Words that Make an Impact on Blog Traffic

Blog words

Using certain impactful or ‘power’ words in your blog posts is known to attract more traffic than generic, bland alternatives. This is particularly so in the case of the title, which needs to immediately grab the attention of the reader and make them want to find out more.

It is said that our average attention span is now eight seconds, and assuming that we read one word per second, it’s clear that our blog post titles need to be pretty darn compelling.

Try these power words in your titles and blog posts, and see if they make a difference to visitor numbers:

  • You
  • Because
  • Best
  • Free
  • Tips
  • How to
  • Why
  • Surprising
  • Top
  • Urgent
  • Alert
  • New
  • Secrets
  • Latest

What’s the Best Time of Day to Publish Your Blog Posts?

Blogging

Research by Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella has shown that early to mid-morning is the best time of day to blog. This makes sense when you think about the number of people who read blogs like a morning newspaper – over breakfast or a mid-morning coffee.

Eighty percent of respondents said they read blogs in the morning, with numbers steadily declining throughout the rest of the day. So if you only publish once a day, make sure it’s in the morning to achieve the best results. You can even schedule posts for the early hours if you like.

Check your figures

To delve more into the detail, try posting at the same time of the morning for a few days, and then a different time for another few days, and so on. At the end of the month you’ll get a good idea of the best time to post by analysing your viewing figures.

Press releases

Why press releases provide valuable exposure for businesses of any size

Well-constructed press releases targeting journalists in your industry can reach millions of readers in a very short time. Not only that, but they can be distributed free of charge or for a nominal fee, offering an alternative, cost-effective method of marketing your business.

The 3 main benefits of using press releases in your marketing efforts are:

  • driving traffic to your website
  • moving up the search engine rankings
  • getting your business in front of a huge audience

Show new customers the way to your website

Think about what would interest your target market – maybe a new product or service, or a a seasonal special offer – and engage with them by writing an interesting, well-constructed press release that includes at least one link to a specific page on your website.

When promoting a new product you’ll already have a descriptive page about it on your site, and this is the page you should link to from the press release.

Increase your visibility in the search engines

Search engines place high importance on the press release title, which needs to be straightforward but interesting enough to attract readers’ attention.

By choosing 2 or 3 keyword phrases and including them in the title, sub-heading and the first couple of paragraphs of the press release, you stand the best chance of it being indexed by the search engines and moving up the rankings.

Show off your business to a global audience

Press releases have the potential to attract a worldwide audience to your website, so make sure that your site looks great with stunning images that add interest, and links thaPress releasest work.

Make it easy for customers to buy from you by adding detailed product or service descriptions and a straightforward payment system, and include a blog that addresses common customer problems or queries.

Even if you are only trading locally, press releases can be optimised for your geographic area, adding to the modern marketing mix of online information and social sharing.

How Outsourcing to Freelancers can Propel Your Business Forward

Outsourcing to freelancersIt is often said that you should work ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ it. It makes sense when you think about it – carving out more time to make strategic decisions, engage your target market and build your brand, will give you momentum to drive the business forward.

The problem is, taking on an employee is a big commitment. So how do you achieve a better balance within your business when there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything yourself?

Outsourcing to freelancers

Websites such as People Per Hour and Elance offer a quick and cost-effective way to hire professional freelancers who are actively looking for work. If you are struggling to find time for marketing, bookkeeping, or the vast number of other tasks that need to be completed in any business, you can advertise your job and wait for people to bid.

How to write web copy

Start-up businesses in particular could benefit from affordable access to top quality freelancers. Even outsourcing small ad-hoc jobs such as designing a logo or thinking up a catchy company tag line can give you extra time to focus on core tasks.

Another site on which to find great freelance talent is Freelance Alliance, where you’ll find copywriters, graphic designers and public relations experts all ready to help you take your business forward.

The benefits of outsourcing in this way include:

  • Being able to set the price for your work
  • Taking your pick of professional freelance talent
  • Availability of feedback from previous clients, on individual freelancers
  • The ability to check out a freelancer’s profile and portfolio before hiring
  • The Escrow system used on some of these sites protects your money

How will this help your business in the long run?

  • More time: concentrate on core tasks such as selling your products or services. Maybe you want to try a different product line or introduce a new service, but it has been on the back-burner while you deal with general business admin problems
  • Reduced stress: not having to do something with which you are unfamiliar or simply do not enjoy, such as writing website copy or keeping up with your blog posts
  • Enhanced customer service: this is often cited as one of the main reasons consumers return to a company. Gain a competitive advantage, exceed your customers’ expectations and develop a loyal customer baseBusiness Planing
  • Effective budgeting: keep an eye on your cash flow by outsourcing as and when you need. The flexibility offered by using freelancers far outweighs the responsibility and cost of  employing someone, or of using agency staff
  • Strategic planning: it is easy to ignore the bigger business picture when you are constantly caught up in day-to-day  admin. Outsourcing frees you up to think clearly about where your business is heading, and allows you to make detailed plans for the future

There is no huge commitment on your part if you hire a freelancer for a small task initially – you can test the water and if it all works out you may decide to outsource everything that drains your energy and gives you that horrible Sunday night feeling.

Writing Your Own Website Copy? Why it Pays to be Minimalist

Web copywritingMany small business owners write their own website copy and do a great job. But it can be so tempting to cram the pages full of words in an effort to get the message across effectively.

However many bells and whistles you have on your website, it is the words on the page that carry your visitors past the ‘wow factor’ and on to the process of buying.

Too many words then have to compete for attention with videos, buttons, pop-ups and adverts.

Concise is what they need to be.

Prioritise information

‘Less is more’ – by keeping to the main facts about your service or product using short sentences and including a few bullet points, the reader can scan your page and quickly glean the information they need.

  • Lead visitors through your site with simple and concise writing – in this way you stand a better chance of retaining their interest and converting them from visitor to customer
  • Leave plenty of ‘white space’ on the page and include a few attractive images so your reader isn’t overwhelmed by the sheer volume of text

Thinking like a minimalist will often produce uncomplicated web pages that can be quickly scanned/read and are easy on the eye.

Know your target market

This may sound obvious but getting inside the head of a potential customer is the best way to deliver a marketing message that gels with them.Website copy

To achieve the biggest impact, choose your tone of voice carefully so that they identify with what you have to offer, and continue to look for a solution to their problem on your website.

Clicking away to another site because they are bored or can’t find the information quickly enough is a sale lost, and this can simply be due to miscommunication.

Think benefits, not features

Although readers need some information about your products or services, they are far more interested in how you can solve their problems. Start by addressing a known problem and immediately grab their attention.

How to write web copy

It’s natural to want to convey every last detail about your business, but if you think about your own experiences on the internet, it’s probably the clean and attractively-presented pages that had the maximum impact.

Think like a customer, keep information concise, and you might be surprised by the results.

Where Does Blogging Fit Into Your Content Marketing Strategy?

blogging

Some people read blogs like a morning newspaper – they turn on their tablet or laptop and read whilst eating breakfast or drinking mid-morning coffee. It’s important therefore, to write an eye-catching title that grabs the attention, and follow up with an engaging style.

Blogging should be central to your content marketing strategy, but it’s not enough to simply churn out the same information as everyone else. You need to think of a new angle or provide an interesting viewpoint, so when people find your blog, they will want to stay.Twitter

That’s why it’s also important to have them follow your blog by RSS feed or email, and social media buttons at the end of every post make it easy for people to share your content on Twitter and the like.

If you don’t want to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to publish, you can schedule blog posts in advance using WordPress and Blogger, and even re-publish old posts this way.

 

Optimising Your Blog Posts for the Search Engines (and the reader)

Optimising seo

Search engine optimisation isn’t just about keywords and a great title. The sheer volume of content uploaded to the internet every day means that nothing less than perfect writing will do.

But what constitutes perfect?

  • The right tone of voice for your blog
  • Flawless spelling and grammar
  • High relevancy to your target market
  • Valuable, constructive information

Social media increases your reach and is a vital part of content marketing, so social network buttons need to be easily visible at the bottom of each post to encourage sharing. 

Thorough proofreading

Simply casting an eye over your writing might unearth a few errors, but thorough proofreading means scrutinising the content several times over, but for different reasons.

The first pass could search for clarity of meaning, the second for grammatical errors, the third for spelling mistakes, with one final check for overall flow and clarity.

Header tags

These provide a hierarchical structure within the blog post or article, and used correctly, make each page more SEO-friendly.

  • <h1>Content heading/title</h1>
  • <h2>Paragraph heading</h2>
  • <h3>Sub-heading within above paragraph</h3>
  • <h2>Next main paragraph heading</h2>
  • <h3>Sub-heading within this paragraph</h3>
  •  h4, h5 and h6 sub-headings as necessary throughout the piece, depending on paragraph length and layout
  • The title tag (h1) is the most important one on the page, and research suggests that placing a keyword at the beginning of the title has significant benefits for SEO.

Get Organised in 2014 with These Must-Have Apps

Small business appsDo you stumble from each day to the next in a state of total confusion? Make 2014 the year that everything changes with the help of these great apps for PCs and mobile devices.

They all have a part to play in our personal and working lives, and provide a structure around which to become more efficient and productive.

Pocket

My personal favourite, Pocket lets you save a web page to read later, with a single click of the mouse. Suitable for Android, iPhone, iPad and the Web, it really is the simplest of apps to use, and makes it easy to read articles and blog posts at any time.

You can choose to view the article on the original website, share it on Twitter and Facebook, or email it to a friend, and the ‘tag’ feature lets you organise pages into various categories for easy searching.

 Dropbox

Dropbox is a great collaboration tool for people working on the move. You can edit documents, upload photos and videos, and share all media with friends or work colleagues. What’s more, your information is synced across all devices.

The free version of Dropbox offers 2GB of space, but if you upgrade to the Business version you have an unlimited amount of storage. Dropbox for Business costs $15/month per user for a minimum of 5 users.

 WunderlistBusiness appa

This is a great little app providing to-do lists incorporating all areas of life including shopping, work, travel and leisure. Lists can be shared, items ticked off, recurring to-dos set up and lists collaborated on with friends and team members.

Wunderlist for Business starts at $4.99 per month for 1 user, with prices rising incrementally depending on the number of users.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite lets you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ in one simple step. Campaigns and responses are tracked, enabling you to analyse results, and 3rd party apps like Mail Chimp and Constant Content can be integrated via your personal dashboard.

Insight Timer

Meditation timerThose of you already experiencing the benefits of meditation might know about Insight Timer. Intended to be used during meditation sessions, this app offers the beautiful sound of a Tibetan singing bowl to let you know when it’s time to stop work and take a break.

The app can be used on your PC, Android and iOS, with several guided meditations included, providing the perfect way to empty your mind of clutter and concentrate on the business of relaxation.

All these powerful apps have the potential to improve your work/life balance and get you organised in 2014 – which ones would you choose?

Procrastination

How Procrastination and Lack of Motivation Can Have a Devastating Effect on Your Business

When it cBusiness Planomes to great business ideas and marketing strategies, you’ve probably got it all sewn up. But what happens when the preparation is complete and you need to put your plan into action?

The determination and perseverance to keep going no matter what obstacles you meet can be a bit of a shock to some new business owners, but if you start off with the realisation that you are going to feel this way at some point, you can plan ways to move past negativity and keep going.

So what steps can you take to keep motivation levels up and procrastination at bay, when you get disheartened, worried, or just plain bored?

Start with your business plan

By reading through certain parts of your business plan you’ll be reminded of the reasons why you took the leap into self-employment in the first place. During quiet times when you begin to lose heart and think it is not going to work out, the business plan can help you focus on a certain area, maybe marketing or cash flow, and then take small positive steps to move you forward. For example:

  • Revisit your marketing plan and adjust it a little to include new ways of marketing your business, such as using daily deals sites, guerrilla marketing, or making the best use of social media
  • Check that you have efficient invoicing and credit control systems in place so that you can get the money in as soon as possible

Even if the results are not instant, you should be motivated and encouraged just by taking action rather than burying your head in the sand.

Network with other small business owners

Networking is great not only for finding new customers, but also for gaining access to valuable mentoring and coaching services, or simply for finding someone to talk to about the pressures of running a successful business.

Some networking groups have established ‘Mastermind Groups’ within the network. Joining a ‘Mastermind Group’ can be the perfect antidote to a lack of motivation as you have to be accountable for your actions (or non-action) to your fellow members. Small business networking

At weekly meetings, these groups often ask each member to name a specific problem they are experiencing in their business. Members then brainstorm ideas to come up with a solution, or at least a formal path to follow.

This valuable support network offers instant potential solutions, a shoulder to lean on, and a source of accountability that will stop you cleaning out that fridge too often.

Make sure your goals are stepped, and don’t forget to reward yourself along the way

Trying to achieve goals that are too ambitious can be very disheartening, but if you break them down into smaller steps you will enjoy a feeling of success on a regular basis, and stop the perception that you are failing.Procrastination

By rewarding yourself for reaching these mini-goals you have recognised the effort exerted, and will be motivated to reach the next goal.

As Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential,” and this can be applied to every aspect of business, from marketing to customer service.

Increase productivity

5 Small Business Apps to Increase Your Productivity

How can you as an entrepreneur or small business owner, speed up your productivity regardless of whether you are office-based or on the move?

Here are 5 small business apps designed to do just that:

1. Zoho

Zoho offers a range of business, collaboration and productivity apps that seamlessly integrate the functions of your business. From the usual suite of office software that also includes bookkeeping and invoicing, to document storage, online meetings and  HR management, Zoho offers everything a small business or entrepreneur needs to run their enterprise remotely.

2. Bit.ly

Invaluable for Twitter users who want to make the best use of their 140 characters, Bit.ly creates shortened URLs to redirect users to your link. Shortened URLs can be saved within your Bit.ly account and reused whenever necessary, and useful reporting tools help to monitor social media campaigns by letting you know how many people are actually clicking on your links.

 3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite amalgamates your social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Save time by posting all of your updates from Hootsuite, and track responses and the effectiveness of your content. The App Directory includes other useful business apps, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, that can be integrated into your Hootsuite dashboard.

4. Mail Chimp

If professionally-designed emails are in your marketing mix, MailChimp can help you design and deliver personalised messages. Segment your customer list so that everyone receives a targeted email, and track the results via Google Analytics integration. MailChimp Mobile allows you to keep an eye on campaigns on the go.

5. Evernote

Their tagline ‘Remember Everything’ says it all. Synch your computer, tablet or phone to have access to all your ideas, inspiration from the web, articles, audio clips and more, wherever you happen to be. There is a ‘business user’ option which costs only £8 per month for a single user, or opt for the free account and integrate all aspects of your life.

We all need a little help now and then to increase productivity, so take advantage of the technology available to simplify your life and business.