotating banners, flashing things, and similar effects should be avoided unless it’s just an affiliate site.
  • Avoid anything that slows down the loading speed of your site. (flash)
  • Avoid using a dark background and light colored font. They are almost impossible to read online

9. Community Building

Interact

Integrate social networking buttons (lots of plugins easily manage this step for you). Let people find you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Use Social Bookmarking plugins as well. These are the little icons you see after a post where people can share your content on any number of bookmarking sites.

Allow for and encourage comments. There are several plugins out there that require people to sign up for accounts and jump through other hoops to leave a comment. I don’t recommend this. Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to interact with you.

When people feel involved or able to contribute they tend to revisit a website.

What are you thoughts? Let us know in a comment.

Get my Free Keyword Research Tool and Tutorial by Clicking Here

I am a proud Aweber affiliate and will receive a commission when  anyone signs up for Aweber by clicking the link provided in this blog post.

Kathleen

Didn’t read part 1?  Click here: http://www.thesavvyva.com/9-wordpress-essentials-part-1/

 

 

9 WordPress Essentials: Part 1

9 WordPress Essentials Part 11.  A Landing Page

Is usually associated with your main domain name.

It’s the first page your visitors will see (unless they have gotten to your site via a link to another page or post).  For example, on my site it would be the difference between http://thesavvyva.com and
http://www.thesavvyva.com/contact-the-savvy-va

Since it’s the main page of your site, it’s important to let your visitors know what you do or have to offer your wares and services. Introduce what you do, for who, why, and so on.

Here is an example of what not to do, from the real world:

I have walked past a store in my town many, many times. I would glance in the window and see Crocs (gardening shoes). I would think to myself, “Oh, it’s a Crocs store. Don’t need Crocs so I’ll just keep going”.

But yesterday when I walked past, I noticed some big containers of protein powder in the other window. This time I thought. “Huh?” Curious, I peered into the window past the display and realized that it’s a health food store.  I just happened to be in the market for some Stevia so I went in.  But had I not really looked through that window, I would never have gone into the store.

What happens when people come to your site? Do they know you are a health food store, or will they mistake you for a Crocs store? Can they tell at a glance what your site is about? Is there enough information to help them determine if you have what they want (need).  Be bold. This is your BUSINESS. If you were a brick and mortar store, would you hide all the goods behind a curtain? Of course not.

By the way, I would really like to report that once inside the store it all made sense, but it didn’t. The inside was as confusing as the window display. I found a guy to show me where the Stevia was; I paid; and left.

Has to have an objective.

What do you want visitors to do when they arrive at your landing page? Opt in to receive a free report? Click a link to go to a catalogue page?  Contact you? or something else?  This page has to support your objective.

2.  About Me Page

Tell your story.

This page is normally the second page that is viewed on any given site and should provide potential clients with information about you and your work. Think of this page as your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question in a job interview.

This is essential — after all, who wants to hire just anybody? People want to know who they are dealing with. It’s completely acceptable  and reasonable for your potential clients to do a little background research on you. Your about me page can make or break a business relationship.

Take it a step further than just publishing a resume or a list of accomplishments. Personalize the page and tell them why you are the best person to do business with.

 3.  Simple navigation

Creating an easy to understand navigation function for your site is vital.

This is the actual navigation bar for my site. It is positioned right under my header (banner) and contains all the links anyone needs to easily navigation around my site. Several of these links have drop down menus, for example, the WP Support link has several support packages listed one under the other. Clicking on any of them will take you to that particular page.


Website traffic always increases when the site navigation design is simple and straightforward. It also makes it more likely that you’ll have returning visitors because they’ll remember how easy it was to find your information.

At the very least, your navigation bar should be above the fold (which means that it is visible without scrolling).

Here is a another takeaway from the real world:

I received someone’s newsletter this morning and they are promoting a new product. One of the bonuses was an offer from another company to do a WordPress website review. Their sales copy was very compelling and I wanted to see who this hip new company was.

I got there and was unable to figure out who she was. There was no navigation at all other than 3 links in the sidebar, (that I believe most people would not know to click). There was no immediately visible means to contact this business either. Eventually I found the navigation at the bottom of the site after scrolling quite a way down the page. So overall it was not a good design.

The Studiopress templates have what are called breadcrumbs. If you look at the example in the image to the left, you’ll notice that across the top it says “You are here”  followed by Home / WP Support / WordPress By the Hour (10).

It is another way of making navigation that much simpler. If you were to click on WP Support, it would take you back to my general support packages, and then if you click on home, you’d be at my landing page. .

PS  Get your WordPress site assessed by this company.  Check this new service here: WORDPRESS SITE ANALYSIS

4.  Content is King Queen

Content is what drives traffic to your website.

People search online for information that will solve their problem, whether they need a service, a product, or a just a quick tip showing them how to do something.

Do you post enough content on your site so that you show up in (ideally their first page of) Google’s search results? Do you write blog posts? Do you create YouTube videos with solutions to the problems your potential market or niche have? Do you offer free reports? Cover all the bases. It will pay off over time.

PS  The words that people use to search online are important to know because their keywords have to match the keywords you use on your site.  To learn more about this, click here to get my free report: FREE KEYWORD RESEARCH TOOL

 

Quick Tips For Getting Website Traffic Fast!

Traffic Tips for WordPress

arrow found the targetOne of the most important keys to success in your internet business is getting traffic to your WordPress site. Although the ideal is to get very targeted traffic, it remains that the more visitors you have, the more likely you are to make sales (and profits).

Highly targeted traffic is usually the result of having a clearly defined niche and clearly defined keywords that would attract your target market.  Take the time to do your keyword research — it will be worth it after you see your traffic start to increase.  Here is an excellent post about keywords and keyword research: Click here to read about keyword research

WordPress Traffic Tip #1  Make sure you’re using your keywords.

Spend some time optimizing your content by adding your keywords as close to the beginning of each post as possible.  Use bolding and italics on especially important words and make sure you use your categories and tags features as well.

Use one of the excellent WordPress SEO plugins (Headspace2 and All in One SEO are the best as of this date) and either set it up yourself if you are comfortable doing this, or hire an SEO specialist to set it up for you.

WordPress Traffic Tip #2  Add lots of fresh content to your site .

Three times per week is ideal as it is essential for attracting traffic and getting a good search engine ranking.  Each time you post fresh content, the search engine spiders come to crawl your site to look for the new information. Give visitors and search engines a reason to visit and index your site.

Make a commitment to yourself and your visitors to provide plenty of optimized content and your traffic will soar (and remember that you can post date your content)  See my Youtube video on how to post date content.    Click here to see the video

WordPress Traffic Tip #3 Be Social!

Internet marketing is about building a community.  Gone are the days when you could create those cheesy, in-your-face sales letters and sell your products. People have become much more descriminating and will click away from impersonal and heavy handed marketing.

Sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter are powerful tools for generating links and traffic to your site – create profiles on them and post comments, add links to your site, and thoughts to generate conversation.

Get involved – have fun. Be fun, but professional. Look for forums that cater to your industry and begin participating.  Speak to and connect with your highly targeted audience.