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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Category: Content Marketing (page 2 of 2)

How do you write for the web?

Tell Your Story

Tell Your Story via Flickr CC Damian Gadal

How do you write for the web?

Recently I’ve been asked about writing on the web. Who are the experts? What are they doing? Have things changed?

From what I have read and know, writing for the web has changed. Not in the fact that if you write simple and clear, use space and short sentences for scanning, create original work, etc… but more around the search engines algorithms.

Google (recent Panda and Penguin updates) and Bing are going after spam and they are watching out for things that don’t look natural. You know, the Black Hat SEO tricks that may cause you to write in weird ways like keyword stuffing.

As Matt Cutts says in a interview with Karon of Marketing Words, “As I’ve always said, ‘Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.‘ It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

BTW, Matt did an interview with Stone Temple on what makes a quality site. You should take the time and quickly read through it.

When it comes to writing on the web, follow some simple rules – more in depth explanations are on Copyblogger but I love this list of their Brilliant Writing Tips.

  • Have something to say…means original content.
  • Be specific.
  • Choose simple words.
  • Write in short sentences.
  • Use active voice.
  • Keep paragraphs short. Think of how hard it is to read dense text on a mobile device.
  • Eliminate fluff words
  • Don’t ramble.
  • Don’t be redundant or repeat yourself.
  • Don’t over write.

Don’t forget the headlines. They are so important. Here’s some info on Headlines: 8 words or less and how they work on the well.

If you are looking for topics to write on, use what you know. And look for trends on Google Trends or in your field of study. What’s trending now? You can even use Twitter if you want.

One of my favorites for finding out what to write about is answering the questions people send me in email.  That’s exactly how this post came into being.

Writing on the web isn’t hard – it’s more about getting as much original content up on the web about your program, school, dept, etc… as necessary.

If you are stumped on web writing, I’m sure our Mike Roe (our copywriter) can help you out.  He always helps me.

What do you think? Do you think it’s hard to write for the web?

13 Steps To Getting Started with a Blog

Keep Calm and Blog On T-shirt via spreadshiet

Keep Calm and Blog On T-shirt via spreadshirt

Blogging 101 – Getting Started is a training module I’m teaching to communicators and dairy farmers. It’s all about getting started with a blog as your mainstay on the internet. I’ve given the reasons of why you should blog but here are 13 steps to help you on your journey. And as always, you can reach out directly if you need help. Just hit up here or here and I’ll try to get you an answer or find you someone who can help.

1. Personal/professional brand
You need to figure who you want to be in your professional and personal life. I don’t think these things are separated in this digital age we live in and if you are going to have a digital life and brand then the two need to live together. Mainly because it’s really hard to separate the two and secondly, if you are only going to be a professional and remove the personal, no one is going to find you interesting.

We are humans and humans are social and personal – not robots. You can focus on your profession for your blog but if you never tie in personal stories, it’s just not going to resonate with the audience. Do you need help figuring out how to write out a personal brand statement? – check my post on it. It’s super simple yet will help you in profound ways.

2. Write, write, write.
Write out your first three or four blog posts in whatever system you prefer.  Definitely DON’T write a post in the system – directly on the internet. It only takes a few lost posts before you will switch to just writing in evernote (which I love) or in notepad or text-edit.

3. Add Visuals.
Find pictures / video content to associate with your blog and add them to it. Don’t steal or just grab stuff off the internet. You need to give credit where credit is due. I usually look through free image galleries or get images from Flickr.com/creativecommons – you have to give attribution and don’t photoshop their stuff unless they tell you it’s ok.

4. Select Your Domain.
Think long and hard about your domain name (keywords in the URL are important).
Having a your own domain name (with personal blogs, I suggest using your name) with good keywords in the URL. If you are writing about professional stuff, then make sure your professional terms are in the name.  You can use godaddy.com or other providers to get your name.

5. Select Your Technology – for the future.
If you get a very simple system, you may grow out of it. Pick something you think will be best for you in the future. If you are not tech savvy at all – try tumblr.com.

If you are a little more tech savvy and want more control – bloggerwixsquarespace or wordpress.com.

Want a lot of control – wordpress.org but be prepared to do a lot of work (you might need to learn how to code a few things like w3schools.com) or pay programmers to help you.

What do you want the audience to do? Yes, read your post is why they are here – what’s their next step? Get their email address? Connect to you via social media? Sign a petition? Spread the word?

7. Are you a designer?
This is definitely not something to DIY. Hire a professional to make you look good. It’ll be worth it in the end.

8. Add your posts.
Use notepad or textedit to remove code. Learn about categories and tags. Take your time, work out the bugs, you can have a deadline but don’t force it out.

9. Add your other content.
You need an About page and your CALL TO ACTION page. Set those up. Add your social media profile links. Add your fun widgets. Don’t distract people too much. Everything has a purpose.

10. Get on a schedule.
Make and schedule your editorial calendar. One post a week is hard to do but will probably get you the most bang for the buck. Stay consistent. I need to follow my own advice here.

11. Link it up!
Don’t forget to link your blog to all of your social media profiles and email profile. This will help drive traffic.

12. Analytics helps you adjusted.
What should you post next? What are people actually reading? Why am I still blogging? Get Google Analytics (free) set up on your website to insure you understand what your traffic is doing and what they like about your website.

13. Use your network to drive traffic.
After posts, make sure you are posting your links to all your social media contacts.

BONUS: TIPS and TRICKS to get traffic to your blog

  • Help others
  • Talk about others
  • Link to others
  • Did I mention others and link to them?
  • Read other blogs and comment on them.
  • Use Google’s Autocomplete to work headlines

So are you ready to get blogging?  What are your steps to set up?  Anything I missed that you think I should add?

Why blog? Because It Works.

The Thinker - I'm sure he would have blogged, too.

The Thinker – I’m sure he would have blogged, too.

So why blog?

You want to help people find the information they are looking for.
You have something to say.
You want to gain knowledge from others.
You want to connect people to other people.
You want two-way communication and feedback.
You believe you are an expert at…

But what else happens when you blog?

Google and the other search engines start indexing your content.
People start responding to what you writing.
People start trusting what you are writing.
People call you an expert.
Search engines start putting your information at the top of their search pages for keywords.
Suddenly you are internet famous.

Why would you blog?  Did I miss your reason?

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