Browsing articles in "Copywriting"

CASE STUDY: How to Attract More Blog Traffic via YouTube (Even If You’re No Good with Videos)

Searching for ways to increase the number of your loyal audience/subscribers and daily earnings for your blog? Well, I continuously get more and more targeted viewers for my blog and keep it at the top of search engine results using the power of YouTube marketing.

As a result, my earnings increased a lot. You may ask me: Isn’t it that YouTube marketing is already an Internet buzzword or one of the most common ways of promoting/advertising various products, services and stuffs like that? Definitely! However, there are other ways of doing things the other way to get the results you want, and this blog post is just all about that.

Dominate a Niche with Long Tail Pro

Using LTP, I was able to dominate a particular niche by. It helped me discover topics for my online YouTube marketing video. What I often do with LTP is enter multiple seed keywords, and soon enough, I find exact match domains with low competition yet profitable keywords.

 

 I use both domain and keywords, and as a consequence, I get more and more subscribers as well as increased page rank for my marketing video. As a more specific example, using exact domain names and long tail keywords is much better than competing with the fiercest (or most competitive) keywords for YouTube videos.

This way, my YouTube video made it to the second page of search engine results within 5 days, that is, I was able to dominate a particular niche about driving traffic to my site. I simply cannot ignore the power of LTP marketing for my YouTube video marketing.

Do Things the Right Way Using Video Marketing

I am now getting more targeted traffic, higher/massive views and a larger number of subscribers with my YouTube marketing video: entitled, Drive Traffic to Your Site by Offering Irresistible Gifts. My Youtube visitors get hooked on watching the video in order to learn more about the offers.

The video is all about driving traffic or unique visitors to blogs through social media sites, guest posting, and a lot more (as you can see later as you continue reading this post). Also, it tells people how to avoid failing Internet marketing by using the step-by-step strategies for increased targeted traffics.

In addition, it mentions about the importance of blog traffic within the first 24to72 hours for visits to be counted as unique ones. As my YouTube viewers keep on watching the video, they are able to understand better what is in store for.

With the YouTube marketing video, I was able to direct my audience to my blog. When they do visit it, I get unique pageviews. They may read the rest of the article or explore more of it. Since their primary objective is to obtain a free copy of the e-book, they are required to subscribe first.

After they sign up, they would receive a message stating that they have to confirm their subscription. When they do confirm their registration, they will have to check their email again for the actual download of the eBook to take place.

This is actually what email marketing is all about, that is, getting long term customers with their email addresses added to my list of contacts where I can then forward them with weekly SEO tips – just as it was promised to them prior to their subscription.

I then visit problogger.net as a guest blogger. It is where I would post something like, ”Build Keyword Density the Right Way.”

This is where I recommend using search engine optimization techniques and adding appropriate keywords for high-quality persuasive copywriting. There I advise the use of naturally sounding keywords for everyone’s copywriting needs.

I gave illustrations such that video marketers would be able to learn the appropriate ways of shortening, lengthening and/or using keyword phrases with the product/service copy that they are describing.

I also added that writers have to write a copy first, go back with the keywords, and place them suitably in the copy itself (which definitely would prove very useful to them). As for my part, I was able to make a copy that really flows naturally and that appeal to a larger number of viewers and search engine sites.

Furthermore, in less than three weeks, I already gained more than 20,000 views. This is because I used referral social media multipliers and emailwire.com, a SEO press release distribution site that provides guaranteed results.

For instance, with the social media freetweettube.com, there is always an influx of tweets for my Youtube marketing channel while with emailwire, my press release about SEOArticleWriteService got the chance to be published and distributed to thousands of journalists, trade magazines, newsrooms, online news sites, major newswires, RSS feeds and major news search engines. With these strategies and tools that I used, you sure can get the results you want to achieve to make your site viral in no time.

My YouTube marketing, as of this writing, proves viral although it has just been uploaded three weeks ago. It has ranked well too considering that the other videos in the ranking were uploaded less than a year or about five years ago. You can also see for yourself that my video is only about 3 minutes compared to the other two: which are approximately 15 minutes and 5 minutes, respectively. My video is a proof of getting your videos viral too.  You only have to follow the steps or by visiting the sites that I mentioned above.

Now that you know how to precisely attract more blog traffic via YouTube marketing, it is time to present a summary of the most important lessons in this post. First, the importance of using simultaneously free exact domain with long tail yet profitable keywords for your video for you to earn more.

Second, the use of strategies and tools (such as irresistible gift offers, guest blogs, email marketing, pro-bloggers, social media networks, press releases and a lot more) for you to cash in more money.

Luckily for you, with this post, you sure can turn your viewers into loyal audience/subscribers, powerful pool of online community, or simply, target market for your blog and its updates.

Bill

Bill Achola is on a mission to help small business people get traffic they deserve. If you’re one of them, check out his Affordable SEO Service for Small Business that will drive targeted traffic to your website. Be sure to follow him on Twitter

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Who Will Do a Better Job of Capturing the Right Tone and Feel of Your Blog Business?

May 15, 2012   //   by Bill   //   blogging, Copywriting, link building, SEO, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  21 Comments

While press release writing is specialized work, there are many cases of businesses wanting to write their own press releases instead of outsourcing the work.

It might be that you are a new startup with a limited marketing budget (and thus want to avoid the costs), or maybe you feel that yourself or an in-house employee will do a better job of capturing the right tone and feel of your company.

Whatever the motivation, there are pros and cons to both approaches. This content will discuss the advantages of both options, and then (hopefully) help you make the right decision for your company.

Writing Press Releases Yourself

After reading through this blog post, you should have a clear idea of what is required to write a press release. In short, you need:

  • A good story.
  • Good writing skills (specific to press releases).

There are distinct advantages of writing your own press releases, and I would fully encourage you to do so if you can consistently write well (or have an employee to write for you). If you are unwilling to invest in an employee, or unsure of how eschewing a professional PR service can help you, read through the following reasons:

Cost

A professionally written press release can cost you anywhere from $200 to $500. Considering that this is just a 1-page document, which will eventually contain information that you will provide, this seems an exorbitant price.

Personalized

While press release writing services make every effort to personalize every press release, there is a distinct style for each writer and for each company as well. Personalized ‘style’ of press or media releases. A powerful example of this is Google – check Google Press for a sample of effective personalized press releases can be.

Be warned though. This is not something easy to accomplish. As press releases are terse, 1-page news items with a very big emphasis on content, it is difficult to establish a style.

Practice will help you improve, and if you feel that the identity and image of your company will be better served by writing the press release yourself rather than outsourcing it, then make sure you read many different press releases from other companies to get a feel of how to build your unique style.

Other Benefits

Being directly involved with your industry, you are in the best position to highlight the advantages of your ‘news’ to your potential consumers and competitors.

You will be able to provide relevant, current information and your insight into your industry will also help you to pinpoint which news hook will be most successful.

Verdict

Matching the expertise of a professional press release writer is a difficult task. On the other hand, in-house press release writing, especially if done by an employee, can be ‘good enough’ if due attention is paid to getting the details right.

Professional Press Release Writing

Despite the obvious advantages of writing your own press release, a professional press release service gives you specific, money-valuable benefits:

Experience

Professional press release services have the advantage of having working in this field for a lot longer than you – they have written (hopefully) dozens of press releases, and know the industry inside out.

As such, they are well placed to avoid mistakes that beginning press release writers might make and are likely to produce good, reliable press releases.

Of course, there is also a chance that the press release might not be what you are looking for – maybe the writer gets the tone wrong, or underplays certain features that you wanted to give prominence to.

The added experience will also ensure that the writer will be able to judge better whether the information you’ve given him is enough, not enough or too much. In addition, there is the value of having an ‘outside’ perspective. Outsourcing your press release to an independent PR service will:

  • Allow them to present the news in a more realistic light.
  • Discourage you from making a press release without having effective content.

Be careful about putting too much faith in the press release service to tell you what is right or wrong, however. The responsibility of ensuring that there is enough ‘newsworthy’ information in your press release is yours, not of the service.

Time

A press release can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a day to write, revise and get just right. If you are part of a fast-paced company where you measure your time in hundreds of dollars, then spending that much time on a press release might seem expensive especially since you can get better results by outsourcing the press release.

Do not underestimate the time required to write a press release – for your news to be a full-blown success, every little detail has to be just right.

Verdict

It’s just a 1-page document. Why does it cost so much?

I’m faced with that question every day. Considering that you will still have to provide a lot of the information to the press release service, it seems ridiculous to pay over $200 (and up to $500) for a press release. But in the end, it’s the results that justify the costs.

A professionally written press release will always have a better chance of being accepted for distribution, and the experience of a professional PR service will serve you will in making your press release successful.

Another factor working in the favor of professional press release services is their ‘package deals’ – a promise to distribute your press release at a discounted rate if you have your press release written by them.

Costs vs. Expertise

I’ve been saying this throughout the content, and I say it again:

Your press release is (almost) worthless without newsworthy information. Keep this point in your mind as you make the choice between writing the press release yourself (using the advice in thisblog post) and outsourcing it to a professional press release service. Where will that newsworthy information come from? From you.

In fact, even if you outsource the press release, the bulk of the information put in the press release will come from you, either as part of the original specifications presented, or from the questions that the writer will ask you to help him write the press release.

So what are you really paying them for?

Their experience – press release writers have considerable, battle-field knowledge of writing press releases – the kind that only comes through time. You are also paying for their language and marketing skills, as writing a press release requires a specific writing style that does not fit into traditional sales copy.

Don’t hire a sales letter writer to write your press release until you are sure they have experience in writing successful press releases.

However, if you are willing to learn and apply the knowledge from this content (or have an employee as a suitable candidate), in-house press releases can be just as successful as those from a PR service. The key is to do two things repeatedly:

  • Ensure that you are fully prepared.
  • Differentiate between traditional sales copy and press release writing and make the effort to write ‘in a reporting, unbiased style’.

Choosing the Right Service

While this content goes a long way towards helping you write your own press releases, the primary aim is to guide you into preparing the best press release for your company, each and every time.

And sometimes, a company does not have the time, or the technical skills, to dedicate resources towards in-house press release writing.

In such cases, outsourcing your press release requirements becomes necessary. This section, although concise, will help you in picking the right service for your company.

Hiring a PR service

If you are looking to hire a professional press release service, make sure that you complete the following checklist.

  • Does the service have a portfolio or a client’s list? Make sure that you can see visible results, and don’t be afraid to ask for proof.
  • Compare costs and services between different PR companies to make sure you get the best deal.
  • Understand the fine print. Some PR firms may not allow for more than 1 revision, and some also don’t allow for free consultations – which essentially means that if the PR firm decides that your ‘story’ is not newsworthy, you would have ended up paying for nothing.
  • Don’t automatically jump for combined packages (press release writing and distribution). Make sure the investment is worth it, and that you see a list of the media contacts (at least their names, if not their contact information) that your press release will be distributed to.
  • Themed distributions are very different in impact to generic distributions, so don’t fall into the trap of paying less and actually getting something that is worth nothing to your company.
  • If you like the company’s portfolio, try to negotiate a discounted package in return for bringing all your press release business to them. PR firms would normally not refuse long-term business relationships, and the promise of continued business can possibly lower your long-term costs as well.

Hiring a freelance writer

Of course, if the cost is a really serious issue, and you cannot have the press release written in-house (for various reasons) then you may be better served by outsourcing to a freelance writer.

There are several online freelance websites from where you can hire good writers – Elance and RentACoder are the most popular, and most effective.

With freelance writers, there is the advantage of saving on money – a good press release can be written for $100 or less. On the other hand, there is a risk of not getting what you really want.

I’ll not go into the details of how to ensure that you don’t get your money’s worth as there are many ”freelance hiring”guides on the Internet (some good, some bad, and some bad copies of good guides).

Just make sure that you follow the same pattern as you would when hiring a PR service – check their portfolio, and do your best to provide them with complete information.

RentACoder has many safeguards that prevent buyers (like you) from projects that go bad, so trust the system and follow their advice.

However, one bad apple does not make everyone else incompetent. Freelance websites are full of hard-working individuals wanting to earn good money – make sure that you find someone who is capable of doing the job, and then enjoy the benefits of a well-written press release for a fraction of the price.

What is your opinion on DIY vs Professional writers?

Bill

Bill Achola is on a mission to help small business people get traffic they deserve. If you’re one of them, check out his Affordable SEO Service for Small Business that will drive targeted traffic to your website. Be sure to follow him on Twitter

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Tips on Treating Clients Right (or Applying the Golden Rule to Your Online Business)

Jan 30, 2012   //   by Chris Help   //   Copywriting, SEO Blog  //  3 Comments

I’ve heard some people say they got into their online business, be it SEO or copywriting, so they could work from home and not have to interact with people. And every time I hear that, I can’t help but take a step back and think, “That’s stupid.” I mean, sure you may not be dealing face to face with people on a daily basis, but a large part of what you do involves client interaction. You absolutely have to know how to work with people in order to succeed.

Now having said that, I fully realize that some people who “retreat” to an online job in order to avoid social duties may require a little extra help in respect to client relations. If that describes you, here are a few tips on how to help you out. Follow them and you’ll be retaining clients and getting referrals in no time.

  1. Go the extra mile to fix your mistakes—I’m writing this post today because quite frankly it’s fresh on my mind. See, I did another post for this blog that I was supposed to schedule for 9 A.M. this morning. But I screwed up and it published overnight. Well, after thinking about it, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me to say “OOPS!” and move on. So instead, I decided to supply the blog with an extra post. And it just so happened to be fitting material. Would Gerald have let me keep posting to his blog if I had simply said “Sorry,” and moved on to next week? More than likely. But hey—I want to make sure I keep my business relationships moving in the right direction. I plan on working with him for a long time. So why not scratch his back?
  2. Deliver as promised (and don’t promise if you can’t deliver)—Sometimes I’m lucky and acquire a project that has a flexible deadline. But more often than not, if a client contacts me then they needed the piece written yesterday. So they ask when is the soonest I can finish for them. I’m always tempted to overcommit in order to secure the project. However, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to give them an honest answer than to promise and not deliver. Nothing makes a client unhappier than having to wait for work that should have already been completed.
  3. Keep communication lines open—Again, sometimes you get the low maintenance client that just wants you to send them the finished product and shut the hell up. But always go into a new relationship assuming your client needs his hand held. In other words, give him frequent updates. And ask him if he has any questions (and be ready to answer them). Bottom line—make him feel important.

Have you run into client issues before? What have you done to go the extra mile?nbsp;

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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Guide to Writing Great Web Copy

Nov 23, 2011   //   by John Britsios   //   Copywriting, Press Releases, SEO Blog  //  9 Comments

Writing great web copy is no less a skill than an art form.  The main theme to keep in mind is “write with the reader in mind first.”  People online are looking for information, and they want it yesterday.

If your document is even just a little too complex, your readers have one more reason to visit another site.  Therefore, writing with the idea of keeping things simple is important as well.

Aside from those two general guidelines, there are a few more specific rules to closely follow.  Following these rules will maximize the appeal of your content to your readers:

1. Ensure your articles are easy to read.

Web readers have short attention spans and little patience.  If your article is too complex or dense, they’ll quickly move on to another site.  On the web, “easy to read” generally means the following:

  1. Headlines are 45-64 characters and contain one of your keywords;
  2. Your keywords seamlessly blend in with the surrounding text;
  3. Sentences are 60-70 characters each;
  4. Paragraphs are 135-210 characters (including spaces), but ideally are 180-210 characters;
  5. Paragraphs are a maximum of three sentences long.

Effective online writing is all about making your idea as simple to understand as is possible for your readers.  Also, be sure to always avoid fancy words and unnecessary adjectives and phrases.

2.  Use headlines with a logical flow to keep your reader’s attention.

The title of your article should be attention grabbing and unique.  “How To” and “Top Ten” type titles are currently popular, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Additionally, most online readers do not read every word of an article.  The reader should be able to understand your entire article by only reading its’ sub-headings.

By answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” for your reader, you are making your article appealing to your audience.

3.  Ensure your content contains calls to action.

All online content is ultimately about selling.  The content may not be selling a product or service, but every site wants visitors to return.

In order to grow your traffic, place a call to action on every page.  Here are a few quick tips for effective calls to action:

  • Place them on the front and center of your page if possible;
  • If not, make them very noticeable;
  • Develop an emotional connection with your visitors;
  • Make sure to use urgent language;
  • Make them easy, requiring as few steps as is possible;
  • Add in a free offer;
  • Use statistics to increase your authority.

4.  Ensure your content is completely error-free.

If you’re not a great proofreader, find someone who is.  Readers may forgive one or two mistakes, but even these can distract attention from your primary message.

Google’s algorithm is also becoming increasingly sensitive to spelling and grammar errors.  This trend will probably only increase in the future.  Therefore, it’s important to start following this rule now.

5.  Always answer the visitor’s main question:  “What’s in it for me?”

If you don’t make the answer to this question obvious, your readers will leave in a hurry.  The first few words of your web copy must engage your readers.

A great way to scare away readers is by saying, “Hello and welcome to Company X!”  Does this introduction capture your attention?  Instead, try,“What if you could lose weight and eat any food you want?”

By answering, “What’s in it for me?” as quickly and simply as possible, you’ll catch your readers’ attention.  Once you’ve gained their attention, then you can start telling them information about your company.

By Following These Tips, You’re on Your way to Copywriting Success! 

The preceding tips were not all of the tips required to write great copy.  But, they are a great starting point.

By following these basic starting points, you’re well on your way to successfully writing copy that stands out on the web.

John Britsios

John S. Britsios (aka Webnauts), founder and CEO of SEO Workers and Webnauts Net, is an Information Retrieval & Social Semantic Web Consultant, specializing in oblique search engine optimization, social media marketing, conversion rate optimization, web content accessibility and usability testing.Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

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My Experience Delving into the World of Contracting Out Jobs

Nov 7, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   Copywriting, SEO, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

A few months back I had what I consider to be a divine revelation. See, leading up to this point, I was slowly realizing that I was reaching the breaking point as far as the workload I could take on. When I first started out in the SEO copywriting business, I only had a few jobs here and there, leaving me begging for more work. Now I had built a loyal (albeit still small compared to others) customer base, work kept coming in without me having to really look for it. My main client had quadrupled my work load.

And suddenly those deadlines were starting to choke me out. Not too unlike one of those way-too-masculine ‘roided up UFC guys putting a triangle choke hold on their weakened opponent.

Anyway, that’s when it hit me. Find more writers.

As the lights from the heavens beamed down and the angelic choir sang, I began imagining the possibilities. What if I could actually work on the projects I enjoyed and pay someone else to write the stuff that was just “paying the bills” so to speak?

Not only would my love for SEO copywriting grow stringer, but I’d be able to take on more work. Instead of having to turn down jobs or tell a client “yeah but I can’t get it to you for X amount of weeks,” I’d now be able to enthusiastically reply, “BRING IT ON!” Not only that, but I could start searching for more work—you know, sending out sales letters and what not.

Sure I’d probably take a hit at the beginning, having to turn over a small yet still hefty portion of my profits to the contractors. But this would be a mere short term set back.

My Experience Getting My Feet Wet with Contracting Out Work

It didn’t take much thought for me to decide to jump in head first. I began by asking all my friends if they knew anyone interested in making a little money writing on the side. This attracted a few prospects. However, I learned pretty quickly that mixing friends and business didn’t work out. Not one of these prospects ended up being reliable.

Then I turned to Craigslist. After all, I’d picked up a few jobs there along the way. Why couldn’t I find some decent writers? However, first I had a big decision to make—how much money would I offer? Well, the plan was to contract out a bit of the recurring SEO article writing I had to do, which meant 500 word articles. At this point, I had no idea what the average article writer charged. I knew what I was making, but obviously I had to pay significantly less if I wanted to turn a profit.

After pondering this for awhile, I decided to run a test. I made a series of “Wanted: SEO article writer” postings, each listed at a different price point. One was a bit more than I wanted to pay, one about what I considered reasonable, and one I totally low-balled.

Here’s what I discovered. At the low-ball price, I got one of two things. Either I got really crappy writing and had to redo the articles myself…or I got a decent writer who was flaky and would always be late with some reason why they couldn’t finish.

At the middle price point I got a mixture of bad writers and pretty good writers. I sorted through it all and ended up sticking with a few.

The high price point was especially interesting. I assumed I would pull in some better-than-usual writers through this posting. However, what I discovered is all the same writers that applied for the middle price contacted me for this job too. Interesting…

So the conclusion? Obviously I chose middle ground payment.

How to outsource or Manage Contractors?

Once I settled on a few writers, I got rolling. I started sending out article jobs left and right. But as you can imagine, I ran into all sorts of unexpected issues. First of all, how was I to keep all the jobs straight? And what about the bookkeeping? Furthermore, how did I decide which jobs to send to whom?

Want the answers? Ahhh…but I can’t unveil them just yet. Yes, I know it’s frustrating, but this is a subject for my next guest post. Until then, let me know your experience with contracting out work!

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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Drunk Chatting with Clients Bad for SEO Business

Oct 19, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   blogging, Copywriting, SEO, SEO Blog  //  14 Comments

We’ve all done it. Went out for a few drinks and a few laughs, and the next thing you know—wasted. And as long as you aren’t getting behind the wheel, no harm no foul, right?

Enter technology.

Let’s be real for a second. Who doesn’t think it’s the best idea to text/Facebook/Gchat someone after a few too many? For whatever reason, it seems like the best idea at the time. Of course, if it really was a good idea, there wouldn’t be sites like www.textsfromlastnight.com.

Bad idea.

I’d even argue that drunk dialing is the best option if you are going to insist on communicating with people who aren’t right there with you when you’re inebriated. Why? Because there is no record of it. But when you text or anything like that, you leave a paper trail that often won’t disappear.

When Drunken Use of Technology Collides with Your Business

It’s one thing to drunk text your ex or accidentally call your mom. But imagine if you accidentally got a hold of one of your clients. Talk about a nightmare.

Well that’s exactly what happened to a friend of mine recently who runs his own SEO article writing business. The other night I was awaken by a text that said, “check your email now.” Here’s what I found. Names have been changed to protect the innocent:

“My drunk ass was trying to Gchat Jason and accidentally clicked on a client. The following is what took place:

 

me: B*TCHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Rob: ?

11:46 PM me: hahaha. oh my gosh. i was trying to click on my friend’s name. he played a prank on me in my apartment, and i was going to give him a hard time.

wow. embarrassed.

11:49 PM Rob: who is this?

oh Anthony…blogger

no worries man

I’ve done something like this many of times

11:50 PM honestly, pretend it never happened because I think it’s funny

done worse myself

me: HAHAHAH

dear God

11:51 PM happy hour beers

disaster!

 Rob: luckily it was a guy and not a girl

imagine IMing a girl

B****TCCCHHH

and trying to explain that one

me: hahahahah, literal lol’ing

thank God you’re cool about it

terrible

 Rob: haha yeah man I could care less

anyone who would get mad about that sucks

and needs to loosen up”

Okay. So any part of me that was pissed for being up in the middle of a work night reading my email was long gone by now. I was literally LOLing my butt off. True story.

What We Can Learn from This

 

Anthony got lucky. He made a colossal mistake that could have cost him a pretty important client. In his intoxicated state he accidentally clicked on the wrong name and proceeded to cuss at a paying customer. And not only that, but let’s face it, there’s no way the guy bought the “my friend played a prank on me and I was giving him a hard time” thing. Obviously, Anthony was bombed.

Luckily, his client seemed to be a kindred drunken spirit. But it’s safe to say that not all clients would take it this well. In fact, this sort of behavior could make you appear untrustworthy, incompetent, and downright unprofessional.

So what can we do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen? Stop drinking.

I literally LOLed again.

So that solution is out. Now what? Well, perhaps separating our business contacts from personal? Or better yet—keep a separate business email address and don’t add business contacts to your Gchat!

Of course, that won’t keep you from accidentally texting them.

Best bet? Don’t hit the technology when you’ve been drinking. Instead, go home and go to bed.

Have you ever done something similar? How’d you handle it?

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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Using JavaScript to Hide Content: Advanced White Hat SEO?

Oct 18, 2011   //   by Darren Slatten   //   Contests, Copywriting, Google, SEO  //  28 Comments

If you provide some kind of SEO-related services, there will come a time when your client or boss looks you in the eye and says something like this:

“Yeah, so about those page edits you recommended…

We’re actually quite happy with the current design of our landing page, and our tests have shown that adding text to the page actually decreases conversions. So…um…is there any way you could optimize this page…like…without adding all those words to it?”

To most SEO’s, the idea of achieving top rankings in a competitive niche–without putting keyword-rich content on the page–is unrealistic if not downright ridiculous. But from a design perspective, we also have to acknowledge that text and keywords are not always what’s best for Users. Sometimes, the best User experience comes from a simple, minimalistic interface with no distractions.

The Google home page itself is a perfect example. Arguably one of the most valued resources on the Web, and certainly one of the most visited, google.com currently displays a total of 25 words.

+You Web Images Videos Maps News Gmail More Sign in Google Search I'm Feeling Lucky Privacy Change background image About Google Advertising Programs Business Solutions

But what if Google was your client, and they wanted you to optimize their home page to rank for keyword phrases related to search engine

Would you recommend something like this instead?

Google home page with Wikipedia-style text

Hmm…no, that’s not going to work. So it’s kind of a Catch-22, isn’t it? On the one hand, you’re trying to satisfy your client and their Users by providing a slick, clutter-free interface…and on the other hand, you’re trying to be mindful of Google’s relentless addiction to plain text content. So what do you do?

Well, if you don’t know how to code basic JavaScript (or you’ve seen how bad Google sucks at reading JavaScript and thus avoid it entirely), then you probably pick content over User interface, pollute the page with stacks of keyword-dense garbage, and hope that the potential increase in search traffic eventually makes up for the immediate loss of conversions.

But what if you didn’t have to choose? What if you could fill your landing pages with SEO-friendly content…without it getting in the way of your Users?

Luckily, there’s a solution. It’s called hidden content.

* GASP! *

That’s right, folks…if you’re trying to improve your website’s User experience without hurting your search engine rankings, then you need to start hiding some content–ASAP. But you can’t just hide it anywhere–you need to hide it somewhere where search engines will see it for sure…but Users won’t.

Wait... isn't that SPAM?

That depends on a number of variables, but the short answer is:

No, it’s not spam. It’s not even gray hat SEO. Hiding content is perfectly acceptable, as long as you do it right.

Which brings us to the million-dollar question…

What is the right way to hide content?

Unfortunately, Google isn’t likely to provide a useful answer anytime soon. So you know what? I’m going to take a crack at it. Seriously. I’m going to make a genuine effort to lay down some technical guidelines for all the aspiring content-hiders out there, and I’m going to do so without pretending like “your intent” has anything to do with it.

So here we go. First I’m going to suggest the guidelines; then I’m going to provide a working example that incorporates all of these best practices.

Basic Implementation Techniques for Content Hiding

  • User Friendly – Hidden content implementations should improve the User experience and must not impair the User experience.
  • Dynamic – Hidden content elements must have a visible state–a set of conditions under which the hidden content is visible and readable by Users. The visible state must be capable of being activated by a browser event. The event should be automatic (e.g., document.onload) or it should be triggered by Users’ actions (e.g., element.onclick). In the case of Users’ actions, the trigger element should be conspicuous and intuitive.
  • Accessibility – Hidden content should not be implemented in such a way that it causes the content to be inaccessible to Users with disabilities or Users who rely on screen readers or similar devices.
  • Progressive Enhancement – Hidden content must default to a visible state when rendered in a browser that either doesn’t support JavaScript or doesn’t have JavaScript enabled. A document in which all hidden content elements are in the default visible state should provide a User interface that is functional, cohesive, and reasonably intuitive.

A Perfect Example of Hidden Content

If you don’t really understand the BITCH, don’t worry–I have an example for you. And this isn’t just any ol’ example; this is my attempt at creating a perfect example.

Let’s say you have a news blog with the 10 most recent stories showing on the home page. For whatever reason, you decide that the home page should include the full text of each post. The problem is…your Users are overwhelmed by all that text, and all they really want is an easy way to scan the latest headlines before they choose a story to read. The solution…hide some content!

This example has two versions: the original plain text version and the modified “hidden content” version. As you can see, the User experience is much better in the modified version, simply because it’s easier to navigate (especially on a mobile device that requires swipe scrolling). But the real magic is in the code, so take a few minutes to view the HTML and JavaScript source. Before you go check it out, I’ll leave you with some questions/concepts to think about:

  • Compare the HTML source between the two versions. What differences do you see?
  • What happens to the Hidden Content version when JavaScript is disabled?
  • What is the likelihood of Google flagging the Hidden Content page as suspicious or deceptive?

Plain Text Content

Plain text content example

Hidden Content

Hidden content example

 

Download the Hidden Content Example

The live examples linked to above are hosted on GitHub. This means you can easily download the source code files for your own personal or commercial use (files are released under a non-restrictive free software license). And for the truly advanced SEO’s out there: you can even fork it or suggest improvements via pull requests.

Download the Hidden Content example source code files!

Darren Slatten

Darren Slatten is one smart mofo. Some say he's the World's Greatest SEO. When Darren isn't studying SEO or web programming, he's usually busy developing online marketing strategies and web hosting solutions for local small businesses. Darren also likes to use keyword-rich anchor text in his guest blog bio links, but only when it makes local SEO for small business sense to do so.

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The Seven Secret Steps to Irresistible Blog Posts

Oct 5, 2011   //   by Andrew   //   blogging, Contests, Copywriting, SEO Blog  //  19 Comments
La Defense, Paris

Go on. Follow these irresistible steps to success...

It’s easy to get hung up on the words you write. As a top blogger, you’d be foolish to not at least consider them. After all, words, sentences and paragraphs are your bread and butter.

But once you’ve worked out what to say and the tone in which to say it, do you take the time to consider the format?

Because if the layout of your copy isn’t readable, nobody’s going to stick around to see what you’ve written. And that renders all your well-chosen words redundant.

So read on and learn the secrets that are going to ensure your target audience is going to read all the way to the end.

The Seven Secret Steps to Irresistible Blog Posts

Master the Art of the Paragraph

We all remember when we’re obliged to start a new paragraph. When you change topic, change time or change place. That’s what your teacher told you at school, so you just keep ploughing on with the same rambling paragraph until you’ve exhausted the topic, run out of time, or moved to sunny Tijuana.

You credulous buffoon. Why on earth did you think your teacher was right?

Here’s the one time you need to change paragraph. Doesn’t matter if time, topic and place are still the same, there’s one point when you need to hit that return key.

When dramatic effect demands it.

A quick, single sentence paragraph is visual shorthand for “this bit is important”. So make use of them when you’re sharing something groundbreaking. And watch as your reader starts to scroll down looking for the next one.

Or for something just as arresting…

Hit ‘em With a Hail of Bullet (Points)

What have great bloggers and successful gangsters got in common? Other than a penchant for whisky cocktails and jaunty hats?

That’s right – they both know how to fire bullet points with deadly accuracy.

Why are bullet points so effective?

  • Visually arresting – a bullet point hits you like, well, a bullet between the eyes. You can’t ignore it. You stop and read.
  • Clear and concise – it’s impossible to ramble on a bullet point. You’re throwing out pure, distilled information
  • Breaks up blocks – people won’t read a wall of text. Liberally scatter your bullets, and your layout remains fresh and interesting.

Stop Skimmers by Sprinkling in Subheadings

Skim readers love subheadings. It’s pretty much all they’ll stop for.

And you want a skim reader to stop, because if they don’t, they’re scrolling all the way to the bottom, off the page and out of your life.

So unleash a few content speedbumps to slow them down. Enticing and enlightening subheadings help your readers to find the content they find most useful or interesting – so they’ll make a bee-line straight for it.

And then they’ll read it.

And if they’ve slowed down long enough to read a whole subsection, they’ve slowed down long enough to write a comment, hammer out a tweet, or buy your eBook.

Not bad for a bit of bolded text.

The Internet Can’t Say No to a Funny Picture

He might be able to write Shakespeare, but he can't format it

By now, the reader’s concentration is beginning to flag. All the typographical tricks are keeping them on the page, but you need to cut them some slack.

So throw in an illustration or two.

Preferably one that backs up your points – and don’t forget to add an amusing caption, just to re-enforce your message. Because long after they’ve forgotten the exact wording of your advice, they’ll remember that the funny monkey told them just how to keep people reading.

Beef Up Arguments With Block Quotes

By now, you’re coming around to my way of thinking. You’re plotting sublime subheaders, and coming up with cunning captions.

But something’s nagging at the back of your mind. Wouldn’t this post be truly, completely irresistible if you could just see a second opinion?

Block quotes are a great way of providing a second opinion. As they’re generally from another authority on your subject of choice, they carry weight.

And because they’re visually interesting, they fulfill the same role as bullets points and subheaders – they force the reader to slow down and pay attention!

Mr603 – Outspoken Member of the Twitterati

Yeah. That’ll just about cover it.

Think About Your Font

What font is your blog written in?

I can say with some certainty that you’re probably not going to have a clue. Which is frankly ridiculous if you want to create a truly irresistible post.

The art of font creation is a huge subject that I don’t have space to get into here. But prove the power of the font to yourself. Copy this post into a word processor.

Now set the font to Comic Sans or Vivaldi.

I think that proves my point. Don’t you?

 Avoiding Irritations

Follow the six secret steps, and you’ll have framed your content in an absolutely irresistible way. But don’t rest on your laurels yet, dear blogger.

Because you’ve still got a final chance to throw it all away. By irritating your readers and driving them from your site, never to return.

Irritating blog quirks could fill a whole post to themselves, but there are two content killers that you’ll need to avoid at all costs:

  1. Pop Ups: I know you want your reader to sign up to your mailing list. But please don’t hurl a pop-up at them after they’ve just started to read. It’ll break their concentration and raise their hackles. Just don’t take the risk.
  2. Pagination: We’ve all got mouse wheels. So don’t split your post into seven chapters across seven pages. Because a blog reader will scroll for miles and miles to read your content. Just don’t expect them to click.

So there you have it. The seven secret steps to making your blog’s content truly irresistible. You don’t need to use all seven techniques in everything you post, but keep all of these techniques in your locker, and you’ll find your audience to be far more responsive.

And who can blame them? You’re totally irresistible.

Andrew

Andrew Nattan is the wholly modest genius behind the Unmemorable Title copywriting blog. If you really loved this post, you should probably follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his RSS feed. And if you didn’t, you can always email him threatening messages.

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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Call to Action

Sep 19, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   Copywriting, SEO Blog  //  4 Comments

Whether you need to create landing pages for various products you’re selling or you’re providing copy for your home page on your business site, your call to action is one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle. Nevertheless, tons of people get it wrong. In fact, many business websites fail to have any call to action whatsoever. I’ve even had clients ask me to take the call to action out of the copy I’ve done for them. It never ceases to amaze me.

But assuming you’re open to the idea of a call to action, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of yours.

1.       Avoid the generic—Yes, “Contact us now!” is nice and urgent sounding, but urgency isn’t the only thing your call to action needs. You need to avoid the generic line and add some specifics. Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding like one of those late night infomercials. How do you circumvent the generic? Make sure you explain what’s in it for the customer.

2.       Don’t forget the “how”—Research is conclusive: customers need to be told what to do. Like sheep, they need to be led directly to the proverbial slaughter. But guess what? They won’t get there unless you tell them how. You can tell a sheep to go lay down all day, but until you guide him there, nothing’s going to happen. In the same way, make sure your call to action tells the customer the exact step you want them to take.

3.       Make it visible—Yes, good copy usually ends with a strong call to action. But is it possible it can get lost there? Maybe. Assuming your copy is good enough to lead the reader all the way to the end, you still need to do something to make the call to action stand out. Italics or boldings are good for that.

But what happens if your potential customer never scrolls to the bottom of the page? For this reader, you need to make sure you have a call to action that shows up before they ever have to scroll down. Maybe at the end of the first paragraph, maybe on a button at the top of the page…

It may seem silly, but a simple sentence or two can truly make the difference between an interested party and a paying customer. What else do you do to better your calls to action?

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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Should You Have Someone Writing Your Blogs for You?

Aug 4, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   blogging, Copywriting, SEO Blog  //  7 Comments

Among other things, I do business blogging (ghost blogging). And it never ceases to amaze me how many peers and potential clients and just random people have never even heard of ghost blogging. In fact, a recent client asked me “can you even do that?” when I told her I could take over her blogs for her and build her reputation as an expert by tagging her name on each of them.

It gets funnier. I was contacted a while back by a writer who wanted to do some work for my agency. While I’m not actively looking for writers, I did talk with them about what sort of work I do, and what kind I might consider using another writer for. Read more >>

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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