You’ve Got Questions About Web Content. We’ve Got Answers!
Ask and ye shall receive! Here are the answers to the questions we get asked the most about content. Hopefully they answer some of the questions weighing on your mind! But if you’ve got a question that we didn’t answer here, please feel free to fill out the contact form on this page or call us at 888-886-0939.
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You’ve told me that I need a proofreader for my website content. Why can’t I do it myself?
You deserve congratulations if you’re writing the content for your own business or professional website. It can be a daunting task, and—at least at the outset—there is a lot of anxiety in working outside your usual field. But maintaining a regular schedule of publishing informative, useful material for potential customers remains one of the best ways to attract and convert new clients. Kudos to you!
By all means, make the time to re-read what you have written before it’s published online. You may find an inelegant phrase, or a place where adding a few words can add enormous clarity. But our experience suggests that you should not be the sole editor or proofreader for your own writing.
It’s important to bear in mind that proofreading is not a quest for perfection. There are many pathways a writer can take to get to a desired destination, and editing does not select the “best” route. Instead, the revision process is designed to catch errors in grammar, spelling, usage, and diction before the work is published for its intended audience.
And, since we’re on the topic, the quest for writing perfection is an impossible goal anyway. People make mistakes. Those mistakes range from simple typing errors to habitual misuse of certain words. Your proofreader is there to catch these mistakes and patch them up before your work goes live.
There’s One Thing You Always Write Wrong. This Is Mine.
Even people with extraordinary talent for writing prose may have a handful of problem areas. Perhaps you find it difficult to remember when to use a semicolon, or you may forget when to use a dash rather than a hyphen, or you may be stumped whenever you need to choose between “effect” and “affect.”
My big problem has always been dealing with the words lay, lie, laid, and lain. I’m clear on lie when it means to tell a falsehood, but when the discussion turns to setting objects on surfaces or reclining one’s body on a sofa, I throw my hands in the air. I flip between reference book pages for a good ten minutes before I write down the word I think is right, but I’m never really confident in my choice.
So that’s the first reason why I need an editor to review my work (and you do, too): Chances are, you too have a persistent mental block when it comes to using some words or punctuation. Your proofreader is your reassurance that a silly mistake won’t be released to the disdain of the general public. Because of that mental block, you can’t be trusted to proofread your own writing, any more than I can effectively proofread my own work.
Your Errors Are Invisible (But Only to You)
Another reason why an independent proofreader is vital is that you cannot be trusted to spot your own mistakes on the screen or the printed page. You know too well what you intended to write, and your eyes will just skip past that point where you typed it’s instead of its. A proofreader doesn’t bring any preconceptions to the document, so he can spot those errors readily.
Spell Check and Grammar Check? Don’t Make Me Laugh.
Software has become amazingly sophisticated in my lifetime. Nevertheless, computer software doesn’t compare to an intelligent mind in correcting spelling, grammar, and usage mistakes. Spell checking programs don’t really understand language, so they can’t catch many word substitutions—podcast instead of podiatrist, for instance—that might show up in your text. Grammar checking software doesn’t appreciate the meaning of the words it scans, so it ends up reporting trivial errors such as split infinitives rather than conceptual mistakes. At least for the current decade, proofreading demands the concentrated attention of another human being.
Getting the Editorial Help You Need
One of the great benefits of Foster Web Marketing’s content management system, Dynamic Self-Syndication, is that it gives you complete control over your professional website. You can extend your online presence at any time, to whatever breadth you desire. At the same time, you assume the risk that a particularly egregious error in grammar or usage will undercut your influence or perceived authority.
But the more you write, the more you need the services of a proofreader. Where do you find one?
Potential proofreaders are everywhere. If you are sharing writing duties with someone else in your office, for instance, exchanging the work between you for editing is obvious. If no coworker is available, you may want to contact the modern languages or English literature departments of your nearby community college to see if instructors can recommend a talented student who might be interested in part-time proofreading work. Local employment centers and online job-search services can also be helpful in locating freelance editors and writers.
Here at Foster Web Marketing, we’re excited to respond to your questions about website content development and production. For specific guidance for your professional marketing, call us today or fill out the convenient contact form on this page.
I have instructed my office worker who writes our website content to eliminate all jargon and technical terms from our pages. Is that the right approach?
It’s one possible approach, certainly.
Whether you manage a law firm, a medical practice, or some other business, it’s likely that you have a large, specialized technical vocabulary. And that’s absolutely appropriate: when working within your profession, you need a level of precision that’s only available from a special set of words and phrases.
You can’t assume that the general public is familiar with this vocabulary. In fact, you can take it as given that most of your potential clients or customers don’t know these specialized terms. If you cover your website with this technical jargon, you risk scaring off readers who can’t understand your writing and who feel you’re browbeating them with your specialized knowledge.
How to respond to this situation? Many professionals have followed the same course that you suggest here: they have purged all technical vocabulary from their business websites. That’s one way to go, but it may not be the best.
A Word of Explanation
Don’t forget that one of the key elements to convert web visitors into leads (and ultimately into clients and customers) is the informative value of your website. Using your website to explain the technical terms of your profession is an amazingly effective way to add value to your site. Rather than using jargon to distance yourself from your readers, a blog post or FAQ column that explains a fundamental term builds inclusiveness. It reinforces your website’s educational mission, and helps establish you as a local expert in your field who shares knowledge unstintingly.
Above all, this approach can get you better clients—those who most resemble your ideal client. Consider these:
- A personal injury law firm webpage that explains the meaning of “liability.”
- A podiatry website that explains the difference between bacterial, fungal, and viral skin infections and why they require fundamentally different approaches.
- A product sales website that explains the environmental risks that competitors ignore in the manufacturing process—and gives a detailed scientific explanation of how its corporate managers respect and protect nature.
By educating potential customers and clients, you make sure the people who contact you later are actively engaged in trying to understand and satisfy their needs. They will be primed to view you as a trustworthy and intelligent partner whose advice ought to be followed. Providing information predisposes your best customers to seek you out.
Every Page Is a Gateway
There is only one downside to this approach. Remember that every page on your website is a potential entryway for new readers, and a portal to everything you have ever posted.
That’s normally a good thing. Over time, you have dozens (and eventually hundreds) of doorways leading potential clients and customers to engage with your site. However, if you represent a law firm that has devoted one page to explaining the concept of liability, you cannot guarantee that any new reader will find that page early on. For any other page that talks about the concept, you will want to have a brief summary of the idea and a link to the page where the concept is explained in depth. Remembering to put in all those required bits can be tedious.
Optimize Your Website to Inform
A website that packages information and delivers it generously to visitors is the best way to elicit a favorable sales response. It’s also the vision behind everything we do at Foster Web Marketing. Informative websites engage contacts and convert them into passionate customers. Keep that concept in mind when you write material for your site—or, if you can’t spare the time, contact us at 1-888-886-0939 to learn how we can provide fresh material written to your specifications.
What is "pogo sticking" and what does it have to do with my website?
Many people think that bounce rate and pogo sticking are the same thing, but they aren't. I like to think of pogo sticking as bounce rate's devious cousin; they are related, but bounce rate is the one that will get you in the most hot water with the Internet's version of your mom: Google.
Definitions of Bounce Rate and Pogo Sticking
To understand pogo sticking, we need to understand the differences between bounce rate and pogo sticking:
- Bounce rate: Bounce rate is defined as "the percentage of visitors who visit a single page on a website." A high bounce rate isn't always bad, as it can mean that while the visitor didn't travel deeper into a site, he did spend some time on the page and get an answer to his question. He may have bookmarked the page or shared it on Facebook, but since he didn't read more, it constitutes a bounce.
- Pogo sticking: Pogo sticking occurs when a user performs a search, clicks on a result, very quickly clicks back to the search result page, and clicks on a different result. This type of behavior is a direct result of immediate dissatisfaction in the search result, and—unlike bounce rate—pogo sticking is always a bad thing.
The Dangers of Pogo Sticking
Google hates pogo sticking more than high bounce rates, as pogo sticking happens within the first five seconds of viewing the page. This indicates that your website isn't doing a good enough job of answering the questions people are asking or that the page was so bad they didn't even bother reading its content. If you have a lot of people pogo sticking on and off your site, Google will notice, and they will penalize you.
Common Causes of Pogo Sticking
Pogo sticking is caused by immediate dissatisfaction with some aspect of your website. But there are lots of things that could go wrong in those precious five seconds, so determining exactly what's wrong with any given page can be a challenge. To help you get to the bottom of the problem, here's a list of the most common causes of pogo sticking:
Content related causes:
- The content doesn't match the title or meta description. (Title promises: "The Scary Truth About Parking Lot Accidents and Children," but the article is about rollover accidents.)
- The content is spammy. (Title promises: "Five Tips to Winning Your Car Accident Case," but the article is one paragraph and has a keyword-stuffed call to action.)
- The content doesn't match the site's focus. (An article about gluten-free baking on an attorney's website.)
- The content is loaded with grammar and spelling mistakes.
Non-content related causes:
- Slow page loading time.
- Videos that auto-play.
- Too many pop-up windows.
- A confusing or outdated design.
- Lack of usability.
If you're concerned about your website's performance, we can help you determine exactly what's affecting its success.
We want to give you the tools you need to fix your site and exceed your goals so we recommend that you request your free website analysis and read our in-depth article on performing a content audit. These tools will cost you nothing, and could very well be the key to finally realizing your dream of running a highly successful business.
I want to talk to potential clients in a way they understand. I prefer to write for my professional website in a relaxed, informal style. If I take that approach, I don’t have to obey all the fine points of grammar, do I?
You can choose not to pay attention to grammar. You can also choose not to have clients or customers. It turns out that, very often, those choices go hand in hand.
Of course you don’t want to appear stiff, stuffy, or overly formal on your website. But a “casual Friday” approach to writing means taking off your metaphorical necktie, not showing up dressed for a college frat party. You can (and should) adopt a friendly tone when addressing your readers. At the same time, you must always bear in mind that keeping a professional face on things means maintaining a layer of reserve. Close attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage is an important step in that direction.
Writing to attract your ideal clients
We don’t like to talk about social class in the United States. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that members of different socioeconomic classes will react to your website message in distinct ways. Properly shaping your message will allow you to attract the clients and customers you want the most.
For many highly skilled service providers, the ideal client is a member of the upper middle class or above. This population is accustomed to and comfortable with seeking advice from professionals—and they can usually be trusted to act on the advice they receive. They tend to be better educated, wealthier, and more cosmopolitan. They are often active learners who can partner effectively with you as a patient, law firm client, or service customer.
People with lower socioeconomic status may also have critical service needs that you can address; indeed, they tend to have more desperate needs for your services than your optimal customers. At the risk of over-generalizing, these prospects are often less appealing as clients, if only because they demand so much more of your time. They are more likely to be suspicious of experts and authority, and this means they might resist your advice at critical points. They are often insular and less educated, and so may not have the background to evaluate their situations or your instructions.
And yet they are sensitive to being patronized. Your attempts to dumb down your professional website won’t earn you favorable attention. Instead, your potential lower-class customers will feel that you’re mocking them. Your “good ol’ boy” pose will strike them as false—a poorly masked form of snobbery.
In the meantime, your upper-class prospects will be unimpressed by your ungrammatical writing style. Some will think you’re just lazy, or that you farmed out the writing to someone who may not be a native English speaker. Some will think you’re simply incompetent. None will be encouraged to stick around.
Informal writing for professional websites: How far is too far?
So, as a rule, stick to following the formal rules of grammar and allow your warm, familiar tone to engage readers.
But you can also earn the right to throw away the most rigid rules, now and then. Once you have proved—by producing lots of great content—that you have mastered grammar, you can occasionally bypass the rules. Use “who” instead of “whom.” Split an infinitive, if rewording the sentence would sound awkward. Oh, and sentence fragments! Sentence fragments can really add punch to a paragraph, when they’re used as a rare and exotic spice.
Some things should remain out of bounds for any professional website, of course. No swearing. No instant messaging abbreviations. No emoticons. If you’re at all uncertain, then favor the conservative, classic approach. But if you want the option to be less formal at times, then earn the right to do so by first demonstrating to your readers that you understand the rules and that you’re deliberately choosing to flout them.
Need more specific guidance? Our professional content writing and editorial services are always ready to advise you on an informal, relaxed approach that will win over your online audience and make you a local celebrity for your expertise and wit. Call 888.886.0939 for a FREE evaluation of your current website content and a game plan to get you the clients or customers you want to see.
What tools can I use to track breaking news?
Do I have tools for you! Tracking breaking news has become easier and more customizable than ever. Below are my top five breaking news apps, alerts, and services:
- Twitter. Twitter is often the first place big news stories are announced. I suggest that you follow CNN (@cnnbrk), TMZ (@TMZ), and Anderson Cooper (@AC360). Also, be sure to follow your local news outlets and reporters.
- Google Alerts. Sign up for alerts that align with your areas of practice and your target geographic area. For example, if you are a podiatrist in St. Louis, be sure to sign up for the Google alert "foot injury St. Louis".
- Bing News App. As time goes by, more people are coming to distrust Google and are making the switch to Bing. Bing now offers an app which allows you to tailor the news you get, and it’s a good alternative to Google.
- TMZ App. If you download the TMZ app to your phone or tablet, you'll get instant access to all of their breaking news stories. This is a very good thing if you want to keep up with the latest drug cases, divorces, and crashes in Hollywood.
- Flipboard App. This app is as beautiful as it is effective. Flipboard offers "Magazines of the Web" and allows you to create your own magazines based on the news topics you are most interested in.
Why I Think You Need to Start Tracking News Today
Use one of the above services, or use them all. But whatever you do, you must begin tracking news. If you don't, there is every chance that you will miss the big news story, the one that could forever change your business. By taking a big news story and making it your own, you have the unique, sometimes once in a lifetime, opportunity to advance your image as an expert and garner both local and national attention.
Don't miss your 15 minutes of fame. Call 888-886-0939 to find out how our breaking news services can help you go from Average Lawyer to Celebrity Attorney—in 48 hours or less.
How can I tell if my content themes are working?
Right off the bat, I have to thank you for asking such an important question. Too many times, we talk to business owners who blindly create content for their websites, never taking the time to check and see if it's helping convert visitors. What a waste of time!
Are Your Themes Working?
Once you've created a killer content theme and posted it to your website, it's time to take a look at the effectiveness of your content. To do so, you need to be familiar with analytics. Luckily, this is easy to do when using DSS; it's all laid out there for you, with easy-to-follow instructions.
All you have to do to track your themes is:
- Create a custom advanced segment in analytics for your theme.
- Assign the URL of each piece in the content theme to the segment you created.
- Once you've created your segments and assigned your pieces, it's time to watch and wait. Check back on a regular basis to see which are performing the best. You're looking for high page views, low bounce rates, and lengthy visit durations.
Building on Effective Themes
Did one or more of your themes do really well and exceed your expectations? Great job! But instead of patting yourself on the back, you need to get back to work. Consider writing a few more pieces that connect to the successful theme. Dig deeper into the subject and, if you haven't yet, shoot a video to add to each of the pieces. Also, be sure that each piece in the theme has an effective call to action. Without a good call to action, you may be getting a lot of traffic without a lot of conversions.
If all of this sounds great, but you just don't have the time to write themed content and analyze your data, let us do it for you. We can take over at any point the process. From writing to loading to tracking, we've got you covered. Call 888-886-0939 to speak with a member of our crazy-good professional marketing team today.
What Is an Email Drip Campaign?
While it sounds like a nickname for your sick toddler, a drip campaign is actually a marketing technique that can improve the health of your overall marketing plan.
An email drip campaign, also known as a follow-up or back-end campaign, is a series of correspondences you send to those who request your free offer.
The most effective follow-up campaigns don't rely solely on emails—a common mistake many doctors and attorneys make. Instead, they vary greatly and can include:
- Mailed letters
- CDs of an interview you did
- DVDs of you speaking at a professional event
- Invitations to your yearly charity event or community function
Ideally, you should send at least 15 types of correspondence over a seven month period, which means reaching out every other week.
After the Email Drip Stops
Once your follow-up campaign has run its course, it's important to stay on the minds of your audience. The best way to do this is to continue to send out a monthly newsletter via snail mail or email.
Also, if you've done it right, there's a good chance that those who have been getting your follow-up campaign materials have chosen to follow you on social media. This means you will continue to be on their minds long after your last follow-up campaign letter comes in the mail.
If your law firm or medical practice doesn't have a drip campaign, I suggest you begin to implement one as soon as possible. We find that follow-up campaigns for attorneys and doctors significantly increase the success of their free offers.
For more information on how our marketing team can help you implement a conversion-boosting follow-up campaign, call 888-886-0939.
We can take over the process or show you the best way to create and deliver your custom-built free offer and follow-up campaign.
What makes attorney website content “good”?
“Good” attorney website content can be hard to define. If you’re not sure what makes attorney website content “good” or “bad,” think about the types of content you like to read online. What are the qualities of that content that keep you engaged? To give you a better idea, here are a few things that we think make attorney website content good—or even great:
- It’s well-written and has been edited for errors. No matter how compelling your point is, no one is going to struggle through your spelling errors or clunky grammar to get it. Your content should reflect your professionalism, so it’s worth taking the time to edit and proofread before you post.
- It’s relevant to your real-life clients’ needs. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of Google rankings and search engine trends, but you should keep in mind that real people visit your website to find answers.
- It’s original and reflects the personality of your law firm. The best marketing content on the Web is fresh, original content that reflects the personality and values of the business. People use your website to get to know you, and they will be far more motivated to call if they know who you are and what you stand for.
- It’s part of an overall content marketing strategy. Truly effective content is part of an overall content strategy. Think about what you want from your online marketing and where your law firm is headed in the future, and then tailor your content to help you reach your goals.
Effective online content writing isn’t easy, and many busy professionals choose to hire an experienced online content writing team to help them succeed. Speak with the friendly team at Foster Web Marketing today at 1-888-886-0939 to find out how our services can help you whip your website content into shape.
What’s the best way to come up with new ideas for my attorney website content?
If you’re running out of ideas for great attorney website content, then it’s time to get creative. Here are a few simple things you can do to help you brainstorm new content ideas:
- Ask your friends, colleagues, and family. It’s easy to get stuck in a stale marketing hole, but simply talking with the people around you and asking for topics is sometimes all it takes to find a great, new idea or creative angle.
- Think about where you want to go next. Do you plan to focus on a new practice area or city? Do you offer a new service or have an old service that isn’t getting much interest? Think about the direction you want to take with your law firm, and use your content to create excitement.
- Read relevant books and publications. Taking a peek at what others are talking about and what you have to say about it can be a valuable source of new content ideas. Creating content based on popular trends can help direct traffic to your site and get conversations started on your social media pages or attorney blog.
- Find new ways to present popular content. If you have an older article that gets a lot of attention, consider expanding on that topic and related issues. It’s always easiest to simply give your online visitors what they’re really looking for.
- Ask your audience what they want. And, speaking of giving your website visitors what they’re looking for, consider just asking! Create a poll on your social media pages, have clients fill out a feedback form, and solicit input on your blog. Most of the time, you’ll find that your readers are more than happy to make constructive suggestions.
If you need help brainstorming new content ideas, or if you’re ready for our team of writers to handle your attorney website content for you, our friendly online content writing team is here to help. Reach out to us today at 1-888-886-0939.
How can I get more people to read my attorney website content?
No matter how good it looks, your attorney website is almost useless if visitors aren’t sticking around to read what you have to say. If you want to attract more potential clients with your attorney website content and encourage them to read more, make sure you’re:
- Optimizing your content. People can’t read your attorney website content if they can’t find it! Pay attention to search engine optimization trends and incorporate relevant keywords in your content.
- Providing content your potential clients want to read. It’s not really about attracting just any reader—you want to attract potential clients. Your content should be relevant and meaningful to the type of client you’d like to attract.
- Updating regularly. If you constantly post new content, it gives readers a reason to come back and check in. And, to really make a connection with your readers, consider getting involved with blogging and social media.
- Editing before you post. Even the most interesting website content can be frustrating and useless to visitors if it’s full of misspelled words and formatting errors. Take the time to proofread and edit your content before you post it so that you look like the professional you are.
Do you have questions about content marketing or how our website content writing services can help you attract more contacts and clients for your law firm? Give the friendly content writing team with Foster Web Marketing a call today at 1-888-886-0939, or simply fill out the easy online contact form on this page to learn more!
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