Archive | Writing Without Waffle

Getting found on Google

People search the Internet for two main things: entertainment and information. And if you’re selling online, you want to be found. But how?

One useful resource is Wordtracker. Simply type in a keyword or phrase relating to your business and click the Search button. You will see related questions and find out how frequently they are being asked online. You can then ensure your web copy answers those questions so all those searchers find you! As an experienced web copywriter, of course I can help with that (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

“Just read your article regarding keywords on websites.  While keywords do have a minimal effect, Google admitted that they do not use the Keyword Meta Tag some time ago and there is a whole range of other reasons why search engine optimisation works on site. The main ones are that the Page Title (meta tag) and the (story title) contain the same words. Search engines only read the first 225 characters of a description tag for a page, which means the sentence chosen to best describe the content of a page is used within the description meta-tag. There are also other items to take into account like how popular the page is, links in from other websites and how quickly the page loads.”

Paul Collins

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Websites that work for search engines AND human beings

You don’t have to get all your keywords into the home page repeatedly. You can optimise the home page for one (or two) keywords/phrases, and optimise other pages for other keywords.

Keywords can be in headings, sub-headings, picture captions and links as well as in body copy. Part of the skill in copywriting is to weave keywords in seamlessly so they are picked up by search engines without being clumsy and repetitive for human beings. The real measure of success is how many people pick up the phone to call you, not where you are on Google.

Readers don’t care who you are until they know what you can do for them.

These days, people use the Internet to search for information and for entertainment, so the best websites also offer added value. For example, articles about problems that you can solve or how to choose a good supplier can be keyword-packed while showing personality, demonstrating expertise and generating goodwill.

Testimonials are also a great way to squeeze in more keywords. It’s also important to include logos for any professional associations you belong to, as any external endorsements give reassurance to potential clients. FAQs are another good way to develop reassurance and embed geographically specific keywords e.g. ‘Q. Where is your [type of business] located? A. I provide [type of services] from my base in [where], easy to get to from [list places here].’

I don’t write any copy before I talk to you about everything you offer, who your competitors are and who your clients are. I can then write in a way that represents your uniqueness and makes you stand out from the rest while appealing to your target market and triggering the desired response. Oh, and pleasing search engines at the same time. Remember, once you have your website you need to promote it offline as well as online (I can help with that too).

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Online networking through social media

You have probably heard about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Ecademy. But can business-owners really use them to make money? Yes. Especially when your online activity links to a blog, a newsletter and a website that add value.

People buy people

Just like face-to-face networking, online networking is about building relationships. It’s about changing strangers into friends, fans and followers. It’s not about the hard sell, pushing your wares out there. It’s about the soft sell, making yourself so attractive that buyers come to you.

Social media websites are proving an increasingly important route to market for me. For example, I met one of my key introducers on Ecademy. An ex-client came back to me when we re-connected on LinkedIn. And a new client responded to my blog critiquing their advert by booking me to do some copywriting. On FaceBook, I can enter into a dialogue with new people. They become aware of what I do for a living. And, when the opportunity arises, those that like me will recommend me. Because of Twitter, my website gets more hits, my blog gets more readers, and my newsletter gets more subscribers. And I get more business!

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

With advertising, it’s said that your brand name needs to be seen at least 18 times before it’s in the front of people’s minds. By undertaking some online marketing activity, you can get your brand personality out there as often as you please. And the best news is that it costs you nothing except time.

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Talking of signs

I saw one at a hotel entrance the other day that reads: ‘Smoking is not allowed in this building. If you observe someone smoking, complaints may be made to the management.’

So what’s wrong with that?

Well, what it actually says, is that if someone sees you watching someone smoking, they can make a complaint about you.

Warning. I’m going to talk about grammar now.

The problem is that it mixes passive and active tenses which changes the meaning.

It’s better to use the active tense throughout (and be more specific and simplify the language at the same time) i.e. ‘If you see someone smoking, please tell our staff at Reception.’

It doesn’t tell me where to complain about dodgy sign-writing.

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