Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Content: Is It Killing Your Website?


There are many factors that go into a successful website, from usability to SEO, and much more. But people often overlook the importance of quality content. If the content on your website has spelling and grammar errors, isn’t factual, or is just plain boring, you are going to lose potential customers and discourage them from coming back.

Keep your intended audience interested in what you have to say or sell by following the tips below:

Don’t duplicate. Why would anyone spend time browsing through all the pages on your website if the content is the same throughout? If you don’t like to write, hire a professional writer and let them craft unique and persuasive content for each page of your website. Not only will this make your products and services stand out, it will help your site to rank better on the search engines.

Stop spamming. There’s nothing wrong with having ads on your website or blog – hey, we all have to earn a living – but going overboard can leave your prospective customers with a bad impression of your company. If your site or blog is so full of ads that it detracts from the content, you’ve got a problem. Reduce the number of ads you have on your site or blog and see if it helps boost your conversion rate.

Step up the quality. Think of the reasons why you would spend your valuable time reading someone’s blog or the content on their website. Most likely you would read something that was informative, factual, interesting, and engaging. If your web content is full of spelling errors or useless information, your reader won’t return. Quality content is necessary to sell your products or services and it helps establish your credibility as a company.

Don’t overdo SEO. Too much of a good thing will kill your conversion rates. But finding the right balance will help it. Keep this in mind when incorporating SEO into your web content. Always ask yourself if you’d read the SEO article, blog, or website content you just created and actually find it interesting and/or informative. If you wouldn’t read it, don’t expect your target audience to either.

Check out these links for more information about how you can create great web content:

7 Best Practices for Improving Your Website’s Usability

Seven Tips to Make Your Website Sing

And if you're interested in increasing your visibility amongst the major search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo, Voice of North America can help. Voice of North America lets you post blogs about any topic you want, getting you quality link backs from relevant content.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Conversion Rate Crashing? Fight Back!

He-Man would never give up. And neither should you. 

If your website hasn’t been receiving a normal amount of traffic lately and/or your conversion rate is crashing, don’t just sit there and take it! There are some things you can do, starting today, that can help your website get back on track.
  • Test the speed of your page loads. If they’re slow, this could one of the reasons you’re losing prospective customers. Remember, people are impatient, if your site is slow, they’ll move on to one that isn’t. Invest in a superfast site that gives the people what they want when they want it.
  • Check the links throughout your site. If you have broken links, it may discourage people from continuing to view your products or services. Broken links give an unprofessional impression. Test your links often to ensure they’re working and linking to the proper pages. 
  • Review/update your site’s keywords. Search engine optimization is a great tool that can not only help drive traffic to your site, but also direct your target audience to your products and services. But don’t forget that keywords can lose their relevancy, so reviewing them is always a good idea. If they’re no longer relevant to your products or services, check AdWords to find the keywords that are being used more frequently now and revise ASAP. 
  • Enlist the help of an outside source, like Voice of North America, to ensure you’re getting the most relevant web traffic possible. Voice of North America enables you to blog about your products or services in a 50 domain network and it lets you control keywords and meta data for your listings. You’ll get high quality linkbacks to your website from the audience you’re targeting, which can up your conversation rate.
  • Ask a few people you know to rate your site’s usability factor. If your website is hard to navigate, confusing, or cluttered, your intended audience won’t be able to find what they came to your site for in the first place. If your usability factor is low, you may want to consider investing in professional web design. 
See: How to Improve Your Website’s Conversion Rate and How to Increase Website Traffic

6 Steps to Effective Web Content

Is your web content so boring it even makes kittens fall asleep?

Writing for your website is different than writing a press release, blog, or email newsletter. If you want your content to draw people in and keep them interested, it has to include a few key ingredients. Persuasive, interesting, and well-written web content can help convert web traffic into paying customers and ensure that your company comes across as both professional and credible.
  1. Your first step is to do a little research on your target audience. If you know who you’re writing for, you can tailor your content to match. Depending on what you discover in your research, you may learn that your audience is driven by emotion and creative content that moves them to contact you will be your best bet. If they’re a technical audience, statistics, graphs, and figures might be more appropriate.

  2. Search engine optimization is going to be an essential ingredient to the success of your website and business as a whole. You can use Google’s keyword tool – AdWords to conduct research on which keywords and/or phrases are searched the most. Using broad keywords won’t be as effective as specific keywords, so keep that in mind.

  3. Writing catchy SEO titles for each page will help catch your target audience’s attention. Remember that infusing your site, content, and titles with SEO keywords is a wise business decision, but if you go overboard, it’s going to have the opposite effect on your visitors. Make sure your titles and content read as such; if they come across as just a way for you to have SEO throughout your site, no one’s going to read your content or learn about your products and services anyway.

  4. Keep your content concise. Write small paragraphs that contain information relevant to each page. Make sure each page of content on your website is unique as well. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will see your website as redundant if you have the same copy on each page and it can affect your rankings.

  5. Add bullet points or numbered list where you can. This will allow your visitors to skim your content for the information they’re looking for. Make sure you have a link to your contact form on every single page so they can easily reach you by email or phone.

  6. Don’t forget about call to action. Your content needs to be persuasive—but not overly so. If your content is too sales-y, you may lose visitors. But if it’s filled with informative, engaging, and persuasive content that leads them to an action, then you’ve done it right.
See: Call to Action: Why Your Marketing Content Needs It

Once your content is up and running, you might also want to think about blogging about your products and services to help increase your visibility amongst search engines. Voice of North America lets you post blogs about any topic you want in a 50 domain network, getting you quality linkbacks from relevant content.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Little Grammar Lesson Never Hurt Nobody (Ironic?)


No matter if you’re writing professional web content or a Facebook status update to your friends, knowing the grammar basics is essential. Since I love learning about grammar (nerd alert), I ‘follow’ quite a few editors, proofreaders, style guides, and grammar experts on Twitter. This is a great way to learn everything from basic grammar tips to more complex grammar issues on an ongoing basis. But if you’re ready for a quick review of the most common grammar errors right now, check out my tips below!


You’re is the contraction of ‘you are.' For example, “Shannon, you’re the best blogger in the world” and “Hey, Shannon, you’re doing an amazing job on that witty and highly informative blog – keep up the good work!”

Your is the possessive form of you. For example, “Is that your dog that just crapped on my lawn again?” and “You better start cleaning up after your dog or I will be forced to rub your face in his poo.”

If you’re still unsure whether you need to use you’re or your, a good way to test it is to insert 'you are' (you're) into the sentence.

For example, would 'you are' work in this sentence? “Is that you are dog that just crapped on my lawn again?” Since it clearly doesn’t make any sense, you know you need to go with 'your.' You can use this trick anytime you are unsure which you need to use.

They’re/Their/ There

They might sound the same, but these three words all have very different meanings.

They’re is the contraction of ‘they are.’ For example, “I’m only going to their wedding if they’re having an open bar” and “Don’t worry, cheapskate, they’re having an open bar with lots of vodka – your favorite.”

Their is used to describe belonging. For example, “Their wedding was a smashing good time. No, really, I got super smashed” and “I’m glad you had fun, but you probably shouldn’t have helped yourself to some of their wedding gifts.”

There is used to a refer to a place, whether physical or abstract, but it can also be used to introduce a sentence. For example, “There is nothing wrong with a little bump and grind” and “Look at that couple bumping and grinding over there.”


It’s is the contraction of ‘it is’ and ‘it has.’ For example, “It’s going to kill me if there are no hot guys at the bar tonight” and “I can't believe it's taking this long for all the cute guys to show up."

Its is a pronoun that shows possession. For example “This glass isn’t going to refill itself on its own” and “This blog will never lose its appeal.”

Remember the trick from above… insert 'it is' (it's) in the sentence if you're unsure which to use.

For example, “This glass isn’t going to refill itself on it is own.” Immediately you can tell that the correct choice to go with is ‘its.’

I hope this helped! Another great source for easy-to-remember grammar tips is Grammar Girl’s website. Check it out and see what you think!

And if you're interested in increasing your visibility amongst search engines, Voice of North America can help. Voice of North America lets you post blogs about any topic you want, getting you quality link backs from relevant content.

Want Tweet Cred? Speak the Language

Does Twitter have you looking like this?

So you wanna learn Twitter-speak, do you? Or maybe you just want to learn the basics so you know what’s going on when you see things like #FF or RT. Either way, understanding the“language” Twitter users have created over time will help you engage with your followers. And the good news is that you don’t have to take any Twitter Rosetta Stone classes to get the hang of it.

I’ve include a list of the most commonly used Twitter-inspired words below as well as some basic Twitter terms to help you get that tweet cred in no time at all.

  • Tweeple - users of Twitter, or a users’ followers (also “tweeps”)
  • Tweetup - a real world gathering of Twitter users
  • Twisticuffs - a verbal argument conducted via tweets
  • Tweet cred - social standing on Twitter
  • Twelete - removing a previously-published tweet
  • Twirting - flirting in 140 characters or fewer
  • Twitterfly - A social butterfly on Twitter
  • Twitterish - Erratic behavior/prone to outbursts
  • Tweme - a popular idea (meme) on Twitter
  • Twittiquette - the social norms of micro-blogging
  • Twebinar - a “web seminar” using Twitter
  • Retweet - RT- reposting a tweet someone else already sent out
  • Hashtags - Hashtags are keywords preceded with the # symbol See: Hashtag 101
  • Dweet - A tweet sent while drunk (Not advisable)
  • OH – If you see this preceding a post, it means that you're letting people know something funny or interesting that you overheard and not posting an original thought
  • DM – This means direct message
  • Twittersphere or Twitterverse – Refers to the entire world and culture of Twitter.
  • #FollowFriday or #ff – Used on Fridays to suggest people who are interesting to follow on Twitter.
  • #MusicMonday – Used on Mondays to suggest music to your followers or to let your friends/followers know what your favorite song(s) of the week are
  • #ThankfulThursday – Used on Thursdays to tell your followers what you’re thankful for
  • Microblog. Twitter is often referred to as a microblog because it allows people to update their status using only 140 characters.
  • Mistweet - Accidentally sending a tweet to the wrong person or wishing you didn't send a particular tweet. Dweets can often become Mistweets.
Have more to add? Feel free to keep the list going in comments.

And to read more about Twitter-speak, check out these articles:

Are You Down with the Twitter Lingo? AKA Twingo

The Twitter Glossary

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Don’t Be a Creepy Jerry

Everywhere in the blogosphere you’ll find Creepy Jerry’s … trolling blogs all day long but never leaving any comments. Why is this? If Creepy Jerry’s have the time to read, don’t they also have the time to leave a quick comment?

Are you a Creepy Jerry? Do you prefer to engage in the equivalent of one night stands with a variety of blogs? To read posts quickly and then slip silently away, never to be seen or heard from again? Or do you like to form a personal and long-lasting relationship with a blog, commenting and visiting on a regular basis?

As I’m new to blogging, I’m interested to see what might entice a Creepy Jerry to leave his world of trolling and lurking behind and become an active member on a blog such as mine.

Creepy Jerry’s of the world, I’m asking you to come out of your trolling closet and leave a comment today! You can even use a fake name if you’d like or simply be known as “anonymous.” Baby steps.

And if you're wondering, there is a real-life Creepy Jerry at my office who inspired this post. In fact, he's probably reading this right now, lurking in the shadow of his computer, never commenting, but always there.

Stocking – You Can’t Go to Jail for This Kind!

Still planking? That was sooo two months ago


Tired of planking? Looks like it’s on its way out thanks to something called stocking. Stocking involves recreating a photo from istockphoto or Getty Images and then placing them side by side - like this:

I wish stocking didn't make me laugh. But it does.

IMO, it’s way funnier than planking ever was and more interesting to see photos of. I can’t wait to see some of the weirder istock photos recreated though because we all know there are some super creepy things to be found on istock. Looking forward to those!

Want to know more about planking? Read Stocking is the New Planking and check out this Tumblr

And if you’ll always be a plankophile at heart, this link is for you: Best Planking Pictures

What are your thoughts on stocking and planking?