Tag Archives: web content

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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5 Trust Symbols to Add to Your Website

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Do customers trust your brand?

That’s always been an important question for businesses and sales professionals to address, but it’s taken on a new urgency in the era of digital commerce. After all, if you’re doing business primarily through your website, customers may never have a chance to look you in the eye, shake your hand, or freely question you about the nature of your products or services. This does not in any way mean that your products and services are less trustworthy, but it does mean that some customers will struggle; they will need additional reassurances.

The good news is, there are ways to offer precisely that, simply by adding trust symbols to your website. The concept of a trust symbol is pretty self-explanatory: Anything that signifies your company as reputable and reliable can qualify. The question is, what are some of the main trust symbols that can be added to a small business website?

Trust Symbols to Consider for Your Site

The answer can vary slightly from one company to the next, and your brand may not really qualify for every one of these five symbols—but it will certainly qualify for a couple of them. Adding them to your business website can make a huge difference in fostering trust-based relationships with your treasured clients.

  1. There is no better way to engender faith in your product than to put a seal up showing that you offer a money-back guarantee. Note that there are different types of guarantee you can use. An absolute guarantee promises that your product will never break. A risk-free guarantee, meanwhile, might say that if the product does break down, all your money will be refunded. This second type of guarantee can actually be better for building trust: Promising your product will never break can seem too good to be true, while offering no risk if it does break feels more genuine.
  2. Consumer testimonials. Have other people used your products or services and responded favorably? Ask them to write a quick testimonial on your behalf. Usually, a loyal and happy customer, when asked politely and authentically, will be happy to do this for you. We proudly display client testimonials on the Grammar Chic page, and believe them to be important in showing that we know our stuff.
  3. Similarly, if your business receives five-star reviews on Google or Facebook, consider having those reviews embedded or linked to from your site. Just be sure you monitor the reviews in case you get some bad ones that need addressing!
  4. Helpful content. Does the content on your site support and educate your client? Do you have product guides, FAQs, demos, and tutorial videos? All can be vital for building trust on your brand’s behalf, and allowing the customer to move forward in confidence.
  5. A strong About Us page. Finally, you can build trust on your page by ensuring you lay out the details of what your company stands for and what value it offers. Don’t underestimate how far this can go in assuaging customer fears!

With the right trust symbols added, your website can really instill buyer confidence. To learn more about these strategies, we encourage you to get in touch with Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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4 Crucial Website Elements You May Be Overlooking

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Is your website a 24/7 sales machine? Is it a virtual storefront that draws in new clients and converts leads into consumers? Or does it just kind of sit there on the Web—an online placeholder but not much more?

We talk to a lot of small business owners who are anxious about the efficacy of their website. They want to know what they can do to make it really effective. There are always tweaks that can be made, both big and small—but why not start with the simple ones? Here are four small but powerful additions to make your website more compelling today.

  1. Your phone number.

Every page of your business website should have your phone number—and not a personal cell, either, but a dedicated business line (or a Google Voice box). Phone numbers are used by Google when showing local search results, but more important than that, your phone number will show customers that you are available to help, and that your business is a real business. The phone number offers validation and establishes trust, and it couldn’t be a simpler addition to your website.

  1. Thought leadership.

Customers need to be able to see what your company does, but also that you know what you’re doing. Offering information, not just promotion, shows that you’re active and involved in your industry and competent in your field. Show thought leadership by including clearly-marked links to your company blog and to active social media feeds.

  1. Calls to action.

We say this all the time, but it’s that important: Calls to action should be used on every page of your business website. The call to action guides the user through the website and helps you achieve your goals—getting customers to provide their e-mail, pick up the phone and call you, buy a product, or whatever else.

  1. An About Us page.

Customers don’t necessarily need to know your life story but they do need to hear about your experience and your qualifications. An About Us page is a great place to build trust. Of the four elements listed here this one may be the toughest to add, but you can always hire a company like Grammar Chic to help you put your company’s story into words!

To learn more about any of these imperative website elements, contact us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Write Web Copy People Will Actually Read

WebCopyForPeople-2Your company website is more than just an online placeholder, a way for search engine users to find your phone number or mailing address. It’s really nothing less than your virtual storefront, and it establishes the first impression that most customers and potential customers will have of your brand. A brick and mortar store would never allow its storefront to become run-down, dilapidated, or anything less than welcoming—and neither should you allow your website to fall into disrepair.

There are plenty of ways to spruce up your website, like adding videos, installing social sharing buttons, or even revamping the very layout of the site. More than anything, though, you need to worry about your written content. That content is what search engines use to determine your site’s rankings and online visibility. More importantly, though, good content can educate and empower your prospects to become faithful, long-term customers.

Your Web content may not be performing at optimal levels right now—but there are some quick diagnostics you can run to get it up to speed.

Is your Web content too short?

While there is no magic word count you need to hit in order to achieve effective Web content, your written words do need to offer something of substance. Far too many small businesses settle for a sentence or two, denoting the industry and perhaps some basic contact information but leaving it at that. If that’s all you’re doing, though, you’re not doing much to differentiate your brand from your competitors—and you’re also not giving potential customers much reason to do business with you. But more on that in a minute…

Is your Web content too long?

With the above said, it’s important to have a realistic expectation of online attention spans. Someone who is researching businesses and products probably wants some basic insights, but not an entire book. Ask yourself honestly: If you were a consumer, doing research from your smart phone or tablet, would you have the patience to read your entire website?

Is your Web content educational?

In terms of what makes Web content substantive and enticing, consider that promotion alone is not enough. Nobody wants to visit a website and feel like they are simply being advertised to. Instead, they want to be educated. What do you do? What benefits does your company offer? How do your products/processes/services work? What can people expect when they sign on the dotted line to become your client? Why should they choose you over another company? Again, you don’t want to inundate them with information, but you do want to catch their attention with something meaningful and distinctive.

Is your Web content personal?

It’s important to have Web copy that’s professional—that much needs to be said clearly and firmly. Your company website is not your blog and it’s not really a place to talk about your family, your politics, your hobbies, or whatever else. With that said, consumers don’t like to do business with faceless corporations; they like to do business with people. A company history, CEO bio, or lineup of staff profiles (as we have on the Grammar Chic website) can go a long way toward humanizing your brand.

Is the content easy to digest?

Do you have huge chunks of text on your site, so long and wordy they look like they were torn from the pages of a Russian novel? If so, think about how likely—or rather, unlikely—it is that anyone is really going to sit and read them, especially when they’re on the go and just want quick answers. Tone things down and liven things up with bullet points, sub-section headings, and numbered lists, as appropriate.

Writing good Web copy is not a science, by the way, and there’s no magic formula to it. There are definitely some “best practices,” though—and answering these diagnostic questions can set you on the right path.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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