When Was the News Page on Your Website Last Updated?

Does your website have a news section? If so, then answer me this – when was it last updated? If you can’t remember when you last put an article or news bulletin on it, you need to act fast! You may have been meaning to rewrite it, but it keeps getting put to the bottom of the list. Sound familiar? Read on..

copywriting-company-sheffieldAs a professional content writer in Sheffield, I love having a good nose around the news pages of websites that I come across during my research and general reading. Some are fantastic at posting regular articles that inform customers and reader of their latest news, products, services, event etc.

It is obvious that they set aside a block of time during the week to make sure this all important task is carried out, and they are benefiting from it too. Not only do potential customers see interesting, relevant content; search engines love fresh content too.

The importance of updating your news page

However, I find it really discouraging when I check out a company’s news page only to find that it hasn’t been updated for months. It really doesn’t make a good impression and you may find potential customers asking themselves a few questions. Are they not very busy? Have they gone out of business?

You might not think that you have anything to talk about, but there are lots of things you could write a short article about. Sharing testimonials is a great idea, as is sharing and commenting on industry news, welcoming a new member of staff – you get the idea!

Keeping visitors coming back to your website is also something to consider. Your regular customers may be very familiar with your site, but why not give them something new to read on their next visit? Loyal customers will be genuinely interested in your news, so adding fresh material to your site on a regular basis means that will come back to see what’s going on.

What if I don’t have a news page on my website?

If you don’t have a news page on your website, have a quick think about your other content. Has the text on it been the same since it was built 3 years ago? If so, you need to think about refreshing it. After all, businesses naturally progress, change and grow, and your website needs to reflect this. The chances are, you’ve developed your services, expanded your product range or gained the experience needed to specialise in a particular area. And it’s not just your business that may have developed, changes in your industry are inevitable, and keeping up to date with them is important when it comes to establishing trust between you and your customers.

Is your website text interesting enough?

Unfortunately, even the most brilliant content can become stale over time. The attention of online readers is incredibly short, you literally have a few seconds to grab them and make them want to keep reading. Your website copy may describe exactly what you do accurately, but is it lively enough to capture the attention of a reader and to keep them there?

Content needs to be concise and captivating, getting to the point quickly, and providing the option for readers to find out more. Text should be in bite sized sections, making it easy to scan and process the information with little effort. Text heavy paragraphs that aren’t broken up by images or bullet points are a real put off too!

If you’ve been meaning to update your website copy but never quite got round to it, I can help. I can even write regular news articles on your behalf, ensuring that you’ve always got fresh content. Call me in the office on 0114 383 0711 or email me at ellie@sevencreative.co.uk

5 Ways Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm Will Change Your SEO Copywriting

Hummingbird – Google’s new algorithm

In the wake of the new Google algorithm, ‘Hummingbird’, SEO copywriters have had to consider the impact of the update on the way that they write. Google isn’t interested in blindly matching keywords any more, it wants to understand what the searcher is trying to achieve so that it can deliver the most accurate results.

google's hummingbird algorithmIf you’re not familiar with Hummingbird, here’s what Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land said about the new algorithm:

“Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or conversation or meaning — is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.”

Blogging for business

If you are trying to write an article for your business blog, or wanting to revamp the text on your website, taking these 5 tips into consideration will help to improve your search rankings.

  1. Use exact-match key phrases sparingly
  2. Use individual key words
  3. Write naturally with a sprinkling of key words
  4. Only place key words and phrases where they make sense to the reader, not where you think that Google will most like to see them
  5. As well as using your chosen key phrases, incorporate synonyms into your writing

SEO copywriter in Sheffield

If you’re struggling to write your business blog, whether you don’t have the time or you’d like someone to take care of your SEO copywriting so you don’t have to, I can help. I have tons of experience writing SEO copy for a variety of business blogs, and can offer you an article writing package at a reasonable price. To find out more about my SEO copywriting services, call me on 0114 383 0711 or contact Content Writer Extraordinaire via my contact form.

Writing for the Web – 10 Top Tips

content-writer-sheffieldWhen internet users browse the web, they want to find the information they are looking for quickly. Readers tend to scan copy rather than ponder every word. You don’t want them to get bored, press the back button and look for another page that gives them what they are looking for more succinctly or in a more digestible way.

There are some techniques that you can use to make sure this doesn’t happen, and I’m going to share them with you. Here are my top 10!

1. Titles Matter

Your title can make or break your article. Even a fantastic article can be lost behind a mediocre or dull title. Make sure your title is eye catching and descriptive. For example, ask a question that your reader is dying to know the answer to, and deliver the answer in the article. Make sure your reader knows what they’ll be getting out of the post. It’s also a good idea to use keywords and make them bold.

2. One Idea Per Paragraph

Only include one key idea in each paragraph, and keep them short.  This will help readers to absorb the information easily and maintain the structure of your article. Generally, if readers are not captured by the first sentence, they will tend to skip the rest of the paragraph and move on to the next one.

3.  Sub-headings

Sub-headings break up the text into bite size chunks. They make it easy for readers to scan over the page, and digest the information without being swamped or put off by text heavy web pages.

4. Highlight Keywords

Highlighting a keyword in bold or adding a hyperlink makes the information easier to scan and digest. Readers are naturally drawn to the highlighted words and phrases, which should be integral to the understanding of the article.

5. Word Count

Opinions differ on the correct length of an online article or blog post. My personal preference is around 400 words, and never more than 600. This might not sound like a lot, but if you consider the attention span of readers and their preference for bite sized chunks of information, you can actually fit a fair few ideas into an article of this length.

6. Bullet Points

Bulleted lists are easy to read and can deliver a great deal of information in just a few lines. They also force you to keep your writing brief and to the point.

7. Proofreading

Before you hit publish, take the time to read over your writing. Look for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Make sure you’ve done everything you can to make sure there are no typos or mistakes, they will only undermine your credibility and put readers off.

8. Keep Your Reader In Mind

Before you begin to write, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Do they need to know about this particular subject? Would they be interested in it? Keep your reader in mind throughout the writing process.

9. Keep It Simple

This is a classic tip from none other than George Orwell. He may never have written for the web but this still applies – never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday equivalent. Long sentences and large technical words just won’t cut it, you have to keep your language plain and simple.

10. Keep Your Writing Conversational

When writing for the web, you should come across as if you’re talking to someone. Try not to be formal, get your point across in a conversational way.

If you’ve written a blog post or article, and need a hand editing or proofreading to make sure it’s perfect for the web, I can help. Whether you need a full blog or article writing service, or you would just like an expert to check through your grammar, punctuation and style, call Content Writer Extraordinaire on 0114 383 0711, or get in touch by email through my contact form.

5 Tips on Blogging for Your Business

Blogging is a fantastic way to get your business noticed. You can present yourself as an expert in your field, be a thought leader in your industry, and turn readers into customers. As a professional content writer in Sheffield, my job is to create this sort of content every day, so I thought i’d put together my top 5 tips on blogging for business.

copy-writing-for-blogsCheck Out Your Competition

Before you start, it’s a good idea to have a look at what your competitors are up to. Do they have blogs? If they do, what topics are they writing about?

If you have a look at the categories on their blog, you’ll be able to identify the key topics they are talking about and assess whether they would be relevant to you too. Take a look at which posts have had the most comments and try to figure out why this is. For example, does the post answer a question that you are faced with regularly in your line of work? Does it address a topic that has recently received media attention?

I’m not suggesting at all that you should be a copycat, just that it is important that you make yourself aware of what your competition are doing, what they are doing well, and what they are doing not so well. That way, you can strive to be better in the areas that they are falling short on, and also identify ways the ways in which you can be unique.

Make a Schedule and Stick to It!

Making an editorial calendar is a great way to keep focused. You’ll have a set schedule and know exactly when you are going to publish blog posts, and on what topic. You can plan as far ahead in advance as you like; often it’s nice to know that you have a few topics penciled in in advance.

Be realistic about your editorial calendar. Don’t schedule in that you’ll write 3 blog posts a week unless you are absolutely sure you can find the time and stick to it. Give yourself a target of one a week, for example. You’re much more likely to succeed if you have a realistic expectation of yourself.

It’s also a good idea to have a schedule if there is more than one person in your business contributing to the blog. A schedule of topics will make sure that your ideas aren’t duplicated in any way, and you can assign topics to the person most equipped to talk about a particular subject.

Keep an Idea Note Book

If you’re feeling daunted by the thought of coming up with a new idea for a blog post every week, don’t despair. Inspiration may come to you when you least expect it, which is why it’s a good idea to write down any ideas that come to you, wherever you are.

If you’ve got a relatively fancy phone you can always keep a record of your ideas in the note section, or even send yourself a reminder email. Don’t forget there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned notepad, or a sticky note stuck on your desk!

Research Your Key Words and Phrases

Good content is well researched and informative, that not only reads well for a page viewer, but also features selected keywords and phrases that will help a website rank highly in search engines.

By researching and identifying which words and phrases are being searched for, you can then include them in your blog posts. This means that people searching for those terms are more likely to come across your blog. By concentrating your efforts on key words that are likely to be used by potential customers, your business is more likely to be found in search engine results pages for those terms!

Publish to Your Social Networks

When you write a blog post for your business, you’re really only doing half a job if you don’t share it. By sharing your content on social networks, you are broadening its reach, and more people are likely to click, like and share.

So if you have a Facebook page for your business, why not post a little teaser sentence to your page, including a link to the blog post itself, for your fans to see?

If you would like a blog for your business, but don’t have the time to dedicate to writing articles and replying to comments, I can help. If you would like to find out more about my blog and article writing services, please contact me via my contact form, call me in the office on 0114 383 0711 or email me at ellie@sevencreative.co.uk

5 Popular Expressions – Where We Got Them and What They Mean

 

sheffield-content-writer

Ever wondered where we got the phrase ‘ants in your pants’ or ‘the cat’s pyjamas’? No doubt you’ve heard people use them, maybe you even use them yourself, but have you ever stopped to think about where they come from?

I got stuck in to a great little book over the weekend by Judy Parkinson called ‘Spilling the Beans on the Cat’s Pyjamas, Popular Expressions – What they mean and where we got them.’ I found it absolutely fascinating.

I love finding out about the origins of words and phrases, so I thought I’d share some of them with you!

Barking mad

Barking mad is used to suggest raving insanity, and often shortened to ‘barking’. People mistakenly believe that it stems from the medieval lunatic asylum in the London borough of Barking, but this isn’t actually true. It comes from the rather more obvious link with rabid or mad dogs, who would howl and yap because of the disease.

The cat’s pyjamas

Used to describe someone or something as excellent or top-notch, the cat’s pyjamas has been in use for nearly 100 years. Although it’s never been proven, the phrase is thought to originate from an early 19th century English tailor named E B Katz, who had a reputation for making the finest silk pyjamas.

Ants in your pants

Also described as a ‘fidget bottom’, this phrase is often used to describe someone who is very restless or over eager. The expression was made popular by a dynamic former US Army general called Hugh S. Johnson, who was in charge of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) in 1933, when the national reconstruction policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ were implemented. Johnson said of the NRA general counsel Donald Richberg, ‘Donald’s agitation is just a symptom of the ants of conscious in his pants.’ Pants in the case had the American meaning of trousers.

Sling your hook!

Used to tell someone to leave or go away, without resorting to swearing and really offensive language, this expression has a nautical origin. It alludes to an anchor, or ‘hook’ which must be secured in its sling at the bow before the ship can cast off.

All tarred with the same brush

The phrase ‘all tarred with the same brush’ refers to all members of a group sharing the same failings, or all being sheep of the same flock. The saying alludes to the methods that farmers used to use to mark their sheep; a brush dipped in tar and used to mark the wool as a way of branding them.  People often use this phrase now to describe how they feel when they have been lumped in with others and judged unfairly as a result.

Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey

Meaning that the weather is really cold, this phrase actually has nothing to do with a monkey’s testicles! A brass monkey is a type of rack in which cannon balls were stored. Because it was made of brass, the ‘monkey’ contracted in cold weather, resulting in the cannonballs being ejected.  People often use ‘brass-monkey weather’ to refer to the temperature.

It’s not just the origins of words and phrases that I’m interested in, I also love writing! Articles, blogs, websites – you name it. If you are looking for an experienced, professional content writer in Sheffield, I can help. Call me on 0114 383 0711 or contact Content Writer Extraordinaire via my contact form.