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The Secrets to Web Content that Sells

13 Jun

The best web developers understand that a critical part of every website design is the actual web content on every page. This content is what drives viewers to the website, and it is what keeps viewers interested in what the website has to offer. Additionally, web content compels website viewers to take action and either buy something or want to learn more. In order to write excellent web content, it is important to understand the basic fundamentals of writing search engine optimized copy. Here are some guidelines for writing web content that sells.

Web Content Research

Expert web content writers understand that before one word is every written for a website, research must be done first. This research consists of learning more about the niche industry or hobby that the website is about. This means reading up on the industry, as well as finding out what the top competitors are including on their websites. Any business that wants to get ahead in a smart way will take the time to research competitors first. Do this right and you have a great start to creating web content that sells!

Web Content Keywords

When consumers are looking for something on the Internet, they will generally type in a series of keywords into a search engine. These keywords are what lead viewers to particular websites. The websites which have enough of these keywords included in the web content get the best results in the search engines. This is often referred to as search engine optimization, or SEO. When writing content, be sure to use keyword research tools to indentify the top five keyword combinations for the best results for your website.

Web Content Word Counts

Another way to web content success is to make sure that you follow the rules when it comes to the actual word count of your web copy. Many people do not understand that if you do not have at least 250 words on a web page, it will simply be ignored by most major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Be sure to write at least 250 words for each page. In addition, do not get carried away with your keywords, which will only cause your pages to be dropped entirely!

Web Content Paragraph Structure

Most readers will spend approximately 30 seconds or less reading your web content, so keep your sentences easy to read to keep them interested. Limit each paragraph to no more than 3-4 sentences and make sure that they make overall sense. Each paragraph should start with a compelling sentence and end with another compelling sentence to lead readers to the next paragraph. Remember, you are not writing a novel here, just great web content!

Call to Action in Web Content

Lastly, if you want to write the very best web content, you must include a call to action for your readers. Near the middle to the end of the web content, be sure to ask the reader to take action such as exploring other parts of the website (through imbedded links), pick up the phone to call, make a purchase, or send an email through a web contact form. The goal of the website is to not have people get stuck reading through many pages of content, but rather to take clear action.

As you write your web content, be sure to take the time to proofread it and spell check it so that your website comes off as intelligent and authoritative to readers. The basics of good writing apply to web content and will help your copy to sell to viewers. By following the above tips, your web content will improve and you will get positive results in terms of selling your ideas, services and products on a website marketing platform.

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What I Learned From Blogging Everyday for a Month

29 May

During the month of May, I decided to participate in the 2011 WordCount Blogathon, which required posting once a day to ‘A Journey of Words’. For a busy freelance web copy writer, this was no easy task. First of all, I had to dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to writing a blog post. Secondly, I had to come up with topics that would be of interest to my readers. Lastly, I had to stick with something for an entire month, something I have struggled with in the past. But here I am, at the end of this challenge and I did it!

During this time, here’s what I learned:

1. Blogging can be a great way to connect with readers and meet new contacts. Throughout the month, I had the honor of getting comments from a huge audience of fellow bloggers, writers and business owners around the world. A few even agreed to be guest bloggers, which was such a treat. I have to say that the rewards of blogging are many.

2. Blogging teaches discipline as a freelancer. One of the biggest fears I had going into the Blogathon was that I would not have the time to blog daily. Instead, I found that the time I spent blogging taught me a lot about being committed to something bigger than myself. I became more disciplined and stopped letting things distract me from my purpose as a writer.

3. Blogging daily is a great source of free advertising. Over the entire month, I used Google alerts to track my success as a blogger, specifically to see if my name came up often through web searches. You may have noticed that there were specific keywords highlighted in most posts (but not all). These keywords helped my website to rank higher and I got a lot of Google hits on my name and my blog feeds.

Spending time on your blog daily, or at least a few times a week, can be a great way to build a steady following of people, make new friends and build awareness about your business or passions. I fully intend to use my blog as a tool to reach more people and share information in a big way this year.

Now it’s your turn to share – How do you benefit from blogging?

Why Facebook Fans Matter to Small Businesses

26 May

Does your business have a facebook fan page?

Have you been trying to figure out how to use this social media outlet to reach more of your target market?

How can you use facebook to build a loyal following of customers?

These, and many other questions are on the minds of small business owners everywhere. Social media should be at the very top of any business marketing plan. Why? Because it’s a cheap and easy way to interact with people online from all walks of life. It’s also becoming the go-to place for consumers. Just in the last year, facebook saw a huge increase in the numbers of consumers who use this website to research businesses, shop for products and services, and connect with local merchants. Just since the beginning of 2011, there are some 600 million facebook users. Consumers love to share information about their favorite stores, restaurants and services with their networks, which can range in the thousands on facebook.

A growing trend in small business online marketing is using facebook as a primary platform to launch a new idea. Before even building a website or engaging in other marketing efforts, many small businesses are simply building facebook pages and trying to earn followers through good old-fashioned networking.  And this effort works wonders! I’ve personally worked with small business owners who have used this technique to pre-launch a business website, and they have amassed hundreds of eager followers who have converted over to customers within days.

Facebook fans matter a lot to small businesses who may not have the means to pay for other types of advertising. Many small businesses just use facebook as a way to talk about new products and services, using images and website links to invite others to explore more. Some use facebook as a way to research and find new customers online that fit certain demographics. Others use social media to share information and hold contests to help generate more interest.

Perhaps the best way to use facebook and other forms of social media for a small business is to generate more web traffic. Because facebook happens to be in the number 2 spot currently on Alexa’s Top 500 Global sites, it’s really hard to beat in terms of web traffic. Put a post on facebook, and within 24 hours you can expect your website traffic stats to go up as well. I’ve seen it work time and again with clients as well as my own business.

So, if your business doesn’t have a facebook presence yet, or you are not fully maximizing it with daily posts – get in touch with me so I can help you take advantage of this excellent small business resource. I will be happy to show you how to use facebook to your advantage and why facebook fans should matter to your business.

How Writing for the Web is Different than Other Forms of Writing

24 May

Today, I would like to share an excerpt from my Freelance Writing Class on the topic of web copy writing vs. traditional creative writing. I hope you learn something here that can help you develop more web worthy writing skills.

Writing for the web is a true form of expression, just as any other form of creative writing is. It takes a great deal of imagination and introspect to piece together sentences and keywords in a format that is interesting to readers. Nothing could be more challenging than trying to keep an audience with a 30 second attention span intrigued enough to read through an entire article. This is the absolute uniqueness of writing for the web and why it appeals to people who are trying to create income as web copy writers today.

When it comes down to the actual differences in web writing versus other forms of writing, the simplest answer can often be the most confusing aspect of web writing. As each project is different, there is no one “set in stone” method to write for the web, but there is a system that can be applied to each web writing project which will guarantee the best results from your efforts. Without this system, no amount of writing or keyword placement is going to help you get traffic to your website or blog. 

Writing for the web takes planning ahead. This is where many traditional writers get stuck. While creative writing depends on the right side of the brain to come up with the ideas, twists and turns of the story or poem; writing for the web means using the left side of the brain simultaneously to actually plan out the content itself ahead of time. This can be as simple as a template for writing web friendly articles. Or it can mean actually mapping out a website ahead of time to determine the way readers will navigate through the site and what will peak their interest and in what order.

Want to learn more about the best system for writing for the web and how it can help you learn to earn? Check out my 6 week course today!

Click here to go to FREELANCE WRITING CLASS

Copy Writing 101: Getting Started as a Freelancer

23 May

Ever since I made the leap of faith to become a web copy writer over five years ago, a lot of people have asked me, “how I did it?”  To be honest, it was not an easy transition from being a corporate HR manager to that of a home based freelancer. There have been a few bumps in the road, but I knew if I stuck with it long enough I would see the fruits of my labor. And over the years, I have.

 So, if you are wondering if this may be a valid career choice for you, here’s some quick advice on getting started!

1. Keep your day job for at least six months. One of the biggest mistakes many work at home wannabee’s do is quit a perfectly great job right away. Not only is this foolish financially, but what if you realize you don’t really like being at home full time? Stay in your current job and write on the side for a while. During this time, develop your skills, pick up clients and learn the ropes of copy writing. Before long, your freelance work will outweigh your outside the home job and you can put in a notice.

2. Devote time to write daily. While you are working on building a nice career in copy writing, start developing the habits which will make you successful for the long-term. Most copy writers spend between 4-8 hours daily at their desks, researching and writing copy for a variety of clients. Many work longer hours to meet deadlines or manage multiple projects around other responsibilities. To do copy writing on a full time basis, you must LOVE writing a lot and you must be able to do this 30-40 hours a week or more.

3. Learn all you can about copy writing. One of the best ways to ramp up your career as a freelance copy writer is to learn from other writers before you. That means taking classes, participating in webinars, reading great books on writing, and studying the masters of marketing copy. A good low cost alternative to a college class is my 6 week freelance writing class where I teach you everything I have learned over the last 5 years as a web copy writer and how you can get started (and find paying work).

4. Select a writing mentor. Just as you would starting out in any other career, finding a good mentor is a critical aspect of becoming a highly compensated copy writer. A mentor should have at least five or more years of writing experience and be able to answer your general questions about freelancing, give you advice on locating work, and provide feedback on your written work. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to my mentor(s) with questions and found the help and encouragement I needed to make sound decisions as a writer.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you about getting started as a copy writer. There is a HUGE market out there of businesses and clients who need supperb copy – so go out there and grab ’em!

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About the Author: Tess C. Taylor, Owner of Taylor Resources Writing, is a skilled web copy writer from Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in helping small business owners project the right message online. She has personally written over 2,500 articles, managed 100+ web copy projects and is regularly featured on The Chamber of Commerce, FindVenture, WiseGeek, US News, Yahoo and more as a business and careers writer. You can find out more by visiting HTTP://WWW.TRWRITING.COM today!

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Jennifer Oakes of J. Oakes Photography Shares Her Story of Balancing Career and Family

19 May
Readers, you are in for a treat today! I am very pleased to introduce you to a fantastic guest blogger who just happens to be my younger sister and a very talented photographer from upstate New York . Would you please help me welcome Jennifer Oakes of J. Oakes Photography!

Jennifer has been successfully working from home for a couple of years as an on-site portrait photographer, while simultaneously raising two beautiful children. What’s so wonderful about Jennifer is that she is able to experience a career that allows her to have more balance as a wife and mother, plus do what she loves best – capturing once in a lifetime images of people’s most cherished memories. From maternity and baby photos to stunning family and wedding portraits, Jennifer is making a big name for herself by giving others a glimpse into her point of view. Today, let’s read more about how Jennifer got her start in the world of photography and what inspires her….
I started taking photos of friends and family members when I was about 11 years old. I remember using those wind up disposable cameras and buying a new one every week when I got my allowance. I loved photographing my friends on the playground and the different ones dating in junior high. I also have many memories of the sleepovers my girl friends and I had, dressing up in silly ways and trying to become the next model for “Glamour” magazine. What fun we had!
Friends and family members would comment along the way as I laid out my scrap books from the “old times” and continued into the present years with photos of my son and husband. “What a great shot,” they would say. Well, I never thought anything of it. I just loved being behind the camera to capture these moments I wanted to remember. There is one photo of my son’s second Easter (one of the first he began to understand), that particularly stood out to me. That is when I really started thinking, “hey, I could do this for other people.”
Now, I would be lying if I took all the credit for my idea to go pro. I was greatly influenced by an old high school friend of mine who had been performing private photo shoots for fellow army families. Brianna A. Showerman was stationed in Colorado with her soon-to-be deployed husband and their one year old son. I envied the work she performed and her amazing editing skills.
So, I began to ask questions.
I figured out real fast that coming up with a professional name, setting up a web page, doing research for photo ideas and poses, taking the photos, and finally editing them, was the easy part! It was finding the free time between working as a certified nursing assistant at a local nursing home, my husband’s work schedule as a logger and forester (never having set hours), and taking care of my toddler.
In October of 2010, we got the added news of a new baby on the way. It was then that I knew something would have to change! After the birth of our daughter in June 2010, I went back to work part-time at a local mini-mart thinking I would take on just enough hours to help our income. WRONG! So, to keep a long story short, in January 2011, we made the decision for me to become a full-time stay at home mom.
It’s been tough, but being able to be home with my two children has been the greatest blessing God has given me. Adding to this blessing is the time to concentrate on my business, J.Oakes Photography, and having the extra free time to perform more photo shoots for families around the area. It has been great and I have begun to expand into a wedding photographer as well. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities that I have received through my love and passion of photography.
The future is bright for Jennifer as she continues to grow her home based business and expand her portfolio, but the main thing is that she followed her true passions and talent to build a business from scratch. I’ve had the priviledge of watching her blossom over the last few years, as a photographer and a young mother. What impresses me the most is that she has dedicated herself to learning all she can about her craft, pours her heart and soul into her photography, yet always remembers to prioritize her family life.
If you would like to learn more about Jennifer Oakes at J. Oakes Photography, you are welcome to visit her at   http://www.joakesphotography.com   and you can also find her on facebook ! Right now she has a special deal going on (but hurry as this is a limited time only offer) for a FREE framed 5×7 photo when you book a photo shoot from now until 8.31.11!

Small Business + Web Copy Writer = Online Marketing Success

12 May

If you are the owner of a small business, perhaps you are struggling to get your message across to the rest of the world? This is actually a common issue with entrepreneurs. Sure, you try to do a lot of this on your own or you hire a young person on your crew to handle your online marketing efforts, but is it really enough? Having a website or posting on social media are only small pieces of the puzzle. Chances are, your true message is lost in translation because you don’t have the time or a real understanding of online marketing processes. That’s where a professional web copy writer can help!

Here’s why hiring a website copy writer can create an abundance of success for your business…

Web copy writers understand how to write compelling content that sells. You may have tried to write something for your website, your facebook page, and even print materials. However well your intentions have been, the copy is probably lacking that “punch” that’s needed to get readers to respond in a positive way. Copy writers know how to get inside the mind of your customers and get them to take action. They write in way that doesn’t come off as too sales-pitched, yet creates a buzz about what you can offer above your competitors.

Web copy writers understand the fundamentals of search engine optimization. A website is a nice tool for any business to use. But without content that’s search engine friendly, even the prettiest website will falter. In order for the search engines to find your web presence, you must have web content that’s written using strict SEO guidelines set forth by major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Don’t leave this to chance and hire a cheap ‘keyword stuffer’ who will actually reduce your website efforts to a pile of rubble. Get a skilled copy writer with a record of success from previous clients.

Web copy writers know how to solidify your message online. Great web copy starts with creating a clear message of your business. When you work closely with a seasoned web copy writer in Charleston, you can bet that this person will see the bigger picture about what you hope to achieve. Instead of quantity, the focus should be on quality of your message across all channels. Your web copy writer can hone in on this message and make sure that it’s being communicated throughout all your online marketing efforts.

Your web copy writer is a versatile and networked creative. If you are looking for help in any area of your business marketing efforts, no one is better at this than a skilled web copy writer. As professionals, we love helping others reach their goals through a clever marketing strategy. Writers can usually handle a wide range of PR and online marketing projects, from articles and press releases to reports, print marketing materials and blogs. Find a quality web copy writer and you open the door to a huge network of creatives who can help you in any area of your business.

So, whether you have a simple copy writing project or just need help in some area of business marketing, pick up the phone and call a web copy writer who has the expertise to help you become more successful this year. In Charleston, call 843-548-0077 to speak with Tess C. Taylor of Taylor Resources Writing.