Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Does Google Look at Website Content?

Since Google search result rankings make a huge difference in website traffic, it's important to understand what that search engine and its competitors are looking for when they rank sites. Increasingly, Google has said that it looks at content as a major factor in determining results rankings. The world's most popular search engine, though, doesn't disclose details of its ranking algorithms. Only by studying the factors it does disclose and looking at actual high-ranking websites can you tell what Google is looking for in page content. Here's a quick guide to some of the most important factors that are common to top-of-the-first-page sites:

  • Topic Relevance - Google knows that people want information when they use search engines. So, it gives ranking priority to pages that deliver accurate information on the topics of user searches. It expects to find content that relates directly to a search and that sticks to the topic.
  • Content Quantity - In studies of pages that ranked at the top of the first page of Google results, it was found that #1 ranked pages averaged over 1500 words of content. Why? Because longer content conveys more information. Information means relevance to Google.
  • Topic Pages Are More Important than Home Pages - Look at your site metrics. Google is sending people to secondary pages on your website more and more. It's looking for content that closely matches search phrases with relevant information. Every page counts.
  • User Behavior on Pages - Bounce rates are important in page rankings. If visitors stay on landing pages and visit additional pages on the same site, Google rewards the site and page with higher rankings. What keeps visitors on your pages? Compelling, relevant writing.
  • Keyword Use and Related Keywords - This has become the heart of effective SEO. Searches are longer today. Further, Google knows what other searches relate to the specific searches its users type. Focusing only on specific target keywords and phrases isn't enough. All content must be relevant.
If your website and its pages don't attract plenty of visitors through high search engine results rankings, they are guaranteed to fail. Many factors affect rankings, but content quality, relevance and thoroughness are huge factors in current rankings assignments for every search. Top quality content, professionally written with both Google and your visitors in mind, is more essential than it has ever been.
Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How Much Is a New Lead or Customer Worth? Is Your Content Converting?

The content on your website, social media venues and other Internet destinations should be your top sales generator. If you're not seeing a steady stream of leads and new customers from your website or other Internet marketing efforts, poor content is probably the reason.

What would you do if a member of your sales staff wasn't generating sales? The answer to that question is obvious. That person would be out looking for a new job. If your web content isn't generating the leads and new customers and clients you need, maybe you should treat it like that non-productive salesperson.

Here's what works on websites and other online marketing venues:

  • Compelling content that understands what visitors are looking for.
  • Information that answers visitors questions and informs them about your offerings.
  • Text that demonstrates why they should choose you over your competitors.
  • Dynamic writing that leads visitors through your website and keeps them online.
  • Conversion-oriented marketing copy that gives visitors reasons to act.
  • Calls to action on every page that stimulates guests to contact you.
If your Internet marketing isn't getting results, it's time for a change. By replacing ineffective copy on your sites with powerful, targeted marketing copy, you'll see the results you should already be getting.

Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Content's Enormous Role in Effective SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial factor in delivering visitors to your website from all search engines. Without effective optimization, your site will never get the top-of-the-first-page search results that bring in potential customers. One thing's certain: Without heavy site traffic, your website is just a costly investment that will never pay off.

Much of SEO takes place in website design and in page titles, descriptions and other elements like metatags, but that's not enough. Everyone understands SEO today, and business websites compete for Google results page rankings like never before. You need a real edge if you're going to reach the top. You need professionally created content that understands SEO and makes it work.

Google, along with other search engines, is now ranking websites not just on keywords and phrases, but on relevance and content quality. Unless your content is useful, relevant and outstandingly written, search engines will rank it lower than competing sites that do a better job. Content is essential to SEO, and quality content that presents search keywords and phrases effectively is what makes the difference.

SEO & Content Must Work Together in Many Ways

  • Keywords & Phrases Must Appear - Your content is the prime carrier of SEO search terms.
  • Effective Search Term Placement is Crucial - Where and how keywords and phrases appear is vitally important.
  • Google Should Notice SEO - Visitors Should Not - Search terms must be carefully used.
  • SEO-Weaving Is an Art & Science - Skilled content writers embed search terms seamlessly into content.
  • Overuse of Search Terms Hurts Rankings - Keywords and phrases must appear with the right frequency.
  • More Content is Better - Google likes plenty of content on web pages. More content means more SEO opportunities, too.
  • Quality Content Is Quality SEO - Search engines measure content quality in many ways. Professional copywriters know Google.
  • Great SEO Content Means Great Rankings - That's the bottom line today. Google's ranking algorithms are quality-driven.

Don't Settle for Ineffective SEO Content on Your Site

If you're not happy with your rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing, check your content. To maximize your chances of great results page placement, there's no substitute for top-quality content that takes SEO seriously. Amateur copywriters can't give you what you need to beat the competition.
Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999.

Does Your Website's Content Build Confidence in Your Business?

Website Content Builds Impressions

When visitors land on your website for the first time, they form an immediate judgment of your business. That first impression largely depends on the design of the landing page. If they instantly see content that relates to their Google search, they stay away from their Back button and begin looking more closely. If they don't find relevant information right away, they're gone - almost before they arrived.

One of the tallest hurdles your website faces is building confidence. Your graphics and other site design elements are not the features that tell your potential customers to trust you. That's a job for text content. Once you get past the Back button threat, visitors will begin reading what's on your landing page.

Today, with Google becoming more and more focused on content relevance and quality, any page can be a landing page. What does that mean? It means that every page has to focus on informing visitors and helping find what they need. It has to demonstrate relevance and create confidence if it is going to convert visitors into leads, customers, and clients.

Confidence Building Elements

  • Evidence of Competence - You're the expert. Your content has to reflect that expertise.
  • Audience Recognition - All text content on your page must relate to visitors' needs.
  • Sharp Audience Focus - Every content element must focus on visitors, not on you.
  • Accurate Information - All marketing content must inform visitors clearly and correctly.
  • Adequate Information - Skimpy content doesn't satisfy visitors. Give them plenty.
  • Relevant Information - Content shouldn't wander or stray from the page's subject.
  • Understandable Copy - Content shouldn't confuse visitors or insult their intelligence.
  • Clean Copy - Error-free, grammatical marketing copy is essential.
  • Concise Copy - Content must get to the point quickly and not waste time.
  • Compelling Closing Copy - Your content should always promote conversion.

Content That Convinces Creates Confidence

Too many business websites spend too much time trying to sell, instead of helping visitors learn. Confidence doesn't come from sales pitches. It comes from proving the information visitors were seeking when they searched. If your content satisfies that need, you'll get their business. If not, they'll look elsewhere. That's the bottom line.
Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Much Does Website Content Cost?

When small business owners talk to website designers and content providers, the question of cost is always prominent. There's no question about it: Creating a brand new website or revamping an existing one comes at a price. Everything involved in promoting a business has its price. What you pay for the service provided has a lot to do with the quality of service you get. It's true for your own business, and it's true for the business of creating websites. It's not really price that should be the main question; it's value.

Content Matters for Every Visitor from the Start - It Must Capture Them
The content on your website is your introduction to your prospective customers and clients. When they search for the products and services you provide, the content and design of your website are major factors they consider. It's the firm handshake and smile they experience immediately. Just as with personal greetings, the quality of that experience makes a lasting impression. On your website, that initial impression determines whether the visitor sticks around long enough to get your message or clicks the back button and moves on to the next website in the search engine results. A website can might land on any page of your website, not just your Home Page. Every page needs to greet your visitors, capture their attention, and help them find the information they're looking for.

Your Website's Content Tells Your Story - Keeping Visitors Learning More
Once your website's handshake and smile captures their attention, helping visitors understand what you offer and why that offer is a good one is the next job of your website content. Everyone who comes to your website is looking for information that helps them solve a problem. That's why they searched for businesses like yours in the first place. The content on your website has to let them know that you understand their needs and are capable of solving their problems in the best possible way. That's not easy. Your sales staff does that for everyone they meet, and your website content has the same job. How well it does that job determines whether they stay on your site to learn more.

Your Website Content Helps Close the Deal - Converting Visitors into Customers
After showing visitors that you understand their needs, your content has another job. It has to convince those visitors that the next step they should take is to contact you, order products, or come to your location. Many small business websites, especially, fail to convince visitors that they should take that step, or make it difficult for them to do. Giving your website guests information is important, but unless they take what they learn and make a decision to choose you, they may make the deal with some other business. Like a great salesperson, your website content is always working on closing the deal. If it succeeds, you succeed.

Quality Website Content Means High Value Results
Everything about your website, but especially its content, is important. Selling is difficult in any marketplace, and a top-quality sales strategy is the only path to success. To get maximum results from your Internet marketing efforts, only content with excellent quality can give you the true value you're paying for. You can get low quality website content cheaply, or you can pay more for content that gets the results you expect. Content providers are not all alike and neither is the quality they produce. Creating website content is a competitive business, and the price range is relatively small. Guarantee maximum value by choosing a content provider with a proven record of quality work.

Judge Content Quality for Yourself Before Choosing a Content Provider
It's not all that difficult to judge the quality of a website content provider. Any individual or company in that business should be happy to give you links to websites that they have done. Go to those websites and take some time to see what's there. Judge for yourself whether or not the content of that website works. Is it accurate, well-written, and convincing? Would you patronize that business if you were in the market for its goods or services? Make your decision based on actual samples of the work. Compare the work of several content providers and choose carefully. Once your website is online, it's very costly to redo it.
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 that presents your business in a way that gets results.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Is Website Design More Important than Content?

It's common for businesses who are planning a new website or a revamp of their current website to start by contacting a website designer. Wherever you are, there are probably dozens of website designers nearby who are eagerly looking for projects. When you're considering a choice among them, you should take a close look at websites they have designed in the past, because that's an excellent indication of what they'll produce for you. Here's a guide to help you evaluate a designer's ability to help you create a website that actually generates new leads and sales:
  • Is the Designer's Style Compatible with Your Business? - Each website designer has his or her own website design concept. When you're looking at samples of a designer's work, try substituting your own company name in your mind. Does the design reflect your own business concept? Does it appeal to you? Do you think it will appeal to your customers?
  • What Is the Balance between Graphics and Text? - How much text do you see on the sample website's home page and on other pages. The text content on the website is what conveys your message to visitors. If it's skimpy or sparse, odds are that visitors will not find the information they're looking for when they come to the website.
  • Is the Website's Navigation Easy to Understand? - Getting a visitor to stick around and see what's on any website is difficult. Everyone website visitor is seeking information, and the navigation tools on that website are the map that leads them to the information. Look at the sample website. Can you figure out how to get to the pages that provide information? If not, that design may cause visitors to stop by briefly, look around, and then depart. 
  • Do You See Search Phrases Visitors Might Use to Search for The Website? - On every page of the website, you should see search phrases and words that a potential customer might use to search for that type of business. If you don't see them, then neither will Google, Yahoo and Bing. All text content on the website must be SEO rich, or people won't find the site when they search. That's one of the reasons websites need plenty of content. Content is the only way to expose those search terms and phrases to search engines.
  • Is the Content on the Website Well-Written and Interesting? - Writing effective marketing content is an art. It has to capture the attention of visitors, provide them with useful information and entice them to stay on the website and explore further. Poor quality writing, full of misspellings, grammar errors and awkward language, has just the opposite effect. Instead of building interest in your products or services, it sends visitors looking for the Back button on their browsers. 
Take your time in deciding on a website designer for your project. Study samples of their work, and evaluate it based on the questions above. Don't expect a radically different design concept from any designer. After looking at a sample or two, you'll have a good idea of what that designer will produce for you. Successful websites require a balance between graphical appearance and the content on the website. Successful designers work with top-quality content writers and understand that it is the content of the website that sells the goods and services, while providing the framework for the SEO that brings visitors to the website. The bottom line is that graphical design and text content are equally important to the success of any website.

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. The content I write has a long track record of success in generating sales and leads and employs SEO strategies that help you attract visitors. I'll work closely with your web designer to create an ideal balance between design and content.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why Content Continuity Matters for Your Website

Many small business websites grow over time, with pages added from time to time as the needs of the business changes. While it's important to keep your website up-to-date and reflecting your current business situation, there's a danger in simply adding new pages and making changes in existing pages. For too many websites, changes over time lead to a loss of continuity within the website. A lack of continuity can be confusing to visitors, leading to decreased effectiveness.

The problem can arise due to different writers working on a website at a different times. In addition, the concept behind the website may have changed over its lifetime, and those changes may cause newer pages to look different or read differently than other pages. Again, this can cause confusion for visitors, and confusion is never a plus for any website. Continuity should be a consideration throughout any business website's lifetime. There are several types of content continuity that need to be considered during the design and execution of any website project:

  • Continuity of Focus - Every page of a website should contribute to the overall focus of that website. If a business changes its focus, the entire website may need content changes to reflect that focus. If pages are being added to an existing website, focus continuity should be part of preparation of every page. Having the same person writing your website content is the easiest way to preserve continuity of focus.
  • Continuity of Style - Every document or web page has a distinct style of writing. Everything, including sentence structure, word choices, use of features like bullet lists, and even capitalization styles play a role in the style of a website. Changes of style can be confusing to the visitor and, in the worst case, may lead a visitor to think they're not even on the same website. Again, having one writer create the content for every page on your website eliminates the problem.
  • Continuity of SEO - To attain maximum placement in search engine results pages, the SEO used on your website needs to have continuity as well. Primary search terms and phrases need to be carefully integrated throughout the site to lend credibility and strength to your SEO strategy. Secondary SEO terms and phrases, must work with the primary SEO goals as well. A professional content writer will maintain this continuity in a way that gets results without clumsiness of language.
  • Continuity of Tone - Keeping the tone of your website consistent is the most difficult continuity challenge. While some professional content writers can match tone with existing content, it's a rare skill. If multiple writers work on your site's content over time, the continuity of tone is bound to suffer. Continuity of tone is crucial to creating a welcoming, effective environment that retains and converts visitors.
For each of these continuity issues, the simplest way to maintain a coherent, consistent flow of content is to use the same professional content writer for the entire site. Often, a complete rewrite of a website can transform that site from a low-performing, confusing site that isn't producing SEO results and visitor retention and conversion into a dynamic, productive site that gets the powerful results you're seeking. The results can be dramatic.

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 that presents your business in a way that gets results.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do Your Website Visitors Actually Read Your Site's Content?

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

Can Fresh Content Bring Your Website Back to Life?

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.
Professionally Written Website Content is Essential
Not every writer has the skills, experience, and knowledge to create powerful content with the impact you need. Not every writer has the deep understanding of SEO, marketing strategies, and effective communication that is essential for your website. You should examine each writer you consider carefully, looking closely at successful websites that writer has created, before making a choice of content writers. Your choice of a professional writer to create fresh, effective content for your website will make all the difference. Make the wrong choice, and you'll waste your money. It is that simple.

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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Are Your Site Visitors Looking For?

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.
Take a close look at your competitor's websites and try to see them from a typical customer's point of view. Make your website stand out by providing more and better information, presented in a way that convinces your visitors that they need look no farther to find the products and services they seek.  Do this, and you'll be well on your way to dominating your line of business in the area where you do business. It's a formula for success that has worked time and time again.

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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Timing Website Updates for Maximum Impact

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. 
A website revamp is a powerful way to improve your search engine results placement and to give new and continuing customers and clients a fresh, current look at your business. With proper planning, excellent site content, and an effective website design, you can expect your new website to outproduce the old one, repaying you well for the cost of the update. 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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Power of Demographics and Content

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.
There's no simple way to explain how an experienced professional content writer uses your demographic information. It is simple, however, to understand that speaking to your website visitors in language that is suited directly to who they are can spell the difference between reaching them or influencing them to look for another site. Expect any content writer worth his or her salt to inquire into the demographics of your clientele. It's more important than you may think. 

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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

SEO and Content that Retains and Converts

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 Density - Too much repetition of keywords and phrases signals Google that something may be wrong with the content, in terms of usefulness to the site visitor. By incorporating a range of relevant keywords in the content, rather than trying to use a more limited set of keywords, the writer can create compelling marketing content without overuse of any specific keyword or phrase. When it comes to SEO keywords and phrases, more is not always better.
  • 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.
It's a fine balance. The written content on every page of your website must accomplish multiple goals, and must do it seamlessly. First, it has to provide keywords and phrases to be collected by Google. Those keywords and phrases must be positioned and enhanced with enough text to convince Google's algorithms that the content is relevant. Finally, and most importantly, that content must be interesting enough and relevant enough to site visitors to keep them on your page and convince them to take action and become a lead, customer, or client. Only very skilled web content writers can meet all of those goals. Amateurs need not apply.

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, check out any of the Work Sample links in the left column of this blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Evaluating Your Website's Content

Your business website's content can make the difference between a successful website that generates new leads and creates new customers and clients and a website that accomplishes nothing at all for you. But, how do you know the difference? In most cases, website owners can't effectively judge the content of their own websites. Still, if you look at your website's statistics, using Google Analytics, you can see for yourself how many visitors bounce away from your site, rather than sticking around to get your message. If the bounce rate is high, odds are that your website's content isn't doing its job.

Any reputable web content writer or company will be happy to evaluate your website's content at no charge. It's one of the ways they generate business for themselves. Before asking for such an evaluation, though, be sure to check out samples of that company's or writer's work. Any company or writer worth its salt will have a list of websites they've written, so you can check them out for yourself. If their sites grab your attention and make you want to stay on the site, you've found a worthwhile web content provider. It's that simple.

When you contact a web content provider for an evaluation, you should receive an email in short order. It should contain easily understood information about web content shortcomings, if any, that were found, along with suggestions for improving your website's content and an offer to discuss the job with you further. If what you hear makes sense to you, set up a meeting with the provider, which should also be provided at no charge, to get more details about what is being proposed. You'll get answers to all your questions, along with an estimate of the cost of one or more options for improving your website's content. From there, you'll have enough information to make a decision.

As a professional website content writer, I'd be happy to provide evaluate the content of your business website. Have a look at the sites for which I've written all the content at the links on the left side of this page, then Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content, or call George Campbell at 651-774-7999. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Your Website's Content Driving Business Away?

For far too many business websites, what should be an effective tool for generating leads and creating new clients and customers actually sends website visitors away from your site and to your competitors. The content on your website is the single key that unlocks its sales potential. If the content is effective, it holds visitors on your site, gives them your message, and convinces them to contact you or visit your business location. Ineffective web content does just the opposite, causing visitors to click their Back button and visit a competitor's site. Some of the ways website content can work against you, instead of for you, include:

  • 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.
Effective Web Content - Your Best Sales Tool

Writing effective web content isn't something everyone is good at doing. In fact, effective web content writers are hard to find. It's a highly-skilled profession. Make sure you check out completed websites created by any content writer you consider. It's the only way you can truly judge the writer's abilities. If you make the right choice, you'll be rewarded by an increase in leads and sales coming from your website. That's the reason you have a website.

I'm proud of my track record in producing effective web content for business websites in a wide range of business categories. I encourage visits to the sites at the links in the left column of this blog. I produced all of the content on those sites. If you like what you see, Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website's content. I'll be happy to discuss your website and show you how I can help it become the powerful sales tool it should be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Speaking to Every Website Visitor - Not Just Some Visitors

When visitors arrive at your small business website, the goal of your content should always be to speak to each visitor in a way that suits that visitor. That can be a complex job. Each website visitor has a particular way of looking at website content. Some respond to information in short blocks that speak briefly, and to the point. Others prefer to look first at your website's navigation system and choose topics of interest to them from the options there. Some look at the text content and focus on lists of linked bullet points to help them navigate the site. Still other website visitors are readers, and carefully read the text content on each page they visit on the site. The bottom line is that your website will perform best if its content speaks to every visitor, regardless of that visitor's browsing preferences.

How well your site retains and converts visitors into leads and customers depends on reaching as many of them as possible. The higher the percentage of visitors who find their preferred way of browsing websites, the higher the number of visitors you'll convert. That's why it pays to present your message in a way that suits all visitors, not just some. It's a challenging job.

Professional web content writers understand this need, and create content that meets all of those goals. The wording of your navigational links, no matter how you present the navigation is important. The inclusion of well-written bulleted or numbered linked lists, complete with brief expansion text, attracts a certain percentage of your visitors and leads them through the site. For the serious readers, well-written content gives them the information they need and leads them to make contact, visit your location, or order directly. Each part of your website must communicate clearly and market your business effectively.

Far too many websites neglect one or more groups of targeted visitors. There's no reason your website cannot reach every visitor. In addition, content that covers all three areas of visitor interest also presents additional opportunities for effective organic SEO keywords and phrases to appear, improving your search engine results.

How well does your current website meet these goals? Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your current website. I'll send you a report that will tell you, along with suggestions for ways to improve your site's communication with a broad spectrum of visitors. See the links to the left for samples of successful websites I have written, to see how a website can reach every visitor.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Much is Your Best Salesperson Worth?

If you're like most small to medium-sized business owners, you already recognize the value of your best sales personnel. They are the ones who represent you to your customers, provide information, answer questions, and close the deals that make your business profitable. Losing a great salesperson is a real catastrophe for most businesses. So, you do whatever it takes to retain sales staff members who get that critical job done again and again. You select your sales staff carefully, train them to present your company in the best possible light, and give salespersons the support and tools they need.

Your website is a sales tool, too. It's on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In many ways, your web site is the best sales tool you have - or it should be. Today, a large part of your business comes from your website. A typical potential client or customer makes an initial choice by searching on Google or another search engine, and then visits web sites that appear in the search results. What happens next can make or break the connection between a website visitor and your business.

Far too many small and medium-sized businesses neglect to use their website as the powerful, effective sales tool it can and should be. The key to success with business websites isn't a flashy appearance and lots of colorful graphics - it's information and marketing. The informational content of your website must be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Other factors of website design are important, too, but if the content doesn't do its job, your visitors will simply click their browser's Back button and move on to your competitor's website.

Professionally written website content presents your company's message in a way that encourages website visitors to make contact with you, and that's the goal of your website. By identifying with your customers, leading them around your site and providing the information they need, effective website content naturally entices your visitors to call, visit your location, or place an order. Without effective content, your website is just a brief pause in their search for products and services.

How effective is your current website content? There's a quick way to find out. Email Me for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your website's existing content. I'll give you a brief analysis of your current content, showing you its strengths and weaknesses, and suggest ways it can be more effective. I have a proven record of creating successful website marketing content for business websites similar to yours. You can see samples of websites I've written by clicking the links to the left.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Effective Web Content - The ARC Principle

What makes your website content effective? It seems like a simple question, but it's really not. There's no single thing that makes website content work for you. It's a combination of several factors. For my own use, I created the ARC Principle to use when writing content for business websites. Here are its elements:
  • 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.
It's still not all that simple, but effectively-written content that covers these three elements well will work for you and increase your business. If you want professional results from your content, hire a professional to write it. That's the easiest road to effective web content.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can convert your visitors into leads and sales. See samples of successful websites I've written by clicking the links on the left of this page

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Your Content Affects Search Engine Results

Most people who visit your website find it after searching for some word or phrase. If your site is among the first four or five results presented by the search engine, it's far more likely to be visited than if it's way down on the results page. Even worse, if your site doesn't appear on the first page of search engine results, few people will find it at all. Those are the realities of websites in the 21st century.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the science and practice of helping websites achieve the highest possible placement in search engine results. It's a complex thing, and depends on many factors. Optimizing a site for SEO purposes requires work on the framework of a website, but also depends heavily on the text content of the site. In all cases, SEO optimization requires the selection of search phrases and words that are matches for what typical visitors search for. The more such phrases appear in your website's contents, the better it will do in search engine results placement.

It's not that simple, though. Clumsy, heavy-handed use of SEO search terms and phrases can defeat the purpose of attracting visitors to the site. This is a common error made by website designers and SEO specialists. It does no good to get people to come to your business's website if they leave as soon as they see poorly-written content that exists only to attract them to the site.

Professional web content writers have a knack for using SEO search terms and phrases effectively in your content, while keeping the content compelling and readable. This knack is not easily learned, but is developed through experience and study. The best web content reads just like any marketing material, without being awkward and clumsy. SEO is important, but your content must also sell the products and services you offer to visitors.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can meet your SEO goals gracefully, while enticing your visitors to stay on the site and become your customers. If you also need web design and SEO services, I can recommend a powerful website design company with a proven track record of SEO results. See the sites linked on the left for samples of what we have done together.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Visitor Retention: A Key to Success

The moment a visitor lands on your website, the clock starts ticking. Studies show that you have less than 30 seconds to capture that visitor's attention and convince him or her to remain on your website. If your website fails to accomplish that seemingly simple task, a click of the browser's Back button and you've lost the retention battle and your visitor's eyes.

It's not just your Home page, either. Google or another search engine may deliver visitors to any page on your site. That means that every page on your site must be designed with visitor retention in mind. Wherever a visitor lands, you have that same short time to keep that visitor on your site or lose him or her, probably forever.

Design, content, and focus all play critical roles in visitor retention. And make no mistake - your sales and leads depend almost completely on keeping site visitors around long enough for your message to convert them into leads and customers. Here are some of the key tools that successful websites use to retain visitors:
  • 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.
Creating excellent website designs and effective web content are not amateur activities. Every aspect of website design and every word and image that make up your website's content are crucially important to visitor retention and conversion. How both work separately and together isn't an obvious thing. Success demands professional expertise in both areas.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can help your website retain your visitors and convert them into leads and sales. If you also need web design and SEO services, I can recommend a powerful website design company with a proven track record of SEO results. See the sites linked on the left for samples of what we have done together.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is It Time to Revamp Your Web Content?

Take some time soon to read through your business' web site. It's something every business owner should do every few months. All too often, the content on small business web sites isn't doing the great job of sales, informing visitors, and converting visitors into leads or customers that it should be doing. Here are some ways to know that your website content needs a complete revamp:

  • 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.
If your website isn't producing the number of leads, contacts, and customers you'd like, it may just be the content that's failing. Your website is your best salesperson, working 24/7/365 for you. You pay that salesperson just once, and get the benefits constantly, with no further expense. Revamping your website content is one key to making your site do the job you hoped it would do.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can convert your visitors into leads and sales.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How to Evaluate A Content Writer

When you're looking for a professional writer to create the content for your business's website, there's a single factor that should be your primary consideration. While price, availability, scheduling, and other factors are important, there's just one factor that should make or break your decision: Results.

Your best guide to the performance of any writer you are considering is the past work of that writer. It's very easy to measure if the writer has a good list of complete websites he or she has written within the past year or two. By visiting one or more of those websites and carefully looking at the entire site, visiting multiple pages, you'll get a very good idea of the capabilities of the writer.

It sounds too simple to be true, doesn't it? It's not. Such an investigation into past projects is hard work for you, but finding a competent professional writer who understands all the factors that go into creating the complete content for a business website is a difficult task.

For example, look a the list of work samples on the left in this blog. They represent my work for the past year. For each of those links, I have written all the content on the site. The variety of businesses in that list is a demonstration of my flexibility in many business subject areas, and the actual content on the site represents my web content and marketing strategies and my skill at presenting those strategies. By looking carefully at a site that is similar in some way to your own business, you'll be able to judge every factor of the content, and will know whether I would be a suitable writer for your project.

Any content writer you're considering should be proud to present a list of past projects, linked so you can quickly assess the quality of his or her work. If such a list is not available, use caution, and insist on seeing recent complete website work samples in a field related to your business.

Only after a close look at real-life examples of a writer's work should discussions about scheduling and price begin. Without an assurance that the writer can produce effective website content, there's no point to those discussions. No other factor is as important in choosing a content writer.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can convert your visitors into leads and sales. Visit my Web Content Page for more information.

Unity & Continuity - Two Important Factors for Web Content

As I evaluate websites for small businesses, a flaw I often notice is that many of these sites were written by different people at different times. They lack unity and continuity. This presents a serious problem in retaining visitors and converting visits into leads and sales. Every business website should speak with a single voice. That's unity. In addition, every page on a business website should relate in some way to every other page. That's continuity.

On many websites, clicking a link to a different page often results in a jarring change of voice. The content reads differently and can seem unrelated to the content of the previous page. There's a break in the unity of the content. This can be confusing to the visitor, and is a common reason visitors leave your site. Confusing your potential customers is a very bad idea. It's much the same as handing a customer in your brick and mortar location off to a different salesperson without telling the second salesperson anything about the customer or what you've discussed. That lack of unity often kills a sale in real life and on your website.

Another problem that's related to unity is a lack of continuity on many business websites. When different writers create parts of your website, the relationship between one page and another can easily be lost. Not only do visitors see a new voice speaking, but they may not feel as though they're even on the same website. The first page may discuss a particular issue and use a particular marketing strategy. Then, when the visitor jumps to another page on the website, a different marketing strategy and voice suddenly appears. Again, the result is confusion and often results in the visitor making an abrupt exit.

Both unity and continuity are critical to success in retaining visitors and converting them into customers. The only way to achieve both is to have your entire website speak with the same voice and present a unified marketing strategy. If your website has both unity and continuity, your visitors are far more likely to visit multiple pages on your site and take action to contact you or to order products and services. It's that simple. To meet your goals of visitor retention and conversion, major site revisions should be done by a single writer or a content provider who can present a unified voice and carefully convey your marketing strategy across the entire site.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your website's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can provide the unity and continuity that effectively converts your visitors into leads and sales. Please see the links on the left sidebar of this page for samples of my web content writing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Who Should Provide Your Web Content?

When you're creating a website for your business, you usually think of contacting a web design company to do the job. That's a smart move, but is a web design company your best choice to create the content for your site? Often, it's not.

Designing a web site is a matter of graphic design, functionality, and technical issues. A great web designer, however, may not be a great writer. The content on your web site is as important as the design in bringing customers to your business. If it's not written by an experienced professional writer, the best visual design on the planet may not produce the results you need.

Talented writers are rare, but finding one who can translate your message into effective content for a website can be a tough job. When choosing a writer for your content, be sure to check samples of his or her work. Look at websites that have content created by your candidate. Would you patronize those businesses? Is the content compelling? Does it lead you to want to purchase products or services. If not, continue your search.

Great content helps make a well-designed site work. Check out the work sample links in the left sidebar of this blog. See how effective web content makes those sites work.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can convert your visitors into leads and sales.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's Your Website's Conversion Rate?

Conversion is the true measure of the effectiveness of your website and its content. Unless people who visit your site do something that converts them into leads and customers, your expensive website is not doing its job.

All too often, a visitor lands on your site, looks at your home page, then clicks the back button and selects another site to visit from the search results page. Search Engine Optimization is important, but conversion is even more important. Conversion is the job of your site's content. Here's what content should do:

  • 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.
Not all website content writers have the skills and expertise to put together content that meets these needs. You need a professional writer to create your web content - a writer that understands web marketing techniques and knows how to keep users on your website and convert them into customers.

Poor quality content does nothing to help your business. Misspelled words, poor grammar, and badly-organized content reflects badly on your business. Only the very best writing is acceptable in today's competitive business environment.

How well does your site convert users? Well, you can look at its traffic report. What percentage of visitors contact you? If you're shocked by the result, it could be your content that's driving customers away.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help you understand how expertly-written and effective content can convert your visitors into leads and sales.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Web Content That Hurts Your Website

Web content isn't just words. It also includes all graphical and other elements on your site. While this blog is mostly about the textual content, there are a few other forms of content that are widely used that actually harm your website. Here are some of them and reasons why you should never include such content on your business site:

Animated Splash Screens

Many web designers sell customers animated splash screens that display when the visitor lands on your site. The next thing most visitors do when they encounter these screens is click the Back button. Visitors come to your website to learn about what you have to offer, not to be entertained. Splash screens always have a negative effect on your visitors. Kill them.

Automatic Sound and Music

Far too many websites greet visitors with some sort of sound or music that starts playing as soon as they arrive. Why would anyone do this? In the first place, many people who visit your site are browsing at their workplace. It's just a fact of life. Do you suppose they want it advertised that they're wool-gathering instead of working? Also, not everyone's taste in music is the same as yours. The music you like may annoy the heck out of a potential customer. Finally, many web visitors already have their own favorite music playing in the background. Automatic music on a web site is the internet equivalent of a guy driving down the street with his music booming out of his car. Don't you hate that? Silence your website.

Fairy Dust and Cursor Followers

Do you think these are cute and entertaining? They're not. They annoy most visitors and you don't want to annoy visitors. They leave and don't come back. Lose these silly toys.

Make your website informative and easy to navigate. Use your content to enhance your business, not drive away potential customers. Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help understand how fresh content can convert your visitors into leads and sales.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Does Your Twin Cities Business Need a Blog?

Most Twin Cities businesses like yours already have a web site. That's a great thing, since it gives your customers and potential customers a place where they can find your business and learn about it. But, most small business web sites are static or are rarely changed. That means that most customers come to your site just once and never return. Even if you update your site once a month, that may not be enough to bring customers back to your site. Keeping your business in the minds of your existing customers is the very best way to keep them calling and coming in.

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.
I can help you set up a blog if you don't have one, and keep it updated on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. With 25 years of professional writing under my belt, you can be assured that your blog will be lively, accurate, and timely. It will always reflect the philosophy and style of your business. Your blog can be hosted on your own web site, or set up on a blog service with links to and from your web site.

Your time is valuable--too valuable to spend trying to maintain a blog. For a reasonable fee, I can handle those chores for you and help keep your internet presence fresh and active.

Email Me to discuss how a blog can enhance your marketing strategy. There's no charge for an initial consultation. See the links to the left for samples of my work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Your Web Site's Content Working For or Against You?

Once web site visitors show up on your home page, what happens next? Does your web site quickly draw them in then move them through your web site? Does it convert visitors into customers? In far too many cases, that conversion never happens. Instead, visitors arrive at the home page, find nothing that holds them there and moves them to other pages. They click the Back button and go to the next search engine result. Your site statistics can show you what visitors do when they get to your site.

No amount of search engine optimization can create paying customers on your site. Even a site that achieves a #1 position in search engine results will fall flat if it can't convert visitors into customers. What is the difference between a site that fails to convert and one that generates leads and sales? Content. It's just that simple.

If your web site content immediately grabs the visitors attention, teaches them something, and leads them to explore your site further, you're a winner. But, you get just a few seconds to accomplish that. It's absolutely essential that the content on your site is exciting, compelling, and designed to keep visitors on the site so you can make the sale.

Professional writers have known this for decades, especially those who have been successful in writing for consumer magazines. Creating compelling copy that pulls readers into the text is an art, and it's not one that's easily learned. It takes years of experience, along with strong talent, to generate the kind of writing that moves readers.

If your web site isn't generating leads and sales in the numbers you expect, it's probably the fault of your content. If your site statistics show that visitors leave the site from the home page, then it's almost certain that your content fails to hold visitors. If they don't stay, they can't be converted into customers.

Have your web site evaluated by a professional content provider. Most will do that job at no charge to you. You'll get a report of the evaluation and can consider how to change your site to be more effective at the tough job of converting visitors into customers.

Email Me for a free evaluation of your web site's content. I'll be happy to help understand how fresh content can convert your visitors into leads and sales. Visit my Web Content Page for more information.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Are You Selling on Your Web Site?

One of the most common mistakes owner-written web sites make is to sell the wrong thing. Instead of selling their product or service, they're selling their business information. That trick never works. Current and potential customers come to your site for one reason, and one reason only: They're looking for a product or service.

That's your website's first job...selling them the product or service they are looking for. On too many websites, information about the business is the first thing customers see. That information is important, of course, but it must take second place to presenting your products or services and helping your site visitors to buy them from you.

You can spot sites that make this mistake easily. You'll see the word "We" on the site far more frequently than the word "You." Anytime you tell someone how good you are or how long you've been in business or what experts you have working for you, you're talking about the business, not the customer.

There's a place for this, of course, but it should never be the first thing a site visitor sees. Instead, your site should always be presenting the advantages of your products or services as the prime topic of conversation. How can this product or service enhance your customer's life or fill some need? That's the question the site visitor wants answered. If you answer this question, you'll win the customer. If you ignore it, they'll click the Back button and you'll have lost them.

So, when looking at your site, ask yourself if visitors can immediately see what you sell and why they should buy it. Does your site present the products or services to the customer immediately and show them the benefits of those products or services in their lives? Does your site answer questions they may have about your products or services in an easy-to-find way?

If you can't honestly answer "Yes" to these questions, then it's time to make some changes. Hiring a professional writer to present your products and services to your site visitors can make all the difference. You're an expert at your business. Professional writers are experts at helping your website sell products and services.

If you're not sure if your web site's content is speaking to your visitors, Email Me for a free evaluation. I'll be happy to help you create and revise content to target your audience.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does Your Site Need a Content Cleaning Crew?

Your web site is your online store. Like a brick and mortar store, it has an exterior and interior design. Both are designed to present the contents of your store effectively to customers. But, it's what's inside either store that is your product, the very stuff you're selling.

If you go into a store to do some shopping, you might be attracted by its exterior design. When you go inside, though, if you find the shelves and merchandise badly displayed, shelved haphazardly, or it's dirty and worn out, you probably head for the Exit sign without lingering further.

The same concept applies to your web site. No matter how nice the design looks, if the content on your site is poorly-written, misspelled, and ungrammatical, your visitors are not going to linger. Instead, they'll head for the Back button and leave without really seeing what you have to offer.

All too often, web site content seems like an afterthought. The web site budget gets spent on fancy graphics, slick gadgets, and bandwidth-wasting images and videos. When it comes time to plug in the words that actually tell visitors what your business is about, there's no money left.

So, the web designer, business owner, or some college kid ends up writing the content for the site. That leaves the site badly organized and weakly written, just like the sloppy and dirty brick and mortar store that will soon be closing its doors.

Professionally-written content is the answer. Budget for it when you budget for website development. A professional writer can produce content that will make visitors want to stay and see what you're about, then convert them to paying customers.

People who write for a living understand the importance of dynamic, interesting content. They make their living producing it. If they aren't able to do that, they don't make a living and have to find something else to do.

If you're planning a new web site, don't forget the importance of effective content. Get in touch with a professional content writer at the earliest possible stage in development. Consult with him or her about how content can add power to your site, then contract with the professional to produce that content.

How effective is your current web site's content? If you don't know, you may not know why your site's not performing the way you expect. Have a pro look at your content and see if there aren't areas that need improvement. If you discover that your content is lacking in punch and coherence, it's time for a rewrite.

If you're not sure about the quality of your web site's content, you can Email Me for a free evaluation. I'll be happy to help you create and revise content to target your audience.