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Ten Ways to Improve Your Website Credibility and Why It Matters

Credibility matters. Your website is one of the only connections your prospects have to you. They don’t know if you are trustworthy. They don’t know if you know what you’re talking about. Yet, when you can establish that you’re a credible company and resource, then you’re golden. Why? Because people buy from companies they trust. They recommend them to others. They become loyal customers and visitors.

Here are ten ways to improve your website credibility:

1. Facts and data - Demonstrate your credibility by backing up the claims you make with hard evidence. Cite statistics and data that support your statements.

2. Let your customers do the talking - Testimonials, reviews and endorsements go a long way toward convincing others of your credibility. In addition to strategically placing testimonials, reviews and endorsements on your landing page, consider creating a separate page, too. That way, visitors can click on the ‘testimonials’ page and read all the wonderful things people have to say about you.

3. Simple navigation - If a website is confusing to navigate we tend not to trust the source. However, if your website is streamlined and designed to enhance the visitor’s experience, then prospects can tell you’ve put them first.

4. Clean look - Have you ever landed on a web page that was so cluttered you didn’t know which way to turn? These pages are often littered with advertisements. It seems the only goal is to get you to click on something so they can earn a nickel in PPC revenue. Make sure your website doesn’t give off this vibe, even if your primary source of income is PPC. There are better ways to earn the trust of your prospects and thus earn a click.

5. Quality information - One of the best ways to earn a reputation for credibility is to consistently provide quality content. Share information that matters to your prospects and visitors. Show them why they can trust you. Be a source of information.

6. Quality companies - Represent or endorse companies that make you proud. Whether it’s an affiliate relationship, a partnership or you’re simply trying to provide a benefit, make sure you’re sending customers and prospects to websites and companies that you respect.

7. Organizations and affiliations - Join organizations that have earned credibility and respect. For example, become a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Join DMA if you’re a marketer. When visitors see logos and know you’re a member of a reputable organization, you earn credibility.

8. Win awards - Awards provide instant credibility. Find awards in your industry to apply for and make sure to post any wins and logos on your website.

9. Contact information - Make sure that your contact information is easy to find. In fact, consider placing it in the footer of every web page. Then also create a separate contact information page. IF a prospect or visitor cannot contact you, they'll wonder why you’re hiding.

10. Policies and procedures - State your policies and procedures up front. Make sure your statements are easy to find. Communicate your policies whenever appropriate. For example, mention your privacy policy and link to it when people sign up for your email list. Include a page or link on your site where visitors can find your policies. Consider a privacy policy and a guarantee or return policy if you sell products.

Bonus Tip: Finally, make it easy for visitors to find the answers to their questions. Provide a FAQ page and a contact form or customer service system. When you’re completely transparent and up-front about your business, you earn credibility.

 

Four SEO Tools and How to Use Them to Build Your Business

Search engines matter. They send traffic to your website. Use them well and they send very targeted traffic to your website. Targeted traffic turns into customers and repeat visitors. This means it’s not only where you're placed on the search engine rankings, but the keywords you use as well. You want to make sure you’re attracting targeted traffic to your site.  
  
The world of search engine optimization and keyword development can feel overwhelming. It seems there’s a lot of information to learn, know and use. However, when you drill down, it’s actually quite simple. You want to optimize your website for a few primary keywords. These keywords ideally will have an acceptable amount of demand and supply. They’ll also be keywords that your audience is likely to use to find your information.  
  
Then you optimize your pages for those keywords. You also choose some secondary keywords to support the primary ones. These may be keywords with less demand and less supply. However, they’re still keywords your audience is using to find your information.   
  
How do you use these keywords? Content, content, content. Content gives the search engine spiders something to index. It also provides material that others may link to. This is an important part of SEO.   
  
To help you manage and master your SEO efforts, there are literally thousands of various tools and gadgets. Some of these tools help you check the keyword density on your web page. They make sure your keywords are represented enough to help but not so much that your content reads poorly. There are also link checkers, keyword research tools, and so on. Here are four SEO tools you might find useful.  
  
Keyword suggestion tools - This is where it all begins. Keyword suggestion tools help you learn and research your primary and secondary keywords. The most common of these tools is the Google AdWords tool. It’s free and quite useful. There are also keyword tools that you can pay for. They offer a bit more information than the Google tool.   
 
Ranking checkers - Ranking checkers help you determine where you rank for various keywords and search engines. It’s a great tool for setting goals and tracking your progress. For example, you might set a goal to move up two pages in the rankings using article marketing. You can use a ranking checker to test and track your success. (You can also check to see how your competition is doing.)  
Link checking tools - Link checking tools help you determine the effectiveness of your back links. You can learn who is linking to you and how popular their links are. Again, you can also check to see who is linking to your competition. There are some basic, free tools that provide basic information. Or you can hire a service to analyze your back links for you.   
  
Keyword density tools - These tools can analyze a page or your URL for keyword density. There are a number of keyword density tools. Again some are free and some are paid tools. If you’re going to pay for this service, make sure it analyzes keyword phrases and not just one or two word keywords.   
  
New SEO tools are being developed every day. Take advantage of these resources to strategically position your business. The easier it is for your prospects to find you, the faster you’ll achieve your business goals.  
 

Three Effective Writing Rituals

Do you have a writing ritual? Many people have writing rituals that they’re not even aware of. Others just sit down and write when they have time. Writing rituals are actually a great way to kick-start your writing. They help inspire creativity. Here are five effective writing rituals to consider.

1. A shot of caffeine

It may sound cliché but there’s something soothing and invigorating about a cup of coffee. You can even make it a slightly decadent ritual and make a cappuccino, or drink your favorite tea instead. Of course, if coffee or tea isn’t your thing, consider a different drink. Perhaps a glass of sparking water or a smoothie.

It’s not really the drink that matters but the ritual. The process of making the beverage helps set the stage. You’ll probably begin thinking about your writing while you’re brewing your coffee or making your smoothie. Then, once you sit down at your desk you are already in the right mindset.

2. A breath of fresh air

There's something about sunshine and fresh air that stimulates creativity. It gets the blood pumping through your veins and into your brain. Embrace the out of doors and take a walk before you sit down to write. You can also take a walk in the middle of your writing workout to refresh and re-energize.

If the weather isn’t cooperating with your ritual, consider doing yoga or stretching for a few minutes indoors. The goal is to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing. It stimulates your brain and your creative energy.

3. Outlining

The process of outlining your content accomplishes several things at once. It’s an effective ritual that can help you get in the right frame of mind. It’s also a great way to ensure a smooth writing process. If you sit down first to outline all of the articles, blog posts or reports you’re writing, then writing them is actually quite easy. You already know what you want to say.

Outlining doesn’t have to be elaborate either. You might simply write the headlines and sub-headlines for your content. Or if you do prefer to fill in the details, you can embrace a more formal outlining process.

Writing rituals are incredibly effective. Take a look at what you normally do before you sit down to write. If you don’t have a ritual, try one of these three or create one of your own. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Tips and Ideas to Repurpose and Reuse Your Content

Content is an investment. You spend a lot of time writing it. You probably also spend a lot of time planning and researching it. It makes good business sense to make the most of your investment. When you repurpose and reuse your content, you maximize your return. Here are five tips and ideas to repurpose and reuse your content.

1. Build it up - Gather articles that fit together nicely and create a report. You’ll want to add an introduction and a conclusion. You may also need to add some transitions and polish the content to fit a cohesive theme. To monetize the content, consider adding affiliate links where appropriate. You can also include the occasional product or service promotion for your own business.

2. Break it down - If you have existing reports, then they’re perfect to create articles and blog posts. You have many options here, too. You can simply pull apart segments of the report to create articles. Add an introduction and conclusion paragraph and you’re ready to publish. Or you can take it further and create lists and other information-packed articles.

For example, if you have a "how to" report with ten steps and ten pages of content, you could create an article that’s a much abbreviated version of the report. List the ten steps with a one or two sentence explanation. You could also write a "three things you need to do to..." article. In fact, with ten steps you could write three of those articles.

3. Republish old content with updates - Often evergreen content isn’t as evergreen as you hope. The world moves quickly and most industries grow and change regularly. Take a look at your "evergreen" articles and blog posts. How can you refresh them with updated content?

4. Partition e-books - This method is similar to breaking down reports to create articles and blog posts. You can break e-books down into reports, articles or blog posts. In fact, you can get quite a lot of content from an e-book. Take a look at the e-books you’ve purchased or written and brainstorm content ideas.

5. Group reports - If you’re looking to create a new information product, consider grouping them to create an e-book. You’ll want to organize the reports in a logical manner. You’ll likely also need to add an introduction as well as a conclusion. Transitions will be necessary and you can add some nice graphics. Add checklists, worksheets and lists to add value to your e-books and reports for extra value.

Repurposing your content is a smart business strategy. With each new piece of content you create, consider how you might be able to use it in the future. Content is essential for online business success. Make the most of your efforts and maximize your content to the fullest.

 

Tips for Planning Your Content

As an online business owner, you know that content is one of the best tools you have. It drives traffic. It provides your audience with the value and information they seek. It also helps you market your business, products or services. Content is essential for online marketing success. You can achieve greater success if you take the time to plan your content.

What Is Content Planning?

Content planning is simply the process of taking a look at your calendar and deciding what to write and where to publish it. Content planning involves a few primary criteria:

• When will you publish the content?

• Where will you publish it?

• What will you write about?

• What’s the purpose of the content?

• What are your keywords?

• How can you repurpose the content?

Consider how far ahead you want to plan your content for. Many online business owners take a tiered approach. They plan large content projects for the entire year. For example, they may publish a report each month. They also take a look at their content on a quarterly or monthly level.

If you don’t plan your content or are struggling to plan it effectively, consider the following tips:

Use a calendar that gives you a big picture and you can write on. A paper desk calendar is a great planning tool. You can write your content ideas in pencil for easy modifications. Then, if you prefer electronic organization, you can transfer the paper plan to your Outlook or e-calendar.

Plan how you’ll integrate your content into your marketing strategy. For example, you could decide that in March you’re going to publish ten articles on article directories. You’ll also want to make sure this content ties into any season or holiday.

Ensure that the content you post supports any new products or services you are offering. Content must have a purpose. It may be simply to drive traffic to your website. Or it may be to drive traffic to a sales page or increase your opt-ins.

Leave room for change. The best content plans leave room for inspiration. The greatest ideas often come out of the blue. If you’re a stickler for your plan and don’t allow room to add your content inspiration into the mix, then you’re missing out.

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at how you can repurpose your content. It’s not only a great way to get the most return on investment, it can help fill content gaps.

When you plan your content, make sure you’re looking at both the macro and micro picture. Make sure you look ahead and take the entire year into consideration. At the same time, plan your content right down to the keywords and topics.

Planning your content for the entire year may take a day or two to accomplish but it’ll save you tons of time down the road. Instead of wondering what you’re going to write on, you’ll have the answers all worked out. Best of all, your content will fit with your other marketing efforts to create a comprehensive business growth plan.

How to Write When You’re Not a Writer

As a business owner you’re called on to manage a variety of tasks. Due to the importance of content, one of those tasks is writing. You have content to create. This can be a scary and potentially overwhelming concept. Many people fear writing or put it off because they don’t consider themselves to be writers.

Good news! You don’t have to be a “writer” to write good content for your website. There’s a difference between content published in newspapers and some magazines and content published on most websites. The content on your website doesn’t need to appeal to a broad audience. It also doesn’t need to be on a broad topic. Quite the opposite, actually. Your content will be quite specific.

For example, it could be "Ten tips to bake better chocolate chip cookies." It provides value to a very specific target audience. And if you have a website about chocolate chip cookies or baking, then you can write this article without thinking much about it. You know it. The information is already inside of you.

Web content is also more conversational. Content is written to feel personal - as if you’re speaking to your audience. You’ll use words like:

* You
* Your
* You’ll
* You’re
* And sometimes if you’re writing a blog post you’ll use “I”, “Me” and “We”

These are not words you’ll find in any piece of journalism unless they’re in quotes. Newspapers and magazines are generally more formal. They use third person perspective.

Additionally, web content is formatted for easy reading. You’ll use bullet points, numbers and headings and subheadings to break up your content into bite-sized pieces. So what does all this mean if you’re not a “writer”?

It means that writing content for your website is pretty straightforward. You:

* Write what you know and what your audience will benefit from
* Write conversationally
* Write so it’s easy to read online

The simplest method to use when you’re writing your online content is to spend a few minutes creating the structure for your article. Write a rough headline and subheadings. Then fill in the content. Write it as if you’re writing a letter to a friend. Don’t worry about grammar and spelling on the first draft. You can go back and edit for clarity later.

Once you have your thoughts down on paper, polish. Add your keywords in to optimize for the search engines and publish it. Test and track your articles and content to evaluate what content your readers respond to. With a little confidence and a plan, you can write content to build and grow your business.

How to Get More Reader Interaction on Your Articles and Blog

Reader interaction accomplishes many things for a website. It helps add user generated content. It also helps pull in more readers. People want to participate and see what everyone’s talking about. However, getting reader interaction isn’t always easy. Here are a few tried and true strategies for getting more interaction on your articles and blogs.

1. Ask for it - One of the best ways to get more interaction is to ask for it. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an article or a blog post. Here are just a few questions or calls to action you can include at the end of your content piece:

* What’s your experience?
* Do you have any advice on?
* What do you think?
* Have you ever…?
* What’s your favorite?
* Do you remember when…?

Of course some topics lend themselves to this approach better than others. A blog post on a home cooking site about your favorite soup recipe is likely to get a lot of content. People love to share their favorite recipes. However, a blog post about how to soak lentils isn’t likely to get much feedback unless you ask for advice or information about different soaking strategies.

2. Respond to comments - When you respond to comments you start a discussion. Other people may feel the desire to put their two cents in. If you don’t respond to the comments, then the conversation may stop there. If you want to motivate more readers to chime in and offer their opinion, insight and comments, then always make time to respond to comments. It’s important.

3. Spark a controversy or discussion by presenting a potentially heated topic - Controversy tends to motivate people to share their opinion. Take care here. If controversy doesn’t fit your brand or personality, then consider publishing newsworthy content. Again, people often feel motivated to share their opinion on both controversial and newsworthy topics.

4. Share a picture or video - We’re visual people. When we see a picture that makes us laugh, smile, cry or get angry, we are motivated to comment on it. Sometimes a picture or a video is all you need. It can say more than any article or blog post. However, other times it’s nice to include it with relevant content.

5. Share a personal story - Within the body of your article or blog post, share a story. Take time to share something personal that relates to the content of your article. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or long winded. When you share a story, it motivates others to share their story. You can find yourself learning a lot about your readers and prospects when you use this technique.

If you have a blog, reader activity and comments add credibility to your blog. Additionally, they tend to motivate more reader interaction, links and increased traffic. If you have a theme-based website, then reader-generated content can really help you boost your search engine ranking.

 

Creating a Productive Writing Environmen

Writing is difficult. Anyone that says otherwise isn’t telling the truth, or they’re not a writer. It can be even more difficult when you own your own business. You probably have a number of distractions, tasks and responsibilities. One of the best ways to make writing content for your business just a little bit easier is to create a productive writing environment.

Here are tips and ideas to help you get started.

1. Eliminate distractions. While you may need to have your computer on to write, you don’t need the television on. And you probably don’t need to have your email account open. You certainly don’t need to be interacting on Facebook. Yet many people try to write while they surf, watch television, check their email and interact on social sites.

It’s just not productive. It’s like trying to drive and read a book at the same time. The best way to be productive is to focus on one task at a time. When you’re writing, get rid of all other tasks and distractions. Turn off your electronics, turn off your phone and close your email inbox.

2. Clear the clutter. Clutter on the desktop creates clutter in your mind. Get rid of the clutter before you sit down to write. Better yet, don’t let the clutter happen. If you need to, however, clean your desk off before you write.

3. What do you need to write? You probably need a computer or a pen and paper. Do you need something to drink? What about tissues or something to eat? Before you sit down to write, make sure you have everything you need. That way you can focus until your content is written. You won’t have any distractions or a reason to get up from your desk.

4. Do not disturb. If you work from home, then try to set boundaries with your family. Let them know you’re writing and need quiet. If you have children and they’re young, then consider writing when they’re asleep. That way you can be more certain to have uninterrupted time.

5. Surround yourself with inspiration. Writing is a creative process. Even if you’re writing very dry material, you still have to create it and make it interesting. You’ll have better success if you feel inspired and creative.

Surround yourself with things that make you feel creative. Your writing environment should be comfortable. Not too comfortable so you fall asleep but a place where you feel safe and productive. Some ideas for inspiring items include:

* Plants
* Photos
* Books (especially books on your niche topic)

Finally, consider adding an element of time to your writing environment. Set goals for your content and your writing time. For example, if you have three hours to write, how much can you accomplish during that time? A clock or a timer can help you stay on track to accomplish your content goals.

Taking steps to create a productive writing environment can help you stay on task. It can improve your writing and make it more enjoyable. If you write content for your business, you owe it to yourself and your future to create a productive environment today.

Five Ways to Find Great Article and Blog Post Topics

There comes a time in every business owner’s life when they run out of things to write about. There are many solutions to this problem. You can hire someone to come up with ideas for you. You can hire someone to write the content for you, too. You can even purchase PLR.

These are all great solutions. However, you can also write the content yourself. You just need a little inspiration. Here are five ways to find great article and blog post topics.

1. Grab a magazine from your coffee table. It doesn’t even have to be a magazine in your niche industry. Just about any magazine will do. Now take a look at the cover. Write down the headlines as they appear. Chances are they’ll look something like this:

* The __ secrets to ____
* Learn how to _____ today
* ___ tips to ____

Once you’ve written down the headlines, replace the keywords with your own. Fill in the blanks. If there are ten headlines on the cover of your magazine, you now have ten articles or blog posts you can write.

2. Jump on a social networking site of choice and read posts in your niche. Visit the pages of your industry guru and read their latest posts and information. Chances are you’re going to find many content ideas.

You may take issue or disagree with something someone said. That’s a perfect blog post. You may think that a topic needs to be expanded upon. You may read a comment to a social networking post that is the foundation of an article. Social networking sites are packed with content ideas. You just have to look for them.

3. Read your own blog and review the comments. Skim past the ones that say “Thanks for the information.” Those don’t offer any value to you right now. Instead, look for the questions or the meaty comments. Those are ideal for inspiring content ideas.

4. Read your forum and blog comments on other sites. Often these comments are enough to be an article or blog post all by themselves. Just polish it up and format it for the web and you’re good to go. If the comment or forum post is short, expand on it. Use your feedback to create article and blog content on your website.

5. Make a list. Lists are easy to make and they’re well received online. If you’re struggling to find content ideas, write down three to five list ideas and tackle them one by one.

Article and blog post ideas are out there just waiting for you to find them. With a little creativity and inspiration you can turn an unmotivated writing session into a productive afternoon.

 

Three Simple Rules for Great Website Content

Want to write great website content but you’re not sure how? There are only a handful of things that differentiate great content from not so great content. Learn to master these few tactics and improve your content.

1. Write conversationally

Conversational content is content that is written in a friendly tone. It’s almost personal - as if you were writing your article, blog post or report specifically for the person reading it. Conversational content is written using informal language. Instead of saying, “Business people write content” you would say, “You write content.”

Conversational content often breaks a few grammar rules when it makes sense. For example, you might write an incomplete sentence. For impact. You might use ellipses…

…to create effect and to draw the eye through your article.

Make sure when you break grammar rules that there’s a reason for it. Breaking them just to break them is - well, maybe fun and a bit rebellious, but it’s not productive.

2. Embrace your personality and voice

Your personality and voice are one of your biggest assets. They help differentiate you. They help you create and strengthen your brand. If you’re sarcastic naturally, then your content can and should be sarcastic too – when relevant and appropriate. If you’re sentimental then your content will reflect that. It’s much easier to embrace your personality than to fight it. And it makes great content.

Study the content and writers you like and read often. How do they share their voice and personality?

3. Make sure your content is easy to read and understand

We’re talking about formatting here. Many people tend to get a bit carried away with formatting. There are so many underlined, bulleted, and bolded words that you’re not sure where your eye is supposed to go. Instead of enhancing the reading process, it makes it more difficult. It’s distracting.

Simple formatting is best. Simple formatting may include bold or underlined subheadings. You might have either bullets or numbers but probably not both. (Sometimes both are okay depending on the article content and information.)

Pay attention to the content you find easy to read and the content that seems distracting. Is there too much formatting? Not enough? When the article isn’t easy to read, what would you do to fix it? What would make it easier to read?

Learning a few simple web content strategies can help you generate the results you’re looking for. You’ll receive more incoming links. You’ll receive more readers and traffic. And you’ll likely receive more customers. The better your content, the faster you’ll be able to grow your business. To your success!