Writing for the Web – Some Advice

Friday my students presented reports on research they had done into writing for the web. These are some very important basics. (Thanks to Vinicius, O, and Zinjar.)

The Text:

  • Limit your text to blocks of 75 words or less.
  • Use imagination to expand your list of keywords to use related keywords. If you’re selling underwear for women, include things that relate to that purchase – wedding clothes, wedding undergarments, strapless bras and so on.
  • Use action words to encourage movement towards purchase; for example, participate, enroll, enjoy.
  • Use short sentences with only essential information.

The Content:

  • Don’t just link to additional pages when breaking up a long article. Break it into logical categories.
  • Use the ‘inverted pyramid’. Give the most important information first, then more information, then details.
  • Put your conclusion at the beginning.
  • Use only one idea per paragraph.
  • Leave out unrelated information.
  • Use important keywords about 7 times in 200 words. Don’t overdo it.
  • Keep important keywords near the beginning of your text.
  • However, don’t sacrifice politeness for brevity.
  • Be consistent in the tone of your writing.
  • Ensure that links are relevant. Be careful of sending people out of your site. Also, if you want to retain your link value, use the “nofollow” attribute for outside links.

The Design:

  • Keep design and writing simple.
  • Use internal subheadings to make reading easier.
  • Make the page easy to read. Organize everything logically.

Final Details:

  • Check that everything is correct.
  • Have someone else check your text for accuracy and ease of understanding.
  • Double check your layout in at least Internet Explorer and Firefox. Also check in Safari if you can.
January 25th, 2010 by Radiance | 4 Comments »

Five eResolutions for 2010

Welcome back valued reader. I know there are lists all over the place at this time of year. I apologize in advance for adding to them. Getting back into harness after the holidays, some ideas related to e-business came to mind that might help us get control over our social media and websites and also improve our businesses and make life easier overall.

eBusiness Resolutions for a Healthier Business in 2010

If you’re a retailer, after the busy-ness of the season, you now have a little time to reflect on your business and how you’d like to do things differently or better in 2010. If you have another type of small business, you are looking at your successes and wondering what you might do to make things even better in the coming year. If successes have been thin on the ground, then you’re looking at ways to improve. This brings me to my eResolutions.

eResolution 1: Crawl before Sprinting

Most of us have had an experience of diving in and trying to fix everything at once. How did that work for you? Right!

So start small. If you’re a retailer, consider setting up a Twitter account. You can start following other people and seeing what’s going on while you plan the next part of your strategy. You can read more about Twitter on this blog in this series of posts on Twitter strategy.

eResolution 2: Put your Website on a Diet

Unless the name of your business is, All Things to All People, then you know that you have to specialize. Does your website reflect this. The average web home page has about 80% too much stuff on it (my wild statistical generalization). Remember, people who search for you have searched for something specific. Give it to them. Statistics show that you have 2 to 3 seconds to give them what they want or they’ll leave. This is even shorter than the average window shopping experience. You can read more about this on my Landing Page posts from last fall.

eResolution 3: Make Good with Google

Google has numerous free tools to help you manage your online presence. You can access them once you have a Google Account (free). Here is a list of useful Google tools as well as posts on Google.

eResolution 4: Face up to Facebook

I suggest that you set up an account and think about how you might use your “Page”. Take a look at my articles on using Facebook to see how to get started.

eResolution 5: Make social media an integral part of your business plan

Take a look at this post; 5 Ways to Integrate Social Media in Your Marketing – a Presentation by Jason Baer. It’s worth your time.

Bonus eResolution: Consider what you might be able to do with YouTube.

Youtube.com is one of the most visited sites on the web. Good, fun and interesting video attracts audience. It can be a good way to raise your profile. In future posts I’ll address this issue in more detail.

Here’s wishing us all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

I welcome your questions. Please question or comment via the “Comments/No comments” link below. If you found this article useful, please share via your networks. Thank you so much.

January 20th, 2010 by Radiance | 1 Comment »

Happy New Year Everyone!

Welcome back. I took an unplanned but much appreciated vacation this past week. I plan to be back posting regularly later today or tomorrow. I look forward to sharing some more useful information this year and hearing from you with your questions about social media use for small businesses.

January 4th, 2010 by Radiance | 3 Comments »

Setting Up Your Business Blog: Tweaking Your WordPress Blog

Sorry for the delay in getting this post out there. Christmas festivities have distracted me for a few days. Last week I showed you how to set up your WordPress blog using WordPress hosting. You can review the steps or read it before moving on to tweaking your blog.

Login to WordPress

Go to http://en.wordpress.com/wp-login. On the top left of the page you’ll see the login and password and you can insert the details you saved when you set up the blog in the first place. Alternatively, you can login at http://youblogname.wordpress.com/wp-admin.

Dashboard - We'll adjust the settings in the red box

Dashboard - We'll adjust the settings in the red box

Adjust the Settings

  1. Click on Settings (left hand column)
  2. Once the window opens, you can change the name of your blog (but not the address) and the tagline for your blog. Be sure to use some important keywords in your tagline.
Change your title if you want to and create your tagline.

Change your title if you want to and create your tagline.

Adjust the Discussion Settings

There are a number of options to adjust. For now, we’ll deal with the essentials. The privacy settings we’ll reset after the blog is up and running.

Below you’ll see a sample of how to setup the discussion settings.

Discussion Settings

Discussion Settings

The fewer barriers to discussion you have, the better. However, you also want to be aware of what people are saying and try to prevent spamming of your blog.

Let’s Change the Appearance of Your Blog

Click on Appearance. Browse the myriad options for the look of your blog. Preview a few and see what you like and what suits your business and your personality. When you find one you like, click “Activate” and visit your blog to see the new design. If you don’t like it after all, then go back to Appearance and select again. If you want to customize it, you’ll need the help of your web designer.

My decision on a look.

My decision on a look.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to add widgets to your site. Please ask any questions or make comments via the “No comments/comments” link below this post.

December 22nd, 2009 by Radiance | 74 Comments »