Tag Archives: writing tips

The Art of Writing Strong FAQ Content

There are certain website pages that are more or less standard. Every company website has a home page, for example. Most have an About page, and perhaps a page for Products and/or Services. A Contact Us page is also commonplace.

And then we come to the FAQ. While this is not a requirement for your business website, it is by no means uncommon, either. But would your company website be improved by an FAQ page? And if so, how can you write one effectively?

Do You Really Need an FAQ Page?

We’ll note from the get-go that not every company website needs to have a page for frequently asked questions. The Grammar Chic, Inc. site does not currently have one, for example. However, there are a few good reasons why you might consider adding an FAQ:

  • You actually do receive a lot of common or repeat questions, and wish to provide your customers with a quick and convenient resource.
  • You have a product or service that is a bit unusual or unfamiliar, and wish to build confidence and trust.
  • You believe there are some specific things that set your company apart from the competition, and want to articulate those in an FAQ. (For example, having a “how much does it cost?” section can be beneficial if you know your business bests all the competitor’s prices.)
  • You simply want to create a page that includes a lot of content/topics/keywords for SEO purposes—an FAQ can certainly be a good place to put a big bunch of content.

Again, the FAQ page is not for everyone—but if any of these bullet points resonate with you, perhaps it’s time to consider drafting one.

Writing a Good FAQ Page

The next question is, how do you write effective FAQ content? Here are some pointers.

  • Remember that—as with all of your online content—it’s not really about you. It’s about your readers and your customers. Make sure you’re writing an FAQ that’s actually helpful and value-adding—or else, don’t write one at all.
  • Going back through customer comments and emails to find real questions or areas of interest/concern is the best way to ensure your FAQ is relevant.
  • Be concise; offer the necessary information, but no fluff.
  • Remember to format for easy skimming, as most people aren’t just going to read an FAQ from top to bottom. Numbered lists and bullet points are key.
  • Remember that a good FAQ page will build trust, so avoid your sales pitch or marketing spiel here. The point of this content is to help the reader feel more at ease, not like you’re hammering them with your talking points.

Professional FAQ Writing Services from Grammar Chic, Inc.

One more thing: The Grammar Chic, Inc. team provides diverse Web content writing services for businesses all over the world, and as such as have plenty of experience writing compelling FAQ content. We’d love to write one for your business. Learn more by reaching out to us for a consultation. Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Work Well with an Editor (And Maybe Even Enjoy It)

Writers know that they need editors to provide an unbiased assessment of their work; to bring precision and focus; and to help shape and mold the writing until it’s as perfect as can be, ready for public consumption.

They know it—but they don’t always like it.

And it’s not hard to understand why. Your writing is personal, and you have every reason to feel proud of it. Having a third party come in and start making changes can feel a little bit like a personal attack, though of course it isn’t.

With that said, you can have a fruitful and enjoyable experience working with an editor—whether on a piece of fiction or on the copy you’ve written for your business website.

Here are some suggestions we’d offer.

Get Along with Your Editor

Remember that your editor is on your side. You and your editor both have the exact same goal in mind: To produce the best piece of written content possible. You may be coming at it from different perspectives, but you ultimately want the same thing—so remember that criticisms you receive aren’t personal attacks. They’re honest attempts to make the work better.

Be open minded. Go into the process assuming that your editor’s suggestions are reasonable and worth considering. That doesn’t mean you have to act on every single one of them. It just means you should let them sit for a while rather than dismissing them out of hand. Even suggestions that initially strike you as ludicrous may reveal themselves to be really smart when you really give them a chance.

Give yourself some time and space. After you receive feedback from an editor, step away from your work for a day or two. Don’t rush to any judgments. Just allow yourself time and distance to make an informed and thoughtful decision.

Don’t fear that you’ll lose control. A good editor isn’t going to rewrite your work. A good editor will offer you guidelines for making it better—but you’ll always be in the driver’s seat, and it will always be your vision. You don’t have to worry that the work’s going to become something else altogether. And if you do have an editor who rewrites everything in his or her own image, well, that’s when it’s time to find a better editor.

Remember that editors are people, too. A good editor will be right much of the time, but not all the time. You probably shouldn’t ignore all your editor’s feedback, but pushing back against an item or two is perfectly reasonable.

Communicate. Ask questions. Get clarification. Try to find out why an editor is making his or her suggestions. Communication is key to any relationship, including the one between writer and editor.

Start a Productive Relationship Today

One more thing: It really is important to find a good, experienced editor. We’d love to talk with you about our own editorial lineup. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Make Your Written Content More SEO-Friendly

Whether you’re writing content for your company website or dashing off the latest company blog post, you want it to be something good—something that offers value to your reader, and reflects well on your brand. At the same time, you want it to be something that’s search engine optimized. After all, great content isn’t very useful if nobody can find it.

This is a little bit of a false dichotomy, perhaps. Generally speaking, writing good, valuable content is the single best way to optimize it, and all the SEO tricks and gimmicks in the world can’t compete with the raw power of quality writing.

With that said, there is certainly a need to ensure that your content is as palatable for search algorithms as it is for human readers, and simply writing a good article is only the first step. As you seek to maximize your content’s SEO potential, here are five simple principles to keep in mind.

Improve Your On-Site SEO

Originality is Imperative

First and foremost, make sure that what you are writing stands on its own. Google doesn’t see any value in duplicate content, and as such it tends to penalize it. Regurgitating the exact same copy for each product page on your website, for instance, or simply copying text from the website to the company blog, will lead to diminished rankings. Take the time to ensure that every piece of content you write is phrased uniquely. Tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that you’re not plagiarizing yourself or others.

Readability Matters, Too

Google’s bots are more likely to favor articles that are readable to wide audiences—and that means using short sentences and paragraphs, limiting your ten-dollar words, and abstaining from the passive voice. Good, concise, punchy content—written in a way that makes it easy to read—will only help you as far as SEO rankings go.

Your Title Should Be Optimized

Writing a catchy headline is key. So is keeping the title to a Google-friendly length of 55-60 characters max. Finally make sure your URL matches the title and contents of the page; a URL that’s just random numbers hampers your SEO efforts.

Be Structured

Your content should have a structure that makes it easy for readers—and search bots—to follow along and get the basic gist of what you’re saying, even just by skimming. The best way to do this is to structure your article with H1, H2, and H3 tags to break up different sections of content. Bullet points and numbered lists can also be helpful, when applicable.

Use Keywords—Judiciously

Though you want to avoid keyword stuffing, and shouldn’t sacrifice quality for keyword count, keywords can certainly be useful in demonstrating what your content is ultimately about. We’ve blogged about the importance of judicious keyword strategy before.

Write Content That Gets Discovered

With the right approach, you can write content that pleases people and search bots alike—no easy feat, but worth it in the long run. Or, you can hire our team to write it for you. Contact Grammar Chic today to ask us about our SEO-friendly content writing services. Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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What to Ask Your Web Content Writing Company

The written content you include on your company website is of paramount importance. After all, most new or potential customers will head straight to your website to learn more about what your company does. The content they find there will establish their first impression of your brand. It’s in your best interest to provide content that is well-written, easy to follow, substantive, and informative; ideally, it should instill trust while also encouraging the reader to pick up the phone and call you for more information, or even to buy a product from you straight away.

That’s a tall order, which is why a lot of business owners outsource their Web content writing services to an outside firm—like Grammar Chic. This is the best way to tell the story of your company in a way that is compelling, and persuades the user of the value you can offer.

Evaluating a Web Content Writing Company

As you meet with a Web content writing company for the first time, it is important to establish clear lines of communication; in particular, we recommend asking a few key questions, to ensure that you understand the process and that you are truly comfortable with the company you’re meeting with.

Here are a few of the key questions you should ask:

What’s your experience in Web content writing? Learn more about the track record of the company you’re working with. Inquire about how long they’ve been writing websites, and ask to see examples of their past work.

How will you capture my voice? You may not be the one writing the content, but your voice should still come through. Ask the writer how this will be achieved.

What’s your research process? The content writers will need to gain an understanding of your company and of your industry, through interviews, independent research, or some combination of the two. Make sure you get a good sense of what this process entails.

What do you expect from me? Your Web content writer may need you to furnish some information, and it’s important that you do so as promptly as possible.

What are the SEO considerations being made with this site? Your Web content writing company may not be an SEO firm per se, and that’s fine—but hopefully there will be some attention paid to the best practices for search engine optimization. You might especially ask about keyword inclusion, meta descriptions, and meta tags.

Will there be calls to action on the website? The answer should be yes!

How will the page be formatted? Ask about section subheadings and bulleted lists, and be sure to voice any of your own preferences.

What about revisions/rewriting? Even a great Web content writer may miss a few things on the first pass. This is usually a process, and it’s good to clarify whether revisions and rewriting are included in the company’s services.

Ask Your Questions Today

Get your questions asked and answered by the Web content writing team at Grammar Chic. Contact us today to set up a consultation: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, 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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This is How to Write a Compelling Email Subject Line—and Boost Your Open Rates

email-marketing

Report after report and study after study suggests that email is the most effective digital marketing tool.

So if you’re not seeing much of a benefit from your email marketing program, you’ve gotta wonder why.

Maybe the reason people aren’t responding to your emails is because they aren’t even opening them in the first place. Obviously, that’s a problem. A low open rate means your email marketing strategy is dead in the water.

Your open rate is even more significant than your total subscriber number. Think about it this way: Having 1,000 subscribers who all open your emails means much more exposure for your brand than having 6,000 subscribers but only a 2 percent open rate.

No question: You’ve got to get your emails opened. And the best way to do that is to tweak your subject lines—but how?

Tip #1: Make your subject lines longer.

Both the conventional wisdom and the natural instinct is to make your subject lines short and snappy. We’ve offered that very advice in the past. But one new study suggests that maybe longer—like, 60-70 characters, if not more—is the way to go.

Perhaps the rationale is simply this: When you’re working with just a couple of words, it’s hard to offer more than salesy platitudes and generalities. But if you give yourself more space, you can actually convey value and specificity to your readers.

So maybe it’s worth trying long subject lines for a while, just to see how they work.

Tip #2: Write in all lower case letters.

All caps screams of desperation, and can be pretty annoying. Mixing upper and lower case—you know, like you would in normal, everyday writing—is fine. But consider: a lot of the emails you get from your friends and family members probably come with all lower case subject lines.

Writing an all lower case subject line can convey intimacy and familiarity, then—and that’s not such a bad thing for your brand!

Tip #3: Provide value—but don’t give everything away.

As for the actual content of your subject lines, something we recommend is focusing on the value you offer—the benefits your email will provide—without getting into the specifics.

Show your readers what’s in it for them to open your email, but not necessarily how they’ll get it.

Example: Try a subject line that promises something like this: “Drive traffic to your website… and turn it into paying customers!”

You’re showing your readers exactly what they stand to gain from reading the email—but to learn how they’re going to gain it… through SEO, email marketing, or whatever else… they’ve got to open the email and read it.

Try some of these tips in your own email marketing—and see how your open rates improve. Talk with us about it by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Email Writing, Writing

5 Signs You’ve Hired a Bad Writing Company

caution-bad-hire

More and more small business owners are outsourcing their content writing needs to the pros—which is smart and sensible, but also potentially dangerous. There are multiple writing companies out there but not all are created equal. It’s important to know some of the signs of a less-than-reputable writing company so that you can avoid getting burned.

To some extent, of course, these things will be obvious: A company with a real office and a full staff of salaried writers—like Grammar Chic!—is going to come with a bit more prestige, professionalism, and reliability than a lone guy who operates a freelance company out of his mom’s basement. (With no offense intended to anyone who writes in his mom’s basement.)

Beyond that, consider some of the telltale signs that the writing company you have hired is less than legitimate.

#1. There’s no consultation.

Our basic philosophy at Grammar Chic: We probably know more about writing than you do, and you probably know more about your business than we do. To facilitate a strong working relationship, we need to spend some time talking with you, learning your story and your values so that we can put them into words and make your content shine.

A writing company that thinks this step is somehow unnecessary, or that the entire process can be done over a couple of bare-bones e-mails, is frankly delusional. Great, value-adding written content takes some perspective and some depth, and a consultation is non-negotiable.

#2. There is a one-size-fits-all mentality.

All businesses are different and have different needs with their written content. Your content should reflect your goals. If the writing company tries to put you into a box—a standard-issue word count, structure, or aesthetic approach—without hearing what you’re looking to accomplish, well, that’s trouble. You’re just not going to get a very effective piece of writing from a company like that.

#3. Revisions are not included in your balance.

Even great writers may need a second or third attempt to get the content exactly the way the client wants it. A writing company that makes you pay for revisions is cheating you, plain and simple.

#4. You’re not offered a proposal.

It’s amazing how many writers seem averse to writing out their proposal—but as with any professional service, your writers should offer you a full, written account of the work they propose to do: Basic word count ranges, turnaround dates, revision policies, consultation policies, and, of course, charges and fees.

#5. You’ve never actually seen their writing.

What’s the one thing that all professional writers do? They write—but how are you supposed to know your writing company can deliver the goods unless you’ve seen some of their written work? Reputable writing companies should have their own blogs and they should also be willing to furnish you with some written samples, upon request.

Learn more about what a reputable writing company looks like by calling the Grammar Chic team today at 803-831-7444; or, by visiting us online at www.grammarchic.net.

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