On the Internet these days people expect authenticity from the sites they visit. Even Google rewards authenticity by giving better search engine ranking to those who make it clear that they are an author on a website and have a completed profile on Google+. If your site and blog posts are shared on other social media sites, so much the better. The search engines can see these things as [Read more...]
In today’s world, writing blog posts is essential to growing your business. It used to be that you could put some text on your website telling people what you do, have some testimonials about how great you are and put some keywords on each page. I am so sorry to tell you this, but that just doesn’t work anymore. The world of content management websites, social media and search have changed expectations and the game is not played the same anymore.
Maybe you just want a place for people to look up your rates and your phone number or directions. As long as you come up in a search for your own business name (you’d be surprised that some people don’t), then I agree you don’t need to blog. But if you want to attract more of the type of client that you want, and have them ready to work with you without your having to “Sell” them, then it is essential that you [Read more...]
Last week, I gave some tips to writing great headlines that will get people to open your e-mails or read your posts. This week, let’s talk about things you can do to get them engaged in what you are writing.
Before I launch into the tips, let me preface this with an important overarching caveat.
No amount of good writing will overcome a poor website design. You need a web design that, first of all, facilitates people finding your blog posts. Otherwise, only your mother is going to click the tiny little word, Blog, that is lost on a blah blah blah marketing speak site. Once you have a good site, make sure the style sheet is set up to give your posts a nice presentation. This will make it so much more rewarding to write. Now with that said, here are 15 tips to make you a better blogger:
15 Tips to Make You a Better Blogger
1. Write posts that are interesting and informative and not just marketing speak. Show them how great you are, rather than telling them.
2. Use at least one image to draw people into the post.
3. Left align the first image with text wrapping, so that the first couple of lines of text to the right side of the image are shorter (about 250 – 300 pixels wide). It is easier for people to read shorter lines of text on the web, but once they are engaged they will keep reading the text with normal column width.
Fess up. Have you ever been in line at the grocery store when a National Enquirer headline was so compelling that you bought it so you could read the article? Are those techniques smarmy? Well kind of but they are ever so effective and have been working for decades.
Five Tried and True Methods to Write Headlines That Have a Better Chance at Getting People to Read Your Posts:
1) _________Ways to _____________
- 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
- 4 Ways to Know If You are Going to Live To One-Hundred
- 300 Ways to Make Some Extra Cash in A Hurry
If you do have a blog, here are some simple tips to keep you blogging with the big dogs.
1. Keep your target reader/customer/purpose in mind. This means you can write about other topics they would be interested in.
2. Break your posts into short paragraphs, with no more than 7 lines each.
3. Use sub-headings between paragraphs. This helps readers to scan and not be overwhelmed.
4. Use body text that is 14px to show up optimally on mobile devices. [Read more...]
One of the biggest problems non-graphic artists have when learning to maintain their websites is the whole issue of working with their images. Web 2.0 sites really rock with photos and images to demonstrate a topic or can be used in a long blog post to break up text into manageable sized chunks.
Image File Types and Purpose
It helps to know a bit about file types. If you don’t know your JPEGs from your GIFs image formats, this is for you. First, lets talk about file compression.
There are basically two ways of saving images, lossy or lossless (no, I didn’t make those up). If an image is saved in a lossy image format, it means the format being used discards some of the “unimportant” image information. However, the resulting image file is smaller. Lossless retains ALL the image information. OK, now that you know that, here’s an overview of the [Read more...]
I have a weekly marketing group for small businesses that meets for 90 minutes each week. In the group we are setting measurable goals and learning to target activities such as writing blog posts to help reach their goals. I wrote these tips for them but wanted to share them here too.
1. Keep your target reader/customer/purpose in mind.
2. Break your posts into short paragraphs, with no more than 7 lines.
3. Use sub-headings between paragraphs. Helps readers to scan and not be overwhelmed.
4. Do not use a black background or text that is too small. Why do people have blog themes that make their writing impossible to read? On the other hand, don’t have text in your blogs posts the size of the senior edition Reader’s Digests .
5. Use links rather that writing out a link URL. And please check the links. Best to go to the site that you are linking to and copy their url and then paste it into the link box. Don’t guess.
6. Use bulleted lists or numbered lists. People like them and Google likes them.Win-Win.
7. Have calls to action on the pages that your posts are on. Don’t make people guess what you are wanting them to do. Make it easy for them to shop with you, become your client, sign up for your newsletter etc…
8.Use the “read more” tag in your posts so that the articles on the front page of your blog are not too long. You want people to be able to scan a number of the titles and thumbnails of your posts. If the posts go on too long they won’t keep scrolling.
9. Use images in your posts. They breaks up the text and makes your posts more appealing. Dreamstime is one of my favorite places to get images at reasonable cost. You only need the small low resolution graphics that don’t cost very much. You buy yourself $20.00or so, of Dreamstime credits then you have access to downloading the images you want.
10.Do post about other people’s posts and link back to them. Don’t copy their entire post. Just tell your readers what you liked about the material, maybe put your own take on it and then link to their posts. Hopefully you will write a post or two that other people will link to.
11. Make em mad, Make em laugh or Kick up some dust with your posts. These are the things that have people comment.
12. Ask questions of your readers. Get them to start commenting.
13. Use key word phrases( something someone may search on to find your article) in the title and the content of the post. Catchy headline titles are old school, print cliches. Your post titles may appear in a Feed Reader or search result, so they needs to describe what you have written about. On the other hand, don’t just stuff key words into your posts you will get dinged by Google and it is bad form and spammy.
14. For most blogs, you should write in the first person. Write conversationally. People want to know you and you should show up. And it will make it easier to read.
15. Proof read and spell check.
16. Keep a file of good blog post ideas that can move you towards your goals and then make a schedule as to when you will write what.
Marketing plan: Pick one short term goal that you have for your business. How will you measure it? What steps are you going to take to reach that goal? Write post titles that may help you reach that goal. Schedule the posts. Write and post the first one.
Leave a comment here on the goal you would like to work on and your ideas for it.
Many of you have lots of photos in your computer files and find that they are too large to quickly upload to your website. The first thing you can do to help with the problem is to adjust the settings of your camera. Most cameras these days can take pictures that are Ginormous. Unless you are a professional or want to use photos for large prints you can adjust your cameras to a smaller resolution. But if you want to keep your pixels huge then I have another fast solution.
Download the free program Picture Resizer. It is an easy way to re-size your jpgs.
How to use it?
- Download PhotoResize400.exe and place it on your desktop.
- Open Windows Explorer to your photo files.
- Select the photo or the entire file that you would like the photos re-sized and drag and drop JPG files or folders with JPG files on to the the application icon on your desktop.
- The tool will re-size JPG images and save them next to the originals. Names of the new pictures will be based on the original names, with a suffix indicating their size. For example, the re-sized version of MyPhoto.jpg will be called MyPhoto-400.jpg, where the number 400 indicates the size of the picture.
On the program home page there are choices you can make about the way you want the photos re-sized. These choices are changed in your program by renaming the program icon on your desktop. Just go to the desktop and right click and change the name to whichever choice you’d like to make. I used the one that makes the maximum width 400 px and keeps the proportions of the original photo.