Author Archive

4 Persuasive Writing Tips to Boost Conversion

February 28th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Whether you’re writing content for your company’s website, email marketing or social media posts, the goal is to engage the reader and encourage action. You want to sell more of a product or service and in order to do that, it is essential to convince the audience that they need your business’ products or services. A common method utilizes compelling calls to action, though an important element that is often overlooked should be incorporated: persuasive writing. Use the following techniques to create compelling content and boost conversion:

Address Potential Objections

Engage the audience with transparency by directly addressing a few potential objections. Provoke curiosity to strengthen the call to action. By answering common objections openly, you will connect with readers. It is imperative to leave them wanting more!

Be Direct

Keep the message clear by directly addressing the matter at hand. Don’t leave the audience guessing. Communicate a succinct message using short sentences. A direct tone conveys importance and transparency that aid in inspiring action.

Empathize and Offer Solutions

Draw in the audience by empathizing with them about the situation that has garnered a need for your product or service. Offer solutions to the problem in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Use clear language to lead the audience to the best solution: choosing your business!

Clear Out Clutter

Remove any words that don’t add value. Adjectives, adverbs and prepositional phrases are often redundant and dull the message. Sharpen every sentence to ensure that your message is clear and concise.

What to Expect from Google Algorithm Changes

February 9th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Google has gotten a lot of flack about search spam lately from both search experts and everyday users. Whether you’ve noticed or not, you probably see some form of search spam every time you enter a query into Google, Bing or any other search engine.

What is Search Spam?

Search spam is the high-ranking query results that seem to match what you were looking for yet offer no real information. Typical methods of achieving this involve keyword stuffing and manipulating relevance in order to trick search engines like Google and Bing into indexing a page as relevant.

Examples of Search Spam

Last week, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, confirmed changes made to Google’s algorithm that will specifically target content scraper sites and content farms. The former are low-quality sites without original content and the latter are websites designed purely to answer search queries, such as eHow.com and about.com.

Blekko Takes the Spotlight

Time will tell if the algorithm changes make a difference in prevalence of spam in Google’s search results. An up-and-coming search engine called Blekko isn’t waiting around to find out. In light of the recent publicity surrounding Google’s webspam problem, Blekko has announced that they have banned the top 20 content farms from their index. This includes well-known websites such as eHow.com, encyclopedia.com and thefreedictionary.com.

Overall Impact

The end result of search engines efforts to curb search spam mean more relevant results for the user. It will also give smaller content-driven sites an opportunity to rank higher in search results that have previously been dominated by spam.

Evergreen Web Content

February 2nd, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Need to add more content to your website? Unsure of what to write? Here are three content strategies to help you move past writer’s block and engage your audience with useful information.

1. Answer Common Questions

Create a frequently asked question section to answer common inquiries about your business. Remember, you are the pro, so this is your chance to answer all of the questions that you are repeatedly asked about your business. This is also the ideal arena to address any misconceptions about your company or industry.

2. Expert Advice

What problems do your customers have in common? Pinpoint three to five typical issues and write about the best solutions to each one. Keep it simple and don’t use jargon. Write the problems and solutions in a conversational style, as if you were giving advice to a friend.  Keep the tone honest and refrain from anything that sounds like you are trying to sell something. Transparency is key.

3. Transcriptions

If you post videos or podcasts on your website, add a transcription to the page. Some people prefer reading to watching a video or listening to a podcast, so a transcription accommodates a broader audience. Be sure edit transcriptions for any slang or filler phrases to ensure readability. While “um” and frequent use of “like” may not be jarring when spoken, they typically don’t make for easy reading. Added bonus: the additional on-page text will help boost search-engine rankings.

How to Create Online Content Worth Reading

January 24th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Writing online content is different from print because online audiences typically have shorter attention spans—an infinite amount of possibilities are just one click away. Here are five tips to keep their attention:

1. Establish a Goal and Achieve It

Every word on the page should have a purpose. Whether you are selling a product or service or you are trying to educate the audience, be sure to clearly establish your content goals before writing. This will give your content direction and clarity.

2. Answer Questions

To achieve content goals, you need to answer vital questions to give the audience a reason to pay attention. Anticipate questions or stick to the basics by answering a few news-style questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.

3. Eliminate the Unnecessary

Online audiences have notoriously short attention spans. Get to the point quickly and cut unnecessary filler words and phrases. Get rid of anything that adds length but lacks value. Front-load content so the reader will get the most important information in the beginning and have a reason to keep reading.

4. Stay Organized

Each paragraph should have a specific focus. Cater to readers who skim and add subheads to clarify each paragraph’s purpose. Keep paragraphs short and present bulleted lists when appropriate.

5. Personalize It

Know your audience and customize content to address their needs. Write with a friendly tone (depending on the formality of the subject matter) to create an authentic experience for the reader. Provide informative tidbits that will encourage sharing. Overall, make sure that your content is relevant to your audience.

How to Leverage Social Media’s Impact on SEO

January 18th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Last month, Google and Bing confirmed that links shared on Facebook and Twitter impact search rankings. SEOs across the Web have long suspected this, though the official confirmation has inspired a deeper inspection to determine how to make the most of it. Here are some tips for how to leverage social media to impact your company’s ranking:

1. Inspire Action

Give the audience a sense of who your company is. Do this with personality and panache. You need to sound like a person, not a robot. Engage the audience by revealing information that explains your company’s authority. Include persuasive calls-to-action and a link to your website to encourage conversion. Giving the audience a glimpse into your business will help to attract new friends, followers, etc. and in turn, new customers and clients.

2. Social Authority

A major factor as to whether references to your company by other users will impact ranking depends on the authority of the user making the reference. It is quality over quantity and user elements like the number of friends or followers they have or how many people they follow will affect how the post is ranked. This process is tough to force, so allow time for popularity to grow organically. Stay relevant by making frequent, informative posts.

3. Spice It Up

Avoid posting in the same format and shake things up regularly to encourage interaction with the audience. Contests are a great strategy to inspire action. Provide valuable bits of information that are easy to share. Remember, people will only share your post if they think it makes them look good, intelligent, witty, etc. Keep posts fresh, fun and informative!

2011 Internet Trends

January 11th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

2010 was a huge year for technology and online innovation. With social media showing its value with search and the creation of new platforms to access the Internet on-the-go such as the iPad, 2011 is sure to be another record-setting year for online technology. Here are some Internet trends to prepare for in 2011:

1. Social Growth

After the behemoth growth of social media in the past year, it has become clear that Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites will continue to flourish in new ways. Facebook was recently valued at nearly $50 billion, thanks in part to a recent investment of $500 million by Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, which has left analysts guessing their next move for edging toward Google’s market share.

2. Find Your Niche

Search engine optimization will continue to trend to niche markets by way of “long-tail” keywords. Seek out these low-traffic, low-competition keywords to take the lead in your market. Need some inspiration for long-tail keywords? Peruse the suggestions in Google Instant to get new ideas for search trends.

3. Mobile-Friendly Design

Internet analysts agree that mobile Web access will soon overshadow desktop Internet access. With the number of people online via smart phones, tablets and laptops steadily growing, it is important to make sure your website is mobile friendly. In 2010, custom apps gained popularity as a powerful marketing tool. Expect apps to be bigger than ever in 2011, especially since more platforms are now mobile compatible.

4. E-Commerce Updates

Watch for a social shopping to cast a ripple effect throughout the e-commerce market. With Groupon’s unmatched success in 2010, expect to see continued innovation in the way things are bought and sold across the Web.