Entries tagged with “relevant content”.

Many people run into writer’s block when generating copy for their websites.  Deciding what and how much to include is always a juggling act.  Too little and your potential client may not feel comfortable that you know your business well enough.  Too much and you can scare people away.

To help I want to share a helpful article on writing for your website by my friend and Small Business Marketing maven, Stacy Karacostas:

Writing to Satisfy Both Readers and Skimmers on Your Website

Writing for the Web truly is different from writing for print. One of the most critical ways it’s different is that people don’t read the same way on the Internet as they do on paper. In fact, many people don’t read on the Web at all—at least not at first. Instead they skim and scan to see if your business has what they’re after.

Then, only if they’re really interested will they read your site content word for word. Or do a mix of skimming and reading.

So as an entrepreneur you don’t want to skimp on the amount of Website content (or copy) you write. Because, as I’ve talked about in previous articles, your Website has to have all the tools and information it needs to be a good salesperson. Otherwise it won’t help you grow your small business.

That means your writing has to be friendly and easy to understand. And your copy has to answer all your customer’s questions and deal with their objections…Then convince them to take action.

It also has to achieve three core goals:

  1. Make the shopping experience easy and convenient
  2. Inspire confidence
  3. Show what’s different, or better, about buying from you

That’s a mighty tall order to fill in the 250 words or less some “experts” recommend. Though really, it’s not about how many words of copy should go on a page because you need exactly as much as it takes to achieve your goals—no more and no less. It’s about how you write and format that copy.

So, let’s get back to what I was saying about skimming versus reading…

Most people will skim your Website before they read it—at least initially—because they want to see if you have what they are looking for. And they want to find it as quickly as possible.

However, when they’re really interested in what you are saying—or serious about buying soon—then they’ll devour every last word you put up there. Assuming, of course, that it is interesting, informative, and easy to read.

So, since some site visitors are going to read while others are going to skim, you need copywriting that satisfies both. How do you do that? Try editing and formatting your Website content with these important rules in mind:

  1. Banish Big, Bulky Paragraphs
    Big, long chunks of text are just not inviting to read. Especially on the Web. They just look like too much work, and are almost impossible to skim.Make all your paragraphs no more than five lines long. On the Web even a one sentence paragraph is fair game.
  2. Be Up Front
    Stick to one point and state it early in the paragraph. People who skim read the beginning of a paragraph far more often than they read the whole thing. And the last thing you want to do is bury critical information where it won’t get seen.
  3. It’s Good to Be Short
    It’s easier to both skim and read ideas that are broken down into bite-sized pieces. So keep sentences around 20 words or less. This seems hard at first, but you can almost always find a way to break a long sentence into two shorter ones. Use Tools/Word Count in Microsoft Word to keep yourself honest.
  4. Use 5 Cent Instead of 50 Cent Words
    Using long words take more thought, and are more likely to be misunderstood, than short ones.  Plus, these days most people (even college educated ones) read most comfortably at about an eighth grade level. So anytime it’s possible to use a shorter word, or two short words instead of one long one, do it. The exception: if the long word is specific to an industry or market you are trying to reach, then by all means use it.
  5. Catch Their Eye
    One of the best ways to make your copy both skim friendly and effective is with well-written headlines and subheads, and well-placed bolding and highlights. Someone should be able to skim nothing but these to get all the major points and decide whether or not to read deeper.
  6. Bring On the Bullets
    Next to headlines and subheads, bullets are one of the best tools for satisfying both skimmers and readers. Just make sure each one provides a clear, compelling benefit—not just a feature. Because it’s not just about what your product or service is or does. It’s what it does for your customer that matters.

By writing and formatting your small business Website content with these rules in mind, you make it easy for people to find exactly what they are looking for in an instant. And you can write as much copy as you need to satisfy anyone who wants to read more, and convince them to take action.


Practical Marketing Expert and Business Lifestyle Architect Stacy Karacostas is on a mission to help other savvy entrepreneurs unchain themselves from their business. Discover how to market and grow your business with less effort, help more people, make more money, AND still have a life by grabbing your own copy of her *F*R*E*E* “Success without Shackles Starter Kit” at http://www.theunchainedentrepreneur.com

by Wendy Montes de Oca

Don’t let your site get lost in Internet obscurity. Here’s the third of five simple ways to help boost your website’s traffic and optimization.

3. Give Web searchers great content and a link back to your site.

Upload relevant content to sites that make such information available to other sites that want to publish it, such as ArticleDashboard.com or ArticlesFactory.com. This is a great way to increase market awareness as well as establish an inbound link to your site. There is also a syndication opportunity, as third-party sites may come across your article when doing a Web search and republish your content on their own websites. As long as third-parties give your site editorial attribution and a link, getting them to republish your content is just another distribution channel for you to consider.

Have you ever come across a website that even after you look around at the entire page and you are still not quite sure what to do? Or you clicked on something and you’re not sure how to get back to where you started?

Some people purposely try to make their websites “different” in order to set themselves apart from their competition. Some will attempt to name their navigation links something out of the ordinary like “WooHoo!” instead of “Testimonials,” or others may use images (unfortunately, sometimes totally unrelated to the actual subject matter for that link) that you would need to click on to get to another page. Often, there may be no indication that you need to either hover over or click on an image to make it actually do something. While it may be considered clever, it can sometimes backfire and possibly leave potential clients confused and/or unable to find what they came looking for and they will simply abandon the site altogether.

In planning your website structure, remember to keep it clear and simple. Try to stay with some relatively “standard” wording for your navigation links and make sure that your links are clearly labeled to keep your clients from getting lost or mystified as to what they should do or where to go to find what they want. Make certain that your navigation is on all of your pages. Also, ensure that all of your pages have at least some level of continuity in look and feel so your clients know that they are still on your site.

Avoid mystery navigation, and visitors will be more likely to stay a while and see what you have to offer.

Do you find yourself sitting around, waiting for the phone to ring? Now is the perfect time to spend some time on your website.

Many small businesses forget about their websites when they’re in the thick of things and are spending countless hours providing products and services to their clients. Often, the material on their website is terribly out-of-date or simply remains the bare bones information that was thrown together in a quick attempt to create a basic website presence in their “spare time.” Take advantage now!

First, go through your website content and verify that it still truly reflects the essence of your business. Then, look at some other features of your site. Some ideas to start with are:

  • Does it address your potential clients’ needs or is it all about you?
  • Does your website “flow” or is your site navigation making it difficult for your clients to find what they’re looking for?
  • Is there enough content for the search engines?  Use your keywords naturally in your text, typically, repeating your keywords and phrases two to four times.
  • Does your message contain a “unique selling proposition?”  In other words, does your site say something other than the same old story?  Add information that separates you from your competition!

Organize your thoughts and ideas…it may be time for a site overhaul or at least a review to fill in the holes.

Use your down time to do the things that you’ve put off, because you “didn’t have time” when you were busy!

If your site has been published to a server and attached to a URL (your domain name), it will automatically be picked up by the search engines like Google, Yahoo!, MSN Live Search, Ask.com, dogpile, and Alta Vista, also known as web crawlers, spiders, or web bots. The real questions is “What can I do to help someone looking for me, find me?” With the literally billions of websites out there, realistically, you can’t always be number one.

Early search engines ranked pages based on page content and formatting and based on the content of metadata tags. Webmasters attempting to increase visibility packed their pages with hidden words to try to trick the search engines. This practice, while still used by some, unfortunately, can get your website banned from search results.

Thus the advent of the paid inclusion system, companies charging set fees or “pay-per-click” advertising to buy your way to better position on search results. Such programs usually guarantee inclusion in the database, but do not guarantee specific ranking within the search results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website, is not necessarily an appropriate strategy for every website. At a minimum, a website should be optimized to create content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to “trick” the search engine algorithm from its intended purpose.

The best practice is to basically build high quality web pages to engage and persuade, while addressing any technical issues that may prevent search engines from crawling and indexing those sites. With that, set up of site analytics programs enable site owners to measure their successes and make any modifications to improve the the site’s effectiveness as another tool to market their wares.