7 Dust-Busting Ways to Clean and Refresh Your Blog

Having a blog on your company’s website or linked to your website is a cost effective online marketing tool. It’s important to provide content that will attract visitors, keep them interested, and convert them into customers. Place social media icons on your blog to make sharing easier. Have a conversation on Facebook and Twitter to show followers and fans that your company is interested in what they have to say. Show your care and concern.

Below you’ll find 7 dust-busting techniques that will clean your blog and make it shine again.

How to Clean and Refresh Your Company’s Blog 

Redesign it.

The design implemented three years ago could be out-of-date today. It’s important to stay on top of the latest design trends. Pay attention to the color scheme. A bold color scheme could work for an entertainment business, but not for your medical practice.

Rewrite blog content.

Rewrite or hire a freelance writer/blogger to rewrite old content. This is a great content strategy to breathe new life into your blog. Perhaps, the content is outdated or didn’t make a good first impression when it was originally posted. Perhaps, blog posts weren’t optimized with keywords/phrases.

Rewrites could dramatically increase web traffic.

Tip: A headline on a blog post is just as important as a headline on a print article. You still have to ‘hook’ readers.

Ask questions.

Asking questions at the end of blog posts is a web traffic building strategy that most freelance writers and bloggers use. A question shows visitors that you want to know what they think — your company’s interested in having and maintaining a conversation with them.

Revise the writing style and tone.

What’s the tone of the current blog content? Style and tone can affect blog traffic. This is why it’s important to know ‘who’ the target audience is. For example, if your target audience is marketing directors, the content should be targeted to this audience by incorporating industry jargon and lingo. However, if your target audience is the ‘everyday’ consumer, avoid using industry terms. Your message will become muddled and lost. Customers will gravitate to your competitors’ content because it’s easy to understand.

Change the structure of blog posts.

There are many ways to structure blog posts. The most common way is:

  • Headline
  • Bullet headline
  • Information

However, you don’t have to follow this pattern. Be bold and try something new such as:

  • Headline
  • Quote
  • Information
  • Headline
  • Quote
  • Information

Tips

  • Keep sentences short and to the point.
  • Use bold headlines and bullet points.
  • When it comes to links, use a different color to stand out from the crowd.

Test different structures to see which ones receive the most ‘tweets’ and ‘likes.’ One thing that never changes is that web content must be compelling and interesting.

Post consistently.

How fresh is your company’s blog content? Is it posted consistently? You don’t have to publish a blog post every day; however, choose a schedule that works for your company. Perhaps, you’ll post twice a week or twice a month. Whatever you do, be consistent.

Try new angles.

Types of posts such as “How To” and “Lists” work because they’re fast and easy to read. But, you may want to ‘shake’ things up by publishing a controversial post here and there. If you disagree with your competitors, say so. If you disagree with industry trends, write about it (or have your freelance writer/blogger, write about it). There’s no harm in voicing your opinions. It’s a great way to jump start a conversation.

Use these blog ‘dust busting’ techniques to wipe the slate clean on your company’s blog. Experiment with different types of posts from “How To” to “Tips.” What works? What doesn’t work? Analyze the results to find out which posts had the most visitors and comments. Remember to keep your target market in mind when posting web content. Once your company discovers a strategy that works, stick with it. But don’t ignore new trends either. Stay on top of the ever changing world of blogging.

What are you doing to prevent your blog from collecting dust? Share.

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My 7 Best Keyword Research Tips Ever

Finding the right keywords for your website can be a tedious process. Keyword research takes time, but it doesn’t have to a ‘dreaded’ task. The main point to remember when researching keywords is to ask and answer the following questions:

  1. Who is the target audience?
  2. What is the main focus of my website?

If you don’t know who the target audience is then you’ll have a difficult time finding keywords and phrases for your website. Keep it simple – don’t make keyword research a complicated process when it doesn’t have to be.

My 7 Best Keyword Research Tips Ever
Keyword Research Panel at the Niche Affiliate ...

Keyword Research Panel at the Niche Affiliate Marketing System (NAMS) Workshop 4 (Photo credit: rogercarr)

1. Use Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This free tool is used by millions of people. You can conduct keyword research by entering your company’s website and or specific keywords. 

Google AdWords gives you the opportunity to sort keywords by high, low, or medium competition. This is important when you create Google AdWords advertisements.

2. Think about your target audience. Do you know who your target audience is? It’s important to know who your target market is before you begin conducting keyword research.  

3. Choose focused and descriptive words for your website. Stop worrying about the competition for one second and choose keywords specifically for your website. If you keep focusing on the competition, you won’t have a keyword list. Looking at your competitors keywords can be helpful because you can learn what they’re not ranking for. However, if you spend countless hours looking at your competitors, you won’t have a keyword list of your own.

4. Use Google Insights for Search and Google Trend. Use these tools to research trends in your industry. Type in a short and long tail keywords and review the data. You’ll be able to spot trends within your industry which can help you with your keyword research.

5. Review and remove negative keywords. If you own a floral shop, Google will more than likely suggest ‘flowers’ as a keyword. It may suggest related terms such as ‘silk flowers.’ This would be considered a ‘negative keyword’ if you don’t use silk flowers. You want to be aware of ‘negative keywords’ because you can disregard them when you create a Google AdWords advertisement. If you don’t, your ad will show up when customers search for ‘silk flowers.’

6. How many keywords do you want to optimize? How many products and services are you selling? If you only have one product then 5-10 keywords could work for you. However, if you’re selling more than one product and or service, you’ll want to expand your keyword list.

7. Analyze your website to see what it’s ranking for and make adjustments. You may not have to start over with a new keyword list; however, you want to make sure your current keywords are a priority. Analyzing what your website’s ranking for can lead you to keywords that were overlooked.

8. Assign a percentage to your keywords. If you’re a local travel company in Columbus, Ohio, you may not rank for a ‘general’ keyword term such as travel agency. Your company would be 100% relevant for ‘Columbus Travel Agency.’ Travel agency could get 10%, while ‘Columbus Caribbean Travel Agency’ could return 30-50% if you specialize in Caribbean vacations.

Tip: Google AdWords Keyword Tool provides analytics such as competition, local market, etc. Use these numbers and other analytics when conducting keyword research.

9. Select the final keyword list, for now. Let’s face it; markets change as do technologies. Keywords that worked for you yesterday may become obsolete today. It’s important to ‘keep your finger on the pulse’ of changes within customer buying trends and your industry. Periodically, review your keyword list and ‘tweak’ it when necessary.

Ridiculously Easy SEO Habits to Start

English: seo company

Image via Wikipedia

Consider this Amandah’s Freelance Writer’s SEO guide to optimizing your company’s blog/website. Take the struggle out of optimizing your blog/website with these ridiculously easy SEO habits.

SEO doesn’t have to keep your management team up at night. Although there’s a science behind SEO, it doesn’t have to be tricky or complicated. Basically, you use keywords/phrases and tags within web content to drive traffic to your website. The caveat is to have well-written content and not a bunch of copy stuffed with keywords and phrases. Google’s not fond of that.

Ridiculously Easy SEO Habits to Start

1. Review the company’s current keyword/phrase and tags. Perhaps, it’s time to analyze the effectiveness of your current keyword/phrase and tags. If your company’s website isn’t receiving the web traffic you thought it would, it could be your keywords/phrases and tags.

2. Review web content. How well are the keywords/phrases and tags incorporated into blog posts, articles, and pages? Your optimization is too low. Or, the content may not be that compelling. Don’t forget about writing SEO headlines. It’s important to put the keyword in the beginning of the headline. If you’re using a secondary keyword, place it in the middle or end. It’s not a good idea to have the primary and secondary keywords next to each other.

3. Check out the competition. What’s your competition up to? How’s their content? Read their web content and compare it to yours. If their web content is better, it may be time to hire a freelance writer to revise your company’s.

4. Review the number of internal and external links. Perhaps, your company’s link building isn’t what it can be. If you don’t link to high-quality pages within your company’s website, you’re missing out on the opportunity to optimize the website. Also, it’s important to provide customers with helpful, high-quality external links that complement your company. 

5. Look for ‘stop words‘ within permalinks. Search engines disregard common words as the ones listed below. It makes no sense to have them in your permalinks. 

Sample List of Stop words

about
above
after
again
all
and
for
get
to

6. The company’s website doesn’t have a search engine friendly design. It’s important that your company’s website is clean and easy to use. More importantly, it needs to be search engine friendly. If images are used it’s imperative to utilize the ‘alt text’ feature that’s available in blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger. This provides a text description of images.

7. Your company doesn’t provide transcripts of audio and video. Let’s face it; some visitors may prefer reading a transcript of an audio recording or video. More importantly, developing these SEO habit will help your company help search engine index these materials. This can lead to more web traffic which can increase customer conversion rates.

8. Your company doesn’t take advantage of SEO services. If your company doesn’t have an RSS feed (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication), they’re missing out on web traffic. These are easy to maintain and code. They’ll update when new content is added to the website.

9. Your company doesn’t take advantage of SEO tools. Most companies use Google Analytics to analyze their website’s traffic. It’s easy to set up and use. You receive information on keywords and searches. It’s a great way to set up an ‘A/B’ test to see which keywords/phrases work for your company.

10. Pay attention to Google Panda. This is a job for your web master. Rather than having as many URLs indexed as possible, your company should have its best, highest quality URLs indexed. Have your web master remove all unnecessary, extraneous, low ranking, and duplicate URLs from the index. As mentioned in Point #4, link to high-quality external links. Google Panda is pushing everyone to put their best foot forward and publish high quality content. 

11. Stay up-to-date with SEO trends. Technology trends come and go. It’s important to keep up-to-date with the ever changing world of SEO. I myself am self-taught when it comes to SEO. However, I’ve been looking into SEO certification courses and programs. I just began my search.  

Five Surface Errors that Make You Look Unprofessional

I recently signed up for a newsletter and downloaded the ‘free’ eBook that was promised to me. I started reading and proofreading the eBook (habit) and found a couple of errors within it.  Mistakes happen from time-to-time; however, if they happen more than once, it may be time to pay closer attention to who’s proofreading your newsletters, brochures, web content, policies and procedures manuals, blog posts, articles and eBooks. Content matters — but error-free content matters more.

Five Surface Errors that Make You Look Unprofessional

1. Misspelled words. Let’s face it; spell check doesn’t catch all errors. Remember, some words sound the same (homonyms) but aren’t spelled the same. Examples are: there, their and they’re; pair and pear; know and no; its and it’s; you’re and your; hear and here; to, too and two; and many others. Proofreading your eBook or newsletter is the best way to catch errors. Spell check can only do so much.

2. Improper use of quotation marks. A period and or comma belong inside not outside of quotation marks. A semicolon does not.

3. Off-the-wall paragraph spacing. It’s important to have enough white space but too many spaces between paragraphs makes an eBook or other written material out-of-balance.

4. Too many spaces after a period. Most people were taught to use two spaces after a period; however, it’s best to use one space. You may be shocked to learn that some elementary and high school students across the U.S. are still being taught to use two spaces after a period. Only one space is needed.

5. Too many em dashes and exclamation points. Use em dashes and exclamation points sparingly; I even have to remind myself of this one. Too many exclamation points can be seen as obnoxious. Too many em dashes can overwhelm readers.

Surface errors happen; even Number One Best-Selling Authors aren’t immune to the occasional misspelled word. However, it’s important to present a polished end product. If your newsletter is filled with errors, your clients and customers may email you about it. Whether or not you pay attention to their complaints is up to you. Surface errors could deter clients/customers from utilizing your services or purchasing your products. Like it or not, presentation matters. Present a clean, error-free eBook, brochure, newsletter, direct mail card, white paper, etc. and you’ll make a good lasting impression.

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Tips to Writing an eBook That Leads to Sales … Hire a Freelance/Ghost Writer

eBook printing experiments

Image by proboscis via Flickr

Every writer begins a book or eBook differently. Sometimes, I start at the beginning or end and then write the middle. If you want an eBook, it’s best to begin at the end. Why? This is a good way to figure out the goal of your eBook is. When you know what he end will be, the beginning and middle can be written.

Answer the following questions:

  • What do I hope to accomplish by having an eBook?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What problem(s) need solving?
  • What will readers get from reading the eBook?
  • Why should readers give their name, email addresses and other pertinent information in order to receive the eBook?
  • How does my eBook differ from the countless ones already available online?
  • What is the log-line (two to three sentences) for the eBook? This clearly defines what it is.
  • What kind of staying power will my eBook have?

Most eBooks are 5,000 words or less. Writing a lengthy eBook could work against you because your target audience may not have the time to read it. Most people want to get in and get out because they lead busy lives. Also, make sure you avoid long sentences and jargon because your eBook could get lost in translation. Include graphs, charts and other media if it will enhance your eBook.

Tip #1: Mind your words. In other words, “Say what you want to say and say it.” Avoid using fifty-cent and dollar words because simpler terms work best; unless, of course, you’re writing an eBook for linguists.

Tip #2: Hiring a freelance or ghostwriter is how you’ll avoid writer’s block. You get to sit back and relax while the writer writes her little heart out.♥

Another important aspect of creating an eBook is the design and layout. Please use a fresh, clean design and layout. Your target audience may not appreciate a ‘lime green’ theme with bursts of florescent blues and yellows. Choose a tasteful design with a splash of color but not too much that it will scare your audience. You don’t want them using their sunglasses in order to read your eBook.

Tip #3: An eBook could be created in Word, Power Point, Adobe InDesign or some other multi-media program.

Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to incorporate hyperlinks and call-to-actions within your eBook. Don’t overwhelm your audience with these — use them sporadically.

Tip #5: Use a creative, eye-catching title for your eBook. You can always use the same old, same old titles such as “How To and Tips and Tricks” or try something new and exciting that will stop readers in their tracks. Creating at least 10 different titles is a great way to find the right title for your eBook.

Editing and proofreading your eBook is a must. Not only can a freelance/ghost writer write your eBook, they can edit and proofread it. You’d be amazed by the amount of errors that appear in fiction, non-fiction and eBooks. Mistakes happen from time-to-time, but it’s best to present an error-free eBook.

Tip #6: Stay objective by hiring a freelance/ghost writer. The writer won’t have an emotional vested interest in your eBook like you would. You may be too close to your eBook’s subject to write it.

Tip #7: Use a landing page to attract your target audience. Keep it clean and simple — think of your landing page like the front and back of a book cover. The title of your eBook should be clear. Give visitors a ‘snippet’ from your eBook, a first chapter or quote from an expert that was interviewed for the eBook. Incorporate social media icons and a call-to-action form that collects enough data for you to follow-up. Give readers a chance to read your eBook before you begin contacting them. Some readers may not read your eBook the same day they download it.

Tip #8: Market your eBook through social media sites such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook and others. Use email campaigns and create a ‘special’ newsletter. Also, use a press release. Your freelance writer could write this as well.

Tip #9: Analyze your eBook and ‘tweak’ anything that needs it. Perhaps, the design didn’t win readers over. Maybe, your marketing campaign needs to be revamped. Correct and learn from mistakes and move forward.

Tip #10: Use your eBook wisely. Revise certain chapters and post them as blog posts or articles. Perhaps, you could post some of the material on article marketing sites such as Ezine Articles. Be willing to ‘contribute’ to the work of others by allowing them to incorporate an ‘excerpt’ from your eBook. This is great way to generate ‘publicity’ for you and your eBook.

Once your eBook is complete, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Hire a freelance/ghost writer (for example, me) because communications is their business; writing is their passion. You may as well take advantage of their services so you can concentrate on marketing your eBook. Of course, a freelance writer could help with this too!

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