Archive | writing RSS feed for this section

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.

Advertisements

3 Tips for Coming Up with Ideas as a Writer

28 May

One of the questions that I get a lot from new writers and clients is, “Where do I find ideas to write about?” For many writers, inspiration comes from different sources. These sources depend on what you are exposed to in an average week, who you talk with, and what kind of media streams into your world.

You may be surprised to learn that I personally do NOT watch television, I seldom have time to sit down and read novels, and I don’t go out looking for topics to write about. Instead, I let the world unravel itself to me. I write about things that I personally encounter through different forms of technology and personal networking combined with a passion for researching.

If you are struggling with coming up with topics for your blog, marketing materials or more…here are 3 simple tips to coming up with interesting things to write about.

Use writing prompts. A great way to come up with topics, especially if you are more of a creative writer, is to employ writing prompts. These are short little intros on topics to write about, sort of like what your English teacher used to assign to you to write essays. Some of my favorite writing prompt websites give you fun writing prompts to get you started. Visit Writer’s Digest Writing Prompts and The One-Minute Writer for some fun, daily writing prompts!

Subscribe to favorite blog and news feeds. If you are a sporadic reader (like me) you can often find writing inspiration through what you read. Blogs and online news sources can give you a lot to think about and inspire new writing. If you have a mobile device, you can even read on the go. Just be sure to credit any sources you find and ask bloggers before you quote from their blog posts.

Look for popular trends. As a web copy writer, you will want to ocassionally create articles and blog posts on popular topics to drive traffic stats up. To do this, focus in on the hot topics and keywords that are creating a buzz on the Internet. Try using Google Trends or Yahoo Buzz Index to locate these topics.

 

Now it’s your turn. How do you come up with ideas to write about? Please be sure to share them below!

Paragraph Structure for Web Writing

25 May

As you have been looking through popular websites, following your favorite writers and even dabbling in some web writing on your own, you may have noticed a pattern in the way web writing looks.

There is a certain format that seems to look better on most websites. This is not by accident. Professional web content writers understand that the way paragraphs and entire pages of content are formatted bears an impact on how well the website will perform and how readers will respond.

When you were a student, you were probably taught in English class that writers start out their work by writing a main sentence, followed by supporting sentences. Once the thought or idea is developed and a new thought is introduced, a new paragraph starts. This is fine for creative writing and for writing for traditional print publications, but for web writing, it’s a little different.

Writing for the web uses those same basic principles and takes them to the next level. Because you’ve already learned how website viewers read web pages and how they find websites, you may be trying to figure out how this applies to the format for web articles and content?

Simply put, the format you should write in has a little more to do with keeping readers’ attention and less to do with writing full paragraphs in the traditional sense. Writing paragraphs that appeal to the way people review information online becomes a critical aspect of how you will format your writing.

As you begin writing for the web, you may be tempted to write just as you always have as a creative or technical writer. While you may already have a great personal talent for writing, your writing will not perform as well on a website if you fail to recognize how people read online. In general, your sentence structure should be broken down into a simpler format so that it doesn’t overwhelm readers who are scanning the page for pertinent information.

Rule of thumb as a web writer – Keep It Simple!

 

  • Limit paragraphs to one compelling or interesting opening line or sentence. Then follow with two to three supporting sentences.

 

  • Limit paragraphs to 100 words or less for the maximum results and the increased likelihood that someone will actually read your article or content.

 

  • Limit searchable keywords to once per sentence, as anymore than that will be considered spam or trying to trick the search engines.

 

  • Use hyper-links on the desired keywords or those that are relevant to the topic of the content itself once per paragraph.

 

  • Make sure that all titles and subtitles include at least one of the keywords and bold all titles.

 

  • Keep articles between 450 – 600 words in length as that is the optimal length for web writing.

Want to learn more? Check out Freelance Writing Class for more tips on becoming a well-paid web writer!

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!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blogathon 2011 Theme Day “My top 5 favorite places to write”

22 May

Well, here we are just ten days shy of the end of the 2011 WordCount Blogathon and I have to say that it’s been a blast! My blog has grown so much, I’ve met some wonderful fellow bloggers, and had a bunch of terrific guests share their insight here.

Today, as part of the Blogathon, I’ve been tasked with writing on a theme “My top 5 favorite places to write are…”, which really got me thinking! Does where I write have an effect on the type of writing I do?

Since I left the corporate world years ago to pursue web copy writing full time, I’ve written in all kinds of environments from a bedroom office to local coffee shops. The people and things around me must have some kind of influence on my work. Being a freelancer, I meet some wonderful people everywhere I happen to connect my trusty Dell laptop to the Internet. I often encounter other freelancers, small business owners and busy Mom’s who are building careers for themselves. These people share fresh ideas and perspectives with me, which are often the inspiration for new material. One would have to say then that the choices of where I love to write have a positive influence on my writing.

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 favorite places to write:

1. My queen anne style, vintage cherry writing desk. This desk is the center of my world as a Charleston web copy writer. I picked it up from an estate sale about 6 years ago, from a neiughbor who told me it was his mother’s cherished desk. It has been the place where I have sat many hours late into the night drafting new business articles, worked with clients on marketing plans, and just tried to keep it all together as an entrepreneur. Wherever I go in life, this desk comes along with me and it centers me enough to do my very best.

2. In my bedroom late at night. Sounds like the start of a great romance novel, doesn’t it? Well, to be honest, on days when I am seeking creativity the most, I take my laptop into the bedroom and get under the covers in my jammies to write. I love to write my blog posts there at the end of a busy day. I often write devotionals for my church ladies’ lunch group early in the morning when I wake up, before I roll out of bed to start the day. My bedroom is a safe haven where I ca express myself in any way I wish.

3. My little front porch. What can I say, except I am a real nature girl at heart! Ever since we moved into our dream home last fall, I have made my front porch into a mini oasis away from the stress of a work day. There’s lots of comfortable chairs, green plants and a nice breeze which refreshes my mind. During the times when I get a little burnt out from churning out articles, I relax on my front porch to have some lunch and scribble in my notebook.

4. Local Coffee Shops. Not only do they make great places to spend an afternoon with friends, the coffee shops in my hometown like Starbucks and Bigby Coffee give me a chance to write and collaborate with my clients. I often meet new clients there to go over ideas for web content, or share a quick bite to eat while brainstorming their social media strategy. When my Wi-Fi goes down, coffee shops give me a backup so I don’t lose contact with anyone or miss an important deadline.

5. The beach. Naturally, since I love the outdoors, one of the best places to refresh the soul and do some creative writing happens to be at the beaches here. In the middle of the week, I will sometimes grab my satchel, a pair of sandals, and my trusty notebook to spend an afternoon on the beach. There’s something about the sound of waves splashing against the sand that is so relaxing, and yet inspiring. Late afternoons after all the tourists and crowds have gone are the best time to write on the beach!

Well, there you have it…Please feel free to share where your favorite places to write ( or be creative ) are!

How to Use PLR for Effective Small Business Marketing

21 May

If you’ve never heard of PLR before, you are not alone. This relatively “secret” form of content marketing has been around for quite some time with online marketers. PLR means “Private Label Rights” and it’s used to describe copy that is written for you for the purposes of private use for blogs, websites, email marketing and more. Essentially, you can buy pre-written articles and content for your small business niche, and use it virtually any way you wish. This time saving resource can help a small business owner get on top of marketing initiatives and provide more ideas for educating potential clients about the business.

But should you be using PLR for your small business? Here are some tips for using it the right way to market your business…

PLR is cheap, but you must rewrite it.  If you are a small business owner on a tight budget, you can buy PLR articles relatively cheaply in comparison to having original articles and content written for you. That is, if you have the time to re-write the content to make sure it gets past Google’s duplicate content system. The biggest mistake you can make is to simply copy and paste the content to your website or blog without re-writing PLR first. To get the most out of your investment, hire a freelance writer to re-write the content for you so that it is 100% original and promotes your business through links.

PLR provides content for other marketing needs. One of the best ways to use PLR as a small business owner is to repurpose it for use on other marketing materials – like newsletters, flyers and reports. Take PLR that is on a specific topic and combine it into one larger document to form a simple report. Use the most relevant paragraphs in the PLR to start new blog posts and topics on your community forums. Or take the PLR and use it on facebook or twitter, sentence by sentence, to generate interest in your business.

PLR can be resold for profit. A great way for any small business owner to increase profits is to organize the PLR material into eBooks or video tutorials to be sold to customers. Gather the best PLR and write a simple eBook that can be formatted and sold online via your website, eBook or print on demand programs. If you are feeling generous, use your eBooks as a giveaway on your websites and blogs to increase subscriptions from viewers. Use the PLR to create a video series on how to do something, in your business niche. All of these things can help establish you as the expert in your particular field and generate additional income for you at the same time.

So if you are ready to delve into PLR, be sure to follow the rules and you will see results in a relatively short period of time. Again, take the time to hire an experienced copy writer to help you get the most out of your PLR.

If you are looking for some good sources of quality PLR, check out the following reputable PLR providers here:

All Quality PLR

Easy PLR

All Private Label Content

PLR Private Label Rights

Mom PLR eBooks and More!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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!

_____________________________________________________________________________________