Why the Holiday Season is a Great Time for Job Searching

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There are countless excuses you can make for suspending your job search through the month of December: You need a break. You want to enjoy the holidays. Nobody’s really hiring anyway. Most companies are worried about end-of-the-year financials and holiday parties. You can start your job search again in mid-January, once things are back to normal.

We’re here to tell you that, in spite of all the excuses, the holiday season is actually a great time to look for work. If you’re already searching, keep doing it—full speed ahead. And if you’ve been thinking about launching a new job search, there really is no time like the present.

Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays

Why do we think the holiday season is so ideal for job searching? Here’s our argument:

Your competitors are taking time off for the holidays. You might assume that hiring managers receive many fewer resumes and cover letters during the holiday season—and you’re not wrong. That’s all the more reason for you to step up and seize this opportunity to shine in a less-crowded field of applicants.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities to network over the holidays. Parties, open houses, charity events… this is a season that brings with it plenty of chances to meet and mingle, which can really be an asset to jobseekers.

You have a great excuse to reconnect with old contacts. The holidays give you a perfect reason to send quick emails or LinkedIn messages to former colleagues and classmates, and to let them know you’re thinking about them and wish them a happy holiday season. Of course, you can also let them know you’re in the market for work.

You may actually have an easier time reaching hiring managers. It’s not unusual for administrative assistants and mid-level managers to take holiday time, so if you call a potential employer, there’s a decent shot of you connecting more easily to the ultimate decider. This gives you a unique opportunity to form a connection!

You can position yourself for January turnover. The beginning of the year can bring a lot of departures—so even if you’re not hired before Christmas, you can at least have your name in the ring for a shot in January.

You can prove yourself to be serious. Job seeking over the holiday season is, as we’ve already established, a pretty bold move—and it’ll show hiring managers that you’re really committed.

Make Your Move

There’s no time like now to put your best foot forward—and one way to do so is to spruce up your resume. We’d love to give you the holiday-season resume overhaul you need. Contact our team at Grammar Chic to make it happen: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Keyword Errors That Can Tank Your SEO

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Keywords are critical for successful search engine optimization (SEO), but they can also be stumbling blocks. We’ve all been to websites where the keywords were so dense and so awkward that the text didn’t read naturally, or offer any meaningful insight to the user. By the same token, you’ve probably struggled with blog posts or web pages that simply didn’t generate any SEO traction, likely because of insufficient keywording.

In other words, working with keywords requires some balance. To help you achieve it, we’re going to run down four of the most common keyword mistakes—technical errors that can sink your SEO endeavor. We’ll also provide some hints for avoiding them.

Common Keyword Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them

Only choosing short-term keywords. Before you can implement keywords, you have to select them—and many SEO novices spend too much time and attention on shorter, more general search terms. The problem with choosing a keyword like “plumbing” is that it’s just not how users tend to search for things; at the same time, it happens to be really expensive to rank for, especially with PPC ads. A long-tail keyword—“affordable plumbing in Charlotte, NC,” for example—better reflects user habits, and also provides more room to be competitive.

Keyword stuffing. When people ask us how many keywords they should be using, we generally just recommend that they use the words naturally. Keyword stuffing is when you use so many keywords that any semblance of meaning is lost. For example: “Looking for a good Charlotte, NC plumber? There are many Charlotte, NC plumber companies to choose from. Talk to a Charlotte, NC plumber by dialing into our Charlotte, NC plumber hotline today!” If your text doesn’t read naturally, you’re probably stuffing it with keywords—and that can actually lead to search engine penalties.

Going off-topic. Is your chosen keyword “Charlotte plumbing expert?” And are you using “Charlotte plumbing expert” 10 times within your text? If so, then the content needs to be about Charlotte plumbing experts. If it’s about something totally off-topic, that’ll just infuriate readers—and, again, land you with search engine penalties.

Forgetting title tags and meta descriptions. There are the most crucial areas for including keywords—so if you’re not filling them in strategically, you’re missing prime SEO opportunities!

Get Your Keywords in Order

If you’re struggling to balance content creation with keyword deployment, our Web copywriters would love to lend a hand. Contact Grammar Chic to learn more, either at 803-831-7444 or at www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Factors That Help Your Website Rank Well

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Clients are always asking us: How can we get our website to rank as #1 in the Google search results?

And the answer is… it’s complicated. Google’s search algorithms are notoriously complicated, and they can change at any moment, which is why you won’t find reputable SEO companies that promise you a particular ranking. It’s just too complex an endeavor to make such an iron-clad guarantee.

What we can tell you with certainty is that there are numerous ranking factors that contribute to your site’s Google visibility. The specific recipe is something of a secret, but Google has made public many of the most significant ranking factors. Ensuring that you have each of these ranking factors in place can help you position your site for maximum SEO success.

A quick note: There are both positive ranking factors (which make your site increase in the rankings) and negative ones (which can cause your site to incur search engine penalties). For today, we’re only going to list some of the positive ones.

Remember: These are all elements that are confirmed by Google to be crucial for SEO—so make sure you have them in place!

6 Factors to Improve Your Google Rankings

No. 1. Keywords in your title and heading tags. While we encourage our clients to use keywords naturally, rather than cramming them into their content inorganically, a couple of places you always want to include a keyword or two are in the title tag and the heading tag. The former is the title you see at the top of your search browser while you are on the page; the latter is the H1 tag, the heading you place at the top of your Web page. Both are key areas for SEO enrichment, so make sure you max them out with strong keywords.

No. 2. Content substance. While there is no magic word count for Google, studies confirm that in-depth content, which fully addresses user needs and questions, is going to rank better than content that is short and skimpy. Make sure you take the time to really develop content that offers actionable value! (Of course, this is something the writers at Grammar Chic can help you with.)

No 3. A keyword in your URL. The URL slug you use for each page of content provides another way to enrich your content with keywords. Make sure you are strategic in naming your URLs!

No. 4. Fast loading speed. Nobody wants to sit and wait for your page to load, at least no more than two or three seconds. Having a page that loads quickly—not just on desktops, but on mobile devices, is critical for pleasing users and, therefore, pleasing Google. Experiment with your site on multiple devices, and if you find that it takes more than three seconds to load, you may want to pare it down and make it load faster.

No. 5. Website security. This is especially important for ecommerce sites. Having an https:// site is a trust signal, showing your users that the site has been built to protect their information; according to Google, that’s a potentially meaningful way to improve SEO, as well as user experience.

No. 6. Internal linking. A final way to boost your online authority is to ensure that each page of content has relevant links to other meaningful, related content—resources on other websites, but also resources found elsewhere on your own site.

Clearly, there are many components of strong SEO. To get started writing rankings-friendly content, contact Grammar Chic today. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Overcome Writer’s Block (And Generate Better Blog Topics)

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Content marketing requires constant engagement. It’s like a beast that must continually be fed. You can’t slack off, or take a month off from content creation; there are always new blog posts to be written, new social media updates to share, new emails to send. If you stop moving—if you stop hustling—your audience will shrink and your efforts will come up short.

This can obviously lead to some obstacles. Take blogging as an example. When you’re tasked with developing new, unique, creative blog posts every single day, it can be draining. You may find yourself developing a case of writer’s block, even as you also realize that you don’t have that luxury. You’ve got to keep writing—but how can you come up with a fresh topic to write about, without simply plundering and repurposing older ideas?

There are some simple habits that can prove effective in pumping those creative juices, and providing you with the fresh insights and ideas you need.

Have Regular Brainstorming Sessions

You may be the person who is tasked with writing the company blog posts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some help sparking your creativity. Meet with team members once a month or so and ask them for their thoughts. What are some of the questions that customers have been asking them? What are some of the topics they’ve detected interest in? How do they see the blog being improved, made more useful and informative? These brainstorming sessions can generate new perspectives you may not have thought of otherwise.

Look Through Your Customer Correspondence

Make a habit of regularly reading your recent customer emails or social messages, and take note of the questions or concerns that people are bringing up. Those are things people want to hear more about. Those are the pain points. And those can make for really timely and relevant blog posts.

Consider Your Hobbies

We’ve written articles comparing content marketing to The Walking Dead and to Mad Men—because we happen to really like those shows. Are there activities or passions in your personal life that you could translate into blog posts? Think about the things you care most about, outside of the office, and ask yourself how these things intersect with your professional life.

Subscribe to Other Industry Blogs

This one is simple: When you see another industry blog that you admire, bookmark it, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Make a habit of at least skimming through these posts from your competitors, and using them as potential launch pads for your own posts. (Obviously, you need to make sure you’re putting your own spin on things, not pilfering posts wholesale.)

These are all basic habits you can form that will keep your good-idea machine hoppin’. If you need an extra hand, though, we’re always around. Contact Grammar Chic’s ghostwriters at 803-831-7444 or at www.grammarchic.net.

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How You Know You’ve Taken the Wrong Job (And What to Do About It)

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When you accept a new job, you always hope for the best. You cross your fingers and make yourself believe that the job might be forever—or at least, until you retire. At the very least you want to feel happy and settled in your new position for a good long while. Sadly, things always don’t work out this way.

You may realize, weeks or month or years down the road, that the job you’re in just isn’t a good fit. Or, you may realize it almost immediately. That’s never a good feeling to have, but here’s the good news: You don’t have to stay in a bad job forever. No matter how long (or how short) you’ve been in your current role, you’re always allowed to polish your resume and start reaching out for a new, hopefully better opportunity.

Signs You’re in a Bad Job

So how do you know that the job you’ve accepted is a bad fit? Here are some definite red flags:

  • You arrive at your new job and find that nobody was ready for your arrival—that your desk or office area isn’t prepared and that nobody really knows what to do with you.
  • You begin your orientation and discover that the appealing job description you signed up for was a fantasy; that the actual role is something totally different.
  • You find yourself surrounded by complainers—people who clearly don’t like their jobs and don’t mind saying so.
  • You notice a clear sense of dysfunction in the office—people who do not work well together, or betray animosity for one another.
  • Your direct boss or supervisor seems to be completely invisible—always holed up in the office, missing from meetings and huddles.
  • You have a hard time finding anyone who can answer your questions about the job, about the company’s vision, or about your place within it.

Make the Leap

All of these are reasons to immediately start looking for a new opportunity; toxic workplaces aren’t likely to get better overnight, and there’s no sense in being unhappy any longer than you have to.

Even if you feel like you’ve just completed the job search, make a leap, and try to find a new position where you will be happier. Enter the search with a fresh perspective—and a fresh resume. Get in touch with our resume writing team to start the process. Reach Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Get Your Website Ready for Holiday Sales

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As we’ve mentioned already, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge sales days in America—and you ignore them at your own risk.

Even with these two significant dates quickly approaching, though, there are still ways to ensure that you’re ready to take full advantage of them. In fact, some basic tweaks to your company website can provide you with the opportunities you need to lead customers down your holiday sales funnel.

Here are the website touch-ups we recommend.

Ensure Mobile Friendliness

Mobile friendliness is always critical, but especially so during the holidays, when a lot of people are going to be shopping for gifts from their phones and their tablets. Look at your site on multiple devices to make sure it’s readable and easy to navigate—and if it’s not, go into your CMS dashboard or talk to your webmaster to activate mobile readiness.

Create Guides for Your Holiday Products/ Services

Provide holiday shoppers with an easy way to view all the items you’re pitching during the holiday season. A YouTube video or a simple photo catalog can be effective in showing what you have on offer. The point is to give your viewers a way to quickly and clearly see your holiday specials, without having to wade through each page of your site.

Create Landing Pages

It’s wise to promote specific holiday specials on social media, as well as AdWords, etc. As you do so, you want to provide links to targeted landing pages for the specific product in question—not just your home page. Creating Cyber Monday and Black Friday landing pages is so important for capturing leads.

Emphasize Consumer Trust

Provide shoppers with plenty of reason to trust you, and no reason to doubt your legitimacy. Put reviews, star ratings, and testimonials front and center on your website, if they’re not there already.

Craft a Unique Value Statement

Really, this is something that’s important throughout the seasons; when someone visits your site, they should immediately understand the unique value your company can offer—what’s in it for them to choose you over a competitor. You want to craft something like an elevator pitch here—something short, something specific, something memorable.

That’s something our team can help you with! Contact Grammar Chic today to start the process—but act soon! The holidays will be here before you know it. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How to Prepare Your Business for Cyber Monday

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Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s—for most of us, these and perhaps a few others are the main holidays to focus on at year’s end. If you’re a business owner, though—and an ecommerce merchant in particular—then there’s one other day you should mark on your calendar: Cyber Monday. The Monday following Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, a day on which many of your regular customers and clients are going to be in a holiday shopping state of mind. You ignore this day at your own detriment; hosting some Cyber Monday specials and promotions is a great way to seize some of this traffic and generate some real business.

But there’s not that much time until Cyber Monday gets here—so if you haven’t planned your promotions, the time to do so is now!

Allow us to offer a few pointers.

Getting Ready for Cyber Monday

You need to start building buzz now. Trust us: Your audience is already thinking about the holiday season, and many brick and mortar stores have had their holiday promotions and displays running for several weeks already. You’ve got to compete with that, so set the details of your Cyber Monday promotions and start hyping them on social media and on your website soon.

Make sure customers can browse your features products/services now. Long before Cyber Monday arrives, many shoppers will be doing online research to scout out the best deals. Whatever items you are going to promote, make sure your website showcases them well, including a note about any Cyber Monday discounts or specials.

Begin the process of creating content. You’ll want to promote your Cyber Monday offerings with images, ads, blog posts, and more—and you don’t want to have to create all of that content at the very last minute. Start compiling some of it today.

Be meticulous and thoughtful in creating ad copy. On Cyber Monday (and really for the entire holiday season), your audience is going to be inundated with sales copy. Yours must stand out. Brainstorm email marketing subject lines, blog headings, and effective tweets now. Engage a writing team, like Grammar Chic, to help make your words memorable.

Tap into your existing customer base. Cyber Monday can be a good season for new customer acquisition, but it can frankly be an even better time to re-engage with previous customers. Make sure your Cyber Monday marketing efforts include some emails targeted to the folks who are already on your mailing list.

It won’t be long before the big day is here—so are you prepared? If not, get with Grammar Chic today to find out how we can help you. Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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