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Archive for the ‘Blogging Tips’ Category

Add a News Feature to Your Site for Ongoing Fresh Content

Friday, December 16th, 2011

One very effective way to keep your content fresh and relevant to your site visitors is to include a news feature and updating it regularly with relevant/industry content. The demand for information is continually growing and people want to be able to access it quickly and easily. Rather than waiting to find out about current events by reading the daily paper or watching the nightly news broadcast on television, today’s consumers are accessing information quickly and conveniently through their desktop computers or from mobile devices.

How can adding news to your web site benefit your business? For one thing, the regular updates give them a reason to bookmark your site and come back to it. Spending time on your site helps the visitor to develop a relationship with your business, and people are more likely to buy a product or service from a company that they know and trust.

Another advantage to adding news to your site is that you now have multiple opportunities to promote your products and services to your site visitors. You will want to make sure you are taking advantage of the boost the news feature will bring to your web site traffic by posting specials or offering discount coupons online.

Offering news and regular updates on your site means that it will be indexed more often by search engines. This strategy can help you improve your ranking and make it much easier for Internet users to find you online. People looking for information online are not likely to go through several pages of results to find what they are looking for. Ideally, you want your page to show up on the first page of results for your keywords, and providing news as part of your site offering can help you achieve this goal.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Serve Up Fresh Content Regularly to Keep Your Website Relevant

Friday, December 9th, 2011

If you want to keep your site visitors engaged and get or maintain a high ranking with search engines, you need to keep it stocked with fresh content on a regular basis. One of Google’s latest algorithm changes is focusing on rewarding site owners who make a point of posting relevant and timely items with favorable rankings.

What does Google consider quality fresh content? The search engine giant likes to see news and events posted online. The advantage to you in adding this type of content to your site is that Internet users want to be in the know about what’s going on, and they want to find out in bite-sized pieces of information.

Consider adding a blog, news & events or public relations section to your website and invite your site visitors to subscribe so that they can be notified by e-mail whenever a new story is added. This simple step allows you to implement a three-pronged approach to promoting your business: if properly written and optimized, you get a steady stream of organic Web traffic to your site, improved search engine rankings and a steady stream of visitors that know your business is alive and well. 

How can you use newsworthy stories to help promote your business? You can report on the results of surveys or trends which are relevant to your market (while avoiding mentioning your competition, of course). News can also mean promoting your business by sharing noteworthy events, such as a new product or service launch, an award your company received, being featured or cited in the media, sharing the news of an employee’s promotion and so on.

Adding fresh content to your site on a regular basis will help keep your brand in front of your customers. Newsworthy items will make your site a hit with search engines. It’s a win-win situation.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results for their key terms and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Great Content Defined

Monday, November 7th, 2011

You may have heard the expression, “Content is king,” but how do you know great content when you see it? First of all, it’s not about having a content writer string a bunch of keywords together while making sure that the sentence kinda makes sense. Great content is written for humans as well as search engines, and here are some ways you can tell if what you are looking at is high quality or simply run of the (content) mill fodder.

Great Content is Informative

Great content covers the bases and has its facts straight. If it is referring to another source of information, it does so specifically. There are no third hand, once removed allegations that “someone” has made; great content has been written by someone who has done his or her homework.

Great Content can be Entertaining

Not all great content invites you to pull up a chair and put on your Thinking Cap to get its message across. If your content engages the reader by making him or her laugh (or at least smile), you are well on your way to having that person think highly of your business and what you are trying to promote. Something amusing does tend to stick in the reader’s mind once he or she has clicked away, and you definitely want your content to be noteworthy.

Great Content Provides Solutions

A person looking for information online is searching for a solution to a question or a concern that he or she is facing. Great content provides the information that the Internet user is looking for, in bite-sized servings. Give your site visitors relevant information they can use, and they are more likely to bookmark your site and look to it as the “go to” place for information.

Great content speaks to the Internet user and provides value to the reader in some manner. It needs to be prepared by an expert craftsman, and Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak is well versed in how to make your content great. Contact Ray today at 416-226-8676 for a free, personalized assessment of your content needs and how to distinguish yourself from the competition through great content.

Does your web copy pass the aural test?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Even though web copywriting is about appealing to users’ eyes, the key to success may be your ears.

Putting SEO and keywords aside for a moment, let’s think about what constitutes good web copy. It should be current, original, informative and authoritative.

Take The Aural Test

Unfortunately, ignoring one major area will undermine your copy even if it has all those traits: readability.

One of my biggest pet peeves in web writing is overly technical or even academic language. Writers often get caught in the “good spelling and grammar” trap. While you absolutely want everything spelled and phrased correctly, it doesn’t mean you should follow every rule that you followed when writing a university essay on Paradise Lost.

Overly dry or academic content may be worded perfectly, it may contain brilliant arguments, but it will fail you if it isn’t easily readable for searchers. If it’s too technical, too dense, it could even turn off your readers. They’ll feel alienated by the language and seek a competitor who offers similar products, services or content but speaks to them in a more accessible way. In other words, unreadable content will spike your bounce rate and lower your conversion rate. Not good.

This is where the “aural test” comes in handy. By reading your own content out loud, either to yourself or to a friend, you get a stronger sense of how your content affects your web users. If it sounds robotic and distant, that’s because it is. The best way to attract readers online is to speak in a way that really connects with them. Keep it punchy, conversational and introductory. If your content is interesting and welcoming, you should hear that tone when you try the aural test.

The good part about this suggestion: it doesn’t even mean you have to dumb down your writing. You’ll be making it shorter and choppier but, in many cases, that also involves searching for especially descriptive and relevant words, which are cornerstones of great writing.

Keep it simple and natural and you’ll keep your readers on your site longer. If you don’t trust my word, maybe Albert Einstein’s will do:

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

Five ways to become a more efficient web writer

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

If you’ve been around writers or business owners involved in search engine optimization and/or web development, you’ve probably heard by now that “content is king.” It’s a phrase so common that it feels like cliché now but it’s consistently used because it’s so true.

User engagement is everything these days. To impress search engines like Google and to keep users on your site, your content needs to be both fresh and relevant. In other words, you have to write often and you have to write well. The thought of accomplishing both scares some people, so I’d like to share a few tips on how to write efficiently and effectively (in random order).

1. Do your homework.

High-quality content is very much about coming across to readers as an authority on a given subject. If you already know a lot about your business or website’s subject matter, you’re ahead of the game. If not, do your homework. Read books, articles and forums. It will slow down your writing process at first but it will greatly benefit you in the long run.

Not only will your online copywriting be more authoritative and appealing to your audience, becoming more knowledgeable about a subject makes it far easier to write about it. If you’re an expert on something, you tend to have a million things to say about it!

2. Make your computer’s operating system work for you.

An overlooked way to increase your efficiency is to properly utilize your computer’s operating system. If you’re referring to other source material while you write, for example, it’s difficult to constantly click back and forth between windows.

New computer operating systems, whether you’re using a Mac or Windows 7, are designed to turn your computer into a real work station. They let you work in multiple windows side-by-side, giving you easy access to whatever research materials you need as you write. If you master your computer’s OS, you’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save.

3. Good outlines help articles and blogs write themselves.

The actual writing of a blog post or article often isn’t the hard part. The key is formulating your argument and making sure your thoughts are organized. Once you build an outline, the rest of the work should flow easily.

4. Motivate yourself with a reward system.

If you have a case of the Mondays, feel restless or just don’t want to work, consider rewarding yourself for hitting critical junctures. For example, “If I get to 300 words, I get to take a coffee break.” Rewarding yourself can be a nice motivator.

5. Write often.

Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the easier it will become for you, the faster you will do it and the fewer mistakes you will make.

6. Don’t edit while you write.

I’ve debated this strategy with my copywriting peers for years. But, to me, the key is to do the heavy lifting first and the tinkering second. Get the bulk of your thoughts down as quickly as you can. Then, you can review and make necessary changes.

I’ve seen people try the reverse strategy, thinking that editing along the way saves time, and the results can be infuriating. If you keep second-guessing every sentence you type, you may never finish your work, as you’ll never be satisfied!

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and expert  web writer Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Don’t blog for the sake of blogging

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

If you’re a regular reader of the Writing Web Words blog, you may have noticed that there was no new post last week. It wasn’t a coincidence. For whatever reason, I didn’t have a particularly important point to make, so I held off rather than just blog about nothing.

 Ironically, doing so called to mind a point worth writing about this week: having a point.

Are you still following me? While it’s important to keep your site relevant  with up-to-date and relevant content, which could include blogs, you have to be careful not to simply blog for the sake of blogging. If you don’t have an organized message or point to share, you may actually decrease your site’s user engagement and risk turning readers off.

So how do you ensure you’re giving your readers a quality message, not just quantity?

1. Use the inverted pyramid structure. Make sure you at least hint at the main point of your blog post in the first two paragraphs or blog summary. As you probably know, most journalists adhere to this standard (except when writing in-depth features that tell chronological stories). Bloggers should hold themselves to the same standard. Assume your users don’t have a ton of time and want to get the gist of your post quickly.

2. Have a clear – and new – message. Don’t repeat yourself. Make sure your blog post adds value to your site and its visitors by providing some new and relevant information.

3. Make sure your site addresses your target audience. Sticking with the word “relevant,” it’s not enough just to have an important message. It must be a message that matters to your target audience. I have plenty to say about the Toronto Maple Leafs but that doesn’t mean I should write about it on this blog, which focuses on web content development and online copywriting. It’s the service we offer, so we best be blogging about topics that fall under that umbrella!

4. Don’t forget about the call to action. Technically, you’re not making a sales pitch in your blog post but, if you have a message to give, you clearly want your readers to do something with it. Sending them off to go forth and prosper is a great way to end a post. In fact, I’ll do it now:

The next time you blog – take a good, hard, look at this list. It’s a major step toward ensuring that your target audience consumes quality content and it further establishes you as an authority in your given business sector.

Need an online copywriter?
Toronto-based web content and online copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

Spelling is a lossed art

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The header is for fun but…never have I been more nervous about a post on this blog. It has to be perfect. If I make a single typo, it will undermine everything I’m about to tell you. You’ll laugh me out of the room. You’ll declare me incompetent and an unworthy online copywriter. You’ll even be less likely to enlist my services.

It’s the truth. Spelling is far more important in online copy than many people realize. Some folks may disagree, claiming that worrying about spelling is pretentious and that the actual quality of products and services a business offers is what really matters.

Regardless of whether or not you feel that way, your web visitors don’t. To them, spelling, grammar and punctuation matters. The reason: whether it’s fair or not, errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation connote certain negative characteristics about a company that can seriously damage their reputation and conversion rates, such as:

1. Untrustworthiness. Would you buy a car from a company whose sign was misspelled outside the dealership? Would you click an e-mail rife with bad grammar? Many of us wouldn’t. We see spelling and grammar mistakes as a sign of laziness or worse. Conveying a certain amount of authority and respect toward customers is even more crucial in an online space because you don’t get the opportunity to win them over with a smile or friendly voice.

2. Incompetence. This is the most obvious problem to me. Any enterprise that can’t properly spell the very items and topics in which it’s supposedly an expert will appear like it doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Will you let a dentist put you under and drill holes in your mouth if his or her website advertises high-quality “Route Kanals?” I don’t know about you, but that misspelling would send me running. I’d think, “These guys don’t know what they’re doing! They can’t even spell root canal!”

So how do you avoid making the dreaded spelling mistakes? While no one is perfect, I find these strategies work well for my work as an online copywriter:

1. Use spell check – but not just spell check. There’s nothing wrong with using spell check. It’s great for correcting any words you legitimately don’t know how to spell. However, it’s your funeral if you decide to rely solely on spell check. A computer doesn’t have the semantic understanding to correct improperly used heterographs (i.e. there, their and they’re; you and ewe; bear and bare). Make sure you read your work over once you’ve spell-checked it.

2. Bring fresh eyes to your edits. If a second set of eyes is available to you, have a peer edit your work. It’s sometimes hard to see your own mistakes. If you don’t have the luxury of another editor, walk away for a bit. Eat lunch, go for a walk, get some air, then return to your copy. The break from your screen should help you spot errors you otherwise would’ve missed.

So that’s it, folks. Follow my steps. Here’s hoping I haven’t made a typo. If I have, I deserve any conversions I might lose!

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and online copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Search Engine Strategies arrives in Toronto

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

It’s everything you ever wanted to know aboutsearch engine optimization – but were afraid to ask.

Search Engine Strategies is the can’t-miss conference for any business owner, online copywriter or content development manager wanting to master the SEO game. Dream up every expert, every leader, every successful SEO in the industry and that person will likely appear at SES Toronto from June 13 to 15 at the Hyatt Regency hotel.

Now in its eighth year, the conference is organized by the Search Engine Strategies Advisory Board and the authoritative SEO website, SearchEngineWatch.com. The event will cover virtually every SEO-related topic imaginable, including link building, pay-per-click management, social medial, local, mobile, and more.

SES Toronto also includes keynote speakers Amber Mac and Tracy Smith, networking events and has sessions oriented toward beginners or advanced learners.

The event includes several “featured” sessions as well. “Meaningful SEO Metrics” attempts to answer the all-important question of ROI; what good is page rank if it doesn’t translate into conversions, right? “How to Win with Google and Bing” focuses on learning how to solve the algorithms and understand the SEO best practices for the search engine giants Google and Bing. “Keller Facebook Targeting Tactics” teaches you how to use social media like Facebook as powerful marketing tools. There are also sessions specifically oriented to different business scales, including enterprise, small and medium businesses.

If you can get away even for a few sessions that meet your own website’s biggest needs, SES Toronto will be worth your while. Nowhere else can you find a greater concentration of (a) useful tips, (b) cutting-edge demos, (c) authorities on the subject of SEO and web content development and (d) opportunities to connect with other industry professionals and forge meaningful business relationships.

Hope to see you there!

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based Content Writer and Local SEO Expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

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