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How to Write Content That Actually Generates Leads

How to Write Content That Actually Generates Leads

It’s tough to be a businessperson in the digital age. While you might think that the Internet makes it a breeze to find loyal customers, the ease of communication between business and potential customer has made competition with other businesses tougher than ever.

Online lead generation is akin to fishing in the midst of thousands of other people hoping to catch the same fish as you are. To be effective, you must not only use the best bait, but you must also have the best tackle to reel in the catch.

In marketing terms, it’s  important to develop content for your website that draws people in and converts them into customers.

This, of course, is much easier said than done.

We developed this resource to give you some simple tips to instantly improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) and conversions.

Since many start-ups and small businesses are new to the wonderful world of SEO, here is a brief introduction to the term. For more veteran content creators, feel free to skip down to the tips list below.

SEO refers to increasing your website’s visibility in search engine results (primarily Google) and thereby increasing traffic and (hopefully) sales.

Optimizing your website can get quite nuanced, but much of it has to do with useful and clear web copy and the appropriate use of headings and tags, which allow search engines to index the site more easily.

SEO (bait) and conversion rate (tackle) exist in unison. Content on your site should draw traffic to your site, but it should also motivate visitors to action.

The following are the top five must-haves for web content that converts:

1. High-Quality Content

When asked whether writing matters in blog posts, author and digital marketing expert Guy Kawasaki replied, “This is like asking if the quality of food in a restaurant matters. Writing is the primary determinant of the success of the post. Everything else—timing, graphics, frequency—is secondary.”

High quality doesn’t just mean that your posts are grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. A good blog post will be grammatically correct, but it will first and foremost be of use to your audience.

The Internet is already so full of content that if you are posting for the sake of posting, you are just adding to the noise. Listen to your audience and learn what they want to read about.

In addition to great writing, don’t forget to include great-quality graphics that supplement the main points of your post. This is especially important to get viewers of your post to click the preview on social media or the front page of your website.

2. Keywords

High-quality content will help you move up in the ranking of Google’s search results because the most valuable currency in SEO is trust.

However, great content, while necessary, won’t get you very far in terms of driving traffic to your site. To make your content visible in searches, you need to understand the importance of keywords.

Google’s Keyword Planner (available for free online once you create a Google AdWords account) is a great tool to help you understand what words and phrases your clients are searching for and incorporate those terms into your content.

3. Post Length

Another very important factor in SEO is the length of your posts, titles, and meta descriptions.

A good rule of thumb is that title tags should be 55 characters or less, while meta descriptions should be 155 characters or less.

The length of a blog post itself is a bit more variable, as optimal post length has long been debated by content marketers and SEOs. Keep in mind that the length of a blog post is really more about usefulness and trust than actual word count, and longer posts tend to have more detailed and reliable information.

However, as Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content, explains, “Ideally, you want to worry less about blog post length and more about being useful to your audience. If you can be useful in 300 words, go for it!”

4. Design

Generate Leads

While many web content how-to articles focus on writing (which makes sense), they often overlook the very important aspect of visual appeal.

You’ve done all this work to bring visitors to your site by producing trustworthy writing that contains well-researched keywords and is of optimal length, but you still aren’t meeting your lead generation goals.

The problem might be your website’s design. Our first impressions of websites are often subconscious, but there is no doubt that design and aesthetics play a major role in gaining a visitor’s trust.

Evan Bailyn, author of SEO Made Easy, puts it this way: “Websites are like commercial buildings: If you walk into one and feel surrounded by symmetry, calm, and beauty, you feel comfortable transacting with the business.”

5. Call to Action

This is perhaps one of the most important, and often forgotten, aspects of content writing. You are writing a post not only to provide your audience with useful information but also to educate them about your organization, product, or service.

The majority of business owners started their company because they believe their product can make a difference in the lives of others, whether by saving time, providing entertainment, or solving a common problem. Don’t forget that many of the people who clicked the link to your site could benefit from the products or services your company provides.

Within each blog post, and on each page of your website, make sure to reserve a specific section where you can place a button, link, or clear direction for the customer to follow to learn more about your company or to make a purchase. With blog posts, this typically occurs at the very end. Be sure that, wherever you place the call to action, it is related to the content of the page it is on.

By approaching SEO from the perspective of generating leads and customers—not just increasing traffic—you’ll be even more effective at harnessing the power of your website and blog, resulting in a measurable impact on your bottom line.

Image sources: Markus Spiske/Stocksnap.io, Jay Mantri/Stocksnap.io

How to Write a Blog

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The Ultimate Online Marketing Guide for Small Businesses

A computer displaying online marketing metrics.

A computer displaying online marketing metrics.

This comprehensive list of resources is designed to help small businesses navigate the ever-changing world of online marketing. This online marketing guide will answer your questions about ranking on search engines, increasing conversion rates, and growing your presence on social media. See how much easier your marketing process can be with the help of these articles.

Mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Website Maintenance and Optimization

Image Source: Benjamin Child/Unsplash.com
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SEO Basics for the Online Business DIYer

SEO Basics for the Online Business DIYerFive minutes of exposure to any form of today’s media—TV, magazines, the blitzkrieg of emails from trendy companies you don’t remember giving your email address to—will tell you that we’re living in the Do-It-Yourself era. Grow a vegetable garden on your windowsill! Get that kitchen you always dreamed of! Cook Thai cuisine at home! The ever-growing lineup of home renovation shows and YouTube videos on How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking are now being joined by another category of DIYers: the online entrepreneurs. Where we used to see ads for designer business cards, now it’s all about website design (GoDaddy.com, WhoIs.com, and Wix.com, to name a few). More and more self-starters are taking their businesses online without the help of web designers. So how do you know if you’re doing it right?

Successfully marketing your business online is more than simply having a pretty website (though we certainly appreciate the pretty ones too). The DIY website operator needs one very important tool in his or her skills toolbox: search engine optimization (SEO). Without it, your site will be about as visible as a sandwich board on the side of a dirt road in back-country New Mexico.

So what is SEO, anyway?

SEO is what makes your website show up in Internet searches; knowing some SEO basics can mean the difference between being on page 1 or page 237 of Google search results. You want to make sure your website will be found easily by potential customers.

Can I really do SEO on my own?

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! Okay, so maybe you don’t need to be as dramatic as a Jane Austen heroine, but celebration is definitely in order. SEO doesn’t require coding or even knowledge of HTML; it’s about word choice and placement. What’s that? Could it really be that simple? The following SEO tips for beginners should get you started.

1. Use your words

Choose your keywords carefully (these being the words potential visitors are likely to enter into a search engine), and direct their placement even more so. Your primary keyword should be in the page’s URL, your content’s title, the page description, and ideally in the first 50 words of your body text. Keywords should appear throughout your content but not so often as to make the writing feel clumsy or spammy.

2. Tag, you’re it!

Don’t neglect your alt tags and image tags! With every image and link on your page, you have an opportunity to pump up your keyword usage. These tags (the text that appears when you hover your mouse over an image or link) should always be filled in with a concise label or description that contains your primary keyword.

3. A picture is worth a thousand clicks

A trick to jumping ahead in search engine rankings is to use different forms of media. Not only will eye-catching images and interesting videos appeal to visitors to your website, but they’ll also show up in image or video searches and even in regular web results. As Google displays the most relevant videos and images at the top of its results pages, you can sneak into visibility ahead of even the best-optimized text-only websites.

4. Content is king, but you don’t have to be a prince from Bel Air to be fresh!

We can’t stress enough the importance of fresh, relevant content. Visitors to your website won’t stick around (or come back) if what they find was last updated in 2002. That being said, constantly posting updates just for the sake of updating while falling behind on real need or quality won’t help you. Be mindful of what you’re saying when you post. Are you addressing the current needs and inquiries of your customers? Are you staying up to date and on top of trends? Determine a reasonable strategy, whether it means daily social media posts, posting blogs or articles two to three times a week, or seasonal promotions.

5. Feel the need—the need for speed!

Feel the need--the need for speed.Nobody likes a sluggish website. When the next option is only a click away, the chances of a potential customer actually waiting for a stalling website to load are slim to none. Cut down on bandwidth-hogging applications like Flash or JavaScript, and compress your files and images. Page speed is factored into search engine rankings.

6. Stay mobile

The popular build-a-site websites we mentioned earlier each come with arsenals of free templates for the not-so-technically-inclined. Make sure to choose one that is also designed to suit mobile devices. Not only are visitors unlikely to stay on your page if it isn’t readable on their phones and tablets, but Google is now factoring mobile optimization into its ranking system.

7. ‘Cause it’s all about those links, ’bout those links, no bouncing!

Basic but beautiful is the concept of linking back to your own website. Every time you post new content, include a link back to your site, be it to your homepage, landing page, or archive. If you’re using social media to market your business (and you really should be), include links to your website in your posts. Finally, establish relationships with relevant websites so that you can provide links to each other’s sites. Each link means more potential traffic and a greater chance of appearing in search engine results; just make sure that links to your site are appearing on legitimate, relevant pages.

How do I know if it’s working?

What is success if you can’t see it? Take a moment now to sign up for Google Analytics. This comprehensive system of tools lets you track who your customers are, what it is they need, what they’re looking at on your website, and how they’re reacting to it. You can also monitor what paths bring visitors to your website and from what kinds of devices so that you can continue tweaking your site to further drive traffic and conversions. From there, the power is all yours!

Image sources: Leeroy/Stocksnap.io, hingoba/Pixabay.com

 

Inklyo's free ebook, 17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing.

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6 Reasons Businesses Outsource Their SEO Content Writing

SEO Content Writing

A Guide for Writers

SEO Content WritingSome companies are wary of the shift to outsourcing search engine optimization (SEO) content writing, worrying that it might not be the best decision. However, there are several benefits to outsourcing content writing. In fact, outsourcing can actually be much better for a company than attempting to do the work internally. Knowing why companies choose to outsource can help you, as a writer, understand the obstacles they face and better cater to their needs.

1. They want to focus on what they do best.

If a company doesn’t specialize in SEO content writing, then why strain to make it churn out content? Companies often choose to outsource SEO content writing services to keep their employees working on the tasks that are essential to the core functions of their businesses. This improves efficiency and quality assurance.

2. They want to save the hassle of hiring, training, and paying full-time writers.

When companies try to internalize SEO content writing, it often means having to hire new staff. This itself can be a huge hassle, particularly if the company is new to the world of SEO content writing and doesn’t know what skills to look for.

Once they finally find someone who is able to take on SEO content writing duties, they then need to train them. Even if new hires are competent writers and are familiar with SEO, they will still need to be familiarized with the company and the procedures for writing and posting content. Hiring full-time in-house writers can be a good solution for larger companies, but many small businesses cannot sustain the burden of paying another full-time team member. Plus, if the company is only aiming to produce a weekly or bi-weekly blog post, a full-time writer is likely overkill.

3. They want their SEO content writing to be done skillfully.

Even if some members of a business’s in-house staff take the time to learn the basics of SEO content writing, there’s no denying that a full-time professional SEO content writer is going to be much more skilled at incorporating SEO best practices into clear and engaging copy. As an SEO writer, your knowledge of and experience in the field is what sets you apart from the average employee, and a desire for the high-quality content you can produce is ultimately what will push businesses away from completing the work in-house and toward outsourcing to a professional.

4. They want their SEO content writing to be done efficiently.

Because freelance writers are used to working within deadlines, companies are guaranteed that their projects will be completed efficiently. This beats waiting for the one or two employees who have picked up some SEO content writing skills to complete the projects after finishing their other duties.

5. They want to choose their own output frequency.

The great thing about outsourcing is that companies don’t need to stick to a certain number of articles every month. If they find that the frequency at which they are posting is not enough to engage and excite their readers, they can easily increase the number of articles they issue each month. Similarly, if they need to downscale to fit a budget, they won’t have to worry about having a full-time staff member without tasks to complete. Outsourcing to a freelance SEO content writer allows them the freedom to post at the frequency they determine appropriate.

Conclusion

As a writer, it’s important to be looking for opportunities to use your skills. Many businesses are seeking high-quality SEO web content to keep their blogs and websites fresh, compelling, and valuable to potential customers, and understanding the obstacles businesses face can help you partner with them to produce the content they need.

Image source: Luis Llerena/Stocksnap.io

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9 SEO Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

9 SEO Mistakes to Avoid at All CostsAh, search engine optimization (SEO). There’s nothing quite like trying desperately to make an algorithm favor you to make you miss the good old days of traditional marketing and advertising. You already spend half your life trying to get people to approve of you, and now you have to do the same thing with an abstract online entity? This is not why you went into business.

But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how much you resent SEO best practices. Whether you like it or not, good SEO practices are key to improving your website’s visibility, thereby increasing your traffic and (hopefully) your conversion rates. Try not to think of SEO as just one annoying thing you have to do to maintain your website; instead, think of how it can directly improve your return on investment (ROI). So how can you use SEO best practices to improve your business?

The first thing you can do is avoid making mistakes. SEO newbies—and people who have been in the game for a while but have neglected to keep up with the times—tend to make the same kinds of mistakes when it comes to optimizing their websites. If you can avoid these SEO mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to a well-optimized site:

1. Keyword stuffing

If you’ve ever written copy for a website, you’ve heard about the importance of using keywords for SEO. Using the right keywords can bring the right audience to your website, and optimizing the use of these keywords properly can help get the attention of search engines. But do you know what won’t help you? Keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing looks something like this:

Keyword Stuffing Example

Cramming a keyword as many times as possible into your copy makes one thing very obvious to both readers and search engines: your content is worthless. You don’t have anything valuable to say, so instead you’re using keywords to get people to your site in hopes that getting them there will be enough to get them to convert. But search engines aren’t going to fall for this trick anymore—instead of getting results with keyword stuffing, you’ll find yourself with a keyword-crammed website with very few visitors and a bad ranking on Google.

2. Buying links

The statement “backlinks are important for SEO” isn’t false—it’s just incomplete. The whole truth is that “quality backlinks are important for SEO.” Don’t go around purchasing shoddy links from sketchy sites in hopes that they will increase your traffic and your PageRank. Google will know and, strict disciplinarian that Google is, your site will suffer for a long time for making this rookie SEO mistake.

3. Not updating your site

You’ve spent months creating a beautiful, user-friendly website. You’ve written five helpful blog posts, and you’ve optimized your site using well-researched keywords. Now you sit back and watch the traffic flow, waiting for those visitors to convert to leads and those leads to convert to customers. You’ve been working hard for months; now it’s time for that work to pay off. Right?

Wrong. SEO is a constant effort, and it involves keeping your site active. So you’ve published five great blog posts? That’s awesome, but now you need to make a schedule for posting new posts on a regular basis, and you need to stick to it. If you aren’t constantly updating your content, search engines aren’t going to notice you.

4. Using keywords as an afterthought

There is one way and only one way to use keywords. First, you have to do your keyword research. Then, you have to use that research to determine what you need to write about. That way, you can organically incorporate the right keywords into your copy.

This means that you can’t decide to write something, do keyword research, and try to figure out how to add those keywords into something you’ve already written. Keyword usage needs to be natural. One of the keywords for this blog post, for example, is “SEO mistakes.” You’ll notice that this post is about SEO mistakes, which makes that keyword significantly easier to use than if this post had been about writing blogs. Figure out what people are searching for, and provide them with relevant and helpful information about that topic. You’ll find that keyword integration is something you’ll barely even have to think about.

5. Neglecting social media

Neglecting social media is an SEO mistake.Social media is no longer optional. If people cannot find you on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, they’re going to seriously question your company’s credibility. You know what else social media is great for? Sharing the material you’ve worked so hard to optimize on your website. Sharing your content means search engines have more places to find it, which means that potential visitors can find you in different places. Building a loyal social media following is also great for brand awareness.

6. Lack of internal links

It may seem somewhat counterintuitive to link to your own content. You may even think that search engines will find this behavior suspicious; after all, shouldn’t your goal be to have other sites link to you for verification of your credibility? Despite what you may think, linking to different pages on your own website is actually a good SEO practice. It helps search engines crawl your website, and it lends greater authority to your site. You should focus on the most important pages of your site and figure out how you can link those pages to things like blog posts. Remember, don’t just do this randomly; only link internally if there is a real connection between the two pages.

7. Not measuring your progress

What’s the first thing you do when you decide to lose weight? In fact, what causes you to want to lose weight? Obviously, you need to start by weighing yourself. Then, you create a strategy for shedding those pounds, and you continue to weigh yourself on a regular basis to ensure that strategy is giving you the results you want. If it isn’t, and you aren’t losing weight, you change the strategy.

Improving your SEO is just like losing weight. You need to know where you are when you start, and you need to keep track of your progress as you go. If you don’t have solid metrics to show your progress (or lack thereof), how will you ever know that your SEO practices have been working? Sure, you may notice vague improvements, but if you can’t identify exactly what these improvements are and what caused them, you’re wasting your time.

8. Not fixing broken links

Search engines crawl websites to figure out how well those sites should rank. You know what search engines don’t like? Being interrupted. And you know what website users don’t like? Clicking on a link that takes them to a big, fat, irritating “404” page, like this one:

Page Not Found Example

Do yourself and your website a favor: make sure there are no broken links on your site. This is all part of keeping your website active and current. Having a few broken links on your site is not going to completely destroy your site’s rank, but it is a small factor to consider when you’re optimizing.

9. Prioritizing links over content

This list of SEO mistakes has made it pretty clear that it’s better to have no links than it is to have bad links. Buying links or submitting your site to sketchy directories is a great way to bomb your website’s ranking. Why? Because search engines know that, instead of creating quality content for your visitors, you’re trying to trick search engines into promoting your page. Content should be your number one priority when it comes to improving your SEO and building a better site. Links should be the consequence of that content. In case I haven’t made this clear, let me put it simply: content first, links later.

Image sources: LoboStudioHamburg/pixabay.com, Marc Chouinard/stocksnap.io

 

Inklyo's free ebook, 17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing.

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Taking the First Page on Google with SEO Content Writing

Taking the First Page of Google

Taking the First Page of GoogleThere’s nothing worse than spending hours on content writing for your business’s website, only to then lose that content in the abyss that is the Internet. One of the most important parts of creating quality content is taking steps to ensure you have an audience to read it. Writing with SEO principles in mind can help you make sure that your articles aren’t lost in the sea of competing content.

Learn the SEO basics

Before you began marketing your business, you may never have heard about search engine optimization (SEO). That’s okay—most people haven’t. If you haven’t been trained in the basics of SEO, you may not know the best way to catch a search engine’s attention. What you need to do is educate yourself. Learn how to optimize your content so you get the highest number of hits per article possible. There’s lots of SEO information available online, and there are seminars you can attend and courses you can take to improve your SEO knowledge. Knowledge of the SEO basics will allow you to seamlessly incorporate keywords and phrases into your articles to help search engines find your content and your business.

Understand your market

Your SEO strategy will only be effective if you have a good understanding of the market you’re trying to attract. Because you’ll be working to attract your audience on a daily basis, you need to know as much about that audience as you can. Using consumer comment tools is a good way to learn about your readers. Take the feedback you receive from your audience, and use the best of it to ensure that you’re adapting your articles to the people reading them. Keeping your articles in tune with the needs and wants of your readers will help you attract and retain an even larger readership than you may have otherwise.

Focus on quality

Whether you outsource your editing needs or assign them to in-house workers, you should have editors checking your articles, blog posts, and other content for any potential errors. Your editing process should involve multiple sets of eyes looking at your content before you publish it. Quality always trumps quantity, especially when it comes to SEO content writing.

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Why Keyword Research Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Why Keyword Research Isn't as Hard as You ThinkResearch: You dreaded it in high school, you learned to loathe it during college or university, and you swore an oath to avoid it as much as possible after graduation. Now you’ve started your own business, and you’re working on optimizing your website for search engines. You can’t help but notice that the word “research” keeps creeping up everywhere. It’s not just any research—it’s keyword research, and you have no idea how to do it. You don’t want to know how to do it. You swore off formal research long ago, and you’re determined to stick to your convictions.

Well, my stubborn friend, it’s time to start breaking some oaths, because keyword research is an inevitable necessity of search engine optimization (SEO). Here is a simple guide to teach you how to do keyword research. I promise to make it seem as little like research as possible, though I do have to point out that your reading this article is actually research. (Sorry to burst your “keeping-my-oath-no-matter-what” bubble.)

Step 1: Use Common Sense

You’ve used a search engine before, right? Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last two decades (in which case I applaud your business aspirations), there’s no way you aren’t extremely familiar with search engines like Google. Because you already have lots of experience as a searcher, the initial stage of keyword research is easy. All you have to do is think about what you would search for if you were looking for content like the content you’re trying to optimize. So, first you need to pick the page(s) you’re optimizing.

Let’s start with an obvious one—your home page. If your company sells energy-efficient lightbulbs, your home page is basically going to say, “We sell this specific type of lightbulb because it’s better than other lightbulbs.” So, what would a searcher type in if they were looking for a company like yours that they didn’t yet know existed? Make a list of possible search terms. For example:

Keyword List Examples

You can also conduct keyword research before you write a blog post. Think broadly about the topic you’re hoping to write about. Again, make a list of possible words and phrases people could type to get them to a blog post about that topic. If you complete your keyword research before writing something, you can integrate those keywords more organically into your prose, which will help you avoid keyword stuffing (which is including keywords too frequently, making your writing sound awkward and unnatural).

Step 2: Start Your Research

Now that you have a general list of keywords to investigate further, you’re going to need to use a keyword tool. The most common tool for keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Plug the list of potential keywords and phrases you came up with in the first step into the Keyword Planner.

The first thing you need to look at is the average monthly search volume for each keyword or phrase you’ve searched. Discard low-volume keywords. You might also need to get rid of keywords with extremely high search volumes, especially if these words are not directly related to your page. For example, the keyword “lightbulb” will have a much higher search volume than “energy efficient lightbulbs,” but the latter will be more likely to attract the right kind of visitors to your site: visitors who are more likely to convert to leads and then to customers. Finally, check the level of competition for each search term; the higher the competition level, the less likely you are to rank high for that keyword.

Keyword Planner Example

Step 3: Check Out Your Competition

Okay, so you’ve narrowed your first list down according to search volume. You should have a considerably shorter list to work with now. The next step is to see what your competition is up to. This part is simple. Just search for each potential keyword and see what results you get. If the results page is dominated by major brands or giant companies, don’t use that keyword. You’re not going to beat gigantic brands for the top spot, and if your site never makes it into at least the top 10 of the search page results, no one is going to click on you. You’ll have better results if you use a less popular keyword but make it into the top results for that keyword.

The other thing you need to do in this stage is to ensure that your keyword or phrase means what you think it means. If your search term tends to get results about something completely unrelated to what your company is selling, you need a new keyword.

If you complete the third step and find none of your original keyword ideas work, never fear! Go back to the second step, and look at the keywords suggested by Keyword Planner. Then proceed to the third step again.

Step 4: The Final Step

Congratulations! You’ve learned how to do keyword research. The next step is integrating those keywords into your copy for maximum SEO benefits. Check out this article to learn where you can place those well-researched keywords you’ve decided to use.

Image source: felixioncool/Pixabay.com

 

Inklyo's free ebook, 17 SEO Myths You Should Stop Believing.

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The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

The 12 Biggest Website Mistakes You Can Easily AvoidWebsites. These days, it seems like almost every business has one. From your favorite local sushi place to your tried-and-true bookstore, every business, big or small, can be found online. Businesses today need to have an online presence if they want to reach potential buyers. This presence includes having a variety of social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—whatever will help leverage their website and reach the most people.

Your company’s website is its virtual storefront, and it often gives potential buyers their first impression of what your company has to offer. Websites aren’t just nice to have—they’re an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy and will help you turn visitors into customers. With a great website, you’ll be able to attract, educate, and convince visitors to buy your products or services.

So, you have a website and people know you exist—great. But simply having a website won’t cut it. You need to stand out, be easily accessible, and know how to optimize your pages. Your website is the key to your inbound marketing strategy, so you need to know what to do—and what not to do—to avoid making website mistakes that will cost you time, energy, and, ultimately, business. You get out what you put in, so to help you put the most in, this article will outline the 12 biggest website mistakes and how you can avoid making them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes; but if you do your research and follow these tips, you’ll be getting to the top of search engine rankings in no time.

So, what are the 12 biggest website mistakes?

Website Mistake #1: Not optimizing your website pages for searching.

Optimization is the act, process, or methodology of making something as perfect or functional as possible. In terms of the “inbound world,” website optimization mainly refers to SEO. What is SEO? It’s the process of making your website as functional as possible to get the most traffic on search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Just as described above, when your website is optimized, you’ll show up higher in search results, which will make people more likely to click on your website link. When optimizing your website, you’ll have to focus on using the right keywords, gaining quality inbound links, and employing other SEO tactics to get the top spot.

Website Mistake #2: Not optimizing your title tag and meta tags.

To truly optimize your website in terms of SEO, your title tag and meta tags must also be optimized. The title tag is an HTML element of a webpage that describes the content of the page. It’s one of the primary elements that search engine crawlers look at when evaluating that page’s relevance to a particular search term and when indexing pages. A meta tag is a line of code contained in the background of a webpage. Search engines look at meta tags to learn what a page is about. Both title tags and meta tags should contain keywords that will help increase your page ranking in search results.

Website Mistake #3: Not having any quality inbound links.

Website mistake #3: Not having any quality inbound links.According to HubSpot, an authority on inbound marketing and sales, “An inbound link is a link coming from another site to your own website. ‘Inbound’ is generally used by the person receiving the link.” Inbound links are necessary for search engine optimization (SEO) and referral traffic. The more inbound links you have, the higher your website will rank in search engine result pages. Think about it. When you search for something on Google, are you more likely to click the links at the top of the first page or the links on, say, page 5 or 15? I’m guessing it’s the links on the first page. This is why it’s so important to have quality inbound links; they will help get you the top spot in search results, making people much more likely to click on your page.

Website Mistake #4: Not having a professional, trustworthy design.

Now you have a website and traffic—yay! Your next order of business is to make sure these visitors stay long enough to consider buying your products or services. This means having a modern, professional, trustworthy website. As we mentioned earlier, your website gives potential buyers the first impression of your business, so it’s important to make it look good and reflect the quality of whatever you’re offering. Your website must look nice and be easy to navigate, so it’s important to be consistent with colors, images, layout, and navigation messaging. You want your website to have a certain flow to it, and going from one page to another or searching for things on your website should be seamless.

Website Mistake #5: Being more flashy than helpful.

On the same note as having a professional, trustworthy website with consistent design elements, you should also avoid being too flashy and over-the-top. The key is to strike a balance between form and function. While your website must look appealing and professional while being user friendly, it’s important not to make the mistake of going overboard with colors, images, fonts, and graphics. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers and scare them away; you want to invite them to explore (and stay on) your website. To avoid making this website mistake, focus on content first (that is, being helpful) and design second. While a pretty website might attract potential buyers, they won’t stay if there’s nothing of substance for them to take away.

Website Mistake #6: Not having a blog.

A blog is a great way to communicate with potential buyers and those browsing your website. Your blog should reflect the real, personable side of your business, and it should offer original, value-added content that can’t be found anywhere else. A blog is an additional way for you to complement your website and connect with your target audience. Having a blog allows you to:

  • create fresh content (and more pages of content), which is great for SEO;
  • become established as an industry authority and thought leader;
  • drive more traffic and leads back to your website;
  • converse and engage with your audience and customers; and
  • receive valuable inbound links.

The takeaway? Blog often (and not always about yourself), be transparent, and offer value-added content with each post. Be interesting, and show the real side of your business.

Website Mistake #7: Not answering the big questions: who, what, and why (and where, if needed).

You have a website to help answer your potential customers’ questions: who, what, and why (and where, if needed). You can’t just stick information on your pages with the hope that your message will make itself clear. You need to know your target audience and write for them. Furthermore, you need to know what you can help them with and why they need your products or services. They’ve come to your page for a reason, and your job is to offer a solution to whatever problem they’re having. But you can’t just answer one of these questions; you need to answer them all, and these answers need to work together to focus your potential buyers upon what you have to offer. Otherwise, potential buyers will leave your page once they realize they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for.

Website Mistake #8: Only selling instead of selling and educating.

Ah, here’s a big one. Today’s buyers want to be educated, not sold to. They don’t want products or services shoved in their faces. They want to know about what you’re selling and why your product or service is best suited to fill their needs. When they’re considering your product, they’re thinking, “What’s in it for me?” To tell them, you need to offer more than just product content on your website. While product content must be product-specific, you should also offer educational (and valuable) forms of content such as ebooks, videos, infographics, and other types of content that will nurture prospects through your marketing and sales funnel until they are ready to buy. These days, it’s about more than just a sales pitch; it’s about offering unique and valuable information as well.

Website Mistake #9: Using jargon and corporate gobbledygook.

You’ve heard the phrases: “think outside the box,” “ducks in a row,” “core competency,” “window of opportunity” . . . the list goes on. Gobbledygook is eye roll-inducing jargon language—terms and phrases—that has been overused and abused, thus rendering it meaningless. You know how annoying such terms and phrases are, so avoid using them on your website.

Website Mistake #10: Only using one form of content.

Only have a website with one type of content? Yikes! That’s simply not enough to reach your target audience and expand beyond them. Since you’re probably an avid consumer of various forms of media yourself, you know how interesting and engaging it can make content. You should be using multiple forms of content, including videos, images, and podcasts. Your goal is to reach a wide audience, and the best way to do so is to appeal to an array of different people. This means you need to include various forms of media on your website since simple webpages don’t appeal to everyone.

Website mistake #10: Only using one form of content.

Website Mistake #11: Making your website and its content static instead of dynamic.

Static websites are boring; they’re just not relevant to today’s Internet culture. They represent the bare minimum of what a website should be. They’re very basic and plain, maybe with a few Flash graphics and a campaign—not much to get excited about. On top of that, their content isn’t shareable, so it doesn’t go very far. These days, websites should integrate search, social media, content, and blogging. They should be multifaceted and create a positive and interactive user experience. The user should be able to do more, not less, than they were expecting to on your website. And since users want to be educated, you need to add variety and interest to the information you present to them. Traffic from blogs, social media, and organic and paid search results end up being converted into leads or sales on your main website, which is why having a dynamic website is so crucial.

Website Mistake #12: Being clever instead of clear.

When being dynamic, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting your point across clearly and not focusing simply on being clever. While being clever can help attract potential customers to your page, it won’t keep them there. They need clear information that will, again, help solve their problem and tell them why your product or service is the best for them. Being clear also helps you appear more trustworthy and professional, which will only improve your image in the minds of potential customers. While you can be both clever and clear, first and foremost, make sure your content is flawless, specific, and transparent—then add a touch of wittiness.

Image sources: Daria Nepriakhina/Stocksnap.io, Sylwia Bartyzel/Stocksnap.io, ADE2013/Shutterstock.com

Inklyo's free ebook, 25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales.

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Uniting Search Engine Optimization with Useful Content

Uniting Search Engine Optimization with Useful Content

Uniting Search Engine Optimization with Useful ContentYou know you’ve got a great product, but how do you let the rest of the world know that too?

You build a website, of course, to explain why your product is so great. You do your research to find the best ways to sell goods and services on the Internet.

But all you find is a lot of contradictory information about online marketing. Half the web seems to say you need to apply all the tricks of search engine optimization, while the other half says you should focus on content to get your product noticed.

Search engines will certainly be a major source of traffic to your site, which makes it easy to see why search engine optimization is important. But, while employing the whole range of search engine optimization techniques might bring you visitors, all those potential customers will soon leave if all they find are pages stuffed with irrelevant keywords.

So, if search engine optimization and providing useful content both have their advantages, where should you concentrate your efforts?

The benefits of search engine optimization

Search engine robots crawl over your webpages gathering information about your site.

You can use many search engine optimization methods to direct these bots to the keywords and phrases on your pages and make the search engines aware of your content.

The search engines log this information, and when someone searches for keywords that occur often in your text, they will be directed to your site.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to apply search engine optimization to your website, and it can work for you 24 hours a day.

The benefits of useful content

One of the great advantages of having a website in the first place is that people can find all the information about your product or service at any time. You don’t have to pay sales staff to cold call or set up a consumer service department to answer customer queries.

Your website, therefore, has to contain the right information. Your pages have to answer most, if not all, of the questions a customer might ask. If your customers cannot find the details they’re looking for, they will quickly go elsewhere. They will click on the second link the search engine provided, and then the third, and so on, till they find what they’re looking for. All that effort put into search engine optimization to make sure you appeared at the top of the search results will be wasted.

In other words, your content has to be useful to your customers, and it has to be relevant.

You don’t need to choose

The obvious answer is to apply search engine optimization techniques to a website full of useful content.

But that would appear to be easier said than done.

Many companies offer either search engine optimization or webpage content. Very few offer both.

The key to providing content that will serve your customers and search engine robots is simply to practice. Work on trying to naturally introduce relevant keywords into the right places in the text to give your customers the information they’re looking for.

Uniting useful content with proper search engine optimization can help you get to the top of the search results and keep your customers on the page when they arrive.

Image source: iqoncept/BigStockPhoto.com

25 Website Essentials For Boosting Traffic, Leads, And Sales

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Top 6 SEO Audit Tools

Top 6 SEO Audit Tools

SEO audit tools can help you improve your search engine rankings

Top 6 SEO Audit ToolsSearch engine optimization (SEO) is the art of designing a website so that its webpages appear in the first pages of search engine results. The position of a webpage in search engine results pages (SERPs) is called its ranking, and a high ranking is a great way to attract customers to your website. Most search engine users rarely go beyond the first page of search engine results, so it is vital to use SEO audit tools to check and refine your digital marketing strategy. If you don’t have the time to research all the SEO audit tools out there, don’t worry — this roundup has done the work for you.

1) My Site Auditor

You are most likely to become a customer of My Site Auditor if you run an SEO consultancy. This tool produces a report on the SEO qualities of a particular page. Search engine rankings are based on a page’s relevance to a specific search term. That term, when used in a page, is called a keyword. My Site Auditor evaluates a given page for the presence of a specific keyword, and its report presents the results, either through an instantly downloadable PDF or via email. SEO consultants can integrate the My Site Auditor service into their websites to capture the email addresses of enquirers, which allows them to follow up with a sales pitch to any casual visitor who tries the tool on their site. If you sign up for this SEO audit tool, be sure to enter the Coupon Code REFER603946 to get the best deal.

2) Wpromote SEO Audit Tool

Wpromote’s SEO Audit Tool performs a quick comparison between your website and that of your competitor. One of the best features of this SEO audit tool is that it does not limit its comparisons to a given keyword. Instead, it calculates the keywords for which the two sites rank best. This is useful, since it may show you that your site is not hitting the keywords you think it is. The tool is free, and you can use it repeatedly to compare your site to many other sites, one at a time.

3) Screaming Frog SEO Spider

The SEO spider by Screaming Frog is pretty unique among SEO audit tools because you don’t access it through a website. Instead, you access it through a program that you can download onto your computer for free. This SEO audit tool produces an enormous amount of data, which SEO newbies may find overwhelming. The program emulates a “web bot,” which is the program that search engines use to index and score pages. It will take you a while to get to know this SEO audit tool using the free version, which only crawls up to 500 pages. When you are ready to deepen your analysis, removing this limit costs 99 pounds sterling for a one-year subscription, which is quite cheap.

4) UpCity Free SEO Report Card

If you work through each of the recommended sites in this review, you may find the My Site Auditor’s report a little light and the Screaming Frog SEO spider report a little daunting. If that’s the case, try the UpCity SEO Report Card. It falls slap-bang in the middle in terms of complexity. You can access the SEO audit tool using the UpCity website and compare your own site against others, one at a time. You don’t want to swamp yourself with too much information, so tackling your competitors one by one is a useful strategy. Even better, you are not limited to one free try on the SEO audit tool.

5) Web CEO Technical Website Quality Audit

The Web CEO SEO audit tool offers a comprehensive dashboard of features, which are too numerous to list in this review. You have to create an account to access the dashboard, but this “account creation” just involves entering an email address and a password. The dashboard includes an analysis of the social engagement of your site, which covers Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. You can also request a keyword analysis for your site and see the keywords that your competitors use. The SEO audit tool has a comprehensive range of link auditing tools, including a list of broken links on your site. This is a very extensive SEO audit tool, and it is free.

6) Hubspot’s Marketing Grader

For ease of use, the Hubspot Market Grader wins hands down. You might find some of the SEO audit tools listed in this roundup a little too simple, while others might overwhelm you with their complexity. The benefit of the Hubspot SEO audit tool is that it offers two levels of detail. This is a web-based SEO audit tool, and the analysis output initially shows you a summary. However, each reporting point is expandable. This format caters to two types of enquirers: the casual visitor and the detail hound.

Pick an SEO Audit Tool

It will take time to work through each of the six SEO audit tools listed in this article. However, it is worth the effort because, without analyzing your website’s performance, you don’t stand much chance of improving your rankings. Try the free versions of each of these SEO audit tools to figure out which one is best suited to your business needs.

Image source: bloomua/BigStockPhoto.com