What Are Google Core Web Vitals? A Content Creator’s Perspective

What Are Google Core Web Vitals? A Content Creator’s Perspective

Think it’s just good content that will land you at the top of Google? Think again.

Google is always looking for ways to improve the results it delivers to searchers. So, to absolutely no one’s surprise, it’s rolling out yet another set of ranking signals that content creators and developers will need to heed.

They’re called Core Web Vitals.

This isn’t even really news. Back in November 2020, Google announced that Core Web Vitals would become ranking signals in May 2021. Since then, we’ve been slowly ticking down to the moment. ⏲️

In other words, if your page loads slowly or doesn’t respond to user actions, it’s now going to negatively affect your SERPs.

That’s a pretty big deal for content creators as well as developers.

Here’s a closer look at what Core Web Vitals are, how the evaluator guidelines are moving steadily toward an emphasis on the page experience, and what content creators can do to improve their Core Web Vitals rankings.

Let’s go!

core web vitals

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are specific factors Google considers important when determining the quality of the overall user experience your page provides. They consist of three metrics related to loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

You’ll see them respectively referred to with three different acronyms:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). The amount of time it takes to render the largest visible content block. In plain English, that means the time it takes for it to be obvious to your users that the page is loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID). The amount of time between when a user interacts with an element on your page – like clicking a link – and when that element actually responds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). The sum total of all layout that which occur unexpectedly over the lifespan of the page. Layout shifts occur when a visual element like an image or heading unexpectedly re-arranges the content around it – such as when you make a browser window larger or smaller.

In other words, Google is now interested in knowing how long your site takes to load, how quickly it responds to a user’s actions, and how well it holds its layout together in the face of different browsers, devices, or screen sizes.

Google then uses numerical measurements to rank each Core Web Vital as “good,” “needs improvement,” or “poor.” The specific thresholds are as follows:

core web vitals score thresholds

To see how your site is performing, you can now find the metrics tracked in Google Console. Under the Enhancements section, there will be a Web Vitals Report.

The Rise of the Page Experience Ranking Signals

This shift towards page experience represents just one more way in which the internet is pivoting towards an increased emphasis on user experience (UX).

Not that users haven’t been demanding good design and good experiences for ages. In 2021, 75% of all users are basing their opinions on your brand by how easy it is for them to use your site.

Some 80% of them won’t trust you if you deliver a bad one. They’ll run. 🏃‍♀️

The decision to include Core Web Vitals as a ranking signal is simply a reflection of where things have been headed for a while.

But, I hear you ask, isn’t this an issue for developers? What does this have to do with us? Why do content creators need to care about Core Web Vitals? 🤔

Good questions!

What are Google's Core Web Vitals? What do they have to do with UX and page experience? 💻 Most of all... Why should you care as a #contentcreator? Get the lowdown on @ExpWriters ☑ Click To Tweet

What the Core Web Vitals Mean for Content Creators

We’ve known for a while that written content can be optimized for maximum readability. Things like giant blocks of text, illegible fonts, and badly formatted headings can negate even the most eloquently written content.

However, for a long time, those were overlooked elements with ranking. Google focused highly on content quality – i.e. the quality of the writing itself – and it used to be that those things had minimal impacts on your SERPs. You might have experienced:

  • Higher bounce rates
  • Lower time spent on site
  • Slower page load speeds

Google would notice those, and you’d slip down in rank. But, by and large, you could recover if your keyword usage was on point with the search intent, or if you had robust, authoritative citations.

What the Core Web Vitals now mean is that Google is evaluating your site against a set of criteria before it even receives feedback via user behavior. In other words, you now must pay attention to the user experience you’re creating when your content is created. That means things like:

  • Paying closer attention to how text flows
  • Using headings correctly
  • Properly formatting and coding images or embedded videos
  • Thoughtfully selecting your font
  • Putting more consideration into what your buttons say (and where they’re located!)
  • Whether you insert CTAs onto your page
  • Whether you use pop-ups to encourage newsletter signups

Core Web Vitals are just one more way that Google is encouraging us to take a holistic view when crafting content for our audience. While they’re quick to point out that good design doesn’t override exceptional content, they do expect that your content and your design complement one another.

In short, content creation is no longer about just the content itself. It’s now about the experience you’re creating with your content. ☝️

The SEO Content Writer's Cheat Sheet

Google page experience and core web vitals

The Core Web Vitals are just one out of many signals Google uses to rank your page experience. You should be familiar with others, including mobile-friendliness and HTTPS! Source: Google

How to Improve Your Core Web Vitals (as a Content Creator!)

Google wants us to create exceptional content, but they also want it to be easy to access and use. Bringing the Core Web Vitals online as a ranking signal is expected to shake things up, so make sure you’re ready.

A study in August 2020 suggested less than 15% of all websites out there are capable of passing a Core Web Vitals assessment. 🤯

Whether or not you’re creating your own content (or having experts help you out), here are a few things you can do to improve your Core Web Vitals ahead of the May 2021 update.

1. Get Your Images (and Other Large Elements) Squared Away

It’s been a best practice for a while in content creation to include images or other visual content every 300 words. This helps to break up text and keep your readers engaged.

However, following this advice can also slow down your page load speed if you’re not careful.

So, does that mean that us diligent content creators are out of luck? 🍀

Nah. Google’s got our backs. When reading the LCP definition above, you may have noticed it’s not necessarily the total page loading speed that matters. Instead, it’s the amount of time to load the largest element – which naturally translates to “most” of the page.

A “good” LCP is less than 2.5 seconds. That means your images and other large elements are going to be what slow you down, here. The general best advice around improving both LCP and large element performance include:

  • Specify attribute sizes for images, videos, and similar elements. This will also lower your CLS score.
  • Use lazy loading for content below the fold. This allows the page to load as users scroll.
  • Clean up your CSS. Fewer lines and less redundant formatting will improve load times.

core web vitals - images and seo

2. Optimize Your Fold

In web design (and content writing), the fold refers to everything that’s visible when the user first loads the page. Once they’ve started scrolling, the content they come across is called “below the fold.”

It’s one of those many terms we’ve borrowed from journalism.

Whether or not the fold is important in content has been a hot debate. Most of it has centered around the rise of long-form web content and the development of infinite scrolling.

Let’s be clear: you don’t need to use the fold on every page. However, effectively using the fold can significantly improve the overall page experience. I recommend you:

  • Keep elements light, fast, and consistent. Above the fold is a great place for headlines and statements that pop. It’s also a powerful place for CTAs. However, keep these elements light and fast – don’t put anything slow-loading here. That includes fancy fonts!
  • Preload key resources. Preloading critical assets means that the browser loads elements of the page in the background so they can display faster when the user clicks on the link. Chrome does it automatically, but you should still specify elements to preload to be sure.
  • Avoid adding new elements here. Make sure new content loads below the fold on all of your pages. This prevents new content from pushing existing content down (dinging your CLS).
What can content creators do to improve their Core Web Vitals? 🖼 Get your images (+ other large page elements) squared away 💻 Optimize your fold (before users start scrolling) 🔡 Optimize your fonts & tread carefully with Google fonts. More 👉 Click To Tweet

3. Optimize Your Fonts

Did you know that there are 884 fonts in Google’s font library? That’s 884 options for you to play with while you get that content onto your site. Hurray! Right?

Google Fonts is a tremendously convenient service — but be careful.

Google Fonts are pretty ubiquitous across the web, but their use can and does slow down site loading speed. That’s because the page can’t load until the code fetches the correct files from the Google Fonts server.

While Google Fonts will likely get faster, this is something you’ll want to take into consideration if you’ve got content-heavy pages. Likewise, make sure to:

  • Opt for browser-supported fonts or make them available as fallbacks. Browser-supported or web-safe fonts are fonts that all browsers and devices support. That means they’ll appear the same across all devices, which will lower your CLS score!
  • Avoid Google Fonts for content-heavy pages or sites. Even if you’re using lazy loading and leveraging your fold, you’ve still got a lot working against your CLP.
  • Consider preload or preconnect. A few tricks exist to help speed up the load time of Google Fonts. If you’re bent on using Google Fonts, consider one of these.

core web vitals and font readability

4. Audit Your Plugins

As of January 2021, 40% of the websites online were powered by WordPress. And what does WordPress encourage to add more functionality to a site?

Plugins. 🔌

Plugins are microservices that add specific features to your site. These typically include things like contact forms, spam filters, or other widgets that display on your page to enrich the visitor experience. Used correctly, they can tremendously improve the overall user experience.

However, they can also have impacts on your LCP and FID scores. Look for plugins…

  • With overlapping features. Providers like to make their plugins useful and will add new features over time. In general, it’s better to use one plugin for multiple things than multiple plugins which may all do similar things. Less code means faster LCP scores.
  • That are outdated. Outdated plugins will impact your user’s experience. They may not load correctly, or they may mess up your page (impacting your CLS score). It’s a good idea to do a plugin audit when you do your content audit if you’ve got plugins that are unique to specific pages or content.
  • That can replace JavaScript. JavaScript is one thing that can negatively impact your FID score. If you’re using large JavaScript files to power functionality in your content, your users cannot interact with your page until they’re all loaded.

An Excellent Experience Needs Expert Content

Google’s Core Web Vitals are writing on the wall… for more than just developers!

Content creators must now focus on the holistic content experience we’re creating and not just the quality of the content itself. For us, that means everything from how we structure our headers to what other rich features we’re introducing into the pages as we configure our content there.

Of course, Google notes that great design won’t cancel out bad content. An excellent user experience still needs excellent content.

If you’ve got your hands full assessing your Core Web Vitals, get an expert writer on your team to take over content creation.

Visit the Content Shop now.

Get content that exceeds Google's standards

In-Depth Tutorial: How to Update a WordPress Blog Post for More ROI

In-Depth Tutorial: How to Update a WordPress Blog Post for More ROI

Picture this: You’ve built a solid WordPress blog that’s driving traffic to your site.

You have a ton of content now.

How do you continue to produce quality content that attracts new visitors and keeps people coming back for more?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

You don’t have to create brand new blog posts from scratch every single time: you just need to learn how to update a WordPress blog post.

In fact, you can actually earn higher ROI more quickly by updating the WordPress blog posts you’ve already published, if you have a good bit of content published.

Updating old posts is a HUGE strategy every content marketer should be using.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, prepare to grab that low-hanging fruit and learn how to update a WordPress blog post for more ROI.

Here at Express Writers, updating old content is 90% of our entire content marketing strategy for 2021. 😳 Why? It WORKS!

Want to learn how to do it yourself? Check out my in-depth tutorial on YouTube. Then, read the blog recap. Enjoy!

(Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links. However, don’t worry! I never promote tools I don’t personally use – and love. ❤)

how to update a wordpress blog post

How to Update a WordPress Blog Post for More ROI (Video Tutorial)

Why Update Old WordPress Content?

Blogs are currently the 5th most trusted online resource.

Updating your old blog posts helps you to provide the most accurate information and maintain your position as a dependable resource of trustworthy material.

The fact is, almost all content will eventually become outdated as facts and figures, research findings, and even cultural norms change over time.

FACT: Almost all content becomes outdated eventually. ⏳ How do you keep earning ROI from even your oldest pieces? Update them. Learn @JuliaEMcCoy's proven method here 👉 Click To Tweet

To resonate with today’s readers, your content must be current.

Updating old content is an invaluable way to stay at the top of your game while giving you an opportunity to increase your SEO.

That’s what happened when we updated this blog post on how to build a digital content strategy.

It was already a solid piece, but outdated. It mentioned 2020 statistics and had graphics referencing a past year.

When we updated the whole blog and made it more current, we saw HUGE results.

Not only did it earn a #1 organic ranking and featured snippet for our focus keyword — our newly-created custom graphics even ranked in Google Images for the featured snippet.

ranking in Google

What’s better proof of updating older content than earning the featured snippet AND the #1 organic position?

Even before this happened, I decided to go all in and update the 1,300+ blogs on our site rather than creating new ones from scratch.

Now, when you visit our Write Blog, you’ll find that roughly 90% of the articles there are older posts that we’ve updated.

There’s no trick or gimmick to updating old content. It’s a lot of work, identifying which articles need a refresh and giving them the edits they need.

But in the end, it’s totally worth the time.

That’s why Express Writers’ current content marketing strategy is to focus 90% of our efforts on updating old content while just 10% is adding new content.

We’re not the only ones who have seen updated blog posts generate positive results.

Entrepreneur and marketing specialist Neil Patel uses this same tactic to boost his ROI.

For every one blog he creates, his team updates 21 previously published blogs.

Neil Patel blog updating strategy

This ensures his content is relevant, accurate, and continues to position him as an authority in his field.

Sold on the idea but not sure where to begin?

Read on to learn how to update a WordPress blog post.

3 Parts to Updating a WordPress Blog Post

To effectively update an old WordPress blog post, there are three main things you’ll need.

1. A Team

When updating old content, first build a strategy yourself.

Then, use a writing team, content marketing service, or freelance writers to do the editing and optimize your posts for better ROI.

I use my own team at Express Writers to make these changes for our site.

My staff consists of writers from various backgrounds with different levels of expertise who are prepared to put in the research and quality work necessary to post the most up-to-date information for our readers.

With ten years and over 1,300 blog posts under our belt, we have a proven track record of developing a content marketing strategy that works.

2. Tools

There are three main tools I use for discovering and managing my updated blog posts:

  • Airtable: This collaborative software helps me keep a schedule of blog topics and posts I want to update, identifies who is working on that project, and tracks their progress in our system.

content updating tool Airtable

  • SEMrush: My monthly subscription to this tool helps me discover blog posts ranking in Google that we need to update. Ranking blogs are low-hanging fruit that are already earning you positive results. They should be the first ones you review for updating to boost ROI. SEMrush helps you identify quick wins to build more ROI through WordPress blog post updates.

updating content with SEMrush

  • WordPress Backend: After logging into your WordPress admin account, you’ll have access to the backend of your site. There you can click on an old post and choose “Edit.” Make whatever changes you’d like, then click “Update.” As long as you don’t create a new post and copy and paste from the old post, you won’t break links or lose any comments or shares.
  • Content writers: Already mentioned in #1, Team, but, worth another mention here. I hire my writers at Express Writers! Our expert blog writers work on all of my content. They are a huge catalyst in helping me get the task of updating old content done.

3. A Process

It takes a well-planned strategy to accurately update your old WordPress blog posts.

Watch my YouTube video to see a visual explanation of the six foundational steps to updating a WordPress blog post for more ROI.

What do you need to update old blog posts for more ROI? 3 elements: 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 A team 🛠 Tools and 🔂 a Process. Learn more on @JuliaEMcCoy's guide to updating old content. Click To Tweet

Here they are explained in more detail.

How to Update a WordPress Blog Post for More ROI: 6 Essential Steps

how to update a wordpress blog post

1. Find the Right Content to Update (Audit Your Content)

Auditing your content is really a two-step process:

  • Use Semrush to identify low-hanging fruit: Not only does this tool help you identify your top three Google rankings and make those blogs consistently better. It can monitor rankings that have declined. When you see which keywords have dropped, those are posts you can optimize to regain a higher position.
  • Manually explore your blog posts in WordPress by date: Start with the oldest and work your way up to the most current. Remember, updates aren’t just for body text. Think about SEO title, slug, and meta information as well. This is where having a team is crucial. Whether it’s a writer or a content marketer, a human eye for content is your most critical tool and cannot be replaced.

2. Edit and Update Inaccuracies, Typos, and Wording

You need a writer to read through each article, check for any inaccuracies or wording issues, and then identify and make those corrections.

When a blog post contains errors, not only will readers not trust the information…

They also won’t trust your business, which leads to higher bounce rates and lower conversions.

Your writer should also evaluate the formatting of your post.

Is it easy to read? Are paragraph breaks in the right places? Does the layout propel your reader forward, or is it too clunky to wade through?

Updating these details can help create a more useful post that drives your ROI.

The SEO Content Writer's Cheat Sheet

3. Check for Outdated Research, Cultural Changes, and 404 Links

Blog posts can become outdated almost as soon as they’re published.

New research findings can disprove previously cited data.

Societal shifts can change the way people discuss certain issues.

Sources you referred people to in the past may have been removed from the internet, resulting in broken links.

By updating data, writing for the present, and maintaining accurate links, Google sees that you’re providing relevant, current information and will be more likely to place you higher in their rankings.

Updating previous blog posts is an easy and impactful way to ensure you’re providing accurate information to your audience, while jumping on these opportunities.

Doing so will return huge dividends for your business.

4. Craft a New Headline

Your article’s headline is your first opportunity to pique your reader’s interest.

Make sure it’s eye-catching and entices them to read more.

Test out your title with the AMI Institute’s EMV Headline Analyzer tool.

It ranks your headline based on how well it appeals to your readers in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual appeal.

The higher your percentage, the more powerful the headline.

Use this number to make adjustments until you’re happy with the outcome.

5. Update the Images and Copy in Your Content

Images are a great way to engage your reader and make your content more memorable.

They help break up the monotony of text blocks, adding visual interest to your material.

Infographics are especially useful, because they take complex information and present it in a way that’s concise and easy to understand. Readers can quickly skim the data, retain the information, and share them easily with their own contacts.

Whether you go with photos, infographics, or even animated GIFs, always remember to be mindful of your website’s load speed. Optimize your images so they don’t bog down load times and keep readers twiddling their thumbs.

25% of users will only wait three seconds for a website to load before bailing out.

Don’t miss out on readers and possible conversions for the sake of a few pretty pictures.

Need more guidance on how to rank in the top of Google? Check out my free site checklist.

6. Update the Meta Content and CTAs

When updating old blog posts, it’s especially important to look at these two things:

  • Meta title and descriptions: This is what people see about your blog on Google’s search page. It drives readers to click on your article instead of someone else’s, so the more specific your information is, the better. From keywords to geographic location, targeted language also helps Google to rank you higher. Consider using Yoast, a WordPress optimization plugin, to rewrite your meta content. It helps guide you in creating effective meta details that’ll yield great results.
  • Call-to-Action (CTA): This is what drives conversions. Strategically placed buttons and links should be prominent so readers are led to the next step in their journey. Wording that creates urgency (like “Subscribe today!” and “Contact us now!”) can entice people to act and convert. And that, after all, is your end game.

Consider these blog post bookends carefully when revamping old blog posts.

Make Your WordPress Blog Posts Shine

Now that you know how to update a WordPress blog post, begin building a list of articles you want to revamp, and start assigning them to your writing team.

Soon, you’ll have tons of fresh, new content that readers will love.

This not only builds your relationship with your audience.

It helps Google rank you higher in their listings and drives your ROI.

Ready to build your team? Contact us today to refresh your old WordPress blog posts for more ROI.

how to update a wordpress blog post cta

Content Shop Changes for February: Word Count Ranges Simplified, Meta Cost Lowered, Infographics Added, & More

Content Shop Changes for February: Word Count Ranges Simplified, Meta Cost Lowered, Infographics Added, & More

How is your 2021 going?

Over here in Texas, we just experienced a weather event affectionately nicknamed by locals the “Texas snow-pocalypse,” otherwise known as Winter Storm Uri.

It shook up our state, and left millions without power. Thankfully, we all survived, and now we’re super grateful for the simple things, like a light switch that turns on the light. (First world gratitude!) And de-iced roads. And now that we’re post-event, we can laugh at memes that were all too real for Texans this February, like “What if 2020 is just a trailer of 2021?”

Jokes aside, I’m constantly thankful we run a global, work-from-home team at Express Writers. Most of our talent is in the United States, but we believe talent doesn’t just reside here in the U.S. We believe it’s worldwide. And that’s why our team includes a European writer, and an African copy editor. (Both of whom are amazing at what they do.)

When the power was out in Texas, our team around the world was still working, lights on.

That’s a good thing, because we’re getting ready for 2021 to be an incredible year for our clientele — the top marketers and agencies we serve.

Google searches surged to double over one month last year. From 3.6 billion searches per day, to more than 6.8 billion, a number which still holds strong today.

Here’s a lowdown on what we’re up to this year, and how we plan to make this a great year for YOU, our client.

content shop changes

What’s New at Express Writers — Tied Into Decade-Strong Values

This May, we turn 10 years old.

Our business was started way back in 2011, when I was a new content writer forging my path on the internet.

I had a simple set of core values when I started Express Writers, which you can still read about on our core pages today:

Hire passionate writers, and together, create the best content on the web.

2021 is going to be an incredible year for our clientele — the top marketers and agencies we serve. Read the lowdown on what we're up to, including fresh updates to the Content Shop 🎉 Click To Tweet

Like a team of Avengers, but content writers that cared enough to create better content than the average crap posted by the majority of marketers back then on the web.

This would be the skill I would sell our clients at Express Writers.

Boy, little did I know just how badly marketers needed this skill set.

We’ve done it, and we’re continuing to do it.

content shop changes

I’m a big fan of Jim Collins (BHAG, Good to Great, Built to Last). What he documented and witnessed in top corporations that withstood the tests of time revolved around something quite simple.

That simple thing was a core set of values that allowed the corporation to breathe, thrive, evolve, but never change on core beliefs.

He said oftentimes those core values could be counted on one hand.

That’s us.

We have a set of values that hold strong and firm. From there, we pivot and build and launch new offerings, new solutions, hire new writers, on the regular. In fact, you could say something new happens at Express Writers every day, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

For example, when a client in a specialized industry needs ad copy, and we don’t have the writer yet — we go and headhunt. Hire. Train. We actively pivot to solve content writing problems that our clients have. I lead that initiative, and we never stop — the Content Manager and I put our heads together on reviewing new samples from writers all the time. It takes time, energy, and effort, but it’s what we love doing. Content is our world. And that world is evolving, constantly. If we aren’t ready to meet that evolution, we’ll quickly fall by the wayside. (I firmly believe that.)

Our entire set of services in the Content Shop was born from direct clientele needs. What our clients needed, we produced as a solution. I’ve built internal training for everything we offer, that equips the rare talented writer we do find and hire to learn how to write for all the formats we offer. (Today, at The Content Hacker™, I teach students and now take my training outside just our team. Because everyone in marketing should know how to do content well.)

And offering all of this as a done-for-you service has worked extraordinarily well.

Here are the four biggest updates for us so far in 2021.

1. New Industry-Specialized Writers

Last month (January), we brought in fifteen new writers in these industries:

  • Marketing (Digital/Social/Content) & Advertising
  • Technical
  • Health & Medicine/Medical Industries
  • Law & Legal
  • Finance

This month, we brought in another fifteen in the same industries, to serve as additional writers due to the demand we’re experiencing. We’re also training several of these new hires how to be what we call “all-industry” writers, writers with the ability to deep research and write on industries that are still deep and complicated but not quite law, tech, or finance (which we’ve found requires specific industry experience).

That’s a total of thirty new writers in less than two months! And don’t worry, our old writing team is here and staying strong. You can still request previous writers and receive them. In fact, many of them rely on your repeat client orders for consistent work and income. A big thank you to our repeat clients! ❤️

Simplified word count ranges, lowered meta cost, infographics added, and more — Read about all the changes at @ExpWriters for 2021 to simplify ordering and make your experience great 🎯 Click To Tweet

2. New & Updated Services: Meta Add-On Cost Lowered, Infographics Added 

As of early February, our meta description and title writing cost has dropped to $10 instead of $20. The higher price didn’t make sense, if clients were able to order it as an add-on (we originally had it as $20 to protect our team from writing a $10 meta description as a one-off, standalone order — believe it or not, it was happening). Now that we have it as an add-on to our blog and web services in the recently-launched Content Shop, it made sense to drop the price.

You’ll see meta descriptions, headers and titles now show for $10 after clicking on the word count or service variation, on most of our web and blog writing services. 

Additionally, we added another new service to our Content Shop:

Infographics! click to view pricing

Interestingly enough, infographics are making a comeback. (Perhaps it’s better said they never died out… but, they have been increasing in popularity.)

In 2020, more than half (67%) of B2B marketers published original infographics to build their brand. The simple element of adding custom colors into a design that incorporates targeted copy — can increase audience attention span by 82% (ResearchGate).

On our own Write Blog, we design quite a few infographics, and see them consistently rise to the most-linked to posts on our site. With infographic-savvy marketing writers (we’ve written internal training just on how to write infographics), and high-quality Adobe-friendly designers, we now offer full-service infographic creation from start to finish for our white-label agencies and B2C marketers/brands.

Start your infographic order today.

3. Client Account UX Issues & Notification Bugs Are Being Solved 

We’ve been putting quite a bit of time and investment into having our developer improve minor UX areas in our client account area (shoutout to Julian Espinosa and Justin Staples for thoughtful client feedback that we are putting to good use!). We’ve made the project “Chat” buttons much more noticeable (previously, they were just little bubbles), and added more colors to CTAs and buttons that are important to our clients and their actions around the projects they order.

express writers ux

We’re also currently still fixing issues that came up post-launch around notifications. We are aware of notification issues, and our developer is working on it actively with us.

While we’re solving all the bugs, we recommend that you proactively log into your account once a day to check the Project Chat, which will show a new in-account notification, and your Project Details status, which goes from Pending to Assigned and/or Delivered, depending on progress.

You can also use the green chat widget on our site, powered by Drift, to start a chat with our friendly Client Specialists anytime. Please also use our chat widget or email us at support@expresswriters.com and tell us if you’re experiencing notification issues. Project update notifications should be hitting your account email regularly, but some clients have reported that this wasn’t happening. We’ve been, and are, proactively fixing it.

4. Exact-Math Word Count & Cost in the Content Shop Now Updated on Every Writing Service

We made another big change this February, which came directly from client pain points we’d heard from a while.

Our exact-math word count choices, which now replace word count ranges on every service in the Content Shop, were built as a direct answer to this question:

Client pain point solved: “Why doesn’t your 19 cents per word cost actually calculate on the 900-1,000 word range? And what of those two word counts am I actually getting, when I order?” 

Woot! Now, you’ll see a word amount you can buy, and the math on our word count ranges works out to be exact-math. No more guessing what we’re charging for, or what you’re getting. 19 cents per word on expert content, for example, exactly equals to the cost of any range on that service.

(Wondering what the 19 cents includes? More here: How it Works)

Previous word “ranges:”

Current word count choices, which are more upfront on what you’re getting: 

This solves questions we kept getting in two areas:

  • Writer questions: what range is preferable to the client?
  • Client questions: what word count am I actually getting?

For example, now when you order 500 words, you’re guaranteed that as a minimum. So, it’s much simpler now to know what you’re ordering when you order our word count ranges.  🎉

 

Are You Our Partner Yet?

We believe that 2021 more than ever will be the year of the content marketer.

The year our clients — YOU! — need us the most.

content shop changes

If you’ve been thinking about content…

Now is the time.

In 2020, search traffic rose by 3.6 billion searches/day to 6.9 billion/day — still holding steady!

Publishing quality, strategic content generates 67% more leads than not publishing any content.

And content is what we do.

Express Writers turns 10 years old in May.

30,000+ projects in, we’re not stopping.

Here’s to an amazing 2021!

Hire our team today. First, register for a client account; then, place your orderIt’s that simple. See you soon! 👋  ✍️

content shop changes

 

Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition. Build Your Dreams Instead! (My New Book Out Now)

Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition. Build Your Dreams Instead! (My New Book Out Now)

If you’re like most people, you grew up with some specific ideas about how to be successful.

Most of them revolved around school. 📝📚

Get a degree, they said. You’ll be successful, they said.

It’s the only way, they said.

In the U.S. alone, two million recent college graduates enter the workforce every year, clutching their new and shiny diplomas.

Yet, according to one study, only 13 percent of U.S. adults, 11 percent of C-level executives, and 6 percent of university trustees say college graduates have work-ready skills.

That means most people are leaving college without the ability to earn a living from their degree. 🤯

If only there were a way to invest in yourself, get the skills you need to follow your dreams, AND avoid that insane college debt…

Turns out, there is.

Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang (#ClassroomWithoutWalls) and I wrote a book on it.

In Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition (which is out today), we show you how to thrive as a confident, self-taught professional who makes money online with a valuable skillset.

Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition

The Story Behind Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition (What Inspired My New Book)

When I started writing this book…

If I had set out to nail a “trend,” or just make money…

I would have given up on the journey weeks in.

Skip the Degree is a literal byproduct of both my co-author (Ai Addyson-Zhang) and myself setting out to TRANSFORM education.

It is a heart mission for both of us.

skip the degree, save the tuition authors

In their new book, Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition, @JuliaEMcCoy and @aiaddysonzhang show you how to thrive as a confident, self-taught professional who makes money online with a valuable skill set. 🔥 Learn more and get your copy 👉👉 Click To Tweet

Dr. Ai has two degrees. Yet, she identifies as a “professor dropout.” Dr. Ai dropped out of a highly paid, well-respected position teaching college students PR and social media marketing.

She resigned from her six-figure position when she saw firsthand in the classroom that her students weren’t going to graduate with real-life marketing skills. It was a wakeup call she couldn’t ignore. She took on educating herself first, becoming a practitioner, and today she’s teaching her students life-changing skills in entrepreneurship, dreaming big, and becoming digitally-savvy.

I run a writing agency, Express Writers, that takes on 200-300 projects per month. We’ve been around for 10 years, mostly because we have high standards.

Show up. Write well. Deliver on time. Consistently. No B.S.

We have to hire, constantly. Those five traits are hard to find. What’s more, we often have to “unteach” college graduates their academic writing skills.

And as of 2021, we’re still filtering through college grads, looking for immediate client-ready writing skills.

Having to turn most of them away.

Instead, it’s the self-started freelancer that followed a passion and taught themselves a skill that we’re able to hire.

After nine years, and thousands of candidates we had to say ‘no’ to… COVID-19 hit last year. It created even more issues. The hiring dilemma became a problem I truly couldn’t ignore. Far more candidates flooded the online workplace, and our ability to hire went from 1% to .5%.

Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition was a book I’d planned to research and write leisurely, to launch in 2022.

It was the Holy Grail for this problem. It would teach everyone the pathway on how to uncover their passion and map a direct path to a digitally profitable skill set.

When 2019 happened…

I made it a goal to launch the book within a year. Well, we did it. We conducted 50+ interviews (but who’s counting), worked with countless people, and did immeasurable work to put forward the powerful information revealed in our book. And we did it all inside a year.

skip the degree, save the tuition content

Skip the Degree is our BIG, GROUND-FLOOR answer to today’s problem in education.

Watch the full interview I recorded with my co-author, Dr. Ai Zhang, on YouTube:

Get your copy now.

How to Build a Non-Perishable Digital Skillset (in 4 Steps)

What does it take to get ahead in today’s world? A lot.

You’ll need grit 💪, to break a sweat 💦, and stay quick on your feet 🏃🏾 while you adapt to the changing world. 🌎

But most importantly, to succeed in today’s world, you need real, tangible skills that stay current no matter your industry.

All the degrees can’t help you if you don’t have those.

That’s why Dr. Ai and I wrote Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition. We put our heads together to combine her expertise in education with the knowledge that I’ve gained through a decade of becoming a self-made entrepreneur.

We aren’t here to teach you perishable facts or static skills. Instead, we’ve built a pathway for you to develop your own skill set based on what we’ve done.

Buy Skip the Degree now

The pathway to success is simple … but difficult. It goes like this:

1. LOVE What You Do.

If you don’t absolutely LOVE what you do, you aren’t going to make it very far. You must not just love it, but breathe it, prepare to live it every second of the day – because as any successful entrepreneur will tell you, you WILL be for the first few years. ❤️

First, uncover your passion. Find your interests, your aptitudes, and what it is that fires you up. That requires self-reflection and self-awareness. Lots of tools exist to help you with this. From personality mapping to quizzes and more, we’ll show you how to deep dive into who you really are.

2. LEARN Everything You Can.

Once you know what you LOVE doing, map your passions to a real skill set and start building that knowledge. 📖

In this step, forget college – the internet is your oyster. Anything you want to learn you can learn online. We’ll show you how to find resources that are worth your time, what to look for when you’re researching, and – most importantly – how to figure out the most future-proof skills you must develop.

3. LABOR Away!

Remember, success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. Roll up those sleeves and get your hands dirty! 🔨

It can be scary to go into business for yourself, but making money online isn’t as hard as you think. We’ll show you how to test the waters and experiment with making money at what it is you love to do.

You might be surprised at what you can accomplish!

4. LEVEL UP to the Big League.

I say it a lot: consistent quality over time brings success. 💰

That’s because it’s true. Consistency (or lack thereof) is what makes or breaks ventures – it’s the quality that separates hobbyists from successful entrepreneurs.

But more importantly, it lets you build skills, establish your credibility, and bloom into the professional that you’re meant to be.

As you grow and refine your skills, you’ll be able to charge more, secure higher-end clients, and create a business that withstands the test of time.

Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition, and Step Up Your Game

Are you ready to thrive in the future where SKILLS matter, not degrees?

If so, you’re a part of a growing movement of people who aren’t going to put up with what the higher education industry is doing.

Thanks to Dr. Ai’s formidable research, created from my expertise that’s grounded in REAL WORLD work – and input from over 40+ other experts – you’ve now got a plan, a map, and a goal.

Go forth, skip the degree, and prosper.

Get Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition on Kindle, in Paperback, and Audible.

Buy Skip the Degree, Save the Tuition now

4 New Year Content Marketing Resolutions that Will Explode Your Online Results

4 New Year Content Marketing Resolutions That Will Explode Your Online Results

Content marketing never sleeps, nor dies.

It evolves – constantly. It thrives in adversity. And it transforms a crisis – like the 2020 pandemic – into an opportunity.

Maybe you’ve known about this opportunity already. After all, content marketing is an industry that’s growing in popularity by the day, and is about to be worth $412 billion.

Still, the pandemic allowed us to see just how true and powerful content marketing can be.

I mean, look at these quick stats.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, people across all generations turned to the internet. During which:

  • Search rose by 3.6 billion searches/day to 6.9 billion/day — and this still holds steady!
  • 53% of Americans found the internet to be an invaluable resource (while a good 34% deemed it important) – and that’s only the U.S., which is 4.25% of the global population.
  • And in effect, global internet usage grew by 70%.

Do you see the gold here?

There’s no doubt that the global content consumption trends in 2020 have risen to unprecedented heights because of the pandemic. This means more eyeballs than ever, online! 👀

So how can you use this to your advantage?

Just as the pandemic accelerated the already upward trend of the internet age, now is the perfect time for you to accelerate your online efforts as a content marketer.

And, whether you’ve been in the business for quite a while or are just starting out, the new year is always a great time to reset.

So here are four new year content marketing resolutions to take with you in your online efforts for 2021 – to help win you those golden metrics.

new year content marketing

In 2020, search rose by 3.6 billion searches/day to 6.9 billion/day -- and this still holds steady. How can you tap into this search traffic explosion for your #brand growth? 🔥 Learn the top #contentmarketing predictions via @JuliaEMcCoy: Click To Tweet

New Year Content Marketing Resolution #1: Make Trust and Empathy Your Number One Priority

Why trust and empathy? Because – more than half of your potential customers rely on whether they trust a brand when deciding to purchase, second only to affordability.

Ignore the importance of trust and you willingly hand over these potential new sales to your competitors.

So here are two things you should do to earn your audience’s trust.

Trust and empathy should be a #1 resolution brands must make in 2021 to build more audience connections. ❤️ More #contentmarketing resolutions via @JuliaEMcCoy on @ExpWriters: Click To Tweet

Here’s How #1: Tell Your Story in a Real and Relatable Way

Edelman found that 81% say trust is more important now because of the need to feel safe. And, 89% of consumers trust and support brands – that help people through the challenges of COVID-19.

So, don’t just tell people who you are. Connect at a deeper level and tell people who you are to THEM, and what values you uphold that they can relate to.

Nine out of ten customers are loyal to brands when they share the same values.

So, dig deep until you find the core purpose of your brand, and be true to that purpose. Because this is what truly resonates to your audience.

This infographic gives you a clear picture of what your story should (and shouldn’t) look like:

Tell your story, but turn it around to focus on your customers. Source: ReferralCandy

Here’s How #2. Deliver Consistent Value That Nurtures Your Audience

Your story is just the beginning – the hook. And, if it isn’t authentic, your customers are going to see through you like glass.

The key to building trust is following through from start to – well, forever.

Keep the quality content coming. Show up consistently. Keep giving your customers a reason to stay.

When you become that source of inspiration, or entertainment and distraction to your audience – building and enriching lives with your content, your voice – then 73% of your audience already have your back.

Consider these when crafting your new year marketing campaigns:

  • No to Last Minute Concoctions: Some brilliant ideas do pop up at the last minute, but more often, it isn’t. So, plan your new year content strategy ahead.
  • Serve Fresh, Meaty Content: Don’t stop with great headlines. Make sure you give your audience what they clicked for – packed with well-researched and relevant information.
  • Don’t Forget to Tenderize the Meat: Break those tough, long sentences. Chop those huge blocks of paragraphs. And, YES – visuals are your best friend to help deliver digestible content.
  • Give a Steady, Healthy Diet: You’ve done it. People trust you. They rely on your content for constant nourishment. So, commit to your content schedule and, if you can, surprise them with dessert. A downloadable guide would be nice.

Did I just make you hungry? If yes, then good. Because there’s more to devour in this post. 🤤

New Year Content Marketing Resolution #2: Take the SEO-Focused Content Marketing Approach

Some marketers will tell you to forget about SEO. Well, I’m telling you to forget about them.

Here’s why.

Organic search is responsible for generating twice more revenue for B2B and Tech Companies. And, it’s the top driver of website traffic, with social media falling way behind by 300%.

PLUS, now there’s a jaw dropping 6 BILLION Google searches PER DAY – that’s twice as many searches than there was in 2019.

– Talk about opportunity knocking at your door, right?

Here are two essentials for developing your new year marketing messaging with SEO in mind.

Here’s How #1. Audience First: Discover and Fulfill Search Intent

SEO is no longer about hitting your keyword counts. It’s how well you know your audience and having the right content strategy.

You have to understand what it is your audience is looking for. It’s not just “shoes”, maybe it’s “running shoes for flat feet”.

Invest a good amount of time to research your audience and build your target persona – before anything else – to zero-in on exactly how you can help with your content.

I teach how to build this in-depth persona and get to know your audience in Module 2 in The Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

The basic recipe for SEO is great content, housed on a great website. It’s that simple, and that hard. Buckle down and commit to it in 2021.

The basic recipe for SEO in 2021 is great content, housed on a great website. It's that simple, and that hard. #SEO #ContentMarketing More 2021 tips from @JuliaEMcCoy: Click To Tweet

Here’s How #2. Search Engine Second: Target Long-Tail Keywords

Once you have your search intent, your long-tail keywords will follow. They’re your keywords turned to longer key phrases that target your audience’s pain points and interests.

This is the type of keyword you want in your content. It allows you to be found by an audience who’s ready to take action.

Optimize your content to deliver exactly what your audience expects – while making sure that search engines find you the most relevant result.

This is using keywords, but not the old-school way. Your priority is to sound natural. It’s THE content strategy skill to develop this year. 😉

If you’re completely new to SEO writing, I’ve got you.

Watch my in-depth SEO writing tutorial on YouTube, and let’s get you those explosive results:

New Year Content Marketing Resolution #3: Be Your Audience’s Reliable Source

Today, 64% of the general population say it’s important for brands to be a trustworthy source of information, and another half expect brands to educate them (Edelman).

It’s time to embrace long-form, more comprehensive content in your new year resolution campaign.

Here’s How: Hit the Sweet Spot Between W.Y.A.W. and Your Expertise

new year content marketing WYAW

So, how do you know what topics to cover? Where can you find the best new year content ideas? Or, the right new year promotion ideas that will definitely work?

The answer ties in with our second resolution, first sub-point: pin down exactly What Your Audience Wants.

What will make their lives more interesting, or more relevant and meaningful? You need to be talking about what matters to them.

But you can’t talk expertly about something you don’t know, or aren’t at least comfortable talking about. This was my problem when I started a decade ago!

So, I came up with the topic circle concept.

It’s a simple exercise of mapping out topics your audience crave, and finding where your expertise can be maximized. Where those two diverge – that’s the sweet spot.

For deeper learning on audience personas, topic circles, keywords and building your online presence, the Content Strategy & Marketing Course should be your destination. Enroll and grow your brand with content.

New Year Content Marketing Resolution #4: Forget TikTok, Clubhouse, Etc. Until Your Core Site Is Profitable

You might have heard me discussing TikTok in my talks or raving about Clubhouse, but I’m going to give you, my dear reader/marketer/entrepreneur, a golden nugget here.

Forget all the other platforms out there and get your resources focused on building your website until it’s profitable.

Seriously.

Here’s How #1. Stop Squatting on Platforms. Establish Your Content House.

Your website adds credibility to your brand. It shows you can stand on your own. And it gets you to top of SERPs faster when your website has a blog.

Imagine inviting people into your house and having nothing to offer, but COOKIES FOR SALE. That’s how your eCommerce website looks like without a blog!

Blogs generate 67% more leads for companies and are responsible for indexing 434% more pages and 97% more links. (DemandMetric)

Here’s How #2. Never Wait for Inspiration. Find an Expert Content Partner.

60% of companies prefer to keep their content creation in-house. I started mine myself 10 years ago, and that’s how I developed my content house concept.

So, if you’re like me, here’s a guide to how you can build a solid content house in three steps.

But, here’s the thing: Every day without a great content is opportunity lost. So, while you’re at it, consider outsourcing the quality content you need.

Take These 4 New Year Content Marketing Resolutions to Heart and Reap Online Growth

Between 70 to 80% of searchers ignore paid results, and focus on organic SERPs – 28% of which, convert to ROI.

Combine that with Google’s high volume of searches now and you get a higher chance of online growth.

Discover more results in 2021 from great content. Visit our Content Shop and start your order today.


new year content marketing