I Am Thankful for Experts

I am thankful that I have learned to receive and appreciate the work of others. Years ago I thought I had to do everything myself. It was a matter of pride. I eventually learned to do a lot of things well, but I ran out of time before I could do all that was needed.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my tires needed to be rotated. I used to do that myself. But I was running short of time, and I am scheduled to take a long road trip later this week. And I’m getting older and it takes me longer to do some of those jobs.

So I took the car to my favorite tire dealer. Fortunately they had been so kind as to send me a discount coupon for all their services just last week. I drove in, and 30 minutes later I was on the road again. Much shorter time, even including the drive there, than it would have taken me.

A fellow writer mentioned that she now uses a housekeeper, a gift from her adoring husband. She says that the level of order and cleanliness has risen considerably since she gave up that job. The housekeeper just does it better because she knows how to do it. She’s an expert at cleanliness.

Now I know you can write. Almost anyone who can read can write. So why hire me? I am the expert. I didn’t know I was good at it until a couple of superiors at work started asking me to ghost-write for them. Since then, I’ve studied the nuances and secrets so that I could become an expert. I’ve tried things that worked, and tried things that didn’t work.

And I continue to study to become better and better. I also study to learn what is working now, and what no longer works in bringing customers in for my clients. I want to be a better expert than I have been. I will be a better expert as I keep studying and practicing.

I also realize that I don’t know everything about websites. I can write really good stuff that goes into them, but I’m not great at assembling them. I know only the basics. So I work with others who are experts in those areas where I am lacking. Website designers, graphic artists, photographers, for example.

Let me and my team handle your needs to be on the internet and communicate with your customers in the most effective way possible.

What to say on your website

Come right out and say what the visitor can expect from your website. Search engines will find you more easily if you do this. Don’t try to be clever, just say what you do. If you’re not sure what you want to say, we can help you along. After all, we are the professional writers.

If you don’t get the purpose of the page right, everything you say will be wrong. We can work with you to make sure the information is clear.

If your product is complex, start at the top with the simplest, most basic thing it does, then “teach” the visitor more with short, easy-to-read text, short paragraphs, bulleted lists, pictures where helpful, build from the top of the page down. This is definitely an area where we can help you.

Just work on one product or service at a time. Give the visitor just a couple of choices, (1)First, the one you’d most prefer them to do, and (2)another choice which might take him back to the first choice.

Tell the visitor how to find what they want. Use a familiar format to the page so they don’t wander all around looking for anything. Keep them moving from here to where they can find what they want. Start each command with an active verb: for example, “Sign on…”, “Save money…”, “Win a prize…”, “Take a trip…”.

Lay it out in MS Word or any good text program, use text boxes to get each separate idea in the place you want it.

Links to other pages should give a basic idea of what’s on that page so search engines can find them. For example: “Research grants for conservation”, or ” Research Grants for Education”.

When you give the visitor a call to action, like “Order Now”, give them one or more alternatives if that’s not what they want to do, like “More information”, or “here’s another product that might even fit your needs better”. Let them “call a toll-free number”, or “send us an e-mail for more information..”

Make the customer smile. But don’t try too hard to be funny. Just talk like you would to a good friend that you can share good times with.

Use conversational language, use the human touch, don’t use “institutional language”. Use your normal ‘voice’. For instance, my English teacher sister might want me to reword the last sentence in that last paragraph as, “Speak as you would to a good friend with whom you share pleasant experiences.” You don’t have to write like that. This isn’t formal writing. You don’t talk like that, so don’t write like that. (If you do talk like that, let us write for you. Or you might scare away some customers.)

You most likely have customers whom you talk to in person. Write like you were talking to one of your best customers.

How search engines work

  • Google is the most commonly used search engine. So most people would like their website listed high on Google searches.
  • The easiest way to get on the first page of web listings is to purchase a listing. Those are listed at the top of the page and along the right hand side. They can be very expensive. And a lot of people don’t trust the paid listings because they don’t want to be ‘sold’. They just want to buy.
  • The main body of the listings page contains what are called ‘organic’ listings. They are free, but rely on the search engine for the order they come in. Paid listings generally out perform organic listings by about 10%. Having both paid and organic listings can be very synergistic and leads to building trust.
  • Organic listings order is dictated by the relevance of the web site to the search performed. Google has a ‘bot’ (an electronic robot) that constantly scans hyperlinks to determine which websites are most relevant. They will not list a site until they are sure it is legitimate and has staying power. The more hyperlinks they find that refer to a particular site, the higher it might be listed.
  • Content is the most important element for determining the ranking of a site. The bot analyzes content to determine if the site is relevant to the search. Merely adding more of the words that someone might enter into the search engine doesn’t work to elevate position. If the content is important enough to bring more traffic to the sight through referrals, as indicated by more hyperlinks, it will elevate the site.
  • The third element that affects rankings is keywords. Having the keywords that more people are searching for helps elevate the position of the site.
  • Google stores all the data they collect, including content analysis. As they determine that a website is legitimate, they begin to list it. This can take from 3 to 6 months. To find out if a site is listed, type in “site.xyzcompany.com” in the Google search box. That will show if it is on their list.
  • Search engines look first for good written content to determine relevance. Site architecture and hyperlinks are 2 other aspects they look for.
  • Graphics cannot be read by search engines, they only read text. Fancy graphics may be pleasing to the site visitor, but search engines will not lead them there unless there is good written content also. Graphics also tend to make it harder for the visitor to find the information they are looking for, and so may lower the ranking.
  • The web content writer’s job is to balance the needs of the website owner, and the requirements of the search engines. It is a good idea to become familiar with webmaster guidelines.
  • The most important element of long term website search engine success is trust. Trying to trick the search engines or the customer only leads to failure. Google will only reduce the ranking or may even bar those that try to do so. It is bad to use invisible text to increase the number of keywords involved. When search engines find out about such tricks, they take action.
  • Findability and reputation are what create that trust. Those are built on content and links. A good website requires commitment to excellence, planning, good products or service, testing to find what works, and patience. The entire site must be easily used and contain the best keywords within good content to be successful.
  • It seems difficult, but in order for companies to successfully use this growing source of sales and revenue, they must take control of the process. No throwing the hands in the air and giving up. This media, when done right, is the easiest way to bring in increased sales.
  • Videos are growing in importance in search engine optimization. They must also have good content. A good structure, paying attention to good marketing principles, having a definite purpose, will all lead to a higher ranking and bring in more $.
  • SEO copywriting is not just about shoving the right words into advertising copy. It involves creating the impression in the visitor’s mind that the owner of this website is an expert in the field. Traditional direct response skills are vital to the success of the effort. And these skills are vital to continued, long term success.
  • A good copywriter can easily put the right keywords into the text, while still being true to the architecture that leads to increased sales. Persuading a customer to buy still takes knowledge of the process. You must give the customer what they want. The customer is the most important element of the equation.

Online vs. Yellow Pages Advertising

I’ve been thinking about advertising in the yellow pages as opposed to advertising online. One of my friends keeps a half page ad every year, and it costs him $1,000 per month. I wonder if he really needs it. He says he keeps it to maintain his position over his competition.

I know putting up a very good website will cost him a lot less. The question remains, how much can he reduce his yellow pages expense if he puts up a very comprehensive website?

Another question: what if his ad isn’t working? What if he adds more products, or if some products are no longer available? He has to wait a year to change his ad. Online it can be changed as often as you want.

Then again, every time you look up his ad, you also see all his competition. If there are 100 different companies doing the same thing, it’s quite a chore to find which one is best for your particular need. Most of them have only limited information, so it’s even harder to find the right one. Online, you may also see some of the competition, but having a well designed website puts you at the top of the list.

If I’m looking online, I can type in location, specific need, and other information that’s important to me, and go right to the best website. Of course that’s if that company has a website. If they don’t, they may be out of luck.

Jupiter Media reports that over 64% of people who are looking for information online, use search engines.  Of course, that varies from industry to industry, and area to area. I’ve read that in certain industries, over 85% of people looking for a particular product, go online FIRST.

Search engines are getting more precise, down to industry specialties and geographic focus, while also continuing to be easier to use. You can really get specific about your products, and you can also put in a lot of information about each product. Then, when someone is looking for something very specific which you can provide, they’ll come right to you first.

Words, Words, Words, Words, Words

They’re not just words, are they? It can make a big difference which ones are used, and in which order.

Words are used to communicate ideas. Words are used to persuade, direct, teach, inform, correct, chastise, praise, entertain and dozens of other functions.

I love words. I love how they are used. I love using them. I love communicating with others, using the words I can write. I love learning about people and things, and then telling others about the wonderful things I have learned.

I love finding ways for people to improve their lives. I can use words to do that.

Making your business more profitable will make your life better. Don’t you agree?

You may have started a business because you think others might need the services you can perform, or they might need great products that you can provide. Tell me about your business. Let me help you find just the right words to more effectively tell others about you. I want to find out about your business and then tell others about it.

Do you own your own business, and want more people to find you? Let me help!

Improving an existing website

I already have a website. What can you do to help me?

We have the training and experience to analyze your website to make sure it works for you and your customers. We look at several different aspects of your site, and analyze it with current search engine tools. This makes it possible for us to see where it fits with current trends. We can then make recommendations for you to change to bring your site up to date.

We can also recommend additions or deletions that can increase traffic to your website.

Are all your products and services completely explained? We can add pages to bring you more customers.

We can also look at other successful websites and recommend options that might work in yours.

And if we try something that doesn’t work, we can change it easily.

Success

When I think about success, I think of all the books that have been written about it. I have read many of them, and I know they have all contributed to my own personal success.  Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

  • Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven R. Covey
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar
  • Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • The Bible
  • Automatic Wealth by Michael Masterson
  • The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
  • The Success System that Never Fails by W. Clement Stone
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Just a comment about some of these. In The Secret, it never really spells out what that is. The secret is faith. The Success System That Never Fails doesn’t give you any specific system, but says that having a system and applying it will lead to success. There are so many success stories in The Bible, that it could be termed the best guide to success there is. If you’ve got a question about your success, pray about it, then read the scriptures looking for the answer, you will find it. You just have to have faith!


Talk as a Friend, and Write the Way You Talk

The way you talk to your friend is the way you should write. Hyped up or too technical in your language will lose most readers. A conversational tone invites your site visitor to relax and check things out.

“Come on in. Relax. Sit a while, and let me tell you a story. This story might just tell you what you want to know. It might just change your life.”

And you want to give them the information they are looking for. People who come to your website are looking for specific information. Give them what they want.

Words designed for the search engines

As your customers start looking for information on the worldwide web, they will type in their search engine, such as Google or Bing or ASK, certain words or phrases. Google has sites that accumulate what people type in when they are looking for that information. By selecting the words about your product or service in just the way most people enter them in the search engine, you can make sure they can find your product or service.

That’s called SEO, search engine optimization.

Write for people to read, use the words that search engines look for

A good web writer can find those words that will lead people to your  particular website, and put them into articles that are interesting to read, so that the website visitor will keep reading. If they find enough of the information they were looking for, they’ll become your customer.

The Main Purpose for Your Website

Your Primary Purpose

Your main home page headline needs to clearly communicate the reason your website exists.

A visitor to your website will quickly scan it to see if it contains what he or she is looking for. Make sure it is obvious that you have that information.

Your website is like a book of information. The home page is the introduction and table of contents to that book. The chapters are the other pages, each providing information that the reader wants. A skillful writer knows how to include all the information in an easy to read manner so the reader can find the information quickly and easily.

What do you really want to do with your website? Do you provide a service or services? Tell me about them. Do you sell a product? What is it? Do you have several products? List them or categorize them to make it easy for your customer to find what they want.

You don’t want to have too much information on your home page. For detailed information, direct the reader to a landing page where you’ll tell them all about what they want to know.

Do you sell widgets of different sizes and styles? Put in a page comparing major features and benefits, then direct the reader to a landing page for each widget where they can find all the details about the particular widget or widgets they are interested in.

Likewise with services. List all the services, then detail each service on its own separate page.

Be Friendly and Provide the Right Information

A conversational tone invites your site visitor to relax and check things out.

An you want to give them the information they are looking for. People who come to a website are looking for specific information. Give them what they want.

As your customers start looking for information on the worldwide web, they will type in their search engine, such as Google or Bing or ASK, certain words or phrases. Google has sites that accumulate what people type in when they are looking for that information. By selecting the words about your product or service in just the way most people enter them in the search engine, you can make sure they can find your product or service.

That’s called SEO, search engine optimization.

A good web writer can find those words that will lead people to your  particular website, and put them into articles that are interesting to read, so that the website visitor will keep reading. If they find enough of the information they were looking for, they’ll become your customer.

Words, Words, Words, Words, Words

They’re not just words, are they? It can make a big difference which ones are used, and in which order.

Words are used to communicate ideas. Words are used to persuade, direct, teach, inform, correct, chastise, praise, entertain and dozens of other functions.

I love words. I love how they are used. I love using them. I love communicating with others, using the words I can write. I love learning about people and things, and then telling others about the wonderful things I have learned.

I love finding ways for people to improve their lives. You may have started a business because you think others might need the services you can perform, or they might need great products that you can provide. I want to find out about those businesses and then tell others about them. If you are a business owner, and you want lots of people to find out about your business, I want to help you.