Category Archives: Favorite Websites

What Should You Do When Your Content is Copied?

Life in the Security Experiment Room

My twelve year-old loves smoke alarms.  Some guys are crazy about football.  He knows the stats of almost every smoke detector- whether it’s a BG-12, Simplex, Wheelock, or Gentex.

After he started writing letters to companies, conversing with CMOs, creating reviews, editing videos, and playing around with You Tube, it became clear that his interest would be a gateway to acquiring valuable skills and practical lessons.

He Copied Me!

But then it happened.  A couple kids plagiarized his ideas and material.  One YouTube youngster “borrowed” most of his intro.  Grant invests hours editing these videos, so he was pretty ticked after he discovered the infringement.

“Mom, what should I do?”

I understood how he felt.  This happens to writers all the time.  It’s frustrating- especially when you’re the one who spent time or dollars on the original idea or work.

Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

Just to be clear, if you borrow an idea, quote, picture, or video you should credit your sources. If you want to be official with formatting that credit, read how to cite sources from MLA or APA. However, don’t cry “copyright infringement” if your idea was one that anyone could pick off just by living.  All people are allowed fair use of ideas for educating, discussing, and conjecture. If the idea is already swimming in public, it can be taken and altered.

What If Someone Steals Your Content or Ideas?

#1. Inform the accused what was done.  Define plagiarism for him or her because some people- especially kids, just don’t know.  Plagiarism.com says, “

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISM:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules)”

#2.  Add a © (copyright symbol) with the current year and the owner’s name to the bottoms of your websites, pictures, articles, or videos.  This symbol notifies would-be borrowers that you own the material. Most will ask for permission or provide credit to your page with links.

#3. Ask for credit if you feel that your idea or content was borrowed and be prepared to back up your claim.  But then, simmer down.  If you’re the original and most people know you’re the original, this is your moment to shine.

Look at the MKC commercials from 2014.  Lincoln’s sales soared up by 25%.  Ellen’s and SNL’s spoofs helped to catapult the original. Going viral is good for business.

“Borrowing” is flattery.  Properly documented spoofs or borrows can turn into more views for your channel.  Create brand ambassadors that will grow your channel. When someone copies your content, look at the action as flattery and opportunity. Embrace the marketing boost!

#4. If a serious offender ignores your request to receive a link and hat tip to your page, hire an attorney.  Sometimes, “borrowing” is not so innocent.  If it’s costly and the stakes are high, let your attorney do the talking.

In general, most people want to get copyright right. If you keep a positive attitude and work through the situation, you’ll probably end up with decent backlinks and some new partnerships.  Sharing and take-offs can help your SEO to soar.

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Filed under Capturing Audience, Citing Sources, Editors, Favorite Websites, Research Tips, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking, YouTube

Ten Alternative Search Engines and Social Media Sites

Alternative Social MediaWe can all name the most popular websites for search and social networking, but what about the countless other options available to us? Some of these alternative search engines and social media sites provide unique benefits that can help you search and socialize even more effectively than the big guys!  Whether you are looking to completely break away from the mega-brands of search and social media, like Google and Facebook, or whether you simply want to explore some new options, here are ten recommendations worth checking out:

 

  1. Blekko

Blekko is an innovative search engine with a clean and modern look. Most notably about Blekko is that it uses an initiative called “slashtags.” This is essentially a text tag preceded by a “/” slash character, which can be used for custom and categorized searches. One of its best features might be its categorized results which help you to quickly hone in on the information that is most relevant to you. For example, search “Nike” and you can narrow results by categories including: quick answers, top results, shopping, shoes, news and more – all to help you find what you’re looking for in less time.

 

  1. SocialMention

If you’re looking for a platform to provide you with real-time social media search and analysis, then SocialMention is worth exploring. This site allows you to search any term and it will provide you with relevant social media results. Additionally, it will also analyze these results by strength, sentiment, passion, reach and top keyword so you can monitor the trend and identify where most of your mentions are originating.

 

  1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a valuable tool for SEO research. For example, if you want to analyze what content performs best for a particular topic or competitor, BuzzSumo is able to provide you with this type of insight. Enter the keyword you wish to search and BuzzSumo will identify the most shared links on social networks, as well as influencers for specific topics. This is a must-visit for anyone looking to improve their search rankings on the web.

 

  1. DuckDuckGo

It may not be that you have anything to hide, but sometimes you just don’t want your search history made easily accessible to anyone who wants to dig around in your personal life. DuckDuckGo is an anonymous search engine, and while it doesn’t provide you with personalized results based on your search history, it does offer the peace of mind of complete anonymity.

 

  1. Topsy

Calling all Twitter junkies, if you want to easily search and analyze the hottest trends on this particular platform, then you should try this one! Topsy allows you to search by time and place, set alerts, and analyze sentiment for every tweet ever made – seriously. This can result in valuable marketing information like how often a term is tweeted or who is an influential person on a specific subject.

 

  1. GoodSearch

If you want to “do good” while searching the web, GoodSearch has combined both of these elements into a single search engine. How it works is that GoodSearch donates 50 percent of its revenue to charities and schools selected by its users. GoodSearch also helps users identify other “do good” businesses through features like GoodShop, a catalog of merchants that support charitable causes; GoodDining, a year-round “dine out for charity” program; and GoodSurvey, market research surveys that allow people to earn money for their favorite causes. This search engine is powered by Yahoo and on average pulls in 510,000 unique monthly visitors.

 

  1. Wolfram│Alpha

If you have a passion for trivial information and desire instant access to all the world’s facts and data, then WolframAlpha might become your new favorite search engine. This platform is a computational knowledge engine that uses externally “curated data” to answer fact-based questions in a matter of seconds.

 

  1. DogPile

DogPile is by no means new; it’s a tried and true alternative search engine that maintains its appeal because of its powered metasearch technology. Essentially DogPile runs its searches through Google, Yahoo and Yandex all at once and compiles a single list of results. Since each of these three search engines have their own methods for finding information, DogPile provides the advantage of running the equivalent of three searches with the single click of a button.

 

  1. Tumblr

This alternative social media site is growing in size and popularity. It’s an interesting hybrid between a short-form blog and a social networking site. Users create their own blogs and follow other blogs in a similar way to social networks. This platform has built in methods that drive a ton of engagement and visibility to its users blogs. Last year, Tumblr was the fastest growing social networking site even compared to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

 

  1. Path

Path quite literally takes users “off the beaten path” with how they cultivate and interact with their social network. By limiting users to just 50 friends, Path allows users to share videos, photos and personal information with only the people who you know and trust. People’s Facebook networks have grown almost too large and impersonal and Path aims to take the trend back to fewer, but more meaningful communications.

 

So there you have it! Ten alternative search engines and social media sites that are work taking a look at if you desire something new and different. ~Stephanie

 

What other alternative sites have you used and liked? Share your recommendations by commenting below!

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Filed under Favorite Websites, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Tumblr, Twitter

Appointments with Heaven – a Worthwhile Read

Choosy Writers Choose Good Books

Are you choosy about the books you read?  I am.

My high school English teacher used to scold me when I found excuses not to read. She’d blink her eyes, sigh, and pinch her nose, “Good writers make time to read.”

Well, she’d be proud.

I read a book over spring break that was worth my time and attention. It was edifying, truthful, and inspiring and there’s a back story on how I received the book, which I’ll share in a moment.

Appointments with Heaven bills itself as “the true story of a country doctor’s healing encounters with the hereafter.” At first, I thought.  Boy. Do I really want to read a bunch of creepy stories about people dying?  (The book was given to me shortly after my mother’s death in 2013.)

I’d seen a lot of death and well, eh.

But, my sister-in-law raved about the book and she’d experienced loss, too, so I figured it had potential.

Heaven’s Southern Setting & Faith Theme

heaven coverMy family packed up our van and headed south to Florida. Dr. Reggie Anderson’s story is set in the rural South.  So literally, my journey included representations out the window of the places described in the story – Alabama on the way down and Tennessee on the route back up. What I discovered is that the story isn’t really a book about death — it is about finding faith in life.

Soak in that statement for a moment.

It’s a book about faith. Your life has purpose and it affects eternity.

Do you believe that? Like I said.  It’s a book about faith.

There are times, even if you believe there’s a higher purpose, when truthfully, you’re just not seeing how the dots connect. You lost a friend, a job, or an opportunity.  You’re stuck in what seems to be a mindless and pointless routine.  You’re disillusioned because of awful events or situations. This book addresses whys.  Does anyone even know we’re here?  Is God real?  Why do bad things happen?

Even if you have answers worked out for yourself, Dr. Reggie Anderson’s perspective, because of his scientific expertise in medicine and his own early disillusionment, is unique. This book find has the potential to be a future workbook and video series for small groups.  The Kendrick Brothers or some other producer ought to take a good look at it.

About Heaven’s Ghost Writer

If you’re a writer, it’s a study on the art of ghost writing.  Truly, the story’s organization, running motifs, theme, voice, and flow were so well constructed that I beamed for Jennifer Schuchmann, the book’s ghost writer. And herein is how I received the book.

Jennifer and I met at a conference in 2010.  She was already a published writer, managing a young family, and at the start of a promising career.  We became Linkedin and Twitter contacts. In September 2013, I was in the midst of managing a big work project, while organizing household moving details for my family, when my mother passed away. With those plates spinning, I accidentally sent an email to Jennifer that was intended for someone else. When I realized my mistake, I sent Jennifer a note asking her to disregard and delete the email.  She did, and then we quickly caught up. I asked her about her current projects and she shared.

“I’m primarily doing collaborative books with people who have stories to tell but don’t have the time or ability to tell them. I’m either hired by them or by their publishers. I’ve released two new books this year.

“Taylor’s Gift” is the story of parents who lost their 14 year old daughter in a skiing accident, donated her organs, and then met the organ recipients.

“Appointments with Heaven” is the story of a country doctor who lost his faith, found it in a dream of heaven and now catches glimpses of heaven when his patients die (he can feel their soul leave their body, smell the scents of heaven, and feel a warmth in the room). Both are good books.

Good to hear from you even if it was a mistake!”

I then confided that my mother had passed away two weeks earlier and that her Heaven book sounded relevant.  She wrote,

  Oh, I’m so sorry!  Send me your address and I’ll send you a copy of “Appointments with Heaven.” Writing that book changed the way I view death. Maybe that’s the whole reason we reconnected was so I could give you a copy of this book.

When my copy arrived, she’d personalized it with a note, “I hope this brings comfort in your loss.”

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know that the cards you receive in the following weeks are thoroughly appreciated.  This was the first time anyone had sent a book.

I read a few pages and stopped. I felt called to send a copy to each of my siblings, but I personally wasn’t ready to digest the book.

By spring 2014, I was ready.

Let’s be clear, I’m not getting paid to write this post for Appointments with Heaven nor am I doing it because I know Jennifer.  I know plenty of authors.  I just like the book and feel it’s worth my time.

I hope it’s worth yours, too.

Yesterday, I interviewed Jennifer about her ghost writing techniques.  Read Tips for Collaborative and Ghost Writing Success, for the back story on how Dr. Anderson’s Appointments with Heaven was written.

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Filed under Authoring Books, Conferences, Favorite Websites, Reviews, Women Writers

Hold Your Content Writers Accountable to these Five Resolutions

If you’re one of those lucky millions who recently shoveled a couple feet of snow, you probably had ample time to think, while criss-crossing the sidewalk and driveway.  Not only does the shovel feel heavy, but in some cases, so does your outlook on your professional skills and career.

IMG_6681The past is the past.  Look ahead. This year holds so much promise for you.  It’s a wonderful time to be an Internet Marketer and if you enjoy writing, great opportunities await you!

If you’re a manager of writers remember that, in general, writers are reflective.  Talk about this year’s resolutions with your team.

The following goals can be used by freelance writers or members of your content department to professionally stretch.

Attend at least one industry conference this year.

Conferences can be expensive, but you’ll find worthwhile investment in knowledge and networking.  If you attend a conference at the top of the year, you benefit from that knowledge and the contacts gained that year.  However, when you attend a conference in September, you’ll find decision-makers who are looking for your services at the start of their budgeting process for the following year.  Some of our favorite digital retail conferences include:

Some of our favorite authorship and publishing conferences are Highlights Workshops, Write-to-Publish, and the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Read on a daily basis.

There are so many worthwhile blogs and as a writer, you should be reading not only to gain business savvy, but to improve your writing technique.  Besides our own, My Web Writers blog (which you’re reading), we recommend that you keep tabs on the following blogs:

Improve writing with a daily grammar lesson or peruse articles at Copyblogger.

Improve your writing.

  • Do not send an email, resume, article, post, or power point to another without checking the spelling and grammar.  Use the many digital tools available to you.
  • Improve your story-telling by reading your articles out loud to a video camera or to a recorder.  Then, observe your fluency, word choices, and tone.  Put your work away and then look at it again with fresh eyes at a later date.
  • Take a college writing class.  Join writers groups.  Connect in LinkedIn forums.
  • Study sentence combining. The more you maneuver parts of sentences, the more you’ll see the various options open to you when editing.

Directors, hire a freelance editor this year for additional perspective on content.  An educational program for your writers is great, but one-to-one coaching by an outsider can correct individual idiosyncrasies.

Learn more about selling.

Many talented writers totally miss the concept of why they’re writing retail content.  That’s because many of today’s digital writers majored in journalism or creative writing because they wanted to write important news stories or memoirs or fiction.  Writing about soap, perfume, or widgets was never the original calling or intent.  Now, you want them to sell? The purist author is only producing website copy to pay the bills.

But, writers, you won’t be able to sustain your revenue for long if you don’t cozy up to the idea of selling and we don’t mean screaming at your audience to buy stuff.  We mean subtle, well-positioned selling that most readers never notice.

Where should you go to learn more about selling? Start with Seth Godin. He’ll turn your mind inside out.  Then, search for “selling techniques” or the “art of selling”.  There are so many videos and articles on the topic. You might land on the Sandler Method or find a helpful article at the Salesforce blog.

The most important fact to remember is that you can sell.  When you influence your children to earn good grades, you’re selling.  When you persuade your spouse to take a vacation, you are selling.  Apply the same principals of persuasion to the content you’ve been tasked to write.

Managers, provide sales training for your content team. You’ll notice a long-term difference in conversions.

Keep learning new time management techniques.

Not letting that blog post take all day to write is a stress that most writers share.  That’s because we were taught the writing process in school, but in the real world, the pace is much faster.  My Web Writers’ blog offers several articles on time management.  Speed up the process by adhering to these timing techniques:

  • Set a timer for each writing session;
  • Track your hours with a time card;
  • Make use of moments when you’re forced to wait- on trains, in cars, in the orthodontist office, while on hold, etc.;
  • Keep a notepad with you at all times to jot down or to list ideas that come out of nowhere;
  • Say “no” to distractions when accomplishing a particular goal within an hour’s time;
  • Allow for blocks of time to enjoy and then to psychologically remove distractions.

Supervisors, ask each writer to share an effective time management technique.  Then, choose a few to monitor and to reward this year.

Encourage and stretch your content department by implementing the above professional resolutions this year.  Did we miss yours? Share it with us!

Other Articles:

Stop Writing Fluff

Build Better Client Relationships with Help from Bruce

How to Write a Big Impact Proposal in a Short Amount of Time

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Filed under Authoring Books, Conferences, Editors, Education Strategy, Favorite Websites, Leadership, Sales, The Writing Process, Time Management, Writing Careers

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

By My Web Writers

Toys that Use Words

Fat Brain Toys doesn’t play around when it comes to website content.  Owner, Mark Carson, has always supported written content on the site’s category and product pages; but, Matt Hansen, Director of Marketing, says that it was only about three months ago that the educational toy retailer really started developing blog content.

It seems like many marketers attend webinars and read articles that explain the importance of content to conversions and search engine rankings, but then they return to work and leave out the paragraphs.  Why?

Content creation is expensive.

Blog Sales Powered by Writers

Hansen says that Fat Brain Toys “employs three in-house writers with a variety of skill levels, but listens to feedback from many internal and external stakeholders.”  You can sense the community when you visit the site.

Play is Fat Brain Toys’ blog.  Each week, the writers add videos, newsy snippets, and creative articles around a theme.  But, how does the company curate so much content without straining their budget?

play

In a green box at the top of the Play blog, writers click and find a call for

 “content from leaders in the toy industry, leaders in the world of raising children, and great thinkers who believe in pure play. Each piece of content will be shared with HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of visitors. As a contributor to PLAY, you’ll be given full contributor/byline credit with a short bio listing. We will also actively encourage link sharing. Fat Brain Toys will share a link to your site, and we hope you’ll share a link to your published PLAY content on your site as well.”

Who Would Write for Free?

The secret to securing inexpensive content is to embrace loyal fans and toy industry leaders, who want to build authorship profiles by using Play as their publisher.

The potential sales win-fall for Fat Brain Toys is notable. Many writers will write for article bylines just to increase exposure of their own personal brands, products, books, and speaking portfolios. Google authorship gives incentive for many writers to secure their personal brands this way. Between the free content and social sharing by writers, Play is revving up a sales engine.

This is the content creation model that many business leaders are thinking about and talking about at conferences and in meetings, but few are making it happen.  Fat Brain Toys is connecting and creating the model.

If You Can’t Buy It, Build It

Mark Carson also created the company’s unique review system.  He and his in-house team built an automated content contributor under each toy’s product description.

FBT Reviews

Consumers find content that details available options and hazards, linked articles from Play, related products and categories, accessory options, and other consumer reviews and rankings of age/gender usage. All of this data aggregates and moves the products up or down in the “new”, “shop by age”, or “shop by gender” sections of the site.

Google wants valuable content and this system offers it to parents.

Parents Help Parents with Special Perspectives

Carson also invented another consumer-generated content resource that is highly-valuable to the special needs and elderly populations.

Special needs

Parents, teachers, and caretakers explain how they use the toys with children and adults with special needs. There is a ranking system for the toy’s value index and the toy’s IQ that helps shoppers evaluate how their child or adult might use the toy.

Toy IQ

Again, the content offers value to shoppers and there’s a community of trust and interaction being built with the brand through the content interaction.

The Future of Content Creation

If you love or believe in a brand, chances are you won’t care about getting paid to promote it. You’ll contribute for intrinsic rewards like attention or the sense of helping others.

Fat Brain Toys knows that its core consumers are passionate about educating children and contributing to a better world through play and it has tapped into these passions.

Does this totally remove the need for in-house or freelance writers and editors? No.  Someone needs to curate and optimize the content.  The in-house team fills in where the consumer leaves off.

Your website still needs writers and editors who are masters of brand positioning, product knowledge, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, usage, and search engine optimization.  Fat Brain Toys hasn’t lost sight of that fact, but it does demonstrate how to involve your audience.

What would inspire your shoppers to interact more with your website’s content?

~Jean


Other Posts:

What is Google Authorship and What Do Writers Need to Know About it?

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

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

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Filed under Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Business Strategy, Capturing Audience, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Editors, Favorite Websites, Local, Product Descriptions, Project Management, Queries & Articles, Reviews, Social Media, Time Management, Writing Careers

Is Your e-Store Prepared for Summer Shoppers?

My Web Writers

E-StoresAre you marketing and merchandising your website for this summer’s sales potential? According to Internet Retailer, the U.S. Commerce Department said that U.S. online sales totaled $225.5 billion in 2012, up 15.8% from $194.7 billion in 2011.  With the exception of sales in categories not commonly bought online—

Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce accounted for 7.6% of total retail sales during the year, up from 6.8% a year earlier. Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of more than 11,000 U.S. merchants.

It’s no wonder that such a large marketing emphasis is placed on preparing shopping web sites for each new season and sale.  Every effort counts.   As the weather finally heats up for the summer, many e-stores have rolled out their new merchandise and revamped their web sites. All businesses, regardless of size or industry, can learn from other creative and competitive websites. Let’s take a look at three examples of big name brands and how they’re poised to sell more this summer:

 

1.  Target.com

Target is known for its chic and trendy styles and its unique in-store shopping experience. Target pays special attention to creating this same vibe in its e-store. The web site design is simple, clean and incorporates the signature Target red color to promote brand recognition. Though this main design remains the same year-round, the homepage content is customized to the upcoming holidays and season. Going on right now is a sale on patio furniture and family swimwear.  Aside from the featured sales, Target has changed the photos to represent each of its main shopping categories to be summer-themed. For example the “Women’s” category shows a summery dress and the “Sports and Outdoors” category is represented with an above ground pool. These images, though subtle, entice shoppers to click and browse in areas they may have had no original interest in shopping.

What you can learn: The takeaway from Target’s summer-poised marketing is that images are powerful. If you are trying to sell seasonal items, then every image should be carefully chosen to remind shoppers of all the things they enjoy about that season. Even if they weren’t originally in the market for a pool, customers will be intrigued to click on images that pique their interests.

Target.com’s weakness is its lack of content.  It’s missing tips or suggestions to help customers visualize how to use its products.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the "d" in "deals" should be capitalized.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the “d” in “deals” should be capitalized and the exclamation point should be dropped. Oops. Can you spot the other capitalization errors?

2. Petsmart.com

Petsmart’s images are ready for summer.  The web site’s main sliding banner greets customers with various pictures of dogs running outside on sunny days. The other still images on the homepage are also of animals in outdoor settings. Moving beyond the homepage, the main items featured are geared toward use in the summer. For example, the dog section has leashes, harnesses and bike trailers aimed at outdoor lovers on the go.

What you can learn: While it’s only April, Petsmart has already positioned its web site with the most summer-related items first.   Like end-caps in physical stores, identify your store’s most desirable and in-demand products and place them at the forefront of the e-store.

Petsmart needs to add seasonal content.  Currently, its homepage bottom content is duplicated on several category pages, which isn’t great for search or for customers.  Petsmart.com could address pet owners’ most frequently asked questions about each category in those spaces.  It’s missing opportunities to educate new animal owners about the pros and cons of buying fencing, habitat accessories, and other pet supplies.

 

Petsmart.com was ready to take us outside for the summer, even though it was still snowing in the East and Midwest.

Even though it’s a cold spring in many parts of the United States, Petsmart.com helps consumers visualize summer outside with Fifi and Fido.

3. Gap.com

Gap is a brand that adapts to every new season. The colors and styles of their clothes act as decorations for the web site and can change the whole tone from summer to winter.  Clothing stores start advertising their new lines nearly a season in advance. Today, Gap.com is vibrant, bright and cheery with summer apparel.  Even the background graphic on the web site has been changed to read “Be Bright” in art-deco style lettering. From shorts and capri’s to sundresses and tank tops, one would think it’s already August at Gap.com.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with it's images. Notice the blue highlight of phrases that look like hyperlinks. You're encouraged to click the phrase, which leads to products.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with some images. Notice the blue highlight of “uniform shorts.” This phrase looks like a hyperlink. It’s not, but when clicked, the image is linked to the corresponding shorts store. Also, on this page, Gap transitions from spring to summer through use of a jacket with shorts and words that close out spring, while promoting summer.

What you can learn: Not all e-stores and web sites can be as adaptable to changing for each season as Gap, but if you are – utilize it! Tailor your font, graphics, background and colors to represent each season. Summer products seem to “pop” so much more when accompanied by other summer colors on the site and when your products look good, they sell.

However, the Gap is content light.  Sentences are placed over images like memes; but, there are very few words in text above or below page folds.  The Gap performs fairly well in search, but it’s likely that online conversions would improve with carefully-crafted content that adds value to the customers’ shopping experiences.

Overall, the common theme among these e-stores is to move your seasonal and most desirable products to the front. Incorporate the colors of the seasons, but stay true to your brand.  Place seasonal items on your homepage and tailor your images and content toward creating vibes that put shoppers in the mood for summer.

Don’t forget those whose experiences are enhanced beyond the layout, art, and images by the words they read.  Store content should educate the consumer, complement images, and describe the feel of the season.

Is your e-store prepared for summer shoppers?

~Stephanie & Jean

Other MWW Articles:

National Websites without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Nab These Call-to-Action Verbs

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Favorite Websites, Local, Marketing, Merchandising, Mobile, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Avenues for Learning SEO

by My web Writers

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Search Engine Optimization. If you’re a content writer, those three words make all the difference in what you do.  Search results drive your content, make it stand out, and is what makes good content writers fabulous content writers. But how do you learn SEO?

Brick Marketing out of Boston, defines SEO as…

“the process of improving the quality and volume of web traffic to a website by employing a series of proven SEO techniques that help a website achieve a higher ranking with the major search engines when certain keywords and phrases are put in the search field.”

That’s a mouthful, and proof that learning SEO is no simple task that can be understood and applied overnight.

Here are some of the best ways for content writers to learn SEO:

Follow the Right Blogs

SEO is always changing, and blogs can be the best way to stay up-to-date. As with all research, make sure your information is coming from a credible source.  Follow the marketing and SEO main stays like Search Engine Land or SEO Moz, but also check out these hidden gems.

Hit the Books

Books haven’t disappeared yet, and they are filled with knowledge even on topics as modern as SEO. One of our favorites is “The Art of SEO.”  It’s jam-packed with strategy, concepts and tactics from people who know the business. This is a good book for a beginning content writer and an advanced content writer. It’s hundreds of pages will help you learn the basic in’s and out’s of SEO.

Take a Class or Conference

While signing up for a college course can be time-consuming and expensive, there are other ways to take classes on SEO. Some seminars travel around the country teaching SEO and other content writing skills, and there is a huge variety of classes that can be taken online. Get on the email lists for some popular marketing speakers and businesses, and they may even have free webinars you can attend.  Receive training and then take the Inbound Marketing Certification exam after you attend 18 presentations through Hub Spot.

Network, Network, Network

One of the best ways to learn SEO is through people who eat, sleep and breathe it on a daily basis. What you will find is that most professionals in the field are more than happy to lend a helping hand, to answer questions, and to explain what you don’t understand. If someone isn’t helpful, find someone else. The field is growing quickly, and there are many pros out there willing to help you learn.

Never Stop Learning

You learn to ride a bicycle and hopefully never have to be taught again. The world of SEO is not the same. You absolutely have to keep learning about the latest trends and rules of SEO. Stay up on your reading of blogs and articles about content writing and don’t fall behind.  What you learn one month may be totally irrelevant the next.

Don’t be afraid of learning SEO. Approach it with a positive attitude and know that it will take your content writing to the next level. Employers will be impressed with your knowledge of SEO if you have a firm grasp on it. Do your research and never stop learning.

~Natalie

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