Category Archives: Analytics

From Blah to Fab, Freshen Up Your Web Copy Like These Sizzling Sites

By My Web Writers

The dreaded website.  You’ve been delaying that “website refresh” (for like, months now.)  Why is it so difficult to keep an online presence current? Most likely, it’s because writing website copy as a non-web writer can be very intimidating and time consuming. There are search engine optimization guidelines to garner the best possible results, flair to create, and brand enforcement guidelines. Sometimes, it’s easier to just leave the website alone.

But making (and updating) a great website doesn’t mean adding thousands of words of copy. You just have to choose the right words. Take apple.com, for example. Known for its minimalist style, this website doesn’t inundate you with words; in fact, you’ll be blown away by the size of the main image (usually an ad for its latest and greatest product) on its homepage. It utilizes perhaps the most important trick in website copywriting: succinct headlines and subtitles. If you’re looking for something other than its latest release, the navigation pane at the top is simple and clean. And Apple’s search tool is highly effective in helping you find specific information if you want to drill down further.

Another great, easy-to-read website is Groupon.com. With the flattering green background, easy-to-read details, and simple font, browsing through Groupon is better than a walk through a mall on any given day – and probably less expensive! Once you click on a deal, the copy is succinct, usually a bit entertaining, and easy-to-follow. Groupon speaks one-on-one with the customer, one of the most important tools in a web copywriter’s bag. The vendor site is also a breeze at grouponworks.com. Success stories in video form line the top half of the page, and navigation tools are just below.

Would you believe a public library’s annual report is one of our favorite sizzling sites? The St. Louis County Library District 2012 Annual Report is a unique presentation. It’s chock full of visuals (videos, pictures, graphs), easy-to-read content with great font choices, simple navigation tools, and links to its website when necessary. It’s a unique way to tell a story, from a library, the home of many stories.

Mailchimp.com subscribes to the belief that less is more. “Send better email,” it says on its homepage. By stating this one fact, there is no question about the sole purpose of MailChimp, which is yet another web writer’s trick. They even have compelling, well written success stories in their MailChimp at Work section.

In general, when freshening your web copy:

  • make sure that titles and subtitles include that page’s keywords,
  • check for grammar, spelling, and usage issues.
  • run questionable copy through Grammarly and Copyscape.
  • make sure sales, product, and seasonal information is up-to-date.
  • check analytics to see which pages visitors usually flow to before and after visiting the page you’re working.
  • update broken, old, or non-converting hyperlinks.
  • try writing to capture a new audience.  Add semantically relevant keywords to the copy.

There are many other factors to consider when writing your web copy, too. Font style and size, colors, images, accurate and concise page titles, use of white space, and killer headlines all count toward the legibility of your website. So tell us, what are your favorite websites? What makes yours easy to read?

~Joanne


Other Posts:

Ten Content Tips for the Zero Moment of Truth Marketing Plan

My Mother Had ALS

Fat Brain Toys and User-Generated Content

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

Seven Local Angles to Address in Content

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Filed under Analytics, Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Capturing Audience, Content, E-Tail Category Content, Grammar, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Content Improved our Client’s Keyword Reach and Searchlight Mapped It

By My Web Writers

Today, I’m off to the 2013 Conductor C3 conference in New York to talk about actionable, content strategies and ideas.  As a sneak preview, huddle in for a snapshot of how adding and refreshing content was successful for one of My Web Writers’s clients. We used Searchlight to map the progress.

Before Content:

It amazes me how some Internet Marketers glibly preach, “content is king” and yet remove content fields at the tops and bottoms of their web pages.  Why?

Some e-tailers believe that words clutter a page’s look, while others lack the manpower, planning, and budget for content.  “Pictures are worth a thousand words,” right?

A year ago, one of My Web Writers’s clients embarked on a site redesign.  Two weeks before launch the redesign team informed us of the project and that they needed a lot of content quickly.  Unfortunately, this customer did not plan for content and thus didn’t have the budget until 2013 to add content to a significant number of blank pages.  Sales and SEO suffered during the wait.

Our team was able to put the final pages of content up by February 2013.  Then, we went back and attacked pages that hadn’t been touched in over a year.  Because we kept spreadsheets of what had been refreshed and when it had been refreshed and had the advantage of using Searchlight, Conductor’s keyword tool and Google Analytics, we were able to identify which urls needed new and improved content.For Slideshow- Where to start optimizing

What Kind of Content?

In 2012, I’d worked with Conductor’s Searchlight tool for about a year before attending the C3 conference as a participant.  During one of the evening socials, a camera crew interviewed me about my Searchlight experience.

This year, I’m going to touch on what content to add and where to add it on your website.  In general, deliver the content that your keywords promise, be mindful of spelling and grammar, show and don’t tell the story, and reach out to customers to help you with user-generated content.  Employ writers who combine product knowledge, category facts, and persona data with SEO, marketing, and customer-service savvy.

After Content

June- August 18, 2013 Conductor Keyword Pipeline Graph

By April we were beginning to see traction with not only the client’s most strategic keywords, but a plethora of other industry terms that had been under-performing, simply because picture-only pages now offered conversion-inspiring content.

Sales improved.

Do you have a similar story?

By all means, if you’ll be at #C3NY, please come over, say “hi,” and share your story!

~Jean


Other Posts:

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

Learn from Websites with Above-the-Fold Content

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Conferences, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Keywords, My Web Writers Introduction

What is Bing’s Subjectship and How does it Compare to Google’s Authorship?

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe My Web Writers was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship. About that time, Bing’s subjectship faded into an abyss, as well.

By Natalie

Authorship screen shot

Webmasters are always looking for the next great SEO boost. Google Authorship was launched this past year, so it was only natural that Bing would fire back with its own version, Bing Subjectship. Understanding the two and how they compare can help content writers and other authors and readers decide which they prefer from the world’s two favorite search engines.

Google Authorship

Although just a youngster, Google Authorship is proving itself as a successful tool to drive traffic to websites, especially blogs.  Look at the Google search to the right for “Google Authorship.” The photos you see are the authors of the articles.

Since Google added Authorship to its articles, the click-through rates are much higher than they were before.

Bing’s Subjectship

Bing decided to compete with Google via Bing Subjectship. Instead of seeing a picture of who wrote a specific article or blog post, you’ll see a picture of the subject matter.  If I wrote a popular blog post on a famous singer, my picture would show up next to the search result in Google, but Bing would show a picture of the famous singer and the picture might not be one I even used in my post.  Subjectship appears to be in an experimental stage.

This video further highlights some of the differences between Authorship and Subjectship:

After we contacted Bing for more information about Subjectship, we received the following reply.

It’s me again Docs from Bing Technical Support. We apologize for the delay of our response. We would like to provide you an update from our product group about your inquiry on Bing Subjectship. Allow me to discuss this with you.

Bing Support provides assistance for customers needing help with Bing and the features within Bing. We are unable to provide any additional information regarding Bing Subjectship nor any future plans and releases pertaining to Bing.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Bing.
Best Regards,

Docs
Bing Technical Support

So which do you find more appealing- a photo of who wrote the article or blog post, or a photo of who the post is about?

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Blog Writing Tips, Content Marketing, Holiday Blog, Pictures, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

What Would History Say About Google Authorship?

I know this association is going to tick off a few, but as one of the older people now in the Internet realm, my intent is to cause pause before running out and linking blogs or websites to Google Authorship profiles in order to secure better rankings on SERP’s for personal brands.  I’m a Mom, so I’m just going to say what Moms say, “If everyone were jumping off a cliff, would you jump off, too?”

Truth be told, I like Google and I’m all about being with the times.  I know it’s not going to seem that way, but I do understand the benefits of claiming your brand.  I’m just really wrestling with the herd mentality of doing something because Google says we have to do it. The industry reaction appears to be admiration and support through blog posts and conference panel discussions.  Get the writers on board and you can change the world.  If you control the content makers and their careers, you can control the content (to a degree).

I’m also old enough to know how fast what seems indestructible can change.  I have an uncle that spent his life in a nursing home after serving overseas in combat during WWII.  Forgetting history is not an option for me – really for any of us.  My (our) ancestors would be disappointed if I (we) did.

What if Google’s leadership and vision ever changed – forcibly or through death or sale?  Would you want your personal identity stored in a data base for the new owners?  Some of you are more skeptical of our current president or gun control then you are of handing over your identity and all linking to a search company’s data bases.  True, we’re already tracked in so many ways, that for most of us, our identities were compromised years ago when we first opened our Facebook accounts.  But, let’s just hand over more?

As a reminder, between 1939 and 1945, the below image was a reality.  Hitler would have really appreciated access to profiles that connected the dots to everything people did or thought, everyone they communicated with, and everything they liked or disliked.

It’s an awful association, but profiling happened.  It’s not a new idea.  People were identified and categorized, while scared onlookers stood by, watched, and participated because if they didn’t they might lose what they have. Those who spoke up were shunned or eliminated.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

While the hot talk is about securing your brand, just don’t forget what happened a few decades ago.  Prisoners from this era would probably shake their heads at our naivety.  I’m not so sure that I can completely dismiss their lives by saying, “Yeah, but this is a different time and place.”

I also don’t have a good answer for reconciling what was learned, while moving into today.  I’m signing this post with my first name knowing full well, that even without a profile, you can research who I am.  The best I can do is write to warn the writer, who hasn’t become public, to first carefully consider the potential consequences before publishing online.  ~Jean

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe Jean was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Jean was one of the few in the search industry bold enough to ask Google to consider another perspective. (Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship.) Thanks for listening, Google.

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Google Plus, Leadership, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)