Tag Archives: web content

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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The Best Ways to Recycle Your Blogs, Social Media Posts and Other Content

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In the ever changing world of content marketing, it’s true that you have to keep your writing fresh, new and compelling.  Depending on your industry or profession, there is probably a lot of information out there for you to write and comment on.  However, sometimes it is easy to fall into a rut and begin repeating ourselves, especially when considering that an effective content marketing strategy is based on a large amount of high-quality content.  This is where repurposing can be pretty handy.

How to Recycle Previously Used Content

Now, let it be known, I’m not telling you to plagiarize someone else’s intellectual property, nor am I telling you to reuse your previous work verbatim.  Ultimately, doing either of those things will land you into trouble legally or with Google.  Examine past content that is yours and strategize on how to make it fresh.  For some ideas, follow these tips:

  • Consider your past blog posts and identify the ones that could be expanded upon.  Maybe there have been changes or developments about the topic matter.  If so, reintroduce the topic and write about the changes that have occurred since your last post.  Think of it as a sequel.
  • Piggyback off of that aforementioned blog post and take it one step further.  Depending on the topic, is there enough information to turn it into a webinar, an eBook or even a YouTube video?
  • Look to your customers.  Have you had an interesting conversation with a customer lately about one of your products or services?  If so, discuss this material in a blog and then promote the topic by creating tweets and Facebook posts that summarize the material.
  • As long as you are sourcing and referencing your work properly, it could be handy to compile a how-to guide on advice provided online by your industry’s thought leaders.  But remember, you always must source any material that is not your own.
  • Consider perusing hot topic news items online.  Look for stories or breaking news about events or changes in your industry.  Write an “op-ed” of sorts on one of these stories in a blog or in a press release and provide your own opinions.  Of course, make sure that you are sourcing the information that you use, and it also might be handy to look for stories where you can comment in a positive manner.  There’s no sense in creating controversy or problems for someone else just because you are looking for new content to promote.  Keep your words high-level, professional and positive.

There are many ways to ethically and responsibly repurpose past content for future use; it really just comes down to being creative.  Examine what has worked for you in the past and figure out how to make it benefit you in the future.  If you are interested in learning new content marketing strategies or want to get a third-party perspective on how to revamp your content writing efforts, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today by visiting www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444 right now.

Amanda's-Bio

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Holiday Content Marketing: 11th Hour Ideas

Celebration of holiday

The holiday season never fails to surprise me, for the good and for the bad.  I think each of us spends so much time and energy running around, trying to check things off our to-do list in order to make everything perfect that we forget what the season is really about—fellowship, family, and giving to others.  However, I’m not trying to preach here.  I’m as guilty of this behavior as the next guy and I know that, as a business owner, never do I sit back and say, “Eh, I’ll deal with this project or that after the holidays.”

Nope, doesn’t work that way!

Business is business and, frankly, one area of your business that you cannot forego no matter the time of year is content marketing. Here are some helpful tips that you can use to set your brand apart and make sure you are in the position to take a “long winter’s nap” come December 24th.

Provide valuable expertise

Yes, it’s true the Internet has given everyone a voice.  However, it is the knowledgeable message delivered by an expert that receives the best response from consumers.  The greatest way to build trust with patrons of your product or service is to position yourself as an expert in your respective field.  Consider writing a news release or an article on a holiday trend relevant to your company.  Or maybe just keep it simple and inexpensive and write a blog containing some how-to advice or comparing holiday fiction to fact.   Just so you know, many consumers are eager to learn about what new trends may surface in an industry come the New Year.  Take this into account and use it when you write your press release, social media or blog content.

Serve as a commentator and moderator

Part of being an expert who delivers written content means that you keep your finger on the pulse, so to speak, of the news happening in your industry—and that you provide an opinion regarding these developments.  Moreover, in order to effectively serve in this role, do not only tell your audience what is happening, but also involve them and ask them questions.  Consider sharing an interesting article on Facebook or Twitter and asking your followers what they think of it.  Incorporate this information across platforms for continuity’s sake, and to create a consistent brand image.

Keep it social

Part of the joy of the holiday season is based on the fact that people seem a bit happier and eager to engage with their neighbors and friends.  This theory also holds true when considering your content marketing strategy.  In the social media world, use this season to spread some goodwill!  Don’t barrage your audience with in-your-face sales pitches, but rather try to start a conversation.  Let me tell you, a conversation begun with earnestness will eventually come back around to benefit your business and brand.

Encourage sharing

Part of a great written content marketing strategy is to not only provide material, but ask others to share and contribute their voices as well.  If you encourage your customers to share their stories and traditions, you will essentially lead them to speak about how your brand affects them on a personal level.  And this, my friends, will create a deep bond and loyalty between your audience and your business, which will inevitably make it a very happy New Year.

In closing, content marketing is different from simply writing a sales pitch and talking at someone.  It’s about sharing, user engagement, information and providing a value-added service.  At Grammar Chic, Inc., we are able to help business owners create a strong content marketing message, no matter the industry.  For more information about how our team can help you, call 803-831-7444.  Do it today and beat the holiday rush.  Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Online Content Rules: What Does Google Really Want?

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Here at Grammar Chic, it is pretty commonplace to receive calls from frantic business owners and online marketers with ever-changing demands and requests when it comes to content.  No matter if we are addressing word count, keyword saturation, the use of the passive versus active voice…let’s just say to the layperson, it may appear that there is no rhyme or reason in this department.  So if there are conflicting opinions within the professional ranks of online marketing, what is a beginner to believe?  When it comes to content, what does Google really want?

Blow the Trumpets: Content Is King

Admittedly, Google has really put the majority of businesses through the ringer in the past year.  From Panda to Penguin, the Internet has become a veritable zoo.  However, one theme has proven increasingly important: the need for quality content.  While it’s no secret that compelling and interesting content plays a bigger role than ever before, there are also some confusing variables.

Does Google Have Rules Regarding Content?

The wizards behind the curtain that is Google have said repeatedly in recent history that, “content should focus on users, not search engines”; however, what does that mean exactly?  OK, we get it, keyword stuffing is a no-no, as is stale, stagnant content, amongst other things, but what is Google looking for?  To answer that question, here are a couple rules we commonly adhere to at Grammar Chic:

  • Google places a high level of importance on written content that speaks in a unique voice.  This means that you should apply your expertise, wherever it falls, to your written work.  No matter your product or service, don’t regurgitate someone else’s words.
  • When promoting your business, service or product, make sure you are keeping content up-to-date and logging changes as they occur.  At the same time, while you are working to keep posts original, try to be as detailed as possible.  Ultimately, Google is looking to provide comprehensive information to a user.
  • The structure of the content is as important as the voice and the basis of the content.  Therefore, the use of bullet points, headings and subheadings is important when devising a written message.

The Long and Short of It: What This Means to Word Count

Keeping the previous bullet points in mind, it must be stated that Google has never come out and expressly said, “We want to see posts that are at least 500 words.”  At the same time, the Google Gurus have never said, “We are going to penalize you if you are overly wordy.”  However, some online marketers have stated they have been penalized by the search engine and their traffic has fallen off after significantly editing their content from long form to short blurbs.  So the average person might think that “less is bad” and “more is good,” right?

Let’s just say, maybe, maybe not.

I hate to sound obtuse, but there is a double-edged sword in the “less vs. more” content argument.  First, if you have too little content on your website you might experience users bouncing if they have no idea what you do or how you do it.  Conversely, if you have 1,500 words of drivel, paragraph after paragraph, line after line, droning on…blah, blah, blah, you are still going to have visitors bouncing because they don’t have any desire to read your material.  Either way, Google is going to punish you because you aren’t creating content that users want to read.

In closing, it is important to make sure anything you write for use online has some meat.  You need to make sure that your writing is addressing changing issues in your industry, your voice is unique and that you are devising your own opinions and solutions on how this affects your business.  Yes, you want to make the gods at Google smile upon you, but you can only do this by making sure your readers value your wordsmithing.  At the end of the day, you don’t have to feel like a sacrificial online lamb as you create content—if you are looking for help in this department, don’t hesitate to reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc.

Amanda's-Bio

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Want to Attract Web Visitors? Start With Writing a Quality Landing Page

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When it comes to websites, the adage “there is no second chance to make a first impression” rings true. For all intents and purposes, a landing page is akin to laying out a welcome mat at the front door. It greets visitors and invites them to enter. A well-written landing page will make sure they stick around for a while.

First Impressions

When individuals visit a website, the landing page is the very first thing they see. As such, this page is an integral component to the success of an online marketing campaign. The appearance of the landing page, and its content, should be given careful consideration to realize success.

Quality Content

Few things frustrate visitors more than realizing the search engine result that led them to a website contains little more than a pushy sales pitch. It is true landing pages exist to ultimately convert casual visitors into customers that generate revenue for a business. Yet there is a way to go about realizing this goal, primarily through the development of high quality content.

Just what is it that distinguishes top-notch content from average copy? A few landing page writing guidelines provide answers to this question. The first thing to remember is to deliver value through content.

Value Add: Consumers today purchase goods and services in a marketplace guided by the principle that the customer is always right. This fuels the mindset of individuals who visit websites with the intention of gaining something of value.  Before they make a purchase, they want to gain information or be entertained.

Relevance: No matter how valuable the content, if it is not relevant to the target audience, its message will fall flat. A business that caters to mothers with school-age children would certainly not want to use the same tone as a bar or nightclub. Along the same lines, commit to market research or interacting with potential customers in an identified subset to gauge what it is they want to know.

Unique Voice: Take care not to lose the one-of-a-kind aspects that set a business, product offering or service apart from the competition. Consumers are drawn to innovative solutions, and content should keep up accordingly. Find a voice that is honest and accessible without compromise to integrity.

Inviting Design

No matter how great the content, a design that alienates viewers will defeat the purpose. It is not possible to capture the attention of readers when their eyes are distracted by busy backgrounds or a heavy volume of graphics. A great landing page will invite the visitor in and intuitively draw the eye to targeted content.

Throughout the online marketplace, tools exist to help anyone build the foundation of a good design. A number of companies specialize in the sale of customizable templates. Easy-to-use features are built in to allow for changes to colors and page layouts.

There are no creative limits when it comes to web design, but remember the idea is to invite visitors in rather than turn them away at the door. If one would not wear a particular color combination in public or use it to decorate their homes, then it is likely not the best choice for use on a landing page.

The use of images is a great way to invite visitors to have a look around. Keep in mind, the photos, like the written content, must remain in line with the overall message. A photo of an orchid may possess a certain beauty, but unless the landing page is designed to sell flowers, it is likely irrelevant.

If you are considering developing or updating a landing page, keep the tips offered here in mind. Grammar Chic, Inc. is available to assist through the delivery of high quality, relevant contact that fits the needs of your business. Give Grammar Chic a call today at 803-831-7444.

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Understanding the Importance of High-Quality Web Content

Advertising is one of the most crucial aspects of every business. If your company advertises on the internet, you are well aware of the importance in being found by the search engines. Anyone can jot down descriptions of their products and services, but professionally written web content can target a specific group of consumers. Working with a professional to develop search engine optimized (SEO) content will assist in catching the eye of countless prospects and will increase your website’s traffic.

SEO writing is aimed at improving your search engine rankings. The right wording, combined with carefully considered keywords on individual pages, and your website has the potential to be on the first page of search results when a consumer is looking for your product, service, or company. This approach to advertising is especially successful when you are catering to a certain region or location.

When consumers find and visit your website you want them to be greeted with an organized, well-written page. Professionally written web content will present your business’ information to potential clients in a way that is clean, organized, and easy to understand, along with a call to action that will inspire them to get in touch ASAP.

One of Grammar Chic’s most successful web content clients is Gutterman Services, Inc. Their staff reached out to us when they wanted to revamp their website. They are now one of the top results in search engines for consumers who are searching for their services in the Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia region.

When you are ready to increase traffic to your website, contact us and let help make your website your 24/7 salesperson.

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Client Spotlight: Lea Shulman Interiors

We recently had the honor of working with Lea Shulman, of Norwalk, Connecticut-based Lea Shulman Interiors. Lea is a highend, luxury interior designer specializing in new construction and kitchen remodels. Her portfolio is truly one-of-a-kind, but she was looking for help with conveying who she is and what she does for her clients on her website. We were able to work with her to develop unique web content that truly expressed her background, expertise and what her company hopes to accomplish when working with clients who have an interior design vision, but who need a helping hand in making that vision a reality. Now that her website is “remodeled,” Lea can get on to the important work of making the homes of her clients’ true works of art. Check her out online at: http://www.leashulmaninteriors.com.

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