5 Blog Content Writing Tips that Are Timeless

2013 New Year

When the New Year rolls around it’s usually a good time to review what worked for you and your website last  year and what can be improved upon in this one.  Isn’t there a popular saying that goes something like “out with the old and in with the new”?  No, I’m not suggesting that you revamp everything, but as stated earlier now is a good time to review what you did right.

Last year,  was a chaotic one for online content and seo copywriters, because as usual there were huge changes made in popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Youtube and Linked In.  Furthermore,  Google made substantive changes in their algorithms and some of the seo writing techniques that used to work in the past now need to be readjusted in order to get your website better ranking.  However, the following are at least five to-dos or principles that have not changed and are almost foundational to increasing views and web traffic.

1. Conduct Keyword Research

You will get little website traffic and your prospective readers aren’t going to find you if you are not using relevant keywords that help your visitors find your website.  Spend the time to do the keyword research that will increase your web traffic potential by checking out Google’s free Keyword research tool at the very minimum.

2. Create Relevant Content

This may seem basic but it bears repeating.  You need to create content that will answer the problems of your prospective reader.  You need to provide relevant answers to the questions that your readers might have and set up clear call-to-actions.

3. Create Evergreen Content

Spending time researching the questions your prospective visitors or customers ask repeatedly will pay off by providing you information to write the kind of content that will bring them back to your website again and again.  This type of content is not time sensitive but usually addresses the type of information that doesn’t change rapidly (i.e. how-to articles, principles,etc.)  and  provides answers to your most frequently asked questions, thus it is often termed “evergreen” .

4. Connect your Blog to Popular Social Media Platforms

You will increase your web traffic by connecting your blog content in ways that can be shared on the most popular social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  Spend some time reviewing which social media platforms are the best prospects for sharing your data and make sure your blog posts have those social media sharing buttons.  After all, sharing is caring.

 5. Check out the technical aspects of your blog or website

The best writing is not going to get much traffic if your work is not accessible due to technical issues with your blog or website.  Broken links, slow downloading times or no social media sharing buttons available are all things that are going to hurt your blog or website’s traffic.   Make sure you attend to these issues on an ongoing basis.

What is a Solo Professional?

solo-professional-business-man

You’ve printed your business cards, set up your website and sent out a few marketing emails and effectively have told your friends and family that you are in business for yourself.  But what you are as a business is partly defined by which government agency is compiling data about your work activities.

I believe that’s why there are a lot of terms that bandied about to define a solo professional.  Some of the most popular terms can include freelancer, independent contractor, solopreneur or consultant. And of course,  the latest term is solo professional.

According to the US Bureau Labor of Statistics, there were over 22.11 million solo professionals in the United States in 2010.  However, they are officially known as “nonemployer businesses” .

A business officially must meet the following three criteria to be considered a nonemployer business:

  • It must have no paid employees (beyond the owner).
  • Its annual business receipts must be at least $1,000.
  • It must be subject to federal income taxes.

The nonemployer businesses are further broken down into 20 broad job categories.  This definition than includes a wide range of employment ranging  from a pushcart vendor, to a virtual assistant, to graphic designers, to photographers, to writers, to coaches and educational and legal consultants.  Incomes can range from the minimum of $1,000 to a cool $5 million.   All these businesses fall under nonemployer businesses as long as they meet the rest of the criteria.  In the recent economic downturn, it’s not surprising that many of these solopreneurs have contributed to growth in this area.

Interestingly  enough, while most of these professionals are running a business, sell products to customers or provide services for clients, they do not officially fall into the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) official definition of a small business.  A term many people confuse with entrepreneurs or solo professionals.

According to the SBA, they define a small business as one that is independently owned and operated, is organized for profit, and is not dominant in its field.

Depending on the industry, size standard eligibility is based on the average number of employees for the preceding twelve months or on sales volume averaged over a three-year period. The definition is further broken down by industry.

Examples of SBA general size standards include the following:

  •  Manufacturing: Maximum number of employees may range from 500 to 1500, depending on the type of product manufactured;
  •  Wholesaling: Maximum number of employees may range from 100 to 500 depending on the particular product being provided;
  •  Services: Annual receipts may not exceed $2.5 to $21.5 million, depending on the particular service being provided;
  •  Retailing: Annual receipts may not exceed $5.0 to $21.0 million, depending on the particular product being provided;
  •  General and Heavy Construction: General construction annual receipts may not exceed $13.5 to $17 million, depending on the type of construction;

So, a solo professional usually begins in the “nonemployer business” status and if the business grows (and hopefully it does) it then graduates to the official small business designation.

Infographics: A Popular Visual Tool to Share Data

What is a great way of displaying information and data in a graphical manner?  Why an infographic of course!

Infographics are a new form of business graphic that are becoming popular as the latest content item to share via social media, to post in your blog or provide a visual graphic of data presentation on your website.  According to a recent study conducted by Emarketer,  many in-house marketers, as well as agencies, are using infographics as part of their content marketing plans.   According to this study, infographics were part of the content marketing strategy of many companies and businesses.

How Popular Are They?

Although they are still in their growth stage, especially since the creation of an infographic usually requires professional design and coding skills and are expensive to produce.  However, there are currently online products appearing on the market that enable a smaller business to use template design tools to create these type of popular business graphics.  Some online tools that provide these type of template design tools worth checking out are Easel.lyInfogram and Piktograph.

What Are They?

Infographics are a graphic representation of data.  The buzz word is “data viz” short for data visualization. They are very similar to the business charts and graphs that are available on Microsoft Word, or Excel; however, that’s where the similarity ends.  They are usually aesthetically designed, provide more complex data and are a great source of information all in one location.    There are many businesses and companies that are requesting these designs to educate their audience, build their brands and provide a visual graphic that is more likely to be shared.

The following is an example of an infographic that provides information about another type of content marketing, social media.  This Infographic was created by Copyblogger, an industry leader in social media and copywriting.

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How to Use Mind Mapping to Generate Article Ideas

boy-thinking

With all the emphasis on content marketing, many small business owners are at a loss as to how they can consistently turn out well written content.  Perhaps they should use a technique known as mindmapping in order to generate powerful ideas for their written content.

What is Mindmapping?

Mindmapping is a free-form graphical technique that allows you to write down your ideas and concepts in a hub and spoke design.  It breaks away from the typically linear fashion of making lists or writing down ideas in a step by step manner.  Other terms that are used for mindmapping are spidergraphs, idea sunbursting and  web ideas. Its purpose is to allow the user to generate ideas without the constraints of worrying about having to organize them, the way we are often taught in grammar school and English classes.  Ouch, yes, my English teacher would be very unhappy reading this!

Mindmapping is said to boost the thinking process because it follows the way the brain thinks or what some scientist believe natural cognitive processes.  Since it supports the user’s ability to connect concepts in a non-linear manner, most people who use this technique are able to develop powerful ideas than they otherwise would have using traditional methods.

According to Wikipedia, “the term “mind map” was first popularized by British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan when BBC TV ran a series hosted by Buzan called Use Your Head.  In this show, and companion book series, Buzan enthusiastically promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.”

What Are Its Uses?

There are a multitude of uses for mind maps.

  • Notetaking
  •  Brainstorming
  •  Studying and Memorization
  •  Researching and compiling information from several sources
  •  Writing – Developing concepts or connections

 How to Draw a Mind Map

These are the basic instructions on how to create a mind map.

-Start in the middle of a paper with a drawn shape or object and write down your main topic. Most mind map aficionados suggest you use the paper in landscape format. Use whatever shape that you want to use ovals, squares, triangles or diamonds are all fine. There are no hard and fast rules as to what shape you should be drawing or how well you need to draw.  So, don’t be concerned if you are not artistically inclined or blessed with graphic design talent.

-Using spokes or branches extend these lines out from the middle and write down one idea, preferably using a one word or two word phrase to list your sub-topic.

-From here, you repeat the process, extending spokes as third level sub-topics to the sub-topics above.

Note:  There will be no overbearing teacher to grade your mind maps, the whole point is to get your ideas down on paper and later you select which ones to develop or eliminate.

Mindmapping Technique to Develop Article Ideas

Using the process outlined above, write your main topic in the center point circle or shape.  From there begin to branch out and include subtopics that may come to mind that support your main idea.   If you get stuck, go to the internet and run a search on the main idea or keyword you are using.  At the bottom of the Google search page, you will find a list of keywords that begin with “Searches Related to…”.

With this list you can find, subtopics that you can add to your original idea and keep drilling down into further subtopics.  You may find as you use this process that you will come up with several ideas for articles rather than just one!

Tips to Make Your Mind Maps Rock

  • Use colors, images, doodles, etc.
  • Develop your ideas and illustrate them as much as you want. Draw happy faces,  arrows whatever fits for the idea you are developing.

 Mindmapping Business Tools

This concept has become so popular in business that there are many software tools available to purchase on the internet.  Companies such as Mindmapping, MindTools and ThinkBuzan offer  free downloadable software apps to help you get started.  They also offer other tools to help you use imaging software for mindmaps that you can use for presentations or group mindmapping.  Think Buzan offers free downloadable software for personal use.  The image below is an example of their imaging software tool.

Mindmap-image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the software mentioned above are great tools, you don’t need them to get started using this technique.  Just get started with a pen and some paper and get your next article written in half the time.

7 Reasons Why Your Blog Should Be the Hub of Your Content Strategy

attracting web traffic concept

Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves the use of a variety of content such as blog posts, email, newsletters, social media posts, etc., as a means of reaching and communicating with your target market in order to elicit a positive and profitable customer action.

In a recent study, Emarketer found that strategic content marketing goals have been planned for the coming year by many in-house marketing staff and agencies.  “Among in-house marketers, 55% said they were planning a content marketing strategy, as did 58% of agencies.”

Top 5 Forms of Content

The study found that the top five most popular forms of content are:

  • email newsletters at 50%
  • social posts and updates at 45%
  • blog posts at 36%
  • video content at 31%
  • news and feature articles on own site at 29%

Other forms of content that was addressed in the study as viable traffic drawing content were press releases, white papers, webinars, infographics, print magazines, mobile apps and ebooks.

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Images for Search Engines

google-image-search

By now you probably have heard of the often repeated phrase that “Content is king!.”  While this is true, and you should pay attention to the content you create and keywords you use to write your blog posts.  Did you know that your photos and images should also be optimized for search engines and made seo friendly?

Many blog writers spend plenty of time making sure their blog posts are rich in keywords and full of helpful information for their readers.  Too often they are so anxious to get their blog or article posted, that they quickly insert their images (if they consider them at all) and publish their blog post without considering how search engines view images within an article.

You can make your photos, graphs and images much more seo friendly by doing the following:

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What Is A Seo Content Writer?

seo-definition

With the buzz surrounding “seo copywriting” and the growth of several Linked In profiles touting this skill, many freelance writers as well as small business owners want to know what is a seo biz content writer.  The following should give you an idea of what type of skill set a seo writer requires.

What is SEO?

Seo is an acronym for the words search engine optimization.  Search engine optimization is a collection of strategies that improves the level at which a business or website owner’s site is ranked at when an internet user searches for a keyword or keyword phrase.   The effective use of these strategies is guided and rules established by major search engine companies such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

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Why is Seo Copywriting Controversial?

boxing-penguin

As search engine giant Google continues to refine its algorithm updates, quality seo copywriting and engaging web content has become hotter than ever creating a demand for good web content and skilled writing.

Website owners ( if they choose to write their own online content) and copywriters  who can excel at writing web content in a natural and engaging way and also combine that skill with effective seo techniques  are  rewarded with higher ranking on Google and other major search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo.

This type of effective writing is an amazing tool that draws web traffic to a small business’ or Fortune 500’s site as it answers the questions or problem the searcher was looking for or provides the sought after information.  Whether its writing copy for business to consumers or a business to business audience, seo copywriting, effectively written, provides the website owner with access to potential clients or customers through web traffic at lower costs than would be possible through traditional advertising methods.

Furthermore , with new social media tools such as Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other popular social media platforms, the potential for a small business owner’s online content to be distributed widely becomes that much more likely.

In addition, when customers engage with the website owner’s web content either with comments, likes or online reviews, (defined as user-generated content) the potential for a better copy and higher search engine rankings increases.  This type of engagement increases the web content’s value as well as provides an opportunity for the small business owner to engage with his or her customers.  Online reviews give users quick access to information which helps them make informed decisions faster and more easily than ever before.

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How Google+ Updates and Mobile Phones Are Influencing Local Search

local-businesses-Main-street

It was  around two years ago, Google introduced Blended Place Search, merging its traditional organic algorithm with its index of Local businesses from Google Places. Since then there have been a host of changes, that have made Local Search even more important and accessible than it had been in the past especially with Google’s most recent changes to Google + Local. Not surprisingly, other search engine companies have followed close at hand, Microsoft’s Bing with Bing Local and Yahoo with Yahoo’s Local Listing.

According to Search Engine Land, in their article regarding Local Search they quoted that Google had shared with them that

“More than 20 percent of searches on Google are related to location.” The key words in that sentence are “more than.”

By making local results (and Place Pages) more prominent than even they were before, users will likely respond with more local queries and rely on Google more heavily for local information. The overall volume and percentage of queries on Google seeking local information may in turn increase.”

Since then, internet users search for local businesses and the pertinent and informative results that come up with that search have made local SEO more important than before.  The following image should give you an idea of what the Google Search – Place pages looks like.

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5 Reasons Why Google Updates Will Improve Local Search

Local-search

Local search has been discussed over the last few years and many businesses have anticipated its development.  It appears that it’s time has arrived.  According to a recent article at Search Engine Watch, local SEO is fast becoming the hottest thing in search engine optimization.  “ Google has stated that about 1 million Places Pages were being claimed per month, putting them at approximately 9 million now, and over 150 million active users as of June 28” of 2012.

Instead of small “brick & mortar” types of businesses fighting their way into the national market via traditional SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) practices, they might be better served by embracing local SEO techniques.  A small local businesses’ website and online marketing strategy is important but it can be tweaked and modified to provide results that improve local web traffic and lead generation.   What are the advantages of local search?

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