Archive for September, 2011

The Secrets of Writing a Successful Company Blog

Posted by on Sep 15 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

It doesn’t matter if your company sells vehicles or vegetables, you need a company blog. Blogs are a great way of improving your company’s SEO and internet marketing in general. Don’t believe it? check out the websites of all the major companies across industries, they all have it.

Now you may be quite tempted to write a blog for your company, but hold on for a second. There is a big difference between a good company blog, and a page of gibberish. A company blog is a double edged sword. While it is an awesome tool to improve SEO, a bad blog can drive away your prospective customers. There are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that your blog is a success.

First thing you need to do is stop thinking that the blog is the answer to your problems. A company blog is not a magical genie that will grant you hits at a snap of his fingers. So don’t set your hopes too high. It will take a lot of time and effort to get your blog out there. Also take efforts to promote your blog, without it your company blog will be like a car without wheels, no matter how good it is, it is not going anywhere.

The second step is to actually have someone who can write good content. If you are too busy or unable to write good content, then find someone who can. There are loads of writers out there whom you can hire, or you could just outsource it to some foreign company. You will have to post at least 2-3 blogs each week otherwise your blog will become stale faster than you can say ‘boring’.

Don’t do it just for SEO. The content in blogs is meant for the readers, not search engines. While I do agree that the blog is meant to improve your SEO, blindly stuffing keywords and phrases will make your blog seem like it was written by monkeys slapping on a keyboard. Also, try and broaden your focus, SEO cannot be the only reason for a blog. There are thousands of ways a blog can help your business excluding SEO.

Finally, don’t start a blog just because you have to. If you are not interested in writing the blog, it will show up in the way you write, and your readers will notice that. While you should have a business blog, there needs to be some form of personal motivation to continually update it with great content. Treat the blog like your pet, if you don’t take care of it, who will?

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Video SEO: the next big thing

Posted by on Sep 14 2011 | SEO, SEO Copywriting

Imagine that you are an owner of a website. Your first and foremost priority is to get a higher search engine ranking (kind of obvious). So what do you do? You proceed with some good old fashioned SEO. That did not work as well as you hoped, so you tried image optimization. That helped a little but you still need that little push to reach the 1st page of search results. You are running out of options. What are you going to do? You hear a little voice call out, “black hat SEO”, but you are too sensible and dignified to do that.

Have no fear, Video SEO is here! Video SEO is, as you guessed it, optimisation of a video. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Video SEO is a relatively new thing and it is still being experimented with. The rising bandwidth has sky rocketed the popularity of online streaming video and online streaming video sites like YouTube. Many major companies have also jumped on the video SEO bandwagon.

  • The first thing you will need to do is to make a video. Make sure that the video is relevant and informative. The most common practice is to make a video explaining your company and the website itself as many people these days prefer to watch something rather than read about it.
  • Just like an article, your video will need to have a catchy title. Try and include a key phrase in the title that is relevant to your product.
  • Nobody wants to watch a whole movie about your product. Keep the length of the video to about 5 minutes. If you have to make it longer, divide it into multiple parts.
  • Incorporate your logo in the video; it’s a great way to create brand awareness, especially when you post the video on to video sharing sites like YouTube.
  • Tag the video with important phrases as well as generic ones so that users are more likely to come across the video. Remember to also add descriptive Meta tags to the video.
  • When posting the video on sites like YouTube, remember to give a link to your website in the description. Also give them the option of embedding the video, this will allow them to post the video on their website/blog and in return, you get free advertising.

The best way to optimise a video is to think about your target audience. Don’t just post a video for the sake of it. A good video will drastically enhance your reputation among your prospective customers and maybe even your competitors.

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The 3 SEO forget-me-not’s

Posted by on Sep 13 2011 | Content Writing, Copywriting

You might have implemented every technique mentioned in the ‘Best SEO guide ever’ [that was a from-top-of-my-head name for a book], but something is lacking to make your site well and truly user friendly and appealing till the very last link. You wonder what is missing after strenuously executing content optimization, search engine friendly keywords, unique URLs, designing an internal linking structure and the links.

No matter how much time and effort you put in, it is natural to forget a couple of things when your site is made up of hundreds of pages. This short reminder of online SEO techniques will help you to remember the 3 essentials that can really enhance a website’s features.

Incorporating Image tags

Images when optimized properly can boost your rank on search engines and increase traffic on your website. Image tags are considered a significant aspect of branding, thus ensure that your company logo and other images on the website have been tagged.

Friendly footer

Footer provides strong internal linking as it allows visitors to click through different website pages without scrolling back to the top of the page. Not an obligatory but a rewarding feature, adding footers to your website can make it more user-friendly. Links are important but need not be present in the high level navigation can go here. To save out on space, integrate links to social profiles in the footer as well.

Reiterate call-to-actions

If you are selling something on your website or asking for a donation, a website would be ineffective if you use call-to-actions like ‘Call Now’, ‘Click Here’, etc. like a miser. This does not mean you have to act pushy and pester visitors, but a gentle reminder or an encouragement never hurts, does it? Try to create an optimum balance between the content and call-to-actions.

These techniques are not very difficult to implement when you have already mastered meta keywords, keyword density, URL creation, etc. The above three practices help you in SEO’ing your website to its optimum level.

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Y make them wait?

Posted by on Sep 12 2011 | Content Writing

We’ve talked about how a website can effectively attract potential buyers through proper lead generation, but did you ever think that a website’s speed is as important to earn traffic? A tortoise-pace website may put off net savvy visitors when they visit a website that takes ages in loading. Even Google has started paying importance to a website’s speed, an announcement last year said, ‘‘…like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.” If your website is not fast enough then you might be getting penalized in the Google Search Rankings which means speed of a website is a concern for SEO as well.

Yahoo! Developer Network has come up with an interesting tool called the YSlow. A web-browser add-on (Google Chrome, Firefox), YSlow assists you in calculating your website’s performance; performance not in terms of lead generation, but in terms of the time it takes to display the content and various other features. It comes up with suggestions on how you can improve the performance, provides a grade for your webpage based on predefined rule set or user-defined rule set and displays webpage statistics.

Online marketing firms can utilize this tool and take heed to the metrics as well as recommendations provided by YSlow. With everyone favoring speed, every second counts and a second longer can mean a visitor lesser. People have started using different web platforms, so it is but wise to ensure that your website can perform well on all platforms.  A website that gives prompt response on clicks has better chances of attracting sales leads.  So make every effort to enhance your website’s performance so that it attracts visitors and not distracts them.

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Work hard – Not only on the content but on aesthetics as well

Posted by on Sep 09 2011 | Web development

You have spent months slogging to create apt content for your website, then you spent weeks making sure it was search engine friendly, and not to forget the heaps of money you spent for SEO specialists and content writers. The day of the launch, you feel you have everything in place. Your website is up and running but the number of visitors is still not rising. When a visitor comes to your website for the first time, he also takes in the visual appearance of your website apart from the content. Chances are the content you are providing, is available at ten different websites also. So the only way you can stand out is to make your website pleasing to the eye, so that the visitor returns to your website again instead of hunting for something new.

Developing an aesthetically pleasing website is not that difficult really. When you create a website, emphasize on the design aspects as well. A report by the Stanford University talks about the importance of aesthetics in designing websites. They conducted a study to reveal that nearly half of all visitors (on a website) assess the website’s credibility on the basis of its overall visual design which includes layout, typography, font size and color schemes.

Think of a person, who has to spend hours on the internet, going through hundreds of websites in a day, and when he comes across a website that has a dark background and equally gloomy font color, he has every right to curse the website developer.

When you are designing a website, analyze how the color and the feel can relate to what your content talks about. You can use colors and contrast that induce emotion, which please the reader’s eyes and make him want to come back again and again.

Too much of anything is bad – this applies for web designing as well. Just because you like a certain image, you shouldn’t end up using it on every page possible. The mantra should be to create a balance between form and function. Scan the page of your website like a new visitor would, and ask yourself – does it look attractive enough to bookmark?

Research the different kinds of users that would come to your website, though it is impossible to amaze every user, make sure your website offers variety as well as excitement for readers. Place your content with enough breathing room for different sections. Never ever clutter a page and remember that websites are an artistic implementation of your business, you would want it to look nice after all.

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Make the best of leads for online marketing

Posted by on Sep 08 2011 | Internet Marketing

Gone are the days when one had to sit for hours at a table in trade fair, putting up a display and waiting for consumers to come up to you, enquire, complete forms, so that you can earn some leads for your business. Today, lead generation has become as easy as it can be, all thanks to the internet.

For those who are not familiar, with the term ‘Lead Generation’, let me elaborate. It is an internet marketing tool devised with the intent of generating consumer interest or inquiry of products and services of any business. Leads are basically required for list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for gaining customers.

The process of lead generation (or gen) consists of developing a website or partnering with several websites which will promote and advertise your service or product and when a customer comes across these directories and finds something relevant to his needs, he completes an online request form. This form is submitted to the agency where the buyers’ information is checked and matched with the suitable provider. The matching leads are then e-mail to potential businesses with complete contact details and purchasing needs.

Other methods which may fall under lead gen include organic search engine results and referrals from existing buyers. Every business tries to generate quality leads, leads which are determined by the inclination of the inquirer to take the next action towards making a purchase.

The benefits of lead generation are not limited to businesses/sellers only, utilizing leads a buyer can request information from a number of businesses that offer what he is looking for. Lead gen also offers the chance to sellers to pitch his services and products.

Lead generation is slowly becoming popular tool for businesses as it allows them to those the products and services they want to offer to potential customers, they can select the geographical area they wish to target, they can limit the number of leads to receive in a month. Another reason why businesses prefer this method is its affordability. One has to pay only for the leads that are received

Why would one assume that lead gen would always be profitable? Well, every one of us uses the internet for research. We research for prices of automobiles, we research gadgets, we continuously research for information – the reason why lead gen came into being.

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Why is an online presence important?

Posted by on Sep 07 2011 | Internet Marketing

I got the idea for this blog post from an old colleague. When I was new to the company and was learning the ropes around the world of content writing, he has asked me, how strong was my online presence? Back then, it wasn’t much except for a Facebook profile, a redundant account on LinkedIn, an even more redundant account on Twitter and a long forgotten blog. You could say my online presence was anything but impressive.

With the advent of social media networking, online presence has become an important tool to help us create our own identity on the internet, improve networking with people around the world and provide career opportunities.

Social networking is no more restricted to maintaining contact with family and friends who are far away. It has become a tool for career building. Whether you are hunting for a job or not, widening your online presence and developing valuable relationships is important.

People who have an active online presence have a better chance of attracting opportunities and growing professionally, compared to those whose online identity is a sluggish case. CEOs are known to meet with a potential candidate, only after they have Googled their name, searched for them on LinkedIn and other such online networking resources.

Businesses, big as well as small, have started using social media for advertising their brand and marketing themselves. Individuals too, need to create their online brand to establish their visibility in their respective field. An impressive online credibility goes a long way in leveraging your professional life, not only in terms of job prospects but also in terms of client servicing.

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Battling the Blocks

Posted by on Sep 06 2011 | Content Writing, Web Content Writing

It’s late in the evening, you’re inside your content writing office, sitting on your content writing chair and screwing your eyes in concentration at your content writing computer. As a polite reminder, your boss IMs you that the client needs his articles ASAP (translated to ‘now, if not sooner’). You look around wildly, seeking some much-needed inspiration in vain; your mind seems to be running weary circles while your eyes gaze glassily at the screen. Yes, you’ve hit the dreaded writer’s block.

Professional writing demands consistency. As a writer, your job is to regularly churn out content that is similar in terms of tone, style, quality and quantity. “Be like the tortoise, not the hare,” as some stern seniors would exhort the rookie writer. But that’s something easier said than done. At some point, the creative nectar dries up, the Eureka moments you provided your readers are dead as a dodo, and you seem to be using repetitive phrases, words and even article structures.

However, there are some tips to follow so as to salvage something out of your mind-numbing writer’s block. This is no cure-all prescription, but might come in handy during those blank ‘stare-at-the-ceiling’ moments that all writers are wont to suffer at times:

· Scribbling is something that might have earned you a slap on the wrist with a wooden scale during your rug rat days, but as a writer, it is all but encouraged. Whenever a creative thought or an innovatively carved sentence enters your mind, scribble it down and save it for later. These can prove to be your saviours during writer’s drab.

· Infuse variety in your content selection. Even an exotic travel destination like Hawaii can become a mind-sore if you write copies on it every day. Switch to that pending work for Stocks and Investments; trust me, the change will be so refreshing that you will automatically deliver a good copy.

· Use the 3-Source rule. While writing a copy, always have at least three different sources that envisage the subject from distinct angles. This gives a better picture and allows for more detail, not to mention convenience for you.

· Finally, leave that stuffy cubicle for a while! Get out of the office for a few minutes, talk to a friend, have some tea (that sharpener of a writer’s mind!), get some fresh air. It helps, especially for us erstwhile creative folks!

Good content and creative juices do not stick to a timetable; they could happen during a bathroom break or stubbornly abstain despite tedious hours of brainstorming sessions. So, don’t take any chances, chalk up your own Plan B for the next time you plunge down the writer’s block-hole!

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Affiliate marketing – Get ingenious. Earn money.

Posted by on Sep 05 2011 | Internet Marketing

When it comes to the wondrous World Wide Web, there is a myriad of possibilities available for you. From passing time browsing through photos of strangers on Facebook to talking with your far away girlfriend, from spreading public awareness to advertising your products, there’s something for each and everyone for us (employed or unemployed).

An internet practice that has gained significant popularity in the past few years is affiliate marketing. It is like conventional marketing but in a more convenient way. Companies continuously look for ways to promote their products and services in a cost effective way, something that would keep the common man interested. Affiliate marketing does just that. These companies’ websites reward their affiliates (or visitors or members or customers, you get the drift) for every new visitor they bring to the website. This reward can be in the form of cash or gifts. The affiliates have to come up with their own marketing skills to promote the website/product.

Nowadays, affiliate marketing is fast becoming a means to get easy cash. Though it is an uncomplicated means to earn money, one does need to make a bit of effort before their bank account can get fatter.  Websites also require you to invest in some money before you can begin earning. When you start off, you’d be required to write for the affiliate links in order to promote them. This can include blogging, writing reviews, participating for forums, and the likes.

Once you learn the nitty-gritty associated with affiliate marketing, it can be a smooth sail. Be open to new ideas and constantly innovate your marketing strategies to earn attention and promotion.

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Curate to create your impact!!

Posted by on Sep 03 2011 | Internet Marketing, Online Reputation

Often women blame men for their abusive and teasing glances that they often exhibit while someone of their opposite sex crosses their eyes. Women are fortunate enough to be devoid of that talent. But let’s not forget that human eyes are just so dynamic in nature that sometimes even we are amazed by their ability. When your eyes are looking for some of the spicy Hollywood gossips on the internet, you will care little about clicking the link of Hollywood history, although it may be one of the top links found by your search engine. I agree that not all of you are that insane, but gossips are always fun! For most of the social networking and also general websites, it is their primary goal to provide the most demanded stuff to the readers. If they fail to do so, Content Curation is their only savior.

All you need to do is populate your social web with the best and the most relevant content on some specific issues. With this, you will ease the search of your network of friends, connections and followers for quality content. Also, with this you can be a trusted source for all of them. You earn ‘social capital’ which is actually very important for those of you who think social networking is your life blood! So start setting up Google Alerts on certain keywords. Also, don’t forget to set up a Google RSS reader monitoring relevant blogs and websites and finally, update your Linked in status with the best content links. That’s it! You just became a star…..

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