Design the code right – the real trick to SEO.
Smart and accurate. Fun way to end a Monday afternoon. Enjoy.
Design the code right – the real trick to SEO.
Smart and accurate. Fun way to end a Monday afternoon. Enjoy.
Are you struggling to write highly effective content for your website? Go easy on blaming yourself. Writing for the web is very different than writing for print.
Web writing has to be different because we don’t read web pages in the same way we read a book or magazine. The light given off by a computer screen can be harsh on our eyes. We may struggle with glare and inaequate contrast between the letters and the background. We may also have trouble adjusting our screens and chairs for comfort.
Plus reading on a computer reminds us of looking at a TV, another box that emits light. And a mouse seems like a television remote, also a device for controlling a light-emitting box. So most of us treat web pages with the same short attention span we bring to TV programs. It’s click, click, click away.
The typical web reader will quickly click off your website if the page seems boring or complicated. She scans text, avoiding areas of densely written content and can easily miss information. To slow down the clicking:
Get to the point fast. Think like you’re writing an ad.
Use short sentences and paragraphs.
Include informative subheads.
Put information in lists with bullets or numbers.
Put key information in bold.
Braverman Marketing & Communications, LLC
I’ve been hearing more and more about people getting scammed by on-line companies when attempting to set up their own site. In fact, I recently spoke with a client that spent $4,700 plus $39.95 a month for a website and several months later has nothing to show for it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many legitimate companies out there on the worldwide web, but if they’re talking large returns with little or no sales, marketing and effort – it’s not going to happen.
When it comes to creating or re-designing your website you’d be more productive if you focused on the planning of the site and hired someone else for the programming. Deciding before hand exactly what you want from your site and clearly communicating that with your web partner is the most effective way to build a website.
Too often people decide what they want their site to do for them after they’ve created it. For example a site that’s created to drive sales is much different than one that’s strictly for informational purposes. It’s imperative to determine the direction in advance so that you don’t end up having to re-design and re-program the site afterwards. In addition, what you want from your site will determine the type of tools used.
The bottom line is… If someone contacts you from an on-line company, look them up. A simple Google search can provide you with a lot of information. In addition, although these companies may promise incredible deals, nothing can replace the one-to-one relationship with an established, local company. It’s always nice to be able to speak to someone whose name you know.
For the health and well-being of your business writing, deep six all clichés. It’s as plain as the nose on your face.
As far as the eye can see, they multiply like rabbits. It’s hard to swallow the hare- brained idea that we cannot avoid these old as dirt phrases. Rely on clichés and people will think your elevator doesn’t go to the top floor or that you’re a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Don’t you see eye to eye with me on this?
Say what you will, clichés bore us to tears. Even if you must burn the candle at both ends, find substitutes for them. Doing so is more than a feather in your cap. It means your copy can fire on all cylinders and won’t read flat as a pancake. Even a writer as dumb as a bag of hammers, knows that variety is the spice of life and that clichés have lost their salt.
So drag those squealing, stinky rodents of writing to the paper shredder and show no mercy. And don’t shred on me, I’m just the messenger.
The internet, in it’s short history, has been a great equalizer for small businesses. Small businesses are free to put up websites that promote their business, sell their products, services and applications and are assured that their information is served to the consumer in the same way that everyone else’s content is served. It gives all businesses the possibility to attract a worldwide market. Many of today’s internet giants–think Google, Yahoo, E-bay–started out as small businesses with great ideas. Because their ideas were allowed to be served to the public in a fair way, they were able to develop into highly successful businesses.
Some of the major network operators are trying to change that. They want to set up a tiered payment system for content providers. Theoretically, the premium fee would ensure the fastest download speeds. And lesser rates would result in slower websites. What does that mean? Network providers could decide what content is shown on their networks and at what price. Suppose AT&T decided they wanted to expand their web hosting business. They could effectively eliminate the reach of web hosting competitors’ sites by raising their rates or slowing the delivery of their material to an unpalatable crawl.
Given the fact that there are actually very few network providers in the US — especially in rural parts of the country — shouldn’t we be trying to ensure that everyone has access to all information on the internet no matter what network they can access. In some parts of the country consumers may only have broadband access through one provider. Even in populated areas the choice is usually limited to the phone company or cable provider for the area. Shouldn’t we ensure that your website is as accessible to everyone as your competitor’s website?
Do we really want want big business deciding what is available on the internet? If not, we need to ensure that net neutrality remains in effect. Please support the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.
There is nothing that screams amateur like a website with a mishmash of fonts and styles. Sometimes people copy and paste posts from a document they’ve already created in Word. Unfortunately that can also copy the Word styles and fonts into the WordPress document. In order to keep your styles and fonts consistent in your WordPress posts, click the “paste as plain text” icon in the toolbar. It will delete all the Word code and paste nice clean text into your post that will use the styles in your WordPress theme and keep your blog looking well-designed and professional.
Creating a buzz about your company is a good thing but using buzz words in your marketing copy is not. Buzz words are those words everyone else is using: crispy to describe potato chips; state-of-the-art to describe technology; quality to describe any product. Yes, you can still use these words, but if you do, back them up with proof. Better yet, come up with a new way to describe the same thing: noisy potato chips; out-in-front technology; or the valedictorian product of its class. Old buzz becomes a drone.
There once was a writing project from hell,
You can imagine, it didn’t go well,
The client was upset,
I, the writer, had regret,
Do I hear music or is that my death knell?
E-mail, e-letters and e-zines are great,
Paper is saved and docs aren’t late,
But I must warn you,
One thing I won’t do:
If you offer your hand I won’t e-shake
This morning I received an email from one of my clients, Trevor Eissler. Trevor’s a clever guy who is marketing a book he wrote. The subject was “Could I ask for a few mouse clicks?” The email was addressed to friends and family and asked if they’d mind spending ten minutes to complete 3 of 6 items on a list.
Here’s Trevor’s list:
Trevor’s common sense approach to spreading the word about his book is simple and brilliant. By asking a favor of friends and family who I’m sure want to see his book succeed he’s leveraging the power of their networks. With Facebook, Twitter and other networks it’s easy for Trevor’s friends and family to help him spread the word.
I also like that he asked us to “Spend ten minutes to complete 3 of the 6 items.” By telling us how long it will take us (not long) I think that the average friend or family member would be more likely to complete the request. And by giving us a list of six and only asking us to complete 3 items it seems an even easier assignment.
Items 4 -6 are kind of funny and are a little beyond what most of us are willing or able to do, but that makes the list more brilliant. By process of elimination most of us are likely to complete items 1 -3 and that was probably Trevor’s goal. But it’s not beyond belief that someone in someone’s network knows Oprah – so spread the word friends! Good work Trevor!
More information about the book – Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education
A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail Father’s Day reminder from a store where I’ve bought gifts from online before. Since I typically put off holiday gift buying to the last minute and end up paying extra for shipping, I was grateful for the reminder.
Lesson one to online merchants: EMAIL MARKETING WORKS!
With over a week before Father’s day I thought the ample lead time would save me some cash on shipping. I clicked through to the website and browsed to find some sweet treats for dad. I quickly found a nice gift of sweet snacks at a reasonable price and clicked through to the checkout page. Where I stopped. The shipping charges nearly doubled the price of the goodies. Call me cheap, but if there’s one thing I learned from my dad growing up on his farm in Minnesota it’s the value of the dollar.
That reasonably priced gift now seemed tremendously overpriced. If I was going to spend that kind of money – it had to be a better gift. So I abandoned my shopping cart and Googled “Free Shipping Father’s Day gifts”. Multiple stores came up and I quickly found a gift. It was much nicer than the original gift. I did end up spending the same as the other gift would have cost with it’s shipping charges, but I now felt like the gift I was sending was worth the money I was spending.
Lesson two to online merchants – FREE SHIPPING WORKS! Consider the value of your product. If shipping costs make your item seem extraordinarily overpriced you will lose sales.
Lesson three to online merchants. CLOSE THE SALE! If your e-mail marketing campaign is driving traffic to your site but you’re not seeing corresponding sales, make sure you look at the value you’re offering to your customers. It’s a shame when something like high shipping costs causes them abandon their shopping cart when you’ve successfully drawn them to your store with your e-mail marketing campaign.
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