Thursday, October 24, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
It's a common myth among web designers that website visitors don't want to read the blocks of text that appear on its pages. This myth has been spread by web designers because they're graphically oriented, rather than message-oriented. In some cases, too, web designers don't want to be bothered with finding professional website content providers. So, they sell the idea that the words on your website aren't as important as the design. They're wrong about that, and their mistake can cost you countless leads and sales.
Website Visitors DO Read, if There Is Content Worth Reading
Website analytic data tells the real story. Any experienced website professional can see how long visitors stay on your website. The reality is that most visitors arrive at the site, and then leave almost immediately. Sites with a high bounce rate are ineffective in doing their job. Sites that are graphically heavy and content light have much higher bounce rates than websites with informative, well-written content.
People come to your website because they are looking for information. If they find the information they need there, they stick around and read the content to learn. If they only see pretty graphics, but can't find information, they click their Back buttons and go to your competitors' websites. Information is the key to sales. Professionally written, informative website content informs the visitor and does even more. It entices visitors to stay and explore additional pages. There's one unfailing rule about website visitors: If they stay on the site and visit two or three additional pages on that site, they are far more likely to take that all-important step of becoming leads or customers.
SEO Depends Almost Entirely on Website Content
Search engines, especially Google, spend millions of dollars each year developing algorithms that help them rank websites. Today, the thing Google's algorithms are looking for is information. If keywords and phrases are connected to substantial text, Google sees the content as informative. It ranks informative sites higher in its results because research has shown that website visitors value information highly. It is that simple.
In addition, the text content on your website is the host for your target keywords and phrases. The more text that is available, the better your website can present a range of search keywords and phrases to Google and other search engines. For the long-tail searches Internet users type today, adequate content is essential. Finally, though, it is your text content that informs your visitors. If it is well-written, informative, and easy to understand, visitors read it and your marketing message is delivered. That is, or should be, your goal on every page of your website.
Website Visitors Who Read Are Motivated Visitors
Time and time again, research and analytics demonstrate that website visitors who spend time reading and understanding a site's content are far more likely to convert into customers, leads and clients. Well designed and executed marketing copy has the power to inform, motivate, and convert. Haphazard, awkward, or error-laden content fails to captivate visitors, who quickly search elsewhere for what they need.
Don't let your web designer tell you that visitors won't read. They will. They do. And they make decisions based on what they read on a website. How your content is presented to visitors makes all the difference, but the amount of content is also important. Help your visitors understand your products and services, your business, and give them the information they're searching for. They'll give you their business.
Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999. To see examples of my web content, click any of the Work Sample links in the left column of this blog. I'd love to help you make your website the very best it can be through effective, dynamic content.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
All across the Internet, thousands of websites have died. They no longer produce leads, don't show up high in search engine results for common search phrases and keywords. They're not being read by visitors, or visitors are landing on the site and almost instantly clicking their back button and going somewhere else. Such websites are not productive, and are actually a detriment to the businesses that own them. If that describes your own website, you're probably pulling your hair and wondering what you can do to get your website working as the productive sales tool it should be.
Most often, when websites no longer produce leads, the problem lies in that website's content. It could be outdated, ineffective, and may be incompetent at competing with competing websites. It's not the website's design, in most cases, that causes it to fail. Money pumped into a failing website's design won't get the results you need if the content stays the same.
A complete revamp of almost any website's content, created by an experienced professional website content specialist, is the key to rejuvenating that website's performance. Times change and your business website must change to meet the expectations of your visitors and to attract them to your site in the first place. Here are some reasons to consider a complete website content change:
- Fresh, Up-to-date Content Sells - Years ago, it was possible for a website with minimal content, written haphazardly, to provide effective results. That time has passed. If your old content is out-of-date, doesn't reflect your current business practices, or just doesn't communicate well, a complete revamp can make all the difference.
- SEO Practices Have Changed - If your website is no longer showing up near the top of the first page of results for keywords and phrases potential visitors use, your content many not be taking full advantage of Search Engine Optimization. Google has drastically changed how it ranks websites, and now focuses on quality content. Websites with minimal or unfocused content have dropped in search results. Refreshing your content with SEO content that understands Google's ranking algorithms can restore your search results.
- Website Visitors are More Sophisticated - Your visitors are used to finding content that helps them solve their problems. If that useful, informative content isn't there when they land on a website, they don't stick around. They find one of your competitors and give them the business you need. Today's website content needs to be informative, clear, and instantly capture interest.
- Excellent Content Sells - Your website should be the best sales tool in your marketing arsenal. It can work 24/7/365 to motivate visitors to do business with you, rather than with your competition. Only top-quality website content will do that job. Conversion of visitors into customers and clients must be the constant goal of your content. Nothing less will do.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
That may seem like a simple question, but it's not as simple as you may think. Whatever your business does, you are offering goods or services to your website visitors. Even though they're coming to your site to see what you have to offer, they're looking for more than just the bare bones facts about your products or services. The thing they're really looking for is information.
If your website only offers them information about the actual merchandise you sell or the things you can do for your clients, you're missing part of the information equation. And what you may also be missing is the opportunity to help your potential clients and customers get the information they need to choose you as the business they want to supply their needs. Educating website visitors is the key to giving them the confidence in you that gives them reasons to take the next step and either order products or contact you to arrange for services. Give them the following, and they'll make that choice:
- What are The Factors Customers Should Use to Make a Wise Choice? Even though you're an expert in your line of business, your website visitors aren't experts. Helping them understand how to make the right decisions is part of your job. Give every visitor a path toward learning what they should consider in choosing products or services. Help them understand the basics of your business and show them that you are their best choice.
- What Makes Your Business Stand Out from the Rest? - What are the unique features that your business offers its clients and customers that sets you apart from your competition. What are some of the pitfalls that visitors might encounter with other businesses? How do you help each customer obtain the greatest value.
- What should Customers Expect from Every Company in Your Line of Business? Stress your dedication to customer service, your long experience, and any other factors that will help convince your website visitors to choose you to supply their needs.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
When you're considering a revamp of your small business website, timing is a very important factor. You want your website to stimulate business effectively, but if your business has any seasonal characteristics, choosing the right time to do a major update is crucial. Your new content needs visitors to read it at a time when they're considering making a purchase or using your services.
For example, a heating and air conditioning business, like the ones listed in the work samples on the left sidebar, has two distinct seasons. Its customers typically start thinking about investing in new furnaces or air conditioners shortly before the season arrives when they will be needed. They're not looking for those products at other times during the year.
The most important issue for scheduling website updates is to have that fresh content and new sales strategies in front of visitors when they are actively looking for your products or services. Since website changes take some to implement and additional time to propagate through the search engine algorithms, getting your website as high in search engine results as possible just as your selling season begins is very important. Here are some suggestions to help that happen:
- Plan Website Changes at Least 6 Months in Advance - A typical website revamp, with fresh content, design changes, and other new features generally takes two or three months to complete, depending on your web designer and content provider. Having your new website at its best position in search engine results means giving your SEO strategies time to work. Six months is a good basic lead time for maximum productivity during your selling season.
- Don't Lose Ground with Changes - While fresh new content and design features can help boost sales, it's important not to lose search engine results gains from the past. Use site metrics analysis to identify strong and weak SEO strategies on your current website, and retain everything that is working. Focus on implementing new SEO strategies where your current website has weaknesses.
- Replace Outdated Content with Fresh Content - Carefully examine your current website and identify any content that is no longer current or is flawed in other ways. A website revamp should always aim at providing new content for visitors to see, while updating and improving existing content.
- Create Unity on Your Updated Website - Too many small business websites show the results of having a history of different content providers. That can confuse visitors and interfere with your sales strategies. While you're revamping the site, have your content provider refresh old material to make the entire site consistent in voice and strategy.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Who is coming to your business website? Do you have a clear picture of the typical visitor? If not, your content may not be reaching the people it needs to reach. Clues to your visitors' demographics are as close as your current customers. Whether your website is aimed at consumers or other business owners, you can start building a customer or client profile by looking at your current customer and client list. It's a simple step that too few businesses take.
Why does it matter, when it comes to the content of your website? It matters because the writing style, level of diction, vocabulary, and many other factors in your content are important in the process of retaining and converting website visitors into active leads, customers and clients. Experienced content professionals know how to fine-tune the language of your site's content to speak directly to your clients' demographic profile in a way that recognizes them and shows them that you know who they are and what they're looking for. Factors that matter include:
- Age - Your website visitors will fit some age range. It may be a small range or a large one, but discovering what that age range is is important to your content writer. As we all know, different age sectors of the population use different vocabulary and expressions. Your content needs to reflect that, no matter what the age range is.
- Education - Are your customers college-educated, or do they mostly have just a high school diploma? Education is a definite factor in setting the level of diction for your website content. Armed with that information, a professional content writer will tailor your content to suit the audience through careful selection of vocabulary and structure.
- Economic Situation - There is a wide range of economic status in today's society. The economic situation of your targeted population is a powerful factor in what language and tone your content should use. Subtle changes in content will have a big impact on the response of your visitors.
- Gender - If your target demographic is primarily male or female, differences in your website's content can establish a tone that speaks to either group. If your target demographic is mixed, a different approach will be needed. Along the same lines, think about who the decision-makers for your products or services are, and let your professional content provider write directly to them. It can make an important impact on your retention and conversion rate.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sometimes it seems as though SEO and website content that works to keep visitors on business websites and convert them into customers are at odds with each other. In the quest to make SEO effective in improving search engine rankings, the content on some websites can be almost unreadable. Overuse and poor use of SEO keywords and phrases in website content can definitely interfere with the visitor's experience on the site. What happens then is predictable. The visitor simply clicks the Back button, bounces off the site and returns to the search engine results to find a different site.
There's absolutely no reason for this to happen. A skilled content writer can incorporate an effective range of SEO keywords and phrases into any page's content without making that content boring or confusing. While creating compelling, motivating copy that works to retain and convert visitors, a professional content writer weaves the relevant keywords and phrases into that copy, placing them where they have the highest impact on search engine rankings. Site visitors see top-quality writing that addresses their reasons for coming to the site and helps them understand why that business is the place to go to get the products and services they need. The keywords and key phrases are truly organic to the content. Here are some of the ways this happens:
- Keyword Selection - Keywords selected for any given page must relate directly to the content on that page. Since visitors may land on any page on your website, targeting keywords that suit the subject of a specific page not only makes SEO sense, but also makes the writing of that content more relevant. Google recognizes that the keyword are relevant to that page's specific goals by relating the keywords to other keywords on the page.
- Understanding Google's Algorithms - An experienced web content copywriter understands how Google's ranking algorithms work. Since Google ignores many common words, word order, and punctuation, a key phrase need not appear exactly, but can appear in a number of ways and still be seen as the same phrase.
- Keyword & Phrase Placement - A highly skilled web content writer understands the importance of keyword and key phrase placement, and writes accordingly. Using keywords and phrases targeted for the specific content of a page, it's relatively easy to locate those phrases strategically to influence rankings.
- Keyword Relevance - Today, Google's algorithms are looking for relevance. The proper balance between keywords and phrases and the surrounding explanatory content has become increasingly important as Google fine-tunes its relevance-detecting algorithms. For an expert content writer, this is second nature. The result is content that is useful and informative to the visitor, while presenting a keyword-rich face to Google.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
- Poor SEO Keyword Usage - Including SEO search phrases and words in your content is important, but it must be done in a way that enhances your message. Just cramming as many SEO keywords and phrases as possible onto the page is awkward and ineffective. Only by seamlessly integrating SEO into compelling content will it work to your advantage.
- Ignoring the Customer - Too many websites begin by bragging about the company, instead of addressing the customer's needs and demonstrating that you know why they came to your website.
- Poor Writing - Badly-written content quickly sends visitors away. Poor grammar and spelling, ineffective organization, and awkward language are common offenders. Only well-written, carefully designed content can do the sales job it needs to do.
- Failure to Motivate - All visitors to your website arrive ready to patronize your business. They found it because they were looking for something you offer. Capturing their attention and showing them that you understand what they're looking for keeps them on your website and encourages them to contact you or visit your location.
- Failure to Educate - Like any good salesperson, your website should inform visitors and give them the information they're seeking. The better a job your website's content does in providing useful information, the more likely visitors will be to take the next step and become customers or clients.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
- Acquisition - Acquire the attention of your site visitors. There are many ways to do this, but I find that speaking directly to visitors and letting them know that you understand why they came to the site is the most effective technique. Make the visitor the subject of the first paragraph of all content.
- Retention - Retain the visitor on the site. Do this on business sites by presenting information the visitor is looking for. Normally, that means talking about things the visitor wants - products, services, or information. It rarely means talking about yourself or how great your business is. It can also mean guiding the visitor to visit other pages on the site, using links and navigation tools. The longer you can Retain the visitor, the more likely you are to make a sale.
- Conversion - Converting the visitor to a client or customer is the primary goal of all business websites. If you've Acquired the visitor's attention, Retained your guest on your site, and provided information he or she can use, you should be able to Convert the visitors into customers and clients by simply asking them for their business. Just give your visitors a chance and help them contact you, and your job is done.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
- Identification - It's crucial that the site identify with the visitor immediately. That means putting the focus on your visitors first, rather than on your company. Showing visitors that you know who they are and why they came to your site is the first step in retention. Your content must send that message instantly and on every page of your site. "You" is a far more powerful word than "We."
- Navigation - Your goal is always to convince visitors to click through to more than one page on your site. Typically, if a visitor visits three or more pages on your site, the odds are very high that he or she will make contact with you. Your site's navigation design should be logical, visible, and accessible at a glance. Clever graphics and gimmicks are far less effective than keywords in navigation links.
- Information - Every visitor to your site comes there hungry for information. What that information is depends on your site's focus, but that's why visitors are there. Feed that hunger and provide the information clearly, succinctly, and accurately. Make the information easy to access and always pertinent and timely.
- Call to Action - At any point during a visit, your visitors may decide to act. Keep your marketing message and contact tools always available. Every page should ask for action and your contact information should always be close at hand. Never make a visitor look for a way to contact you.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
- Out of Date Content - How long has the content on your site been the same? If it's over a year or so, it's out of date. Your business changes regularly, and so should your website content. It should reflect your current products and services and shouldn't show any signs of being dated. Up-to-date content is also important in improving your search engine results. Dated content sends visitors to your competitors' sites.
- Lack of Continuity & Voice - If the pages of your website were written by different writers, your site lacks continuity and a consistent voice across the site's pages. That's important to retaining visitors on your site and converting them into leads and customers.
- Ineffective Marketing Techniques - What works and doesn't work on websites has changed. Research has demonstrated that proper marketing strategies and language produces results, while ineffective marketing sends visitors to your competitor's site.
- Incorrect Emphasis - If your site talks more about your business than about the needs of your potential customers, you're boring your visitors. Your visitors come to your site because they need something from you. If your site doesn't demonstrate that you understand their needs, they won't get the right message, and they'll move on.
- Lack of Informative Content - Some web designers aren't talented writers, and often don't employ writers who know what motivates website visitors. If your site is mostly made up of bulleted lists and doesn't have informative text content, visitors look for another site that tells them what they need to know.
- Errors - Spelling, punctuation and grammar errors are fatal to any website. A majority of visitors consider such errors to be an indicator of sloppiness in your business. They assume that if you don't take care of your own website, you won't take care of them.
- Failure to Ask Visitors to Act - Your website visitors need to be encouraged to act on every page of the site, and acting should be as easy as a click of a link or a phone call to a number they can see immediately. They won't go hunting for your contact information. They'll just click the back button.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
- Grab the visitor's attention - Talk about the visitor, not yourself. Show each visitor that you understand his or her needs and interests.
- Educate the visitor - Every visitor to your site should learn something about the questions he or she has. Links to educational content are crucial.
- Keep the visitor on your site - The longer you hold a visitor's attention and keep each visitor cruising your site and reading your message, the better your chances are to convert that visitor into a customer.
- Don't send visitors away - Never include links on your site that send your visitor to another site, except on a specific links page. The visitor will leave and probably not return.
- Ask for the visitor's business - Every page on your site should include content that asks your visitor to contact you or visit your physical location. Use every contact method possible, from the telephone, physical location, and email forms.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
In today's internet marketing environment, the blog is the very best way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date. Lively, informative blog entries are the perfect way to bring customers to your site and to keep them interested in your business. Whether you have an auto repair shop, a restaurant, or a fishing guide service, a regularly-updated blog will keep your business web presence alive and current.
A business blog should incorporate:
- Updates on special offers, new features, and changes in your business.
- Seasonal articles that remind customers of your business, while informing and entertaining.
- Articles of interest to your customers about subjects related to your business.
- Search engine-friendly phrases and terms that bring new customers to your website and business.
- Regular updates on at least a weekly basis to keep customers returning to the blog.
- Clear, accurately-written articles that inform, entertain, and motivate readers.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
In today's business climate, odds are that your web site is the first place potential customers encounter your business. The impression they get from your site is the most influential factor in their decision to do business with you or not. Think about how you feel when you visit a web site.
A huge part of that first impression is based on the content of the web site. If the site is poorly-written, full of spelling and grammatical errors, or just rambles on without giving you the information you need, you probably move on to the next business displayed in your Google search. Your potential customers do the same thing.
How many of your potential customers have just hit the Back button after visiting your Twin Cities site? You'll never know. They won't tell you. They just won't contact you or come to your business.
Every business web site needs content created by a professional. I'm George Campbell, and I've been a professional writer for over 25 years. My work has appeared in nationally recognized magazines since 1974, ranging from PC World and Computer Shopper to Family Handyman , Mechanix Illustrated,Mother Earth News and Western Outdoors. I've also written two books, one on outdoor project for Rodale Press and a book on WordPerfect.
I can create accurate, targeted, compelling content for your website. I work quickly, accurately, and in any style needed to match your needs. I have my own multi-faceted website, which I hope you'll visit to see the range of subjects I cover.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
- Jargon and technical terminology
- An overly academic writing style
- Writing that's too simplistic
- Poor organization and flow
- Faulty grammar and spelling
- Overly wordy writing
Monday, September 7, 2009
- Weekly or monthly internet specials -- Offer a special sale or discount to your web visitors, and give them a code number or word to use to get the special. Not only will this keep customers visiting your blog, but it will let you track the effectiveness of your online presence.
- Biographical sketches of your employees -- These snapshot bios of your employees, complete with an on-the-job photo, familiarize your customers with the people they meet when doing business with you. Customers like having a connection with the people they see at your business.
- Customer Service articles -- Here, you get a chance to provide useful information to your customers. This information can lead to sales if linked to seasonal needs or new offerings.
- Business-related News -- On your blog, post news stories that apply to your business and explain how you can help customers take advantage of this news. Again, information that leads customers to your business is a great way to keep your site or blog current and informative.
Friday, September 4, 2009
- Locations, with links to maps
- Hours of operation
- Owner's name
- Services offered
- Product lines available
- Brief business history
- Payment types accepted
- Other information about your business