how to improve your content writing

Learn How to Improve Your Content Writing: 7 Easy Ways to Buff up Your Content Now

What’s the one thing you need to do to master a new skill?

Practice, of course!

This is as true with learning to play tennis as it is mastering content writing: the more you practice, the better you get.

Today, content writing is a critical talent, and mastering it can help you stand out in the crowded online world.

Sound hard? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. Just follow these seven simple tips, and you’ll be on the top of your content writing game in no time at all.

improve your writing

How to Improve Your Content Writing: Why Creating Great Online Content Matters So Much

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for all of 2016 (and maybe the decade before that, as well), you’ve probably interacted with some form of online content.

Whether it was a blog, a webpage, a social media post, or even a product description, online content has touched your life in one way or another.

This industry is nowhere near dying. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Today, online content is one of the primary sources that humans use to communicate with one another.

Sound crazy?

Think about it!

Regardless of what you do for work or fun, chances are that you interact with some form of digital content every day. Do you read blogs? Do you surf the web? Do you shop online? If so, you’re interacting with online content!

According to Adweek:

  • The average person interacts with 285 pieces of content every single day.
  • This rounds out to 54,000 words (the length of a novel) and 1,000 different links – consumed daily.
  • A whopping 63% of that content is written, while 37% is media content.

If that doesn’t put the importance of online content in perspective, I’m not sure what will!

Due to the rise of digital content, and the level of importance that consumers now place on it, learning how to improve your content writing is one of the smartest things you can do.

How to Improve Your Content Writing in 7 Steps

Regardless of whether you’re a marketer, blogger, small business owner, or just an online enthusiast, improving your content writing is one of the best ways to succeed in the digital world.

Here are seven tips to help you head into 2017 strong:

1. Up your image game

For most people, “adding an image” to a blog means plugging in a stock photo for the featured picture.

This is not enough.

Today, images make all the difference in a person’s willingness to read your content. In fact, HubSpot reports that content that includes a relevant image gets a massive 94% more views than content that is only text.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to add images to your posts. Today, there are dozens of free and high-quality stock image sites you can take advantage of. You can also hire out custom images, or create your own on a site like Canva.

No matter what you do, make sure any images you include in your posts are high-quality – there should be no blurring or odd proportions – and relevant.

2. Dig deeper than average to verify facts and statistics

It’s easy to fill your writing with general statements. It’s much harder, however, to go to the source and find relevant, solid statistics to back up your claims. This is one simple way to beef up your online writing.

Today, it’s easier than ever to find quality statistics for any industry you’re involved in. A simple Google search with the word “statistic” at the end will reveal thousands, if not millions, of hits. Before you go plugging them into your content, however, you need to know how to determine what is a high-quality source and what’s not.

One fantastic, 100% trustworthy tool for determining this is Alexa.

Alexa is an Amazon subsidiary that allows users to access traffic and rank estimates based on mass browsing behavior. Alexa’s ranks are updated daily and the tool offers a quick view of sites that are high-quality and sites that are low-quality – the lower the site ranking number, the better it’s doing online.

To use Alexa, just head to Alexa.com/siteinfo, and type in your target URL. If it ranks over 100,000, it’s a high-quality link that you can include in your content.

Save this handy-dandy visual guide:

alexa ranking

3. Add an infographic

Right now, infographics are shared and liked on social media three times as often as any other type of content out there.

For an example of how an infographic can be used in a piece of online content check, out our recent post “Five Tips for Creating Irresistibly Tasty Holiday Content for Your Readers.”

This piece features the five tips as copy and designed into a fun infographic, hand-drawn and custom created in Adobe InDesign by our lead designer.

holiday content tips

 

While we could have just written the tips out, HubSpot’s statistics show that people play close attention to information-carrying images.

Never created an infographic before? It might be best to leave it to a pro.

We offer full-service infographic creation! Visit Infographics in the Content Shop.

Like any image, the infographics you use in your content must always be high-quality, relevant, and professional.

4. Publish a case study

A case study is one piece of content that announces “I have arrived!”

Here’s why: case studies are not something that every content writer produces. They take time, they take expertise, and they take real, demonstrable success that your clients are willing to let you share.

Because of this, they are an incredibly powerful type of online content that can serve to enhance your reputation and help you land more customers.

If you’re interested in publishing a case study, you’ll have to set a time frame and start paying close attention to your results. If you have a specific job or interaction with the client that you believe would be fodder for a case study, reach out to the client and ask for permission to share the details.

Once you’ve done that, hire a professional case study writer to help you get started.

5. Write more often

Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author, is commonly quoted as having said that it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become an expert at something. If that’s true, the more you write, the better at it you’ll be.

While there are dozens of technical or professional ways to improve your online copywriting, one of the best things that you can do to get better is simply to write more.

The more you write, the more honed your skills will be, and the more efficient you’ll be at spotting mistakes.

In addition to making you a better writer, writing more often can also help you become more visible online, since it will naturally increase your social shares and enhance your network of readers.

6. Use a headline analyzer to test your titles

One of the simplest and most overlooked tools for writers is the headline analyzer. There are several different models out there, many of which are free.

Designed to test a headline for its concentration of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and power words, a headline analyzer takes your headline, evaluates it, and lets you know what you need to improve.

If you’re just learning to craft a great headline, a headline analyzer is a fantastic way to catch common mistakes and pivot your writing style accordingly.

Even for writers who are already professionals, a headline analyzer is a fantastic way to improve your online content and learn how to be a better writer across the board.

7. Find out which topics your readers want

Doing some research into trending topics in your industry is another fantastic way to immediately improve your online writing. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to locate trending content in your industry.

If you’d prefer to take it to the “streets,” head to a website like Quora or Reddit to figure out what your audience is talking about and what their questions are.

While most people assume that the topics they come up with are the ones their audience wants to read, the audience is the best resource for figuring out what you should be writing about.

With that in mind go to the places your audience hangs out. See what they are talking about. Once you’ve done that, bring it back to your blog. This is a sure-fire recipe for becoming appealing and compelling online.

Learning to Improve Your Content Writing Just got Easy

There are tons of cheap tips for learning to improve writing on the web.

At the end of the day, however, improving your online copywriting comes down to wanting to do it.

Here at Express Writers, we’re passionate about helping you improve your online writing. With the help of these seven tips, you can become a better online writer, learn more about the digital world around you, and grow your skills in 2017, and beyond!

Still need a bit of help managing your online copy writing needs? Contact Express Writers today to learn more about our team of experienced writers and purchase your content package now.

new site content

10 Critical Content Types To Invest In When Launching a New Site

When you launch a new website, investing in the right content is critical.

In addition to “beautifying” your site with great copy that supports your company’s goals and talks to your audience, good content helps you gain online exposure in the SERP results, rankings, leads, traffic – and boosts your chances of converting new clients.

But which types of content should you invest in, if you’re just starting out?

It can be tough, with questions like do I start a blog, do I create 11 or 50 pages of web copy, launch social media content (and if so, how?), just to name a few. We’re here to help with a guide on ten critical content types for every new site. Keep reading!

content types for a new site

Content By The Numbers: 5 Reasons to Invest in Content

First, let’s explore why you should be considering a long-term investment in content marketing if you’re just launching a site.

Consider a few content marketing statistics:

new site

1. More Than 200 Million People Are Currently Using Ad Blockers. 

While this might not seem like it matters much for your site, it means that great content is one of the only ways to access the inboxes and computers of the customers you want to reach.

2. Content Helps To Produce Brand Recall.

In 2015, IBM did a Digital Experience Survey that proved that 56% of content marketers believed that personalized content helped promote a higher engagement rate with customers. The easier your brand is for customers to remember, the easier it will be for you to drive engagement through content.

3. People Spend An Average Of 37 Seconds On Content.

If you want people to spend more time on your website, one of the best ways to do it is to invest in content that makes them feel something. According to Content Marketing Institute, high-quality, relevant content encourages readers to stay on your website longer.

4. Content Marketing Is 62% Less Expensive Than Outbound. 

Although many people assume that content is expensive, it’s quite a bit cheaper than traditional advertising and outbound methods. What’s more, it’s also three times as effective.

5. Content Drives Higher Conversion Rates.

When people adopt content for their marketing strategies, they enjoy conversion rates roughly six times as high as those of their competitors.

With these numbers in mind, it’s clear that not only can you not afford to invest in content for your website, but that deciding which content works best with your brand is crucial to overhauling your online marketing strategy.

10 Content Types Every Website Needs

If you’re building a new site, don’t launch it without first ensuring that you have each of these ten types of content:

1. Web Pages

What would a website be without web pages? While many of today’s websites are long-page, one-page sites, it’s still crucial you have some pages for your site. For most companies, an “About Us,” “Contact,” and “Services” page will do, although you may choose to add or subtract pages as you see fit.

Remember that the length of your web pages is an important consideration.

Too long and you risk losing your reader’s attention, especially if you don’t format your pages correctly. Too short, and you risk not providing enough information or detail to be helpful for your readers.

As a general rule, web pages should have at least 300 words of copy on them. While this will be too short to cover most topics, it’s a good benchmark to keep in mind as you start creating the web pages for your new site.

2. Ongoing Blogging

Listen carefully: you need a blog.

Without a blog, your website will not only not perform as well as you’d like it to, but you’ll miss a valuable opportunity to provide your readers with relevance – one of the most coveted and important factors in online marketing.

Although many companies underestimate the importance of a blog, Impact Branding And Design reports that:

  • Websites with blogs tend to have 434% more indexed pages than their competitors.
  • What’s more, 47% of customers interact with 3 – 5 pieces of content before they ever talk to a sales rep.

And my favorite blogging stat (Hubspot):

  • Businesses that publish over 16 blogs/month (4+/weekly) get 3.5x MORE traffic than businesses that publish 0-4 posts. 

Wow!

3.5x more traffic than your competitors, just from consistent, volume blogging.

So why are you not already?

Having a library of quality, relevant content can make all the difference between converting a customer and losing them to the sea of other companies vying for their attention. If that weren’t enough to change your mind, B2B marketers that blog regularly earn an average of 67% more leads than marketers who don’t.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to integrate a blog with your website. Today, content platforms like WordPress offer built-in blog functionalities that are easy to manage and use, even for beginners. To manage your blog effectively, use its scheduling feature to post consistently and give your readers something to look forward to regularly.

One of our favorite content services is ongoing, consistent blogging maintenance. We write, schedule, create imagery, and publish in our blogging packages.

3. Meta Content

Meta content is an often-overlooked form of online content.

While it doesn’t get as much attention as sexier forms of content like blogs or social media, it serves a crucial role in the online world.

When you Google something, meta content is the snippet of material that appears on the search engine results page or SERPs. Here’s what it looks like:

meta content example

 

Meta content works to give you an idea of what information an article contains, and helps you understand what you will learn from a given piece of content.

As such, it’s crucial to get it right. If you don’t know how to write meta content on your own, it’s smart to hire someone who does. When done correctly, meta content will boost your SEO and help improve your click-through rate, both of which can have dramatic and long-lasting impact on the salience on your website

4. Product Descriptions

If you have an e-commerce site where you sell things online, great product descriptions are critical.

Think about it: if a person can’t pick up and touch your product, a product description is the only thing to help them understand the item’s specifications and its value.

To help your product descriptions perform as well as possible, keep them succinct, exciting, detailed, and tailored to your target audience. And to help them rank, use key terms in your product descriptions that are SEO worthy.

Check out this amazing product description from Dollar Shave Club:

dollar shave club product description

Read more about creating great product descriptions.

5. “Contact Us” Content

When it comes to the “contact us” page, lots of marketers get stuck. Although virtually everybody knows to include a contact form or your contact information here, it can be tough to figure out if you need to add any content, and if so, what type.

Contact pages are no different than any other page on your website, though, and they deserve content crafted with love.

With this in mind, consider hiring a writer to help you craft great “contact us” copy. Think of this page as the ultimate call to action: the more compelling your contact us page is, the more likely people will be to reach out.

6. “About Us” Content

One of the most clicked pages of any website is the “about us” page.

When people navigate to your site, they’re naturally curious about who your brand is, and what you do, and they head to your “about us” page to find out.

It’s essential to make this section of your site as informative and authentic as possible. Stop for just a minute, though; you don’t want to make this sound like every other “about us” page out there. While website content serves the purpose of giving your site some structure, it also helps you brand your company.

As such, it’s important to find ways to imbue your personality into this key page, and ensure that you speak to your reader (and potential client) about your priorities, goals, and objectives as a company. This is a great spot to include some information about your founders, partners, staff, and how you got started as a company.

Take a look at how we do this on our “Who Are We?” page at Express Writers:

our values

We recently did a case study on how much our site conversions improved after we changed our site copy around and included a Values page! Check it out here.

7. Social Media Profiles

Think social media profiles don’t have anything to do with your website? Think again.

When people come to your site, they want to find other ways to interact with you. One of the best ways to learn more about your company is through your social media profiles. This means that when you launch a website, you should have clickable links to your various social profiles in a place where would-be customers can see them.

Before you launch your website, take the time to set up at least a Facebook and Instagram page. Most marketers use more than two social platforms, but the ones you choose to pursue will depend on your brand and personal goals. Keep in mind that you don’t want to over-commit to social media, so you should only establish the profiles that you can maintain. A stagnant profile is much more damaging than a non-existent profile. Once you’ve created your profiles, link them to your blog, so that your followers can get instant updates about all your new posts.

We’ve had new clients find us from our Twitter feed, @ExpWriters, which is managed by a dedicated social media manager. Because of the high quality that she dedicates to writing and sharing content there, the referring traffic have included high-level inbound leads that went straight to purchasing after talking to one of our team members.

Here’s a look at our Twitter feed. You can see that we even join in quite a few Twitter chats, besides maintaining our own:

twitter expwriters

8. Service Descriptions

No matter what you do, you want to include some information about the services your company offers on your website. Make sure each service description is comprehensive and detailed. Bonus points if you can provide an example of services you’ve provided or jobs you’ve completed in the past.

Although there is some debate about whether you should publish your prices, many experts advocate doing so. This is because publishing your prices makes it easier for customers to get all the information they need the first time they visit your site, which helps make your site more valuable to them.

Besides being upfront with pricing on everything in the Content Shop, we have an overview pricing page. In an industry where very few competitors are transparent, we get consistently good feedback from new leads that can find our rates in a few minutes after landing on our site for the first time.

9. Home Page Content

If you’ve ever sold a house, you know that one of the first things every realtor will advise you to do is improve your home’s curb appeal. The curb appeal is the way that the house looks from the curb, and it’s one of the most important things in the world of real estate.

Think about the homepage copy of your website like the curb appeal of your house: it’s the first thing people see when they pull up. As such, optimizing your home page content is essential. This isn’t a place to skimp.

For an example of excellent homepage content, check out KISSmetrics:

kissmetrics home

This copy is informative, attractive, easy to read quickly, and it features social proof.

When you write your home page content, strive to strike a balance between being approachable and professional. The text should give readers an immediate idea of who you and your company are, and what they can expect from the rest of your online material.

10. Good Data

One of the most powerful things you can use to convince people about something is data. With this in mind, you might consider including some data about why your service or product is valuable on your website.

For example, if you sell a back brace that helps people heal from back injuries, you might include some statistics about how common back pain is and how support is effective at treating it. These data points should feature prominently on the home page of your site, where they’ll be most visible to your customers

Your New Site Doesn’t Work Without Exceptional Content

Your focus shouldn’t be unequally divided on development. Don’t be that business owner that drops all focus on their copy because “we didn’t think it was necessary.” You can lose every quality lead that’s on your site, due to poor copy.

Think of launching a website is 50% tech (development), and 50% content.

It’s easy for new website owners to get so wrapped up in launching their site that they get sloppy with their copy, but this is a death sentence.

The more professional and cleaned up your site looks when it launches, the easier it will be to get off to the races with your new business or website.

While these forms of content will help make your site feel complete and unique, you’re not done here. Be sure you have an editor and a writer involved, so you’re not missing any critical typos that will make your brand look bad.

Is it time to invest in content for your new website? We’d love to help. Talk to us today!

production description copywriting

How to Optimize Your Product Description Copywriting for Conversions

If you run an e-commerce site where you sell things online, you know just how important your product description copywriting is.

Unfortunately, many marketers miss the bar when it comes to crafting product descriptions that actually sell and return on their copy investment.

If you think about a product description objectively, it’s clear that they’re the first experience customers have with your product or service.

While it’s one thing if a customer can pick up your product and feel it in person, selling takes on an entirely new flavor if that physical contact is impossible.

When the magic of incredibly good product description copy happens, that’s like the Holy Grail of online content – a visitor reads and buys, over and over. Your investment comes back 100x.

If you’re interested in learning how to overhaul your product descriptions and boost both their SEO and customer appeal, read on!

product description copywriting, how to write a product description

5 Typical Product Description Copywriting Mistakes You Should Never Make

While product descriptions may seem simple, they’re some of the most common things that marketers mess up.

With that in mind, here are the five most common mistakes new and experienced marketers alike tend to make with product descriptions:

1. Falling Victim to Bland Copy

If you think about it, product descriptions are meant to get people excited about your products.

Copy that doesn’t excite won’t inspire conversions. Being too dull or boring will sink your ship quickly. The best product descriptions include some degree of enthusiasm and urgency that makes people want to buy your products right now.

While this is not to say that you should be overly salesy, it is to say that getting excited about your product and letting that show through your descriptions is an excellent idea.

Check out how Dollar Shave Club brings the fun into their descriptions, with phrases like “butter up” to describe applying their shaving cream:

dollar shave club product description

2. Not Providing Enough Information

If a customer can’t pick up your product, try it on, and feel it for themselves, it is essential to give them as much information as possible to ensure that they have what they need to make their purchasing decision.

Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes marketers make is to offer the bare minimum of information in their descriptions.

If you look at clothing websites like Backcountry, you’ll see examples of detailed, in-depth product descriptions that leave nothing to the imagination.

Backcountry incorporates lengthy user reviews on the page along with their very detailed product description, answering every question you could probably have on the subject, for example with this Patagonia men’s sweater jacket:

screencapture-backcountry-patagonia-down-sweater-mens-1489689164918

 

Instead of providing a skeletal, textual product description, these companies offer images, videos, and real-life measurements of their models so people can get an idea of how to size the clothing they’re purchasing. Follow this model to make your product descriptions as valuable as possible.

3. Sloppy Writing

One of the deadly sins of online writing, product descriptions included, is to be sloppy with your grammar or facts in your language.

Because product descriptions aren’t quite as glamorous as other forms of content, like blogs or social media, they often get overlooked. That’s a dangerous mistake since product descriptions are some of the most critical forms of content on your website. Plus, the facts within the descriptions can make or break the sale.

Overlook them, and you risk creating sloppy material that alienates customers and may even cost you some sales.

Treat your product descriptions as a high priority form of content. Draft them, and then go back to re-write and edit them. The more attention you pay to your product descriptions, the better they’ll turn out in the end.

4. Not Including All the Critical Details

As a general rule, a product description is not the place to assume that your customers know anything about your product.

Instead, it is a place to give them all the information they need to be educated about your products, goods, or service.

Provide as much information as you have about the product, including background information. For example, if you are a company that sells baby carriers, you might provide information about the baby carrier, and how different women in different cultures wear them.

From there, you can transition to talking about the fabric of your baby carrier, its various carrying options, and how much weight it can safely carry. While most marketers assume this kind of information is overkill, it’s critical to help inform your customers at every turn.

Look how Tula does this with their baby carriers. They even bold the phrases that most parents will probably look for when selecting the best baby carrier to purchase, like positioning, baby weight limits, and key ergonomic and comfort phrases:

tula product description

How To Write A Product Description That Sells: 6 Actionable Tips

Whether you’re a new e-commerce company just getting started, or you’re looking to improve your existing product descriptions, these guidelines will help.

1. Know Your Audience

The first and most critical step in any good writing is to know who you’re talking to. You have to understand the audience for each product description before you write them.

Who is going to be buying this product? Is it a mom with a toddler? Is it a person looking for inexpensive cleaning solutions? Is it a teenager?

Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to target your product descriptions accordingly, and ensure that each one you write speaks directly to the customers who will be interested in the product.

2. Get Comprehensive

As we discussed above, the more complete your product descriptions are, the better. Keep in mind, though, that there is a right way and a wrong way to be comprehensive. Consider one of the critical lessons of selling anything: don’t talk about the features, talk about the benefits. This applies to your product descriptions just like it would any other form of online content. Instead of telling your clients what your product does, tell them how it will help them.

How will it make their lives better? Which problems would it solve for them? An excellent way to ensure that you offer a comprehensive list of benefits is to start by writing down all of the things that make your product unique before you write your product description. This will help you hit all the nails on the head and be as compelling as possible for your readers.

3. Write Like You Speak

Lots of brands have the wrong idea about product descriptions. While it’s true that they should be professional and informative, they should also offer an inside glimpse of your brand.

For an excellent example of a company that does this well, let’s go back to Dollar Shave Club:

Dollar Shave Club

Although their product descriptions are informative, they’re all so funny, which is arguably a large part of the reason the company has exploded in value over the five years since its Inception.

Their internet-famous “Our Blades are F***ing Great” video racked up 4.75 million views in just three months after it went out, netting 12,000 subscription signups in just 48 hours. (Entrepreneur)

Take inspiration and infuse your voice into all the product descriptions you write. This will help keep them approachable and relatable and will prevent your audience from becoming bored stiff.

4. Make Them Scannable

These days, people don’t read many things from start to finish. This goes for product descriptions just like it does blog posts and other forms of content.

With this in mind, it’s smart to make your product description skimmable.

This involves using a bulleted format to showcase critical details of your product, using bolded headers and sub-headers, and dividing the product description into sections like “features” and “compatible with.”

5. Optimize Your Text For Persuasiveness

The most compelling text focuses more on the customer than it does on the product. To bring this into your product descriptions, use the word you more often (third person).

2nd person

Source: SlideShare

This shows that you value and understand your customers.

It’s also smart to keep the wording of your product descriptions simple, avoid jargon, remove generic phrases as much as possible, and replace weak words with more specific ones. Once you’ve done all of this, read your copy from the point of view of a customer. Does the product description make you want to buy? If not, what can you do to make it more compelling?

6. Optimize All Your Copy For SEO

Last but not least, you want to optimize your content for SEO. One of the best ways to do this is to use your keyword phrases in the headline, sub headers, and body copy of your contents. Just like you would with any other type of text, be sure to keep your keyword inclusion natural rather than stuffing it as full as a Thanksgiving turkey.

Make Magic Happen With Thorough, Fun, Branded Product Descriptions

Creating irresistible product description copy can sometimes feel like working a miracle.

Take inspiration from our tips, and know that in essence, product descriptions are a formulaic type of content everyone can learn.

Most of the mistakes made with product descriptions are simple ones: dry language, a lack of detail, a focus on the company rather than the consumer, etc. – all of which can be fixed with some attention and time.

The more you understand what makes a great product description, the easier it will be to ensure yours live up to the bar every time.

Need help writing product descriptions that make your items fly off the shelves? Check out our product description copywriting today!

death of the fold

Death of the Fold: Why Content Writers Don’t Have to Worry About Scroll Time

You’ve likely heard of the phrase “above the fold,” if you’re even slightly into internet marketing and copywriting.

According to collective wisdom, we’re supposed to top-load the content that appears “above the fold” if we want to succeed.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “fold,” it essentially means the place that a reader would have to scroll to see more content or the bottom of the visible page.

For years, this has been a battle cry in the world of SEO, and it’s one that’s rung loudly with writers, web designers, and others. But what if that call is wrong? What if “the fold” has fallen out of vogue and, today, it’s nothing more than a myth that you don’t need to worry about quite so much. Today, we’re going to dig into this, and help you understand why “above the fold” could be a dead term.

Read on.

death of the fold and scroll time

What “Above the Fold” Content Looks Like

Whether you know it or not, you’ve seen above the fold content. You can find it on virtually any small software company’s website.

It looks like this:

freshbooks

On the FreshBooks website, which sells small business accounting software, the viewer gets a visual, a headline, a few sentences of text, and a call-to-action button – all without having even to touch their mouse.

That’s it. You can’t scroll down.

Let me take this moment to say that there’s not anything wrong with this layout. The website is visually appealing, uncluttered, and compelling. That said, though, there is something wrong with the intense declaration that every call to action on every web page in every industry must exist above the fold.

This has been going on for a few years – this insistence that everything should be above the fold. In fact, Kissmetrics explored it in a 2012 article:

why the fold is a myth

Kissmetrics question to their audience is:

“What if the premise is wrong? What if calls to action below the precise work better?”

Let’s explore why that may or may not be true, by today’s standards.

Death of the Fold: The Real Benefit of a Below-the-Fold CTA

CTAs tucked into the bottom of pages may perform as well if not better than their above-the-fold counterparts. In fact, a page with a CTA tucked into the bottom footer of the page out-converted (by 20%) a page with a prominent CTA positioned above-the-fold (Unbounce).

While it may seem contradictory that a CTA tucked down low on a page (where presumably nobody would see) it could out-perform a CTA placed in the most prominent portion of a page, it’s true. I know, it seems even more unbelievable when you consider that the majority (80%) of people read headlines, while only 20% click through to read body content. So, what’s this fascination with below-the-fold content?

The answer comes down to a few things and, surprisingly, the fold isn’t one of them.

At the end of the day, the all-powerful fold is just a technicality in the content conversion process.

Here’s why: users are happy to keep scrolling to reach your CTA, if the material they see above the fold interests them enough.

In other words, the conversion rates of above- versus below-the-fold content has less to do with the actual position of the CTA than it does the quality of the content on the page. In other words, readers will keep going if they feel motivated to do so, and this has nothing to do with the position of the CTA. Instead, it has to do with how motivational your content is and how much it drives your reader toward your CTA.

According to the aforementioned Kissmetrics article:

“Higher conversion rates have nothing to do with whether the button is above the fold, and everything to do with whether the button is below the right amount of good copy.”

How Much Copy is Enough Copy?

Now that you know why the fold is a myth let’s talk about how much copy you need to provide your readers with “good copy.” Of course, there’s no one-size-fits all rule for this, and the answer depends on your various audience segments. Assuming you’re dealing with calls-to-action on landing pages or websites, here’s how you should arrange your content to appeal to each different audience segment:

1. Leads who are ready to buy.

These people get it. They know what you’re offering, and they know why. They also know they want it. They’ve read enough of your content to feel compelled by it and convert at the highest rate if you stick your CTA at the top of the page.

2. Information-gathering prospects.

These leads are relatively familiar with your company, and they just need a bit of a nudge to hop in and convert. For best results, give them a bit of educational text and a prominent CTA. This isn’t so much about positioning your CTA above the fold as it is ensuring that the content you offer them is prominent and educational enough to convince them to dive in with your company.

3. New leads.

If you have someone who is brand-new to your landing page or product, you’re going to need to do more legwork. This will mean that your CTA coincidentally falls below the fold, although, again, this has less to do with placement than it does the amount of content you’re offering before the CTA. To hook these readers, give them a solid value proposition, well-written educational copy, and a precise definition of benefits, costs, etc. A compelling CTA at the end of all of this will help seal the deal.

Why Scrolling Isn’t so Bad After All

Today, people scroll almost intuitively.

Think about it: we scroll in everything we do. We scroll through the contacts on our phones, our text messages, our music libraries. We scroll through books and magazines on our Kindles and scroll down product pages to locate what we’re looking for online. Scrolling is second-nature, and people aren’t nearly as afraid of it as they once were.

Because of this, people aren’t automatically turned off if they need to scroll to locate your CTA. In fact, they may be more automatically turned-off if they navigate to a top-heavy landing page that’s apparently been designed to cram everything into the top six inches of a page!

Still not convinced that people don’t mind scrolling? Here are some stats to help you get your head around it:

  • According to Chartbeat, 66% of people’s attention on webpages is dedicated to the content below the fold.
  • 76% of people scroll on web pages, and 22% of people scroll to the bottom of a page, regardless of how long it is.
  • 50% of mobile users begin scrolling through a page within 10 second of landing on it
  • Apple removed their visual scrollbar from their Mac OS X software in 2011, proving that people of today are scrolling natives, and don’t need to be reminded to do it.

The Death of Above-the-Fold Content is Upon Us

While it used to make sense to position content above-the-fold, the rise of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets has changed the way that people interact with web content. It’s also changed the way they think about scrolling. Today, scrolling is natural, and most people don’t bat an eyelash at the thought of doing it.

As such, it doesn’t matter where a CTA lives (as long as you’re taking your various audience segments into consideration as you lay out the page) or how long the page is. Instead of seeing a CTA crammed into the top of a page, people only want to see some valuable content they can interact with. By delivering this, you can easily grab your readers’ interest and keep it, regardless of where you put your CTA.

That said, don’t discount space above the fold. It still matters! It just doesn’t matter as much as people once thought it did. Instead of seeing all your content crammed into the top few pixels of your site, readers want to land on a site that is laid out according to their stage in the buyer’s journey. They also want to feel as if a page is dedicated to featuring valuable and informative content, rather than just focusing on stacking all of a its content into the top few inches.

Death of the Fold: Let us Know what You Think!

So, there you have it: while above-the-fold content served a purpose once, it’s less important today.

Right now, readers are looking for value and relevance rather than SEO tricks. If you create great long-form content, it will still get read. If you put your CTA at the bottom of the page, it will still get clicked.

With that in mind, ditch your concerns about staying above the fold and focus on being informational and valuable through your content, instead. Readers will thank you and your conversion rates likely won’t suffer! 

What do you think of this not-so-new-trend? Let me know in the comments!

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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.

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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!

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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.