Tag Archives: Web Content Writing

10 Questions for Your Web Developer

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Your company’s website is sort of like its virtual storefront—so when your website gets a facelift, it can almost feel like you’re moving into new digs, or at the very least getting a major renovation. That’s something you obviously want to approach strategically, and doing so means communicating your vision to the designer, while also making sure you have the right expectations about the finished product.

If you don’t have much experience talking to Web designers, you may be unsure of what to ask. Allow us to recommend a few basic, important questions to get you started.

What Should You Ask Your Web Designer?

  1. What’s my role in the process? Your designer will need to solicit your opinion or obtain information from you at various points, and if there is any delay in your response, it could stall the whole project. Make sure you have a good sense of what’s expected of you.
  2. What are the most common hold-ups in the process? Along the same lines, you might ask your designer where projects usually stall, and how you can avoid that happening.
  3. What resources can I provide up front? Most designers will be happy to receive marketing materials, brochures, links to old websites, etc. to get some sense of your style and your branding choices.
  4. What’s the process for adding new content to the site? What do you do when you have another part of the page that you need to add, and how much will it cost you?
  5. Will the site be hard-coded? What you’re asking here, basically, is whether the site will be done in old-school HTML format. Be warned: If the answer is yes, you will have to depend on the designer to make site updates for you!
  6. How can I update the site? Make sure the designer shows you around the CMS dashboard, allowing you to easily make small tweaks or additions to the site as needed.
  7. Will the website be responsive? A responsive website is vital for mobile friendliness. Make sure you confirm this with your designer.
  8. What are all of the costs associated with this site? You’ll want to know up-front the costs associated with the domain, hosting, etc., all of which may be in addition to the fee charged by the designer.
  9. How will we discuss revisions? You may have some tweaks you want to make to the designer’s initial mock-up, so clarify how that will go down—how you’ll communicate, how promptly you can expect those changes to be implemented, etc.
  10. What are the content needs? Your designer will probably need you to provide written content for each page—but how much? And are there any SEO requirements for your content to meet?

Have Your Content Handled by the Pros

Speaking of content creation, that happens to be our forte—and we would love to help you develop the written collateral for your new site. Ask us about our process today. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

CHECKLIST: Is Your Website Working for You?

 

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Your company website is much more than an online placeholder—much more than the Google equivalent of a Yellow Pages listing. Ideally, your business website is the hardest-working member of your sales team, a brand ambassador that’s tireless in its effort to draw in new leads, convert them into customers, and ultimately showcase everything that’s great about your business. In a perfect world, your website keeps your e-mail inbox full of inquiries, your phone ringing off the hook.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and it’s possible that you don’t exactly have a perfect website. Is it time to rewrite your website content, rethink the navigation, or even overhaul the site completely? Maybe. Before jumping to any conclusions, though, use our quick checklist to determine what you’re dealing with.

A Few Quick Questions to Ask About Your Website

Who are you trying to reach with your website? Who’s your target audience? Who are the people who benefit from your products/services? Who’s your ideal client? Who can you help? Think about the answer, and write down a simple, sentence-long statement about who you’re on a mission to serve. Use that as a guide for your website overhaul; you might even include that sentence somewhere on your home page.

Do you have a useful About page? A good About page isn’t really about you at all—not really. Nobody wants to read seven paragraphs of text about your company history. What people care about is the value you can provide. Does your About page suggest what’s in it for your customer?

Is the branding consistent? Does your website use a coherent vocabulary of colors and fonts—and are those branding choices reflected in other marketing collateral, like social media pages and brochures?

Do you have streamlined value propositions? Whether you have a list of individual Products, a list of Services, or something more general, you need to ensure that your website is to-the-point about how it makes your customer’s life better, how it solves problems, etc. Another way of asking this question: Does your website identify your clients’ problems, and posit your brand as the solution?

Are there strong calls to action on every page? Your site should lead customers through the sales funnel, and provide easy ways for them to engage with you.

Does your site capture leads? Are there forms on your page where customers can input their name and contact information, perhaps in exchange for an e-book or some other downloadable offer?

When was the last time your site was updated? A good website needs to be refreshed regularly with new content. When’s the last time you refurbished your page?

Use these questions to assess where your company website stands now—and perhaps start brainstorming some changes, if needed.

If you decide it’s time to rewrite the site, or simply add some new, fresh content, Grammar Chic can help. Give us a buzz at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Web Content

Simple Steps to Delivering a Killer Webinar

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We’ll let you in on a secret: Here at Grammar Chic, we’re big believers in the power of a good webinar. We host them fairly often—usually on resume writing topics, but occasionally on content marketing as well—and we find that the bang for buck is incredible. It takes a couple hours to prepare and then an hour or so for the webinar itself, but we almost always get some referrals and new clients out of it. So: Totally worth it.

And it makes sense, right? For as powerful as Facebook and other channels can be, webinars allow you to speak directly to people who have actively sought out your expertise and want to hear your solutions. In a way, it’s content marketing at its finest.

Maybe you’re interested in hosting a webinar on behalf of your own business. We recommend it—but only if you’re going to take the time to really do it right.

How to Nail Your Next Webinar

Some tips for doing just that:

Invest in good equipment. The last thing you want is for your webinar to be derailed by a perceived lack of professionalism on your part. Be prepared by investing in a good microphone and blazing-fast Internet. Also get some good, high-quality webinar software; we really like GoToWebinar.

Deliver great, focused content. The content, of course, is the main point of the webinar. Make sure you hone in on a specific pain point that your attendees may be facing, and provide some robust solutions. Be specific in what you’re saying: Webinar attendees need more than just “visit my website for more.”

Have an outline. Different people have different ways of delivering a presentation, and you should do whatever you feel comfortable with—but what we recommend is an outline. Without any notes at all, you may get lost; with a full script, though, you may sound too forced. An outline lets you stay focused while remaining loose and conversational.

Be human. People want a webinar host who is energetic and engaging, not robotic. One way to humanize yourself is to spend just a minute at the top with an introduction, maybe sharing where you’re from, what kind of experience you have, and so forth. Above all, don’t be afraid to be passionate. Make it clear that you love what you do and are happy to talk about it!

Promote the hell out of it. Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail… make sure you’re letting people know about the webinar. Promote the specific problem you’ll be tackling, and promise solutions and suggestions. Promote the event with several reminder e-mails for those who sign up for it, including at least one reminder on the day of the event.

End with a sale. There’s nothing wrong with plugging your services at the end of the webinar. Get more juice out of your sell by offering a time-sensitive discount—say, 10 percent off for any webinar attendee who places an order within the week.

Think about hosting a webinar today—and for tips on how to promote it, don’t hesitate to call us at 803-831-7444, or hit us up at www.grammarchic.net.

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Failed Connections: Why Your Content Isn’t Landing

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Creating content is not the same as engaging your readers; similarly, communicating does not always lead to connecting. This is one of the potential frustrations of content marketing: That you might pool a lot of resources into content development and, on a technical level, do everything right—yet still fail to really engage or resonate with your audience in a meaningful way.

The good news is, this problem is not insurmountable. It’s just a matter of locating the blockage in the pipe, so to speak: Where are your efforts to connect breaking down? Where are you going too far, not going far enough, or simply going in the wrong direction?

There are some common sources of failed connection in content marketing. Some of the major ones:

You think everyone wants to hear your life story. Or, rather, the story of your business. A lot of online content is heavily “about”-centric, and the thinking is that this provides some context for trust, or perhaps that it humanizes the business. There is some truth to this, but it is also possible to take it too far. In the end, your users want to hear about the value you can offer them—not every last detail of your 30 years in business.

Your content is too “inside baseball.” Explaining how you do what you do, in great technical detail and with a lot of industry jargon, may convey a certain level of authority, but it may also keep your users at a distance. Remember: What they ultimately want to hear about is the benefits you can offer.

Your content doesn’t solve real problems. Your users don’t need you to create new problems and then solve them. They want you to meet them where they are and speak to issues they’re actually having. That’s where using buyer personas is essential!

You’re not respectful of your reader’s time. You can disrespect your readers’ time by prattling on for 1,200 words when you don’t need to, but you can also disrespect it by offering 300 words of fluff. Every word should convey value!

Remember that the point of content is to connect—and that takes some work! For assistance, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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SEO Elements: What’s Essential for Your Web Content?

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We talk to countless small business owners who want help with their website—and the #1 question we’re asked goes something like this: Sure, I want you guys to write some compelling, persuasive Web content—but what can you do for my SEO?

Business owners know that the reports of SEO’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and the only way to ensure that your website is found by search engine users is to take it seriously. That doesn’t mean you don’t also need quality content; what it means is that quality content and search engine optimization can and should go hand in hand, feeding and supporting one another.

In fact, the single most essential SEO element for your company website is quality written content. Google knows gibberish when it sees it. It can detect if your content is vague, grammatically troublesome, or simply not engaging—and it will punish you in kind. Getting truly strong website content is an SEO must.

But what are some of the other SEO elements you need to think about as you prepare your Web content? A few considerations:

  • You need to have targeted keyword phrases included on your site, preferably toward the beginning of your content; you also need to keep from overdoing it. Keyword stuffing is a big SEO no-no. You may want to rank for the phrase Charlotte property management, but saying Charlotte property management 50 times on a 200-word page is going to do more harm than good. Be natural. Don’t force anything.
  • Remember to use keyword variants—something Google increasingly prizes. Say Charlotte property managers a time or two, but also throw in property mangers in Charlotte, or managing Charlotte properties, or something similar.
  • Remember that, both in terms of your human readers and search engines, the first 100-200 words of text are make-or-break. Convey what the page is about. Get to the point. And use your keyword early on!
  • Make sure your title is compelling for human readers and succinct enough for Google to display it; that means 55 characters or less!
  • Use different headlines– H1, H2, H3 tags—to convey your message and organize your content. Note that these headlines are good spots for keywords!
  • Ensure, for the search engines’ benefit, that each page of content you write has a short meta description—150 to 160 characters long. If you use WordPress as your CMS, there is a field where you can add the meta description, quite easily.

Your written Web content matters—for your readers, and for search engines. To learn more, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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