diy web copy

10 Deadly, No-Good Scenarios That Could Happen If You DIY All Your Web Copy By Yourself

DIY web copy: it’s not the worst thing in the world to do yourself, right?

I mean, half the DIY projects on Pinterest that are in the intermediate-advanced level would be 10x harder, right?

Actually, you might be surprised.

Do-it-yourself web copy is a fate that befalls many business owners, but it can be seriously dangerous if DIY’ed without thought, skill, or care. Worse than you know.

(Cue the Addams Family Values theme song…)

While there are plenty of people out there who are perfectly capable of creating their own online web copy, there are many who don’t know how to do it, or who think they can handle it all by themselves and realize in the middle of a publishing schedule that they can’t. Don’t get lost in one of these scenarios: keep reading to find out why (and when) the DIY line for web copy stops. Save yourself, before it’s too late! (/end cue)

don't DIY web copy

10 Deadly Scenarios that Could Happen to YOU If You DIY Your Web Copy

Don’t make the same mistakes others have done (RIP, copy that never converted a single soul).

Read our ten deadly scenarios that could happen to you if you DIY your own web copy:

1. You could die

I’m not kidding. DIY-ing your web content can be deadly!

It’s deathly exhausting, and, if you don’t call for help, you may soon find yourself buried beneath a pile of papers, fingers stuck to the keyboards, struggling for breath.

30% of marketers spend between 1-5 hours each week on social media content creation, for example, and people who don’t ask for help can quickly find themselves overwhelmed and overworked. With this in mind, save your content and your life by asking for help from a team of skilled writers. Not only will your content come out better, but you may save your sanity in the process.

2. Or, Google could kill you

If you don’t kill yourself first (literally and figuratively) from all the hard work of content writing, Google is a pretty all-powerful internet entity, and you don’t want to get on their bad side.

Unfortunately, this is easy to do when you DIY your web content. Simple things that can easily get missed: citing low-quality sources, plagiarizing content, or simply writing badly can land you in hot water with the Google Gods. Write and publish bad content, Google doesn’t want you showing well in their search engine. Death–by robots.

Just another way that DIY-ing your web content can be dangerous, and it’s one that every professional writer everywhere wants to save you from.

3. Die the death of bad writing

This is one of the most real threats of DIY-ing your online content – you could just suck at it. And here’s the really terrifying part: you don’t even need to be a bad writer to suck at it! Online writing is complex, and few people (aside from those people who are professionally trained in the industry) know how to do it well every time.

While writing badly may not seem that awful, it can have a big, ugly impact on your rankings, and could actually cause bad thing #1 and #2 on this list to happen to you!

4. Miss out on good keywords, and thus, you die (exist online without traffic)

Did you know that optimizing content for online writing is vitally important?

That means picking, finding, and researching the best keywords for your copy, the ones that actually have a shot at being included–long-tails, to be specific.

If you did, the chances are good that you don’t actually know how to optimize your online content. This is one of the worst sins of DIY content, and it’s also one of the easiest to avoid. Have a professional writer do it for you, and avoid this deadly and embarrassing scenario.

5. The world could end as you know it

There’s so much low-quality on the web already that I would not be surprised to see the poor interwebs simply stop spinning one of these days, so weighed down it is by all of the crappy content in existence.

Don’t be the one that pushes it over the edge!

A professional writer can give you high-quality, professional material. Copy that won’t make the world as we know it come to a screeching halt.

6. You could plagiarize something, and thus, die

Even if you’re not copying and pasting someone’s site, plagiarism (duplication of someone else’s content) happens.

It happens in the form of copied meta descriptions, paraphrased content that sticks too close to its original source, and non-cited quotes and copied material.

Plagiarized content has devastating effects on your Google ranking, and more, so it’s critical to avoid it entirely. Besides Google, if someone catches wind that you “copied” your content off someone else, the reputation results are dire.

Don’t let these fates befall you!

7. You could lose readers, and die

Writing boring, flabby, or icky content at any point?

Any existing reader you had will leave and, when they do, you’re going to wish they hadn’t – there goes the lifeblood of your online content (the real, alive, human reader).

Keep them around by writing better content from the get-go, with the help of a professional writer. It will save you time and money and will boost the effectiveness of your content across the board.

8. Stagnation in topic areas you know (death from boredom)

If you’re DIY-ing your content, but you’re in a rush, you’re not pushing yourself to get better. That means stagnation of the worst kind–content that gets repetitive, boring, and useless.

With this in mind, skip the sad effort altogether and outsource your content to a reliable writer. They’ll make it great again and you’ll get to succeed in the other areas of your business!

9. You could make an embarrassing typo, and die a grammar convict’s death

Ever seen someone picked apart online for a typo? It’s happened – even to major brands.

You wouldn’t want to make the mistake of typing “pubic” rather than “public” throughout all of your content, but that’s what so many DIY-ers end up with. Save yourself the embarrassing typo and ongoing repercussions by hiring a professional writer at the outset.

10. You could miss the mark

DIY-ing your content presents one big error: that you’ll miss the mark. Nobody will like and share and your content will be left high and dry, to fend for itself out in the wild web. When a professional writer comes in, though, you can avoid this fate and ensure great content all the way across.

The Case for Not DIYing Your Online Content

While many people believe they can DIY their online content, this is one place you should definitely bring in a professional. In addition to the fact that DIY online content can be low-quality, it’s also time-consuming and difficult for small business owners to manage on their own.

With this in mind, avoid the many problems that come with DIY content by simply hiring a professional writer. These writers can come in, work with your company, and help you craft really outstanding online content that doesn’t result in death or dismemberment by the Google gods. What’s more, they can also save you time, money, and grey hairs.

What’s not to love? 

If you’re looking for quality writers to help you develop your online content, visit our Content Shop to get started today!

modern web page writer

10 Top Skills Every Modern Web Page Writer Needs to Have

When it comes to web page writing, there are several skills that every writer creating these pages needs to have.

Because so much scrutiny is placed on websites today–between Google’s high standards and the short attention span of modern readers–it’s critical for the modern web page writer to be adaptable, quick to learn, and flexible enough to embrace mistakes and synthesize something new from them.

Read on to find out more about the top skills every web writer should have to succeed today.

skills every modern web page writer

Defining A Web Page Writer

A web page writer is a specialized type of content writer who writes online web pages for companies in various industries.

While this writer may also create blog posts, articles, social media content, and ebooks, he or she specializes in web pages, which is hard since web pages have become an increasingly more demanding form of content in recent years.

Web Writers Have an Important Role

Last year, Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and, earlier this year, they updated them. The guidelines span 145 pages and were designed to help Google’s flesh-and-blood search quality.  Evaluators determine what a good web page was and what wasn’t. Within these guidelines, Google introduced two acronyms meant to help evaluators do exactly that: EAT and YMYL.

EAT stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness” and is used to describe the three things web pages need to be considered quality. One of the main reasons that web page writers are so important is that they possess the expertise to produce these three things in on-page content, which many novice or non-specialized writers do not. Because web page writers understand Google’s complex standards and ranking factors, they’re the best possible person to create web page content that will adhere to it.

Secondly, YMYL. YMYL stands for “your money or your life” and is used to describe web pages that contain critical information that can have an adverse impact on a reader’s health, wealth, or safety if transmitted wrong. Examples of these pages include financial advice, medical advice, pages on divorce law, or tax information.

In the case of YMYL pages, it’s critical to hire a knowledgeable, experienced writer who can create a spot-on web page that uses facts, statistics, and stable sources to make a point. Ina addition to the fact that pages like this are less likely to be dinged or down-ranked by Google, they’re also better equipped to serve the target audience well.

10 Skills Web Page Writers Need to Have in 2016 & Beyond

With these things in mind, it’s easy to see why expert web page writers are so critical to the health and wellbeing of online content. In addition to keeping a site owner out of trouble with Google, these skilled writers also possess the capabilities to write quality web pages that deliver flawless information.

1. Adaptability

As a web page writer, you write about topics for various industries, from auto care to finance, and it’s essential for these writers to be flexible and adaptable enough to shift their voice, perspective, and tone. Within this adaptability comes the ability to speak directly to very different audiences, understand different points of view, and morph correctly into the writer various industries need for their online content.

2. Attention to detail

Being a web page writer is a very detailed job. In addition to staying on top of Google’s various changes (some of which are minuscule), a web page writer must also be able to track small changes and alterations in text and understand the many places in which a tiny shift will make a big difference. This goes for things like spelling and grammar just as much as it does more complex issues like tone and voice. When a web page writer pays incredible attention to detail, everyone benefits.

3. Research skills

Writing good web page copy often requires heavy research, and if a writer doesn’t know how to do this, the entire ship begins to sink. By understanding how to locate and vet sources and how to integrate facts and statistics through a piece of content, a web page copywriter can create beautiful, unique, high-quality online content that benefits the company and its customers.

4. Precision

Web page copy must be precise – both regarding the information within the content and the way it’s presented. Readers are more than willing to walk away from long, rambling content that lacks a point or definitive direction, and it’s the web page writer’s job to keep them enthralled by using precise language and short, succinct sentences. Without this skill, web page copy that should be flawless rapidly becomes chunky, ugly, and difficult to wade through.

5. Multi-tasking skills

It’s not uncommon for a web page copywriter to have several different pieces of content in the works at one time, for several different companies. Without a healthy set of multitasking skills, it’s likely that these things will get confused and muddled. Instead, a web page writer needs to be able to categorize different jobs mentally and physically. One voice for one job, another voice for a separate job. What’s more, a web page copywriter must also be able to research, write, and edit all at once, if that’s what the workload requires.

6. Technical know-how

A web page writer is part SEO, webmaster, and editor, all in one. During the process of developing web copy, it’s not at all uncommon for the writer to also be called upon to resolve minor web issues or to figure out little formatting or presentation problems. Because of this, it’s critical that the writer in question have the skills and adaptability to work his or her way through a technical environment that goes far beyond the bounds of writing. This makes the writer more valuable and increases the offering that he or she can present to the client.

7. Insistence on quality

A web page writer that is not focused on quality can easily cause a large problem for the web page owner. Because Google pays such close attention to the quality of web page copy across the internet, web copy that is sloppy, inaccurate, or poorly constructed can cost hundreds, even thousands, in lost revenue. With this in mind, it’s critical for a web page writer to hold themselves to a high standard of quality. In addition to reflecting well on the writer, this also helps ensure that the web page itself doesn’t suffer as a result of sloppy writing.

8. Professionalism

As a web page writer, criticism is virtually guaranteed. It’s impossible to work in the industry for any extended period of time without making a mistake, and, when a mistake does happen, a web page writer must be able to handle the subsequent criticism like a professional. This ensures that projects keep clipping along at a good pace and that nothing gets held up or waylaid because of the web page writer’s inability to act like a professional.

9. Understanding the value of & how to write for different content formats

Various companies want different things in their web page copy. While one company might want long-form content more than 5,000 words, another might want short, bulleted lists or videos. An infographic is always a great idea, too. But each require various writing styles and types. An infographic will need short, targeted copy that can easily be put into headlines and sub-points. On a blog, long-form content that goes in-depth on every point is best. Because of this, it’s critical for the proper web page writer to understand the need for and benefit of different content formats.

10. Some knowledge of SEO and how to write metas

While being a writer is very different from being an SEO expert, it’s critical for good web page writers to have a solid understanding of SEO. Things like meta descriptions, alt text, headlines, and sub headers all need to be optimized for SEO and a writer who understands these things will do a far better job at web page copy than one who doesn’t. (Learn more about how to write meta descriptions in my blog here.)

Finding Your Perfect Web Page Writer

When it comes time to find your perfect web page writer, there are a few things to consider.

First, you need to be compatible with your new writer. There’s nothing worse that working with someone with whom you do not see eye-to-eye, and it’s bound to create a challenging content creation environment if this is the case.

Secondly, it’s valuable to find a web page writer with skills or expertise in your given industry, as this will help create relevant content and ensure a deep level of understanding.

Finally, it’s also essential to find someone with a demonstrable degree of skill in web page copywriting.

When you combine all of these three things, it’s easy to find a web page ghostwriter who can create beautiful, high-quality content for you. Regardless of what your goals may be or whether you’ve ever used a web writer before, finding someone who possesses the traits listed in this article is the first step on your way to online success.

Hire your web page writer today from Express Writers! Visit our web page services in the Content Shop.

writing services

10 Indispensable Reasons Why You Need Professional Web Copywriting Services

Let’s face it – some things just require skill.

You wouldn’t hire a carpenter to give you a root canal, would you?

Nor would you head to a sandwich shop for auto body work.

Some professional skills are best left to professionals and trying to outsource them to anything less results in a poor job (at best) and a complete disaster (at worst).

This is as true for web copywriting services as it is for anything else—perhaps even more so.

When it comes to your online content, nothing but the best will (and should) do, and there are dozens of great reasons to hire professional web copywriting services.

A lot of this has to do with Google and their current standards.

Read on to learn more.

professional copywriting services

The Real Reasons Businesses Need Professional Web Copywriting Services

Why do you need web copywriting services?

Let me count the ways…

First of all, Google doesn’t exactly love hack jobs pretending to be copywriters.

Last year, the search engine released a document called the “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.” The original document was 160 pages (it’s since been updated to 146), and it dispersed all sorts of useful information about how Google’s quality evaluators were to assign rankings to websites.

One of the most important things the guidelines laid out, though, is the need for professional web copywriting services.

Shocked? Stay with us.

In the original version of the guidelines, Google went to great pains to define to critical acronyms: EAT and YMYL. Here’s what you need to know:

EAT

EAT stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” According to Google’s guidelines, high-quality pages have high levels of EAT. Low-quality pages don’t. According to section 4.5 of the guidelines themselves, “High-quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic.”

While Google stops here to clarify that “expert” pages can cover topics ranging from fashion and gossip to specialty pages, it’s clear that the search engine wants to see authoritative, quality content – no matter the topic.

How do you get quality content?

You hire expert web copywriting services.

You see, great content is about more than just knowledge. It’s also about structure, formatting, SEO, and linking. By hiring web copywriting services that specialize in your given industry, you get all of the knowledge required for a high-EAT page, combined with the technical know-how that’s needed to rank well.

Talk about a winning combination.

YMYL

YMYL stands for “Your money or your life.” This acronym is a lot like EAT in that it defines what good pages should have, but it’s also different because it talks about a particular subset of pages. You see, YMYL pages are those that, according to the guidelines, “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, or financial stability of users.”

Examples of these pages include the following:

  • Financial or shopping pages:Any website that allows customers to make purchases or pay their bills online is a YMYL page
  • Pages that provide financial information: Any page that offers financial advice on topics ranging from investments, retirement, or taxes is a YMYL page
  • Pages that provide medical information: Any page that provides information about drugs, diseases, mental health and well-being, or nutrition is considered by Google to be a YMYL page
  • Pages that provide legal information:Pages that offer legal advice or information on critical things like divorce proceedings, child custody, or immigration are YMYL pages
  • Any page that may impact the health, safety, or wellbeing of people: Other pages may be considered YMYL pages if the content within them has a significant impact on people. Consider the example of a car repair website, for instance, which tells consumers how to replace their car’s brakes. If written poorly, this page could have a negative impact on the safety of the people reading it.

When it comes to YMYL pages, professional web copywriting services are especially needed. Because Google pays extra attention to these pages, it’s critical to get them right, and hiring a team of expert copywriters, editors, and SEOs is a great place to start.

10 Good Reasons to Hire Professional Web Copywriting Services

Still not sold on the need for professional web copywriting services?

Here are ten solid reasons to jump onboard.

1. Hiring a team of professionals means you’ll save time

Content marketing is a time-consuming business! When you look at social media alone, the statistics are staggering: 64% of marketers spend 6 hours each week on social media, 41% spend 11 hours or more, and 19% spend upwards of 20 hours each week on their social media accounts!

With these numbers in mind, it’s not difficult to see how hiring professional web copywriting services can free up lots of time, energy, and resources. By turning content creation, distribution, and SEO over to a skilled professional, you allow yourself to reclaim critical time to focus on other things – like running your company.

This, in turn, improves everything about the way your business operates and ensures that your social, blog, and on-page content isn’t suffering for lack of time.

2. Professional web copywriting services take a third-party approach

As paradoxical as it may seem, many companies have a difficult time explaining their services. When you hire professional web copywriting services, though, this problem is a thing of the past. A team of skilled copywriters can evaluate your mission statement and services and craft an intelligible, comprehensive, and compelling statement about what it is that you do and why customers need it.

This, in turn, creates more interesting content and prevents you from getting stuck in that odd, “I don’t want to toot my horn” place.

3. Expert web copywriting services can keep you in line with trends

One of the best ways for a company to demonstrate its relevance and validity is to stay abreast of current industry and social trends.

Right now, for example, companies like Content Marketing Institute are using the Olympics as a foundation to create unique, fun content that appeals to their readers.

Without the help of web copywriting services, it’s unlikely that you have the time, energy, or (let’s be frank) attention span to create this type of on-trend content on your own.

When you hand your content creation and distribution over to the pros, though, you can rest assured that your copywriters will take a look at your industry and the world around you and use current events to make your content more relevant and exciting to users.

This, in turn, sets you apart from the competition and makes it easier to stand out in your industry.

4. Grammar & spelling issues? Not with web copywriting services

Grammar and spelling are tricky things, and even the best brands get it wrong from time to time.

Think, for a moment, about Old Navy, which famously released a sports t-shirt that featured the slogan, “Lets go!”

Old Navy screenshot

While this snafu may be funny now (and only because you’re not Old Navy), these mistakes can do significant damage to a company’s image.

Luckily, businesses that hire web copywriting services have better protection against these types of easily preventable errors. With the help of professional web copywriters, it’s easy to avoid grammar and spelling mistakes and to ensure that all content that gets published is content that deserves to be online.

5. Web copywriting services can help boost creativity

Many major companies blog dozens of times each month. With that kind of demand, it’s easy to understand how coming up with topics would be difficult. Fortunately, web copywriting services are used to this type of thing and have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to keep creating quality content, no matter the demand.

From crawling your competitors’ pages to conducting keyword research and social listening, there are dozens of ways web copywriting services keep you fresh, creative, and on-trend. While going stale in your content is a real risk for busy companies, hiring professional web copywriting services can help you avoid this problem.

6. Web copywriting services can spot SEO pitfalls

If you’re not up-to-the-minute on today’s big SEO topics, that’s understandable. SEO changes more often than Kim Kardashian’s husbands, and it’s difficult to stay abreast of what’s going on. Unless that is, it’s your full-time job.

Web copywriting firms do more than just write content, they also conduct keyword research, implement good SEO, and spend a great deal of time learning about Google’s recent changes and updates.

When all of these things combine, you get a quality, trustworthy series of web copywriting services that can truly help your company grow.

Using copy-and-paste meta descriptions? Lacking alt. text for your photos?

Not optimizing your pages correctly?

A good web copywriter will be able to spot these things and remedy them before they damage your rankings.

7. Web writers can cater to different content formats

To craft a well-rounded content presence, you’ll need to expand out into different content formats. Unfortunately, many companies only know what they know. If you’ve been writing blogs for five years, and the prospect of an infographic terrifies you, web copywriting services are right up your alley.

In addition to helping you understand which types of content are trending in your industry, a good team of professionals will also be able to help you create content that works for your company and your readers.

For example, a web copywriting service may recommend that you create a mixture of textual, video, and visual content to engage your audience.

Then they’ll help you do it. How’s that for full-service?

8. Web copywriting services can act as advisors

Have a question you don’t know where to turn to and ask?

Always curious about how you should capitalize those headers?

Wondering what your audience would like to see on social media?

If you’ve hired web copywriting services, you have a source to turn to.

In addition to creating quality content, web copywriting services also have their toes in the industry and possess a deep understanding of what it means to succeed within it. Because of this, they can often advise you on everything from the best SEO practices to how best to display your content. This can be invaluable to companies who are trying to build their reputation or get found online.

9. Web copywriters are diverse

If you’re concerned about sounding like all of your competitors, hiring web copywriting services is a smart idea.

In addition to helping differentiate your voice and keep your content fresh, good web copywriting services can also help you build your unique brand voice, which can go a long way toward inspiring customer recognition and building relationships that last with your consumers.

10. Skilled copywriters just make it all easier

We live in a unique time: while the sky is the limit in terms of online success, building a great online business is hard, and you need a good team behind you to make it work.

When you hire professional copywriting services, you gain immediate access to a team of online experts who know what it takes to build a good brand in today’s web-based climate.

From SEO to content creation and social media, web copywriting services can alleviate some of the burdens of growing your business and help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

The Case for Good Web Copywriting Services

Great web copywriting is worth its weight in gold.

By helping you create unique, relevant, targeted content, and push it out to your readers in a way that works for your company, these services can help you grow your online business and gain a real and lasting spot in Google’s coveted SERPs.

Content creation is hard enough as it is, and you shouldn’t have to go it alone. Professional web copywriting services can help streamline your company’s growth and create an environment where you, your customers, and your copy all work together seamlessly.

 

To get custom, high-quality professional web copywriting services for your content marketing, visit our Content Shop today!

book ad so you think you can write

readable content for the web content writer

A Guide for the Web Content Writer: How To Create Content Up To Flesch–Kincaid Readability Standards

Have you heard of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests?

If you answered “no”, hold onto your chair.

We’re about to tell you something that will change (read: improve) the way you create as a web content writer, forever.

First, we all know that writing great copy means writing simple copy, right?

Copy that delivers the point without delving into complicated language or convoluted sentences, to be clear.

For some people, though, this is a tall order.

Fortunately, the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests are here to help you determine how readable your content truly is and what you can do to improve it.

Read on to learn more about these nifty tests and how they can revolutionize your content writing experience forever as a web content writer.

Flesch–Kincaid for the web content writer

A Guide for the Web Content Writer: Defining the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test

J. Peter KincaidThe Flesch-Kincaid readability tests were named after a talented Mr. J. Peter Kincaid and his team of developers.

The tests were originally developed under contract with the US Navy and were designed to assess the difficulty of understanding in technical manuals around the year 1978. Within a few years, the tests became the standard within the Department of Defense and quickly spread throughout government.

What do the tests test for though? Essentially, the tests break text down into two parts (word length and sentence length) and then evaluate both parts for readability. Ideally, all parts of a piece of content should be written at a ninth-grade reading level. This ensures that the content will be easy for virtually everyone to understand and ensures that technical manuals, insurance policies and medical documents are not out of reach of the common reader.

There are two parts of the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests:

  • Flesch reading ease test
  • Flesch-Kincaid grade level test

They both measure word and sentence length and their results relate conversely to one another.

For example, if a piece of text has a high Reading Ease score, it should have a low grade level score.

Flesch-Kincaid readability tests

We put together a short visual guide to visually display the readability tests. Cred to our designers @ Express Writers!

The Flesch Reading Ease Test

When a piece is evaluated with the Flesch reading-ease test, the higher the score, the better.

The formula for this test is as follows:

206.835 – 1.015 (total words/total sentences) – 84.6 (total syllables/total words).

The score breakdown is as follows:

  • 0-30.0: understood easily by university graduates
  • 0-70.0: easily understood by 15-15 year-old students
  • 0-100.0: easily understood by most 11 year-old students

Reader’s Digest, for example, is a 65 on the readability index while Time is a 52. The highest possible readability score is around 120 and consists of easy words, monosyllable words and sentences like “the dog chased the frog.”

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test

These tests are popular in the education field and present a piece of text based upon its readability for a US grade level. This makes it easy for adults to judge immediately the difficulty or ease of a piece and to ascertain its suitability for certain groups. Additionally, this test helps ascertain how many years of education a person needs to have in order to read a piece of content. The formula for this test is as follows:

0.39 (total words/total sentences) + 11.8 (total syllables/total words) – 15.59

A Content Writer Guide for Better Flesch-Kincaid Readability: 4 Tips

Now that you understand what the tests are, it’s time to talk about how you can be a content writer that adheres to these formulas.

This is important because, when content is simple to read, it’s more likely to grab a reader and maintain interest.

Additionally, all great business writing is simple, clear, and to-the-point.

This cuts away the amount of muck a reader has to wade through and makes it easy to cut to the heart of the content.

To write great content that gets good scores on the readability tests, follow these 4 tips:

1. Keep sentences per paragraph low

Nobody wants to wade into a never-ending paragraph by a wordy content writer. In addition to being ugly, these paragraphs are tough to read and, as such, they’ll earn you a low readability score.

To keep readability up, break your text into nice, neat paragraphs rather than huge blocks of content.

2. Keep words per sentence low

Run-ons, begone!

To keep your readability score high, use no more than 25 words per sentence you write. This keeps our subject clear and makes your writing easy to read.

This also allows you to separate your thoughts and allow your readers to breathe before you leap between ideas.

3. Keep character per word counts low

Unless you’re writing a technical piece, keep your words simple. For example, use “went” instead of “intended to go to.” This makes your text more readable and inherently makes it easier for readers to discern the meaning of.

4. Do away with passive voice

Passive voice is the silent enemy of writers everywhere.

In addition to being annoying, it makes writing confusing.

“The apple was being eaten” doesn’t make nearly as much sense as “Sam ate the apple.”

Keep your writing clear by writing in active rather than passive voice.

Testing your readability

If you write in Microsoft Word, you’ve already got a valuable readability evaluator you probably didn’t even know about.

How cool is that?!

To tap into it, run the typical “spelling & grammar” check from your toolbar:

flesh checker

From here, click the “options” button at the bottom of your screen and check the box that says “show readability statistics:”

Flesch–Kincaid

This will magically give you all of the stats you need to boost your readability score: including sentence-per-paragraph, words-per-sentence and characters-per-word sentence.

It will also give you your passive sentence percentage and both your Flesch reading ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade level scores. 

Flesch–Kincaid web content writer standards

How Readability Affects SEO

By now, we all know that good SEO means great content.

Specifically, content that is easy for search engines and people to locate and read.

And, since simple content allows readers to scan quickly and find answers, it’s generally preferred by SEO.

So, it makes sense: writing that falls within desirable Flesch-Kincaid scores can be more desirable to SEO and easier for readers to find and love.

Although most writers are unfamiliar with the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests, tapping into the power of these simple metrics can help you improve your writing and deliver clearer content for your readers.

Get engaging, readable content that matches Flesch-Kincaid standards from our content writers! Check out the Content Shop to order yours today.

content audit 2016

Out with the Old: Why & How to Do a New Year Website Content Audit

As we head into the New Year, it’s likely that you’ll be making resolutions. These resolutions often apply to our home and personal life, but they seldom apply to our online marketing and content writing or production.

Auditing your online content is one of the best ways to start afresh, with the groundwork for new and better online marketing, in the New Year. It’s a lot like out with the old. You can’t really bring in the new unless you get the old, outdated, and unnecessary stuff out, right?

As you head into the New Year, focused on starting fresh and doing away with the old things that aren’t serving you any longer, don’t let your website be the last thing on your list.

Let’s talk about doing a website audit, what it is, and how you can do it as you prepare to enter 2016 strong. Here’s what you need to know about a website content audit.

content audit 2016

What is a Website Content Audit?

A site content audit is the process by which you comb through your site, correct errors, locate outdated content, and replace it with something stronger. There are many benefits of a content audit, including identifying which pages need editing or updating, identifying which pages need to be consolidated due to repetitive topics, identifying which pages need to be removed from the site entirely and how doing this can help your page’s SEO rank, identifying which content needs to be prioritized based on metrics like conversions and visits, locating your content gaps and making a plan for how to fill them, determining which pages are ranking for which keywords, and identifying new content marketing opportunities.

When content audits are conducted regularly, they can improve the overall quality of your site and ensure that your content is up to date, relevant, valuable, and targeted for your customers and site goals.

What We Found When We Did An Audit

Recently, our team did a content audit on our own site. Our content audit service is done by our team Content Strategists, whom I train—in updated SEO, our favorite tools and current best practices.

The SEMrush Site Audit tool, one of the best audit tools we rely on in conducting website audits, gave us a list of missing or problematic content, including missing alt tags:

semrush missing alt tags

And which links were broken:

semrush screenshot broken links

Besides other issues we fixed. Some of the duplicate hits didn’t apply: the sign-up page was “duplicate” to the sign-in page, which can’t be helped—it’s just a login screen.

With the more manual part of our audit, we found several outdated posts, including:

  • Blogs that mentioned products that we no longer sold
  • Seasonal content that contained dates in the headers, i.e. “5 Tips for Better Content in 2014”
  • Poorly SEO optimized content

We made a list of all these items and have now revised and fixed these errors. Our content is more evergreen, applies more to the reader coming across it at a later date, and doesn’t contain misleading product information anymore. We’ve also improved SEO scores across the board.

Moz: Audits are Beneficial

According to Moz, SEO specialist Rick Ramos (of Inflow) conducted a content audit for Phases Design Studio in 2013. During the audit, Ramos developed a plan to remove many of the old, irrelevant, or stale blog posts from the site’s sitemap. He also used 301 redirect codes to point the traffic from old landing pages to newer, evergreen landing pages that were updated more frequently. Finally, he updated and refreshed many of the site’s pages. After their website content audit, Phases Design Studio started seeing eight times the amount of leads they typically saw in a month. How did Ramos manage to produce these results? The answer is simple: by updating content to make it more relevant and useful to readers.

Website Content Audit 101

If you want to produce results like Ramos did during his audit, you’re in luck. You can complete your own content audit without being a tech guru. Simply follow these steps: 

Step One: Develop a Spreadsheet

During a content audit, a spreadsheet is needed to keep your information organized as well as to provide a platform you can return to at any point in the audit. A spreadsheet also allows you to track what you’re doing and collaborate with other content specialists who may want to participate in the audit.

For an example, consider this template from Moz. If you’re relatively new to website content audits, you’ll be fine to begin in Google Docs, although many content specialists move their spreadsheets to Excel as they begin doing larger and larger content audits.

As a general rule, the main columns you want in your spreadsheet are as follows:

  • URL
  • Date audited
  • Title
  • Description
  • Content
  • Keyword
  • Alt Tags
  • Last Updates
  • Internal Links

Step Two: List the Pages of Your Site

In order to perform your content audit adequately, you’ll need a complete list of each page on your site. The easiest way to do this is to use Google Analytics. Specifically, you’ll want to navigate to the “all pages” section by selecting “behavior,” “site content,” “all pages.” For more detail on how to complete this step, consult this QuickSprout guide.

This step allows you to view a list of your site’s most-visited pages. This is an important step because it allows you to focus your audit efforts on your most popular pages and to ensure that you’re reaping results as soon as possible.

Step Three: Review Your Information

This part gets a little tricky because it varies depending upon which CMS you use. Since we’re partial to WordPress, this guide will offer instructions for WordPress users. Even if you don’t use WordPress, though, you’ll be able to edit these items nonetheless. As you move through your page information, you’ll want to review each of the following sections:

URL and Page Title: For each page on your site, your title should meet a few criteria. First, it should be no more than 65 characters long. It should also be unique, descriptive, and it should feature keywords.

When it comes to your URL, the URL should be text that clearly defines the page. If you have a URL that’s comprised of numbers or a random assortment of letters, you may want to set up a 301 redirect code in order to optimize the URL for more traffic.

Page Description: Your page description tells visitors what your page is all about and, as such, it’s important! To make sure each page description on your pages is optimized, check to be sure that each features less than 160 characters and is written in a way that makes it easy to read. This means that it should be interesting, descriptive, helpful and completely free of grammatical mistakes.

Content: The crème de la crème of a website content audit – your content! When it comes time to check your content, read through your page content carefully to ensure that it is valuable to readers, well-written, and free of grammatical, spelling, or factual errors.

Content auditors who are evaluating these traits today have a step-up over auditors that did this last year: Google recently released the complete version of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and, within them, auditors can find plenty of tips on what Google views as high quality content.

A few of the things to avoid include overly obvious facts (“A housecat is a feline”), poorly-written content, expert content that was not written by an expert, or content that is riddled with grammatical, spelling, or factual mistakes. Although the Guidelines don’t offer any specific rule for how long or short content should be, you’ll generally want to be sure that each page on your site offers at least 300 words of content. This applies to “about us” pages and the like as well as main content pages.

  • Keywords: In order to effectively evaluate your keywords, you’ll want to have a written list of your target keywords and phrases. As you comb through each page, you’ll want to be sure that you have a healthy number of targeted keywords (not too many or too few). You’ll also want to be sure that your keywords are correctly spelled and used naturally throughout the text.
  • Alt Tags: In order to make your site as strong as possible, every image therein will need to be tagged sufficiently. This means that each image on your page should feature descriptive tags that feature keywords as well as a descriptive, concise title. Add these things in if you find them lacking.
  • Updates: In order to keep your site fresh and current, every single page on your site will need to be reviewed or edited every two years. This keeps your content current and prevents old, stagnant pages from dragging you down. As you move through your audit, check the edit history of every page you feature. If the page is factually incorrect or has become irrelevant with time, edit or update it. If the page is no longer needed and doesn’t earn any site views, consider deleting it to make your site more streamlined.
  • Internal Links: Finally, each page of your site will need to be checked for internal links. Each page should feature at least two internal links that point at other pages in the site. For best SEO, these internal links shouldn’t point to shallow pages like your “contact” or “about us” page but should instead point to topic pages that will further a reader’s understanding of a complicated topic or idea. This helps ensure that your page is doing double-duty driving traffic for itself and that all of your pages are getting the attention they deserve.

The Tricks of the Trade

At Express Writers, we’re one of the very few content creation agencies on the web that handles content auditing. To do this effectively, we use a series of helpful tools that can make the process go faster and produce better results:

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a great tool in both content auditing and planning. We love it because it allows us to see which web content is earning the most shares and which has the highest domain authority, as well as top influencers, the amount of content shares, and much more. This allows us to better plan our content. When used in a content auditing setting, BuzzSumo allows you to identify how you might be able to strengthen your outdated or irrelevant content to draw new visitors. Additionally, BuzzSumo offers a content analysis feature, which we use to analyze major topics in a given industry. This allows us to figure out where we need to target content and to re-work old content to fit current market needs.

SEMRush: SEMRush is our key SEO tool for researching and creating keyword reports as well as full website content audits. It can be helpful in the keyword optimization process as well as in creating topic reports and completing website audits. By using SEMRush, you can get an instant overview of how many pages are missing metas or are duplicates of other pages.

WordTracker: We also use WordTracker as a secondary keyword and topic report tool. This allows us to cover all of our bases and ensure that the SEO keyword research part of the audit is as effective as possible.

While the majority of your content auditing will rely on your knowledge of SEO and content creation, using these professional-grade tools can certainly help make your content auditing more effective.

When to Hire The Professionals

While it’s possible to take a D-I-Y approach to content auditing, many people simply don’t have the time or the skill to do it themselves. Content auditing can be an extensive process (each audit can take hours to days, depending on the amount of pages) and it requires a healthy level of tech skills to complete successfully. Fortunately, we staff several fully trained content experts who are knowledgeable about what makes a great site and can help you on the road to better content strategy quickly and effectively.

Conclusion

Think of a content audit as spring cleaning, or laying the groundwork for 2016 resolutions: it allows you to cast out the things you no longer need and replace them with what is more useful, relevant and valuable. Additionally, a website content audit ensures that your site is functioning at its highest possible level and that you’re bringing in all of the rankings and traffic that you truly deserve.

In order to keep it simple, consider doing a website content audit every few months. This cuts down on the level of inaccuracies or fixes you’ll likely find and ensures that your site never falls hugely out of date or behind schedule.

When it’s time to perform an audit on your website, don’t struggle through the process alone. Check out our content strategy services or get in touch to learn more about what we do and consider enlisting us to help make your site great again.

add humor to web copy

How to Use Humor in Your Web Copy (The Right Way)

Humor is like common sense, it doesn’t grow in everybody’s garden.

Some people have a good sense of humor while others don’t. And some have a dark sense of humor that will make you choke. Humor is highly subjective, yet it appeals to our want to have fun, laugh, and be happy, which is why it’s such an awesome tool to leverage in web copy—if it’s leveraged the right way.

Our Want for Laughs

People love to laugh. Every year just about every last one of us tune into the Super Bowl, whether we’re avid football fans or not. For the friends and spouses who don’t much care for football, the commercials are what they live for. Year and year the Super Bowl broadcast has provided a spotlight for amazing commercials sprinkled with just the right amount of humor. There’s no mistaking our want, and need, for comedy.

Adding Humor to Web Copy

Inserting humor into a televised ad is far easier than infusing our web copy. Let’s face it; getting humor across in writing is tough. Writing is all about tone, and since body language isn’t present, one slip in tone or word choice can result in the exact opposite: an insult.

According to a recently published article by Jillian Richardson via Contently, although making humorous content is a great idea, “it takes a lot of hard work to earn actual laughs.” For example, Kmart tried their hand at being funny by placing GIFs in real life in one of their latest commercials. The idea isn’t bad. I mean, they are trying to be trendy. But the execution isn’t stellar. In fact, most viewers find the commercial annoying. (Thank goodness for the mute button on the remote!)

In contrast to Kmart’s attempt at humor, let’s look at an abstract means of awareness brought to us by The Australian Metro. The transportation organization has landed over 82 million YouTube views for what is, in its most basic form, a public safety video designed to make people more aware of the dangers of trains. In this pithy video, you will see a rather ingenious mixture of adorable characters, catchy lyrics, and a dark sense of humor. At the end of the day, people don’t want to share another “Look Both Ways before Crossing the Tracks” article. They want to get this tune, “Dumb Ways to Die,” stuck in everyone’s head!

How to Bring Visual Humor into Context

There is no denying that humor is a powerful marketing tool. But how can you take it off the screen and bring it into context in your web copy? Here are six tips to help you make your readers giggle, chuckle, and laugh out loud:

  1. Know your audience. As is the case with all marketing copy, the greatest success comes from knowing what makes your audience tick. Humor works best when it hinges on something everyone can relate to.
  2. Stay true to your brand. Whether it’s a silly video or a funny tweet, be true to your brand by staying consistent and relevant. If you veer too far from the image you project, even the most hilarious comment will fail.
  3. Be obvious. When you write the punch line, it needs to be instantly obvious. If your reader has to reread to get the joke, it’s not going to have the desired impact.
  4. Do not offend. If you know your audience well, then chances are you’ll be capable of steering clear of anything offensive. After writing a humorous piece, always evaluate it from someone else’s perspective. Be sensitive to race, gender, and culture.
  5. Test market. You know how marketers preach about test marketing a campaign idea before going full bore? The same thing applies to humor. Seek opinions. Find a few trusted staff or audience members, and ask their opinion about a humorous piece before you publish.
  6. Hire a funny person. Funny is hard. Sometimes the best solution is to hire a pro, a writer who has experience weaving humor into content and knows how to create humor in your niche. Funny is a tough act. If it weren’t, we’d all be stand-up comics. Since we’re not, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

Funny Anecdotes and Stories

One of the most effective ways to infuse your content with humor is to use funny anecdotes and stories. This is one of the best kinds of humor because it’s something people relate to and it’s conducive to writing. It also establishes an emotional connection, something that makes content irresistible. But once you’ve begun to wield the power of humor, the trick is to wield it responsibly:

  • Be strategic. Do not scatter punch lines willy-nilly throughout your content. Instead, use humor with strategy, whether it’s to hook the reader at the beginning or drive home the point at the end.
  • Use it frugally. Humor is like candy; it tastes great, but too much will make you sick. As you infuse some sweet laughs into your content, use this new confection frugally. Limit the humor to selective references. The purpose of humor in content is to make a point in a creative way, not come across as an entertainer.
  • Keep it focused. Be sure the humorous parts of your content are on topic. You don’t want them to detract or distract from the main point.
  • Queue the laughter. It sounds like a sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience, but there’s nothing wrong with letting your readers know it’s okay to laugh. Find subtle ways to let them know that you are laughing and it’s fine for them to join in.

As business owners, marketers, and writers, it’s up to us to use the tools at our disposal to hook and keep our readers. Humor is a fantastic way to touch and connect with your audience. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t get your audience to open their mouths to laugh, you can’t get them to open their hearts to learn.” And that makes for truly effective web copy.

 

 

long content

Long Web Content is Still the Winner, Says Search Engine Journal

The content length debate is one that never goes away, though it does seem to die down every now and then. Once upon a time, many content creators were afraid to write long content because they believed that people wouldn’t read it. Long content is still the winner and it is what will bring and keep people on your site, according to a recent Search Engine Journal article. While it is true that people skim your online content that does not mean they aren’t reading it. We will be referencing this article throughout this post to explain just why longer content is the winner over short pieces.

Is Longer Content Really The Best?

When someone talks about long content, many of us possibly think that long content is not a winner and people simply will not finish in-depth pieces. Going back to the Slate article, it is titled, “You Won’t Finish This Article.” Regardless of what Slate says, Search Engine Journal has compiled a list of research that shows just how important longer content is. Long content is going to help you rank significantly because Google takes several things into consideration when ranking your site, not just keywords and quality. (Although, quality is one of the most important things, so do not forget to write quality material!)

Why Is Longer Content The Winner?

It is always a good idea to have information that backs up something such as this, and the Search Engine Journal article referenced earlier gives this information. There are several examples showing that longer content is the best to aim for when writing your web content and blogs, but people are still avoiding it.

Let’s take a look at a few things that will be impacted if you write longer content and avoid posting shorter content:

1. People Are Going To Read An Article That Is Longer. In an article by SerpIQ, the researchers point out that longer content will bring more people to your site than a short article. The reason for this is pretty simple and something many people overlook. Think about when you search on Google for an answer to the question, sometimes you are just wondering how tall a celebrity is or what their next project will be, but other times you need information on how to install a sink or why you should write longer content. When you search for those things, you will want to read something that is actually a long piece instead of a short 500-word article. Why? Because, you know that you will get answers in a longer content piece than a shorter one. This is true of your visitors, clients, and readers as well. If someone searches for a question, he or she might only go to your site if you give a lengthy article in answer to the question.

2. Longer Posts Generate More Traffic. The Search Engine Journal article points out that because of people looking for longer content to answer their questions, your longer pieces are more likely to generate traffic. Generating traffic is something you want to do because that could mean more clients and revenue. You will be able to bring in more people with high-quality content and you will have content that establishes you as an authority in your field. This is important for every business, and you can capture this by writing lengthy content. You might be publishing short content that is high quality and should establish you as an authority, but you will find that many people might consider you more of an authority if you have long pieces on the different topics you write about.

3. People Will Stay On Your Site Longer. You will also find that people stay on your site much longer than they would if you only wrote short content. The reason for this is pretty obvious; it takes longer for someone to read a 2,000-word post than it does to read a 500-word post. When it comes to helping your site rank, having people who stay on your site longer is something that Google’s algorithms take into consideration and will combine it with other elements such as the ever-important quality content to determine your rank. Your lengthy content will take customers a bit of time to read through, but it will also make them more likely to look around your site after they have finished reading. This can help your ranks, but can also help bring in great revenue because those who are on your site longer might be more willing to make a purchase from you.

4. Longer Content Can Lead To More Social Media Shares. While people may only seem to share Grumpy Cat or some sort of—brace yourselves—Game of Thrones “Winter Is Coming” meme, many people also like to share content they find interesting. Sometimes they might share short content, but many times, an article that gets shared is one that provides the reader with useful information. All you have to do is click on the link of a certain article shared by a friend and you will most likely see that it is quite lengthy. If you want your content to get shared, you should try writing a few lengthier pieces that provide people with value and information, according to Meltwater.com. Always make sure you break up your long content, though, making it easier for people to skim. Bold sub-headers are a great way to break it up easily while still providing people with great longer content.

How Can You Write Long Content?

Now that you know longer content is still a winner and how it can factor into helping rank your site, you might be wondering just how to write it. This can be difficult for many people, especially if your market is a niche market.

Here are a few handy suggestions that you can use to write longer content and give clients something that they will appreciate:

1. Create Lists And Flesh Them Out. Lists are something that everyone loves. First of all, lists make your content easier to read for clients. It helps with skimming because people can look throughout your content to see if you will be offering them anything of value. Once they see that you do offer valuable information, they might read the whole article or at least skim throughout it all. This can lead them to looking around at your other blogs or to your products and services.

Secondly, it gives people the ability to read your article in pieces throughout their day. Many people might not be able to spend much time on your article, but if you give them a list to glance over, they might decide to save it for a break or lunch. When you write a list, you can always have a large number of points with only a bit of information per point or you can write out a few points and flesh them out. Either way works, so consider playing around with different things. Don’t worry, it is actually quite easy to come up with lists. Once you get started, you might find it hard to stop!

2. Choose A Broad Topic Instead Of A Specific One. When you are writing content for your niche market, it is a good idea to choose a broad topic instead of focusing on something very specific. When you write about a specific item, service, or idea, it will be more difficult for you to write lengthy, quality material, but if you broaden it out, you might find it easier. For example, let’s say you are selling dog shampoo. Instead of just writing about your wonderful product or why it is perfect for someone’s dog, consider writing a how-to on washing dogs. Give people suggestions for different ways to wash a dog and focus on a few areas that you know people have problems with. You can further expand it by giving tips for those who wash their dogs inside and those who wash their dogs outside. Whatever your product or service, you can find some way to broaden your topic to give people useful information and create a lengthy post.

When you write on a broad topic, you are still able to give specifics. Your lengthy content will give you that ability and help you give people valuable information about your product, how they can use it in their lives or work, and other helpful information that they will find useful. It isn’t as daunting as it seems, and you might even realize that once you get started, it’ll be hard to not make it as long as The Lord of the Rings.

3. Offer Tips To Clients Or Those In Your Industry. As we mentioned above, giving tips is a great way to add length to your content. Tips are some of the best ways to answer common questions and give people help in areas where they need it. The great thing about writing tips in your content is you can always implement things about your particular product or service and can even tell your readers that if they are having a difficult time with a particular task that your product can help. It might not seem like it at first, but you will find that your lengthy content does give you more wiggle room to write bits about your company and bring in interest about what you are selling or what services you provide.

Your advice will help promote you as an authority in your field, but will also help your readers feel like you are willing to help them even if you don’t bring in revenue. This is something that is pretty cool about marketing; you might find that people who would not have normally purchased something from you will, in the end, make a purchase because you offered tips for free. It certainly is strange, but many people seem more willing to pay for something if they feel they are being helped without needing to pay a dime.

4. Tell Your Readers A Story. Storytelling is important to content marketing and really does help to provide those excellent lengthy pieces that bring people to your site. You can tell your clients the story of how your company came into being, things that your company faced such as successes and failures, or other interesting information regarding your business. You can also tell people stories about your products, other clients who have been helped by your items, and how it will help them. While it sounds sales-like, if you put it in story format, it will come across as a simple story and will pique quite the amount of interest. It isn’t too difficult to write a story, either. Again, once you get started, you might find yourself having a hard time reining it in.

5. Approach A Few Ideas Instead Of One. If you want to write lengthy content, but find that the above steps aren’t really helping much, consider writing about several ideas in one post. Make sure you outline it in a natural way, so that it doesn’t come across as stilted or forced. Talking about a few ideas might just be something your clients appreciate. Write up a few topics you want to discuss and see how many ideas you can mesh together. You might be surprised at how well several of your ideas tag-team well. In addition, always use examples when writing your content. Those examples sure will help you create lengthy content, while also helping people understand what it is you are trying to tell them.

In Closing

Writing long content is not as daunting as it seems and, as the Search Engine Journal article says, you will find that your content wins significantly when you utilize longer content. Start creating a strategy for lengthy content and come up with some great topics to write about. Eventually, writing longer content will come naturally and you will find that those 500 to 1,000-word articles are actually harder to do than 2,000 words or more!

 

 

reading levels

Successful Web Content: What Reading Levels Should You Aim for?

If you operate in a world in which your words are your ultimate weapons of seduction used to convert readers into buyers, then you must be fully aware of the fact that what you say is just as important as how you say it. Your tone and your writing style represent key elements that are unfortunately ignored by tons of otherwise competent writers, editors and publishers. So before we go any further, ask yourself the following question: do you and your readers speak the same language?

How Your Ad-Copy Writing Style Actually Influences Your Conversion Rates

According to Copyblogger, there are 4 levels of reading: elementary, inspectional, analytical and syntopical. Reading is a real art. Unfortunately, not all your readers are artists.

Some writers think that they have to make the most of concepts that are difficult to grasp and explain, correlated with an abundance of technical data and pompous words to prove a point. If you are one of them, we are sorry to burst your bubble. The results of a an ample study on adult reading proficiency introduced by the US Department of Education clearly indicates that the average American people still read and assimilate information at a basic 8th (or even 7th) grade level. So if you want to improve your conversion rates, you have to present your products, brand of services in a very concise, reader-oriented manner, without relying on unnecessary explanations or adornments that couldn’t be understood by 8th or 7th graders.

The Gunning Formula, which has its fair share of critics, represents one good tool that you can rely on to keep your writing simple and effective.

Gunning formula

Run this basic mathematical formula against your own ad copy to find out how many years of study your readers would need to decode your text. Of course, if you’re not very proud of your math skills, you have to find a new method to assess the comprehension level of your text. Here are a few tips that could get you out of trouble:

1)      Practice Makes Perfect. OK, so you lack empathy and you don’t really understand the needs, desires and the intellectual capabilities of your audience. What do you do in this case? You put all your hopes in a trial-and-error process. You adopt the writing style that you find more appropriate based on your targeted audience and you measure its impact. Do you manage to interact with your public? Does your writing encourage your readers’ feedback? Do you get comments and suggestions from your visitors? Are your posts liked and shared? If you’ve only managed to come up with a whole bunch of NOs, chances are that you are not on the same page with your audience and that you may need to adjust your writing style a bit.

2)      Take a Closer Look at What Others Are Doing. Here’s an interesting exercise: compare the style adopted by so-called intellectual publications with the one embraced by reputable mainstream sources to see where you are situated and what kind of writing style you should actually opt for. For instance, take a closer look at how the same fact is presented by USAToday.com and Economist.com. After spotting the main differences you’ll manage to find your own voice and elaborate or perfect your own web content writing strategy to keep your readers on your page for the longest period of time.

3)      Create Content Tailored to Your Audience. Get to know your audience. This is the simplest method to craft stellar web content that will actually compel your readers to take action, one way or the other. If you’re trying to sell clothes for young girls, you have to talk like a teenage girl. If your goal is to sell an innovative supplement providing notable health benefits, you have to talk like an expert and include solid facts that back your claims without ignoring the fact that most of your potential buyers will most likely have the reading skills and the power of comprehension of an 8th grader. When possible, use everyday language and keep it short and simple if you have to create content pieces designed to address the needs of a large audience. 

4)      Use Online Tools to Perfect Your Writing and Make It Audience-Appropriate. Feel free to cheat a little, when it comes to conducting research to get more familiar with the demands, expectations and capabilities of your public. You can rely on a generous selection of online readability tools to measure the comprehension level (and thus, the success rate) of your web content pieces.  One of the simplest, most effective ones is Readability-Score.com. According to The Daily Egg, there are several readability formulas; most of them can assess the readability of your text based on a mix of variables, including:

  • the length of your sentences
  • the number of characters comprised by your words
  • the number of words included in your text that are comprised of multiple syllables

Web Content: Simple Is the New Complicated

You may be extra proud of your clever content, but if it actually succeeds in outsmarting your readers this is a very bad sign for your business. In terms of great copy, simple doesn’t necessarily mean unremarkable. Apple copy done for the iPad landing webpage clearly indicates that less is more and suggests that a simpler writing style can be much more powerful and compelling than a complex one that could leave many of your readers in the dark. All in all, keep in mind that you don’t write for your fellow scientists or for yourself. Your website and your content strategies are probably aimed at the large masses, so you have to use your common sense and the results of your in-depth research on your targeted audience to come up with readable web content pieces delivering a crystal clear message, which actually support your optimization goals.

 

 

storytelling and copywriting

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Blending Storytelling In Web Content

Image credit: Galleristny.com

There is a land not very far from our own where fairies dart around, helping travelers on their journeys and where trolls lurk laughing their vile troll-lol-lol-ol laughs. It is an exciting land with many avenues to explore. A traveler can find anything their heart desires, but they must beware! There are many snags and pitfalls in this glorious land, waiting to gobble them up, but that doesn’t scare them away. Rather, this land is known to all as Internet-land and many a traveller frequents it. Brave copywriters have the chance to prove themselves mighty as they joust with each other at copy tournaments. This land is a wonderful one, filled with opportunities.

Storytelling in copywriting is the perfect way to engage readers and will grab the reader’s attention far quicker than a witty opener. We all love stories and, for the most part, stories will work perfectly for copywriting. This post will explore storytelling and tips on how to incorporate it into your writing.

Storytelling is A Major Part of Humanity

Stories are integral to human society. It is something that is absolutely uniquely human. Many times, we avoid giving people facts unless we can give it in story form. Stories are just part of life, no question. It started in cave dwellings with drawings, formed into wonderful mythos of the gods, all the way to books and films about people striving to survive in dystopian societies or kids attending a school of witchcraft and wizardry. These stories shape and evolve us into who we are now and will change society forever.

Copywriting and Storytelling? No Such Thing!

You don’t think copywriting and storytelling go hand in hand? You are wrong! What do you think you are doing when you write up that long product description or your latest press release? Sure, you are giving the facts but according to Copyblogger, you are also telling a story. It isn’t something from the Brothers Grimm – which is for the best really, you don’t want your blog to be about placing an evil stepmother in a barrel poked full of nails and rolling her down the hillside. It can simply be words woven together to create a delightful image of a product or service. If you don’t think information and facts can create a great an image in the minds of readers, you need to rethink what it means to be a writer.

Here are a three ways to go about telling a story to make your copy one of a kind:

1. Keep it Relevant and Interesting. When writing up copy in story format, you need to make sure the storytelling is relevant. Fairy tales will always be part of our society, therefore, being relevant at all times. By talking about your product in a fairy tale format, you might find more people interested in reading about it than if you did a generic, “Blah blah. Product does this. Blah blah.” You can gauge if it is relevant simply by your targeted audience and customers. If you realize that your clients don’t like fairy stories, find another form of storytelling. All you have to do is go to Barnes and Noble to realize just how many forms of storytelling there are.

2. Do Not Take a Lesson from GRRM. George R. R. Martin is known for his lengthy descriptions of banquets and the gigantic nature of his A Song of Ice and Fire novels, he is also known for taking eons to publish his books. The lessons to take from Mr. Martin are not to describe things so in-depth that you lose readers, don’t write extremely long stories and don’t take forever publishing your content. Long descriptions and long books are great for novels, obviously, and the in-depth descriptions of food in GRRM’s books only work because the food just sounds so amazing. If you start going to the lengths of Mr. Martin’s food descriptions with your products, you will see people hopping away from your content; this also goes for content that is pages upon pages of writing. Don’t make your stories too long, instead make them something that is absolutely captivating with a small amount of words. It is possible!

3. Read, Read, Read. As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” Reading is paramount for crafting great stories. You will not be able to come up with something witty and intriguing if all you do is look at Facebook every day. Note that when we say read, we mean things outside of copywriting. Those are great, but you need to read things that will inspire your writing. Try checking out Orson Scott Card’s Ender series or Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. If science fiction and fantasy aren’t your jam, try Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, and Lemony Snicket. These authors are great at creating inspiration and if you do find yourself strapped for time, try an HP Lovecraft short story. Fiction literature is one of the greatest ways to find writing inspiration for novelists and copywriters alike.

Brand Storytelling

You’ve read the tips for interweaving stories with your web content, but now it is time to talk briefly about brand storytelling. Using this will generate a lot of buzz and interest about your product and service. Starbucks is a great example of how to do this; they released a little story about their siren logo. According to ABC Copywriting, telling a story about your brand and how it came to be is a great way to garner more interest in your company, as well as establish a personal connection with customers.

Live Happily Ever After

Creating a story format for your content will be an amazing experience for your business and will bring in more clientele than you could have imagined. Stories are unique ways to tell people about your product or service, and engage with them about what your company offers. You will stand out from your competitors simply by doing the one thing everyone loves – telling stories.

 

 

bullet points

5 Ways to Use Bullet Points In Your Web Content

People who strive to grow and run a profitable business in online environments have one thing in common: they all want to get their hands on a larger slice of the pie. So what exactly manages to separate the proud winners from the losers? Clearly, first-class web content is an important piece of the puzzle. Cleverly selected words that help you resonate with your audience are the secret recipe to success.
But many content creators are still not fully aware of the fact that how you write is almost as important as what you write. In order to capture the attention of a large segment of readers that could be converted into devoted buyers and valuable brand evangelists, you must put your best thoughts on paper and organize them in a flawless manner. The Internet is a complex labyrinth in which essential info is sometimes difficult to spot, so your web copywriting should be focused on 3 principles: objectiveness, conciseness and scan-ability.

Correct Formatting Is the Key to Organizing Reader-Friendly Web Content

Readability is an important criterion that you should take into consideration, when it comes to crafting, editing and publishing content. You can’t just try to stitch different pieces together and expect to obtain an awesome-looking cohesive whole. As tempting as it may seem to follow your first creative impulse and write countless pages without catching your breath, you have to learn how to polish, prioritize and publish your ideas the right way.

Awe-Inspiring Content Versus Just Yawn-Inspiring Web Writing

Is your presentation awe-inspiring or yawn-inspiring? Dull, yawn-inspiring web content pieces do not sell and do not engage with their targeted audience; therefore they are a mere waste of time, energy and money. On the other hand, killer content plus adequate formatting represents a match made in heaven that can move mountains and help you attain your boldest objectives. Properly formatted texts work to your best advantage for a few reasons:

  • They allow you to organize and prioritize your ideas
  • They enable you to list and highlight some of the most important details
  • They give readers the chance to scan the text in a timely fashion and spot the information that they were actually looking for with minimal effort

Apart from the fact that well-organized texts let readers find, filter and absorb information the easy way, they also help you create and maintain a tidy image that is always appreciated by any kind of public. Still think that visitors have nothing against scattered paragraphs, as long as they succeed in finding the information that made them land on your site in the first place? Think again.

Bullet Points: Friends or Foes?

A nice, clean structure based on bullet points is a huge part of formatting in reader-friendly web content. While trying to figure out what the perfect draft should look like, ask yourself the following question: what would Steve Jobs do? When in doubt, it is always advisable to assimilate the priceless lessons offered by the most captivating, successful presenters of all times. It’s no secret that Steve Jobs managed to deliver some of the most memorable and compelling keynote presentations of all times.

Although we are great fans of Steve Jobs and we appreciate his legacy, we can’t help but wonder: was he wrong about bullet points? Despite the fact that Jobs always came up with well-structured presentations that created a long-lasting impression and encouraged the audience to take action, he never actually included bullet points in his presentation. Never ever! Why on earth was Steve Jobs so determined to say no to the useful bullet points serving a very practical purpose?

Seth Godin manages to provide a concise answer to this question in his book entitled Really Bad PowerPoint. Godin affirms that people who include bullet points in their presentations encourage their listeners to take notes, instead of actually paying attention to the important matters that are being discussed.

The most important ideas are highlighted via bullet points, and the audience members feel stimulated to rely on their note-taking skills to capture the essence of the presentation. While going down this path, they obviously pay less attention to the explanations provided by the presenter and walk away with an incomplete image of the new product or service that is being introduced. Godin makes an interesting parallel, stating that everyday people do not think about taking notes when they go to the opera.

While Godin may be right about the negative impact of bullet points upon the public’s ability to filter and assimilate key information, their less desirable effect can only be associated with live presentations. When it comes to putting your thoughts on paper, bullet points can’t hurt your end goal. On the contrary, web content writing is all about a clean, clear structure based on bullet points. Since readers are free to scan your content whenever they want and as many times as they please, your message cannot be jeopardized by the utilization of bullet points. On the contrary, these elements enable you to put your thoughts in order and organize your content the right way.

Although we don’t share Godin’s opinion about bullet points because we understand that their potential risks do not and cannot affect our web writing, we do love the unforgettable lessons on content creation and formatting that Apple offered us, listed by KissMetrics. Apple is the gigantic, extremely successful corporation that is basically teaching us what we should have known from the very beginning, like for instance, the fact that online readers have their own way of scanning content, that design is an underrated factor that can easily create interest and help us boost conversion rates or that a short, simple, user-friendly structure is what’s actually keeping visitors on our page for a longer period of time.

Using Bullet Points in Your Content

You cannot deprive business writing of its bullet marks. These tiny elements serve a huge purpose and have multiple benefits: they turn document scanning into a simple, time-effective process, draw attention to the most important aspects emphasized in your written presentation and enable you to communicate much more efficiently. Of course, bullet points come with a fairly large list of dos and don’ts.

Let’s start with the Dos:

  • Make sure all the elements comprised in your list actually belong together and manage to create a logical whole
  • Keep your bullet points short (not longer than 3 lines)
  • Make sure all bullet points look similar ( they should display a similar length and a consistent format)

Pay Attention to These Tricky Don’ts

  • Don’t include bulleted lists in other bulleted lists. This is a very counterproductive practice that can confuse your readers
  • Don’t use bulleted lists when it comes to introducing a rather sensitive issue
  • Don’t mix questions with declarative statements in the same bulleted list
  • Don’t mix fragments with full sentences in the same bulleted list
  • Don’t end the items included in your bulleted lists with semi-colons or commas

Taking into consideration all these more or less obvious dos and don’ts that influence the effectiveness of your web writing, should you actually be intimidated by bullet points? As long as you use them wisely to convey important details rapidly, you cannot go wrong with bullet points. If this particular formatting issue still makes you feel pretty confused, just take a closer look at the 5 foolproof ways to use bullet points in your content.

5 Excellent Ways to Put Bulleted Lists to Good Use

1)      Use Bullet Points to List the Special Features of Your Product and Its Unique Benefits. Aren’t you dying to tell your potential buyers just how special your products and services are and how they could change their lives for the best as soon as they add them to their shopping carts? Bulleted lists allow you to do just that. Instead of boring your prospects with useless adornments and exaggerations that nobody wants to read, you can simplify their decision-making process by publishing accurate, well-organized, easy to read, relevant information structured in bulleted lists. It’s the easiest, most effective way to introduce your goods and reflect their uniqueness.

2)      Publish Compelling Testimonials. Nobody has time to read endless chunky testimonials that sound surreal, to say the least. If you want to maximize the results of your content campaigns and establish a powerful connection with your readers via testimonials, keep in mind the fact that less is more. Sometimes, a catchy, memorable, totally relatable phrase revealing the most amazing attributes and advantages of your products can become your most powerful ally in the long run. Count on bullet points to create and organize compelling, attention-grabbing testimonials that will help you prove a point and stay on the same page with your audience.

3)      Promote Interesting Facts Included in a Short Statement. A strategically placed, shocking or intriguing statement can help you sell, sell, sell. This is an ingenious method to trick your visitors into reading your sales pitch., according to Crazyegg.com.  You basically introduce a very powerful, attention-grabbing statement at the very beginning of your copy and try to resonate with your audience. You provide interesting details related to a specific context, to the problems that your buyers may encounter, which could be easily be annihilated using your awesome products or services, and so on.

The key is to create a compelling introduction allowing you to bond with your readers, before actually asking them to take action, one way or another. Bullet points support your initiative and allow you to accentuate the most important aspects, rather than getting stuck in endless studied, elaborate phrases that usually have a minimal impact on savvy readers who are immune to aggressive marketing strategies. Don’t beat around the bush. Rely on bullet points to come up with a perfectly logical, well-structured introduction that can convince readers to take your sales pitch into consideration.

4)      List the Main Qualifications of an Expert. If you have the chance to count on a real expert who can back your statements and support your line of products or services, you should consider yourself fortunate. This is a great opportunity to promote your commodities and earn the trust of all your potential buyers. Unlike most of your competitors, you have someone who can actually vouch for you. That special someone is fully trained and qualified and is ready and eager to tell the whole world that your merchandise is truly something. You can use bullet points to enumerate the most important qualifications of your expert. This is the most effective way to reinforce your authority and build credibility and trust.

5)      List Very Specific Product Details. Killer web content has a clear, comprehensive structure. It allows readers to discover different products, compare their features and make a smart buying decision. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that a company that provides laptops and a local restaurant that is trying to promote its divine micro cuisine will employ different selling techniques.

When you are writing about good food, you can afford to unleash your creativity to underline the best aspects of your business. As long as you follow a few basic formatting rules while presenting your products from a unique, fresh perspective, you are on the right path to success. On the other hand, when you are selling gadgets, you have to be very specific.

You may need to count on the services of a skilled tech writer and you have to find the best way to keep it simple when it comes to organizing and prioritizing your content. Technical product descriptions are extremely important and should be visible and easy to read. You can use bullet points to list the particular features of your goods. Bullet points come in handy, enabling readers to scan your text and find the info that they are looking for (price, availability, color, model, warranty, size, weight, battery life, and so on) in no time.

It’s no secret that great copy sells. Premium web content is your most powerful tool, allowing you to turn business goals into accomplishments. But formatting also plays an important part in this equation, enabling you to enhance the readability level of all your texts and respond to your readers’ aesthetical and practical needs and demands in an optimal manner.