Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Smart Content Marketing

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to content marketing is the following:

Every web user presently online around the globe is online for a specific reason.

There is a surprising number of businesses that assume that every second web user is online with no specific purpose in mind whatsoever. Drifting around with no requirements or intention, thus wide open to their tempting offers and suggestions. The reality, however, is much different.

Whether it is for socialising, entertainment purposes, seeking services or researching products of any kind, there is always a reason for going online. This in turn means that to some extent at least, there is something specific every person in question is looking for.

Exactly who fulfils their requirements and expectations comes down to one simple thing and one thing alone – quality content.

Value and Quality

Online webmasters and businesses in general can throw all the hype they want at their target audiences. But without genuine value and quality to back it up, it is an exercise in futility. Above everything else, the crucial thing to remember when implementing a content marketing strategy is that web users will always respond best to websites that are providing them with some sort of help.

It can be help filling some minutes with quality entertainment, help with researching services and products, help with buying services and products and so on. Web users in general like to know that after each engagement or experience with an online entity, they come away better off.

Which is exactly why the most successful content is that which delivers benefits and value of some kind. How-to guides, tutorials, infographics or pretty much anything unique that can’t be found elsewhere.

Web marketers who exist for the sole reason to separate consumers from their hard earned money rarely find success – those who try to satisfy the needs of their audience usually perform much better.

The Psychology of Selling

Studies and the experience of millions of online businesses worldwide remind us that strong customer relationships could be forged if you help them solve a problem. If you’re willing to offer support and advice that is relevant, useful, transparent and accessible, you will stand a greater chance of standing out as a leader and authority in your field.

This means that next time they need any support or help along the same lines, they will most likely gravitate in your direction.

In a way, it is the classic example of selling without really selling in practice. Rather than bombarding your audience members with marketing materials, you are instead focusing on what they really want. And by doing so, you stand out from the crowd as an authority in your field.

So rather than focusing on and investing in the kind of hype that will most likely lead to nothing, think about how your business and your website could provide valuable and genuine help, for the benefit of your web users.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Why Buying Web Traffic Is Rarely a Good Idea

All websites could benefit from a little more traffic. Irrespective of how successful your online business may be, more is always better. After all, no right-minded business owner would happily turn down the prospect of additional sales.

With competition in all sectors at an all-time high, businesses worldwide are resorting to various weird and wonderful tactics to boost web traffic. One of which being to buy traffic in bulk.


On paper, it sounds like a relatively simple tactic with obvious appeal. You hand your cash over to a service provider, who in turn sends a predetermined number of visitors your way. It could be 5,000, 50,000 or even 500,000 visitors – a quick, easy and affordable boost that could make a huge difference.

Or at least, so it seems.

Think of it this way – if it was really so easy and effective to buy web traffic, wouldn’t we all be doing it? Or to put it another way, if it was possible to buy all the web traffic you need at an affordable price, why waste money on conventional marketing and advertising?

The short answer is the obvious answer – it isn’t quite as easy as it seems. In fact, it’s comparatively rare for buying web traffic to be an advisable course of action.

The following four reasons going some way to explain why:

1. Zero targeting

First of all, there’s nothing to gain by sending a whole bunch of entirely untargeted traffic to your website. Sending hundreds of thousands of visitors your way is all well and good, but what if not a single one of these visitors have any real interest in what it is you do? Unqualified prospects are about as much use to your business as no prospects whatsoever. Hence, any traffic you buy that isn’t meticulously targeted may prove to have zero value.

2. Heavy penalties

In most instances, those who sell bulk web traffic provide their services by way of automated bots. Or to put it another way, the visitors that come your way aren’t in fact visitors at all. At least, not the kinds of human visitors of any real value to your business. Not only does this mean little to no positive impact, it also leaves you and your website wide open to heavy penalties. When the likes of Google and the other major search engines detect these kinds of tactics, they’re not in the habit of letting them go unpunished.

3. Scam potential

This is also an area of the digital marketing spectrum that is rife with scam tactics. Find yourself at the mercy of a substandard service provider and the consequences could be catastrophic.

4. No guarantees
Along with all this, there are absolutely no guarantees that you won’t be wasting every penny of your investment. They may promise to deliver hundreds of thousands of profitable visitors, but there are no guarantees they’ll deliver even one. And if you’re unhappy with their services, there’s precisely nothing you can do about it.

If you want to drive more visitors to your website, there are hundreds of safer and more effective avenues to explore. Nevertheless, if you do decide to go ahead and buy website traffic in bulk, you need to be extremely careful when choosing a provider.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Five W’s (and One H) of Perfect Product Descriptions

By its very nature, the term ‘product description’ is misleading. The reason being that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to simply describe your products, rather than communicating their primary selling points.

When you think about it, you can describe almost any product in minute detail, without describing any of its benefits or applications. Realistically therefore, product descriptions shouldn’t be used to describe your products, but instead sell them by way of merit.

One of the best ways of penning perfect product descriptions is to focus on the Five W’s approach. Call it cliché, but it’s a consistently effective way of ensuring you communicate everything that matters to the prospective buyer.

Irrespective of what it is you’re selling and who you’re attempting to sell it to, these are the Five W’s (and One H) that can ensure you get the job done right:


First up, you need to clearly communicate who the product has been designed for. What kind of demographic are you targeting? What are the interests, expectations and priorities of your ideal buyer? Your product description should be tailored to both appeal to your ideal customer, while clearly communicating the benefits of the product to their demographic.


You’ll then need to give a concise yet compelling account of what it is your product does and what sets it apart from comparable products on the market. Along with its basic attributes – features, dimensions and so on – your product description should communicate the purpose and value of the product in question.


Slightly simpler, this refers to information regarding where the product can or should be used. Has it been designed for use in a very specific scenario, or is the ability to use it anywhere and at any time one of its selling points? Help build a mental picture of the product in use for your customers, by communicating where they’ll be using it if they buy it.


The same also goes for when – what would be the ideal time for using your product and why? Has it been designed to maximise convenience or enjoyment while travelling? Is it an everyday household essential they’ll be using on a daily basis? Or is it something altogether more special for an altogether more special occasion?


The last of the W’s is also the most important – why should they purchase your product? What will it do to improve their life? Does it solve any specific problems? What makes it both unique and superior to anything else currently on the market?


Last up, the nature of the product you’re selling will determine whether you need to detail how it works. In the case of technology and gadgets in general, at least a brief overview of its method of operation could be useful.

And there you have it – five simple steps for coming up with concise yet convincing product descriptions. Once again, it’s a good idea to get out of the habit of simply describing the product itself, focusing instead on its benefits and unique selling points.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Yes, You Do Have Time for Creative Writing

Some writers insist that their busy schedules get in the way of their creativity. Rather than focusing their efforts on quality content, they’re instead left with little to no time to write anything at all. Hence, the copy they come up with isn’t exactly their best work.

The thing is though, if creative writing is part and parcel of your profession, you need to make time for it. Irrespective of how busy your schedule may be, there are countless avenues to explore for freeing up a little time here and there.

Three of which you’ll find outlined below:

1. Cut Down on Social Media Time

If you’re anything like the vast majority of people these days, you’re probably spending far too much time on social media. Even if it’s only a few minutes here and there, it can quickly add up to several hours per week. Hours wasted doing nothing productive whatsoever.

It’s not a case of quitting social media entirely, but instead focusing on a strategic cut-down. Particularly during your working hours, when these kinds of distractions should be avoided entirely. As important as it is for you to stay connected, you can always check those non-business messages a little later. Facebook isn’t going anywhere, so there’s no rush!

2. Always Carry a Notebook

Why rely exclusively on technology to enable your craft? It can be far better and more enjoyable to go back to basics, carrying a notebook and making use of any spare time that comes your way. If it takes you 30 minutes by bus to get to work, that’s five hours a week you could dedicate to creative writing. All without the usual distractions creeping into the equation.

It’s also worth remembering how therapeutic traditional writing can be. Rather than straining your eyes staring at a screen, give the paper option a shot and see how it works for you. You never know when and where inspiration might strike – Harry Potter started out with nothing more than a pen and a napkin!

3. Schedule Creative Writing Time

Last up, if creative writing is part of your job, surely it’s worth bringing it into your schedule. If it’s a genuine priority, don’t simply cast it to one side until time permits. Bring creative writing into your schedule, ideally getting into some kind of effective routine.

If your current schedule is already full, think about which duties are more or less important than creative writing. Even if you simply slot 20 minutes of creative writing time into your lunch break, that’s more than one and a half hours per week. Or, more than 75 hours per year. A small price to pay to get those creative juices flowing and ensure your talent doesn’t go to waste.

In a nutshell therefore, it’s always possible to find at least some time to dedicate to creative writing. It’s simply a case of weighing up your priorities and focusing on what really matters.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Five Steps for More Engaging Infographics

The fact that infographics are so uniquely powerful and influential really is a godsend. From a business perspective, being able to pack so much concise and relevant information into such a small marketing material is no less than fantastic. Not to mention the fact that close to half of all people are known to respond better to visual information than plain text alone.

So you understand and acknowledge the power and potential of outstanding infographics. But how to go about creating them?

Well, the good news is that regardless of what line of business you happen to be in, there are certain standards and conventions to stick with. In fact, work in accordance with the following five guidelines and your next infographic could be your most successful to date:

1. Identify your message and stick with it

As is the case with any good story, you need to first consider what your overall message is. Just like when penning a blog post, consider the purpose of the infographic and the relevant theme. Once you’ve made these decisions, you need to make sure you stick with them from start to finish. The closer you remain tied to the primary message and theme, the more convincing and engaging the infographic will be.

2. Work hard on your headline

If you want anybody to bother reading the content of your infographic, you first need to create a compelling headline. Once again, this is no different to the usual standard with any other kind of content creation. The key lies in providing the reader with a good idea what the infographic is all about, though without giving too much away. The idea being that they are compelled to continue reading the rest of its content from top to bottom. If you can create a sense of intrigue, you’re golden.

3. Keep it simple

The more complicated an infographic appears at first glance, the less likely anyone is to bother reading it. It’s a bit like when you come across an unbroken passage of text, as opposed to a passage punctuated by imagery and other breaks. Whether it’s too many visuals, too much text or simply too much of everything crammed into a small space, clutter and crowding can be extremely off-putting. Focus on the basics and keep things simple.

4. Light-hearted visuals

Although there are exceptions to the rule, most infographics benefit from visuals that are relatively light hearted. As you’ve probably noted by now, infographics tend to contain visuals that are somewhat cartoonish, entertaining and highly simplified. They very rarely contain complex, formal or distracting visuals of any kind.

5. Push and promote

Last but not least, perhaps the single most important rule when it comes to creating effective infographics is to push and promote them as vigorously as possible. It’s best to look at infographics in the same way you would view a press release. It represents a marketing material in its own right, but nonetheless needs to be marketed to have any real value. Always keep shareability in mind when deciding on the content for your infographics and do your best to get the process of sharing underway.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Confirmed: Speed Matters More than Ever

If there’s one thing every Internet user today has in common, it’s growing impatience. Even if some have at least a little more patience than others, impatience among web users is growing like never before. For the most part, it is taken for granted that both your website and all of its internal pages will load in full at the snap of a finger. If they don’t, your prospects turn around, head elsewhere and perhaps never return.

Now, it’s natural for those on the business side of the equation to simply throw accusations at impatient customers, arguing that it’s unrealistic to expect flawless performance at all times. Unfortunately, the customer is always right. Or at least, the customer determines whether and to what extent you will succeed, therefore you need to do what they want, when they want it.

According to one of the more recent studies carried out by Kissmetrics, almost half of all consumers now expect websites and internal pages to fire up in no more than 2 seconds. In addition, approximately 40% stated that they will happily walk away from a website (perhaps permanently) if they are forced to wait more than 3 seconds for it to load.

But here’s the real kicker – it’s not only about the huge increase in bounce rates slow loading times tend to trigger. Instead, research has shown that even when customers wait those extra few seconds and stick around, slow loading times can have a remarkable effect on conversion rates.

…and not in a good way.

Extensive surveys have shown that when page loading times are delayed by as little as one second, it can lead to a quite extraordinary 7% reduction in conversions. In the case of Amazon – which is admittedly rather on the large side compared to most online businesses – it is estimated that approximately $1.6 billion is lost every year, simply due to slow page loading times. It’s not as if your own business is likely to incur these kinds of heavy losses, but still – can you really afford to throw away 7% of possible conversions, simply due to basic issues with page loading times?

The answer…of course you can’t!

From a website developer’s perspective, the most frustrating thing about poor page loading times is the way in which they can usually be addressed relatively easily. While it’s not to say that there will not be some time, effort and expenditure involved, it often takes little more than a few simple tweaks behind the scenes to get things up to speed…literally. Whether it’s your current hosting service provider, your site’s coding, issues with its content or anything else across the board, there are various ways and means by which you can and therefore should work to improve its performance.

Given the fact that so many businesses are still allowing themselves to fall behind the curve by operating sluggish and inconsistent websites, this is actually a comparatively quick, easy and affordable way to get ahead.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Negative SEO: Protecting Yourself

Statistically speaking, your likelihood of being directly affected by negative SEO is actually relatively low. Nevertheless, it does exist, does happen and does have the potential to wreak havoc with your business.

In the simplest of terms, negative SEO refers to anything done by outside parties to either harm your rankings or redirect traffic elsewhere. It’s sometimes used to hijack traffic for material gains, though can also be used for no reason other than to destroy your reputation and business. And as it can be very difficult to reverse once you’ve been attacked, the best approach is to keep your eye out for anything suspicious and protect your business on an on-going basis.

Perform Regular Link Audits

For example, link audits represent an important SEO tool in general and can be very helpful in detecting negative SEO. You basically need to keep a constant eye on the links pointing toward your site and those your site features. Should any turn out to be spammy, fraudulent or invalid, your SEO prowess could take a hit.

Monitor Site Speed

Never forget that these days, Google pays close attention to the speed and overall performance of your website when determining its SERP rankings. Which is precisely why many negative SEO attacks target overall speed and performance, which can and often do make a big difference in terms of rankings.

Check for Scraped Content

This basically refers to the all-too common process of content being directly lifted from your website and published word for word elsewhere. The attacker may then subsequently claim that the copy is their own, which will lead to your site being penalised for duplicating their content. If not, the fact that the copy is repeated any number of times in various locations could automatically affect your rankings.

Check Google My Business

The occasional negative review tends to be both inevitable and potentially beneficial for your business. However, if it seems as if you are unfairly and inexplicably attracting negative press from all over the place, it could be that someone is trying to do your reputation damage with fake reviews. All of which is precisely why it is important to keep tabs on your online reputation at all times.

Upgrade Your Security

Last but not least, the single most effective way of protecting yourself from the kind of negative SEO that happens directly on your website itself is to upgrade the security of your site. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always blatantly obvious when hackers have made their way through some kind of back door and done their bidding with your coding. Quite the opposite, as with negative SEO it’s more a case of sneaking in, wreaking havoc and making it as difficult as possible for the changes to be detected. So for obvious reasons, it simply makes sense to protect yourself to the highest possible extent.