According to WordPress statistics, over 70 million blog posts are produced each month on WordPress alone. Based on those gargantuan stats, it’s fair to say that competition is pretty high in the world of online content.

With so much content produced every single day, it’s all too easy for a mediocre blog to quickly become buried under the rubble – only the very best content can stay above ground.

That being said, there are a few simple rules that you can apply to your content in order to keep it unique and engaging. Check out these content writing tips from the masters...

 

content writing tips, writing tips famous authors

 

Content Writing Tips from Literary Icons

When it comes to content writing advice, a simple Google search will fire back an endless list of results from a myriad of “experts” and “specialists”, usually accompanied by unfamiliar names and unrecognisable faces.

Why take the word of someone you’ve never heard of when you could sit under the learning tree of the biggest names in literary history?

Get the most out of your blog writing by channelling your inner Hemingway and following these steadfast tips from the very best.

 

Rules Are Made to be Broken

Elmore Leonard once quipped “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”. From a content standpoint, this can be an extremely valuable lesson to learn.

If strictly adhering to conventional writing techniques makes your content sound boring, don’t be afraid to bend the rules and play around with your wording.

Content that lacks natural flow can become laboured and quickly result in the reader navigating elsewhere. Let the content speak for itself: if you have to sacrifice writing technique for the purpose of rhythm and tone, so be it.

Keep in mind the audience that you’re writing for and mould your content accordingly. A conversational tone can be far more effective (and fitting) in a light-hearted blog than one that rigidly follows the codes and conventions of the Queen’s speech.

It’s worth remembering that this advice also comes from the same man who wrote “10 Rules of Writing” for The New York Times, proving that even the very best like to colour outside of the lines from time to time.

 

Don’t Be Too Wordy

In a 1906 letter to his eventual fiancé, Louie Burrows, D.H. Lawrence laid out some pearls of writing wisdom to his would-be lover after reading an essay of hers on the subject of art.

In the letter, Lawrence reminds Louie to “be careful of [her] adjectives”, reminding her that “there is so much more force in a rapid style”. Roughly translated in 21st-century lingo, what Mr Lawrence was so elegantly trying to say to his betrothed was simply this - “don’t waffle”.

If you too are guilty of waffling, Lawrence advises to “look at your piece and see how many three-lined sentences could be comfortably expressed in one line”. Remaining concise without losing the point is a key factor in maintaining reader retention.

Coincidentally, Lawrence also goes on to say in that very same letter “don’t use hackneyed adjectives” and instead to “try to be terse and in some measure original” – which brings us nicely to our next point…

 

Don’t Rely on Clichés

George Orwell once said, “Never use a figure of speech you are used to seeing in print”.

While Orwell may be best known for his novels and works of fiction, that piece of advice can just as easily be applied to anyone looking to create written content online.

In fact, Orwell’s rule is a fantastic tip for any writer looking to engage their audience in a unique and memorable way, while also providing a great opportunity to inject a bit of personality into your content.

Tired tropes and overused phrasing can become instant fodder for eye-rolling. Try to stray away from clichés and mix it up in order to keep your audience engaged and interested.

Enjoyable reading translates to longer page dwelling times which has a positive effect on SEO, as well as the user experience.

So, don’t be afraid to drop the clichés like a bad habit and avoid them like the plague.

…D’oh!

 

For more content writing tips or to explore the professional content creation services at Designer Websites, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online using the button below.

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For many businesses, professional copywriting services can be a Godsend. Providing sleek, readable copy that speaks volumes to your customers, a professional copywriter has the ability to raise the game of a brand exponentially.

A professional presentation can lend unrivalled credibility to a business, providing instant integrity and boosting customer confidence. Meanwhile, the alternative route can be the complete opposite, raising red flags and act as an immediate customer-repellent.

Professional copywriting is the tailor-made tuxedo of web content, while a DIY job represents a pre-owned hand-me-down. While both may get the job done, one will undoubtedly fit far better and leave a more memorable lasting impression to onlookers.

Like most things in life, the more you invest, the more you get in return. Professional content writing is no different – and here’s exactly why…

 

 benefits of professional content writing

 

Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?

Despite being a valuable skill that’s honed through years of practice, copywriting often gets held to a different professional standard than most specialisms, with many individuals opting to pen their own content unqualified.

To put that into context, that would be like a bride and groom sacking off a professional wedding singer in favour of their Uncle Steve on the basis that he sings in the shower. While undoubtedly the cheaper option, it’s also a real recipe for disaster (sorry, Steve).

The results of non-professional content writing can be dull at best and dire at worst, ranging from spelling mistakes and grammatical incorrections to verbose meanderings and unintelligible nonsense.

If you’re considering penning your own copy for your business, here are a few reasons why you might want to hire a professional copywriter to do your bidding instead.

 

Language

Any professional copywriter worth their salt will have a firm grasp of the English language so tight it could rival a boa constrictor on a budget.

Armed with a vast vocabulary and a mental spellcheck that requires no word processor, a pro will be able to turn the dullest of subjects into a textual feast for the eyes – error-free, well-structured and as engaging as a diamond ring.

A good copywriter will also be well-versed in the art of proofing and have an expert eye for faults and flaws. This should help to ensure that your finished copy is not only enticing and interesting to read but also grammatically correct with unwavering punctuation.

 

Research

Professional copywriters are often tasked with lending their wordsmithery to subjects outside their sphere of knowledge. As such, efficient and accurate research skills are paramount.

The benefit of this is that any statements made in your copy will, more often than not, be backed up with credible sources as evidence. Meanwhile, this process may also uncover additional details for inclusion that you may have overlooked out of familiarity.

If curiosity killed the cat, then a professional copywriter may need to have eyes in the back of their head for their own safety, because a healthy curiosity is key part of the job. A curious mind and thorough research skills, coupled with the ability to communicate the results is the perfect combination for golden content.

 

Perspective

If you’ve been part of a project from the get-go and are deeply rooted in the thick of it, it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. Hiring a professional copywriter can allow your company to take a step back and paint the bigger picture.

A fresh pair of eyes from an outsider’s perspective can be invaluable in providing accurate and unbiased content.

While a pro will naturally be able to create the message your brand is going for, they will also be able to highlight areas you may have overlooked through familiarity.

 

Engagement

One of the biggest perks of professional content creation is the ability to attract, entice and engage your target audience – an extremely important skill. Case in point: headline copy.

Research has shown that as much as 80% of people will read a headline but not the body of the article. Loosely, translated: a rubbish headline can leave the rest of your text untouched.

Imagine if The Ritz had an exterior that was dirty, decrepit and covered in graffiti. No matter how good the inside was, chances are, you wouldn’t venture past the front gate.

The same principle applies to headlines. A polished copywriter will be able to craft an attention-grabbing headline that’ll pique interest in a single glance.

 

Optimisation

With Google algorithm updates taking place multiple times a year, keeping on top of SEO best practices can be a near-impossible task for anyone not 100% focused on the task at hand.

A professional copywriter will be able to pen SEO copy effortlessly and optimising content will be second-nature, ensuring your pages are ranking as well as being perfectly readable.

In the long run, this can be the difference between being seen and your services

 

Professional Copywriting Services

Taking everything else out of the equation, professional content creation takes time, dedication and consistency – three things that are hard to commit to and maintain when your attention and expertise are needed elsewhere.

Even if you sell the greatest products/services in the universe, poor communication and clunky content can tarnish your brand instantly. Give your business the best chance of success with professional content from a pro.

 

For more information on our professional copywriting services, why not drop us a line today to find out more? Call now on 01446 339050 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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For amateur and professional bloggers alike, the art of SEO is one that must be practised and perfected in order to ensure your content performs to its fullest potential.

That being said, to the untrained, non-SEO aficionado, the optimising content for search engines can seem like a daunting task.

Luckily, it can be a lot easier than you would think; optimised blogs that are ready, willing and able to perform aren't just reserved for those that have a computer science degree.

 

seo basics, seo for bloggers

 

SEO for Bloggers

Neglecting to implement the SEO basics can act as the ultimate anchor that’s guaranteed to drag your content down the pecking order.

To help your blog soar to the SERP heights it deserves, try implementing these simple SEO basics into your content and turn your underperforming blog into a Search Engine Optimus Prime.

 

Need for Site Speed

If your idea of reducing cookie size is to bite it in half, chances are you won’t know how to minify HTML or make AJAX cacheable either.

Luckily, there are simple ways to help boost the speed of your blog page and perhaps the easiest of these is to optimise your images.

Most bloggers will be well-aware of the benefits of imagery within a blog and include them accordingly, so optimising these images is vital.

Compressing the image file can work wonders, as can appropriate resizing; however, be sure to scale outside of HTML.

Finally, name the file appropriately and make the most of the Alt Text, ideally using relevant keywords in both.

 

Beverly Hills Copy

Reading copy online can be notably different to reading in print, particularly when it comes to article length.

While a chunk of text on a page may seem manageable, seeing a long, scrollable block of text can be off-putting, often leading the visitor to either skim-read or potentially not read your blog at all.

As such, quality copywriting is key and layout is never more important. To sum it up in a sentence, don’t waffle, be engaging and make the most of space by breaking up your text.

In addition to improving the quality and readability of your content, top-notch copy will also keep readers engaged in your blog for longer.

The resulting “time on page” and “session duration” stats will ultimately lead Google to the conclusion that you’re producing Grade A content (which hopefully is true!) and reward you accordingly with a better ranking.

 

Back-Link to the Future

How many times have you fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole, watching countless related videos only to wind up a million miles away from where you started? Such is the power of related content.

Internal linking is your blog’s very own rabbit hole, allowing your readers to easily navigate from the original blog to topics of relative interest with ease. Best of all, it keeps your readers engaged with your content for longer and, most importantly, keeps them on your site.

It’s also an inherently easy way to share link equity around your site; however, this shouldn’t be taken as an opportunity to shoe-horn in as many links as possible. Aim to keep your links as relevant as possible to the original post, ideally linking related anchor text within the body of the blog.

For example, a blog on a motoring site about legal tread depth would be perfect to link from an article about changing a tyre. Conversely, it’s probably not the best blog to link to from a blog about fashion.

 

Clash of the Titles

While it may seem obvious, it’s worth covering all the same – optimising your meta titles is vital when it comes to SEO.

If you’re targeting specific keywords, it’s a wise move to include your most relevant one in the title itself. If you’re writing a blog around the subject of the Atkins diet, there’s no reason that phrase shouldn’t be the title itself.

While the headers to become less impactful as you go down the line (H1s to H2s to H3s, etc.), incorporating keywords into your main headings and titles can reap many rewards.

It’s also important to remember that excessively long titles will become truncated, leading to what is, essentially, half a title.

Aim to keep your titles under 60 characters to ensure your blog title makes the cut without taking a cut.

 

URL-Raiser

Much like the title of the blog, another easy way to make your blog SEO friendly is to optimise the URL.

A URL that’s excessively long and/or full of random numbers, letters and symbols does no favours to anyone: from the person reading it to the person writing it and search engine bots in between.

A keyword-rich URL that’s concise, accurate and readable is key. This can help enhance visibility and social sharing, while it can also contribute to better SEO performance due to the fact that URLs are commonly used as anchor text via copy and pasting.

A link to sampleblog.net/URL-advice is pretty self-explanatory, even if the title of the blog itself is not present, increasing the user experience as a result. Conversely, ambiguous URLs can be off-putting, deterring clicks as a result.

 

 

For more SEO tips and blog writing advice, check out our SEO blogs for further details. Alternatively, why not drop us a line and find out all about our professional SEO services at Designer Websites? Call now on 01446 339050 or click the button below to get in touch online.

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The world of SEO is a lot like the world of fashion: if you want to stay relevant, you’ve got to keep up with the latest trends.

For SEO specialists, that means staying abreast of the latest Google algorithm updates and failing to do so can see you fall behind as a result. What’s more, continuing to use outdated SEO techniques can not only be ineffectual, it can even result in you being penalised as a result.

While the list of ageing SEO tactics grows with each passing year and every additional algorithm update, there are still a few old-school SEO techniques that continue crop up, despite their ineffectiveness.

Here are a handful of the most common outdated SEO offenders still prevalent in 2019.

 

outdated seo, seo techniques

 

Exact-Match Domains (EMDs)

Exact-match domains are essentially examples of websites where the web address itself is rich in keywords and describes what the site itself does.

For example, a business that focuses on student housing in Cardiff may have opted for a domain like studenthousingcardiff.co.uk. Think of it as the Ronseal effect – it does exactly what it says on the tin.

EMDs were once deemed to be a fool-proof SEO tactic, allowing sites to scale the SERPs like Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger. However, their effectiveness has since plummeted and the popularity of EMDs has fallen dramatically… like John Lithgow in Cliffhanger.

Nineties movie references aside, EMDs today are more of a deterrent than an SEO tool, appearing spammy and illegitimate to both Google and Joe Public alike. This can, in turn, hinder conversions and make link building more difficult.

 

Exact-Match Anchor Text

Exact-match anchor text is hyperlinked text that matches the exact desired keyword or phrase of the page. While sparing use can be…well, useful, overuse can be extremely detrimental to your site.

Exact-match anchor text can be seen by Google as a tell-tale sign of deliberate link building and, as such, can be deemed to be search engine manipulation, resulting in your page/site being penalised.

To avoid incurring a penalty, try to create natural links related to the anchor phrase by either opting for a partial match or an unmatched linkable phrase.

For example, if the exact match keyword is “Halloween costumes”, a partial match could be the phrase “Check out our range of Halloween costumes”.

Meanwhile, a safer bet would be to link the phrase “Check out our variety of spooky fancy dress options” – relevant yet completely unmatched.

 

Dedicated Pages for Keyword Variations

While the old-school method of targeting a single keyword on a specific page may have worked in a by-gone era, Google’s ever-evolving algorithm has luckily put this process to bed and tucked it in tight.

Thanks to the increasingly clever semantics of Google’s Knowledge Graph, the search engine is now able to take into account relative words and phrases that correspond to the search term.

The arrival of RankBrain – Google’s cutting-edge AI system – allowed it to understand the user intent even further, providing even more relevancy and accuracy in the search results.

If you have created singular pages for keyword variations in the past, keeping such superfluous content can be an issue and actually hinder your positioning in the SERPs.

If possible, merge the content and remove the surplus pages, placing their desired relevant keywords in positions of prominence within the surviving page.

 

Writing for Bots

Another classic way of attempting to boost Google rankings is to tailor your content to appeal to Google bots, keyword stuffing and shoe-horning phrases in wherever they will fit (and even where they won’t).

For example, once upon a time, a blog targeting the keyword term “writing for bots” may have looked like this:

“Writing for bots is great for SEO. If you’re thinking of writing for bots, check out our guide on writing for bots to help you uncover the secrets of writing for bots.”

Thankfully, this form of content manipulation has been largely eradicated, allowing the content itself to flow naturally and freely in a far more logical and readable way.

Think of it as the digital equivalent of forcing an impressive phrase into your French oral exam. While it may tick the box in terms of application, the phrase itself can be extremely out of place contextually and stick out like a sore thumb in practice.

Bottom line: write for the individual reading it, not the bot combing it, to ensure your content is extraordinaire and not a whole lotta bof.

 

Irrelevant Links

Google is continuously updating its system to keep spam to an absolute minimum, with algorithm changes constantly evolving the way it processes our search requests.

In the pursuit of backlinks, some SEO strategists will opt to link to any content regardless of quality, provided it garners reciprocated backlinks to their site. Nowadays, if this happens to enter spam territory, it could spell trouble.

Relevant backlinks that are relative to your target demographic, your business or your market, providing useful user information can help improve your SEO standing.

Conversely, off-topic, irrelevant links that have nothing to do with your content can have an adverse effect and attract penalties from Officer Google.

 

For more information on outdated SEO techniques and the best tips for today, why not check out our other SEO blogs? Alternatively, drop us a line on 01446 339050 or use the button below to get in touch online.

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When it comes to keeping your finger on the pulse, there are certain facts about SEO that every business manager should know.

SEO is hugely important when it comes to a company’s digital performance and plays a massive role in ensuring a business' online presence is exactly where it should be.

Don’t let your business become MIA. Become a SERP VIP with this handy rundown of SEO facts every business manager should know.

 

seo facts, facts about seo 

 

Key SEO Facts

The world of SEO can be a complex one to navigate, particularly if you aren’t necessarily an expert in the field. Luckily, you don’t need to understand the intricacies of SEO to make it in the world of business, but it does help to know the basics.

If you’re a business manager looking to sharpen your SEO skills, here are a few key pointers that are well worth keeping in your mental back pocket for a rainy day.

  

Quality Matters

While content may indeed be king, it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Churning out content can risk a dip in quality, watering down the overall effectiveness as a result.

In addition to ranking higher in search engines, quality content can strengthen customer relationships greatly, leading your followers to actively seek out your posts.

Conversely, poor quality content can have the opposite effect and put people off, sometimes damaging customer relationships irreparably. As such, it’s important to exercise quality over quantity.

Some of the best content often tends to be evergreen, unique and authoritative, which can, in turn, open your site up to a world of in-roads from elsewhere. Which leads us nicely into our second point…

 

Link Building

Creating original, authoritative content that provides a unique, informed perspective can attract other content providers to link back to you as a source. This will give your site more credibility in the eyes of Google and allow you to rank higher in the SERP as a result.

Similarly, developing relationships with other sites for mutual linking purposes can prove to be extremely beneficial, providing much of the same results. Like any business, synergistic relationships are a key to success and SEO links are no different.

Think of your site as a restaurant: the more recommendations you get from customers, peers and industry stalwarts, the better your reputation is and the more trusted and established successful your brand becomes as a result.

 

Internal Links

In addition to external links, linking internally to other pages within your own site can also be a great way to improve site traffic and secure conversions.

Wowing your patron with a stunning steak dinner only to direct them to the pancake house across the street for dessert makes no business sense. The same principle can be applied to web links.

If you’ve hooked your visitor with the content on one page, they’re far more likely to visit another page on your site. Strengthen that relationship with internal links to other relevant topics of interest to make the most of your audience while you have their attention.

 

Everything in Moderation

While it may seem logical to implant relevant SEO keywords wherever possible to enhance your Google rankings for that term, you might want to rethink that strategy.

It is possible to oversaturate your site with keywords and make your site too keyword heavy. This is commonly known as keyword stuffing – a black-hat SEO technique that’s a Google no-no.

Cramming each page with SEO terms and keywords not only seems spammy to Google but can also leave the content almost unreadable to the user. Remember, nobody wants to be force-fed spam, no matter how it’s served up.

Keep your keyword placement natural and logical. If you have a feeling your text may sound a little spammy, read it back and see for yourself. If it passes the self-read test, you’re probably in the clear.

 

The Bigger Picture

While images may look great and act as an eye-catching way of grabbing the reader’s attention, the pictures themselves have no bearing on SEO.

Search engines only monitor the text present on the page, making the content of the images largely irrelevant from an SEO POV. Even if your image contains text – e.g. a banner image containing all of your relevant keywords – Google’s bots won’t be able to detect them.

However, that being said, the ALT tags used in the back-end allow you to remedy this issue. Make good use of the image ALT tags by using them to describe the image, including relevant keywords where possible.

 

Get Mobile

Smartphones have changed the world in terms of how we live our daily lives. From information and social interaction to shopping and entertainment, the power is quite literally in the palms of our hands.

More and more of us are using phones and tablets as a web browsing tool, with many preferring it to the traditional method of a laptop or desktop computer.

As such, incorporating mobile-friendly functionality to your online presence is a must and disregarding such an approach is virtual insanity.

Ensure your site has a responsive design that’s optimised for mobile use and capable of being used by someone searching online using their phone.

 

Analyse This

Einstein is believed to have once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

If you continue to plough on with your existing SEO tactics without identifying whether or not your efforts are successful, you can expect more of the same with little or no improvement. Worse still, misinterpretation of results can have an actively negative effect on performance.

If knowledge is power then lack of knowledge can leave you weak and vulnerable. As such, accurate analysis of SEO tactics is vital when it comes to maximising performance and incorporating necessary changes.

The ability to know when you just don’t know can also be a great trait to have. If SEO isn’t your cup of tea, hiring an SEO expert can be a smart move.  After all, understanding is one thing, implementing can be an entirely different ball game.

 

 

So, there you have it, seven magnificent SEO facts every business manager should know, laid out in all their glory. Now you’re up to speed, there really is no excuse for falling behind with linkless, immobile content that’s overflowing with keywords and empty ALT tags – you’ve been warned!

 

That being said, if you’re interested in learning more SEO tips or would like to find out more about the SEO services we offer at Designer Websites, why not give us a call today? Drop us a line on 01446 339050 or click the link below to get in touch online.

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