Five Key Factors for Compelling Web Content

Readers-searching1-618wAlthough content has always been considered the be the “king” when it comes to writing compelling web material, with the rapidly increasing numbers of websites “out there”, never has it been so vitally important to make your content better that of your competition, so it pays to take the time to create high quality articles that visitors truly want to read.

Forget about taking shortcuts; no matter what niche or business you are in, the quality of your articles, posts & sales material will always be the key to a successful online venture.

To write content that really conveys the message you want to get across, take note of these 5 key factors:

Make It Easy To Read
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Keep that in mind many people skim-read webpages. Your target readers are probably subscribed to several news feeds or  blogs, so if you want to hold their interest, you need to make your content easy to read.

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Remember readers like white space, so use short paragraphs and bullet points or numbered lists with subheadings. Use web recommended fonts because research has shown them to be the most easily read by the majority of readers. A particular font might appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean it will have universal appeal or be easily read by others, especially those with poorer eyesight.

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Add graphics to your articles where that is appropriate as this makes the structure of your post more visually appealing and helps to keep your article focused on the point you want to get across.

Good Quality Material

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While it is true that you can get articles written very cheaply when you don’t want (or don’t have time) to write them yourself and also true that some so-called “gurus” claim to still make money using poorly written articles, these guru’s may well have a very large list of people who will buy whatever they recommend, regardless of quality.

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Therefore, it isn’t a good idea for you to do what they do because you want to build a good reputation for yourself, build your business so that your readers and customers see you as a quality provider and will be more interested in your next offer. Remember, it is easier to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

Be Natural

Cute_Vector_Robot_Character_176x189Don’t try to fill your article with keywords; make your sentences flow in a clear, informative and entertaining manner.  Search engines have evolved to the point where you will be penalised for overuse of keywords, rather than rewarded in the rankings.

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The best advice is to stop worrying about keywords. If you are answering the questions your searchers are asking then the keywords will come into the content naturally.

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Of course you can add some in on purpose after the article is finished, but in a way that does not upset the flow. Keywords should be secondary to creating an article that’s interesting and informative.

A comfortable Length

Funny_Robot_Vector_Character_25_2There may be accepted “rules” as to how long your online articles should be, but every article and every subject is different, so use your common sense about it.

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Imagine that you are the person searching for your content; ask yourself if you could find the answer to what you want to know in just 100 – 150 words? If the answer to this is “yes”, then 100 -150 words is long enough! The key is to use as many words as are required to address the subject without getting off track or including unnecessary detail and very often, that will require a lot more than 100 words.

Current

Most online content becomes out of date and needs updating from time to time. Yes, some things don’t change much over time, like how to grow vegetables or recipes, so articles about these subjects are considered “evergreen” because they are still relevant long after being written. Robot_Vector_Character_with_Thumbs_Up_175x215 However, just because they are still relevant doesn’t mean you can re-hash them without penalty from the search engines.

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Remember that Google, Bing and the like are businesses too, trying to please their customers (searchers) so they will reward those who upload content that is fresh, up to date and original. It pays to take advantage of this fact by keeping on top of your industry and keeping your readers informed. 

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It is a mistake to take shortcuts when it comes to high quality content. In the long term, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to write material that will convince your reader to take action and join your list or buy whatever you are offering.

How To Get Ideas For Blog Posts

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We all experience bloggers block from time to time, but don’t let it stop you from giving your subscribers the content they’ve been waiting for.

Here are 7 ideas that will help you come up with blog posts worth reading.

 1) Test or Review Something And Post Your Results

 If you’re really stuck for ideas, why not give yourself a challenge and post the results? For example, in the personal development niche this could mean making a gratitude list each day and writing about the effects. Or you could try a new fitness program and write about how you’re dealing with it. In most cases, readers in any niche love to read real life case studies!

 2) Google It!

 Why not Google the main topic of your blog and see what appears? You don’t want to copy any other blogs, of course, but one idea will often lead to another. Have a read around blogs in your niche – maybe even blogs outside of your niche – and see what they’re writing about. Either use this as inspiration for your own topics or write a direct response to what’s already out there.

3) Find Helpful or Interesting Videos & Share Them With Your Readers

 Why not get surfing YouTube and see if there’s an interesting video you can share with your subscribers? Embed the video into a post where you give your own personal comments. This is a super-fast way to come up with content that’s still interesting.

 4) Use What Happens In Your Daily Life As Inspiration

 You might not be writing a personal blog, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring personal experience into the posts you write. If you can relate personal experience to the topics you write about, then do so. Sometimes you have to get creative, but your blog posts will be more interesting as a result!

5) Ask Readers To Ask Questions

 What better way of coming up with content that your readers will enjoy than to invite them to ask questions? Write up a quick post one day asking them what they want to know, then post a follow up a few days later with all the answers. This last method is also an excellent way to connect with your audience.

0006_TRS_3DC6) Give Your Readers a Poll to Participate In.

Not everyone will ask questions, but if you give your readers a short, relevant poll to complete you can get some great feedback

7) Check Your Analytics to see what people are typing in their searches

 Checking your stats can leave you with a whole range of blog post ideas. Take a look at the keywords people are typing in to find your site. Chances are that some of the things they’re searching for aren’t on your blog yet. Why not use these keywords as ideas for future blog posts? You’ll also have the added benefit of knowing there’s a future audience for those posts!

Easily Add a Banner to Your Blog

Adding a banner to your blog, at the top, middle or bottom of posts or in a sidebar has always been very time-consuming and a bit of a fiddle for me. Today I’ve tried out the Max Banner Ads plugin from maxblogpress.com and it is so simple, a beginner could get banners up in no ti,e at all. See the banner at the top of my home page.

Apart from being able to choose the poition of the banner, you can also have rotating ads, so that when you refresh or re-visit the page, there is a different banner being shown. There are various ways to add the banner, from a URL or upload from your PC.  If you are promoting an affiliate product and they give you html or java code, you  just select the option “Other Text Ads / Flash / Javascript ….” and paste the code in. Easy as pie and I had mine done in less than 2 minutes.

The free version shows “Powered by Max Banner Ads” underneath. Although you can remove this if you purchase the Pro version, you can easily embed your clickbank hoplink, so worth considering leaving it there.

The help is very detailed and easy to understand – there are “How to…” pages for just about anything you could think of such as:

  • How to add banner to your blog
  • How to add Adsense, Adbrite and other (text, flash, Javascript) Ads
  • How to add ads at the sidebar of the blog
  • How to add multiple groups of ads in the same placeHow to show banner to certain pages only
  • How to show & rotate more than one banner in the same zone …….

The video on how to use Max Banner Ads and all the features is extremely well done, runs for over 9 minutes and goes into all the detail  including  you need to get going. All in all, I find this to be a highly recommended plug-in for people wanting to maximise both their promotions and their time. Doesn’t that include all of us?

Best wishes,
Trish

Gail Bottomley & WordPress Plugins

For those of you who have got started with their own blog but still learning how to make it better, I recommend you head on over to Gail Bottomley’s site www.gailbottomleyonline.com – she is an amazing lady who gives away so much valuable information to her readers, that it’s a good site to visit often. Sign up too, so you get the news when something new has been added.

Gail’s latest posts are a prime example of the value she gives away – this time telling you what plug-ins you need on your wordpress blog and better still, many of these plug-ins are free. Have a look at this page to start with www.gailbottomleyonline.com/5-most-needed-wordpress-plugins and then head on back to her home page for more great info & links.

Best wishes
Trish

Five Different Kinds of Blog Posts

Do you have a blog already, but it has been a while since you posted something?

Or perhaps  you thinking of starting a Blog?

To keep your blog fresh and interesting, then you need to post frequently, preferable at regular intervals so your readers have an idea when to expect another instalment. Create different types of posts to keep your readers interested. This also helps you from getting bored with your own blog. It doesn’t matter if you have a blog to make money directly fromit, or you are blogging to drive traffic to someone else’s product to earn affiliate commissions, you need to be aware of the following types of post.

1. The Review Post

Review blog posts can help you to earn income because you review several products, including your affiliate link for each. When reviewing, be unbiased and give an honest review, including both positive and negative comments about the product. Even if you totally loved the product, keep your review balanced by mentioning a few things that could have been improved. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust your recommendation.

2. The Quick Tip Post

In between your longer posts you can do a “quick tips” type of post; these are approx 150-250 words.We may have a lot of information about our niche that we want to share but it may not rate a full length post. In that case, post a quick tip. Focus on ONE key area of the niche. For example, “How to connect a new monitor” would be a quick tip article for a beginner computer users blog.

3. The List Post

Blog readers love lists! The most popular blogs make good use of lists. You can create lists that fit with any topic imaginable. This is a great way to convey information online because it can be easily scanned by web readers who are “skimmers.” You can also create lists of different ways to accomplish a goal in your niche. “10 Ways To Prepare Your Soil For Planting” would be a great list for gardeners.

4. The Interview Post

Interviews will require some preparation, but they are very valuable to your blog. Interview someone in your niche and then share the results of that interview with your readers. This will not only provide valuable content for your blog, but will also bring more traffic. Most likely, the person you interview will also publicize the event on their blog or Website, directing traffic to your Blog.

5. The Instruction Post

This is similar to Quick Tips as you are providing your readers with valuable information. However, these Instruction posts will go into much more detail on a certain topic. Sometimes your instructions can even be divided into two or three posts or courses. Look at comments and questions from your readers to find what topic would be most beneficial to them.

As you blog, remember that your readers like variety. Don’t always write the same type of post, but add something different to keep it fresh and new.

Starting Your Own Blog

What is a blog and why would you want to start your own?

Firstly, a blog is often a mixture of what is happening in a person’s own life and what is happening on the web. It is usually in the form of  a  frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects,  there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people.

Blogging is part of the general trend of putting everything on the web, regardless of whether we are talking about business, hobbies or personal stuff. It can just be a means of communicating with friends, with others who share your hobbies or interests, or it can be a business tool. Of course it can also be a combination of these things.

So perhaps instead of asking why you would want to have your own blog, ask instead if you want to, or have a need to communicate with others. The great advantage of social media is that you don’t need to know people personally to communicate with them and for this reason it is ideal for bringing interaction with others into the lives of folk who may otherwise feel isolated.

Is this you or somebody you know? Don’t think that it would be too hard to learn how to blog, because it is in fact quite simple and there are dozens of free videos and help pages to show you exactly what to do. There is no need to have fancy looking pages, but if that is what you would like, you could soon learn how to spice them up a bit.

Generally speaking blogs tend to have a few things in common:

  • A main content area with articles listed from the lates backwards.
  • Articles are usually organized into categories.
  • There is an archive of older articles.
  • There is a way for people to leave comments about the articles.
  • A list of links to other related sites, sometimes called a “blogroll” is often included.
  • There can also be one or more “feeds” like RSS, Atom or RDF files. (A Feedreader accesses other sites automatically looking for new content and then posts updates about that new content to another site).

Blogs can be stand-alone (self-hosted) or externally hosted. If you wish to host your own blog, you will be able to choose your own domain name, but you will be up for the cost of that domain name and your hosting at a minimum.

Externally hosted blogs are usually free but will often have limitations on what content and customisation you can have and perhaps also whether you can monetise it so if you want your blog to make some money, it is best to start out hosting your own. It is possible to change platforms later, but you would probably have to change the blog domain and that might lose you some readers. (For a more extensive discussion on the choice of blog platforms, go to  blogger.com

Some of the most popular free hosted blogs are listed below. All are very easy to set up and get you going quickly. Have a look at each one to see if it does what you want your blog to do, for example upload photos, videos, podcasts, run discussion boards etc.

wordpress.com
thoughts.com (as distinct from wordpress.org which supplies the platform for self-hosting)
weebly
yahoo 360
Windows Live

Problogger – Tips for Beginners

If you sign up to my blog this month you will get access to free ebooks about blogging (if you are already subscribed, you’ll be sent the link).

For more information, check outbecomeablogger.comProblogger – Tips for Beginners & becomeablogger.com for free video tutorials on how to create your own blog.

Blogging is an easy and economical way to share with family, friends and busuness associates alike. Make it fun!

Christmas bonuses coming soon!

I seem to have wandered from the topic of computers in the last few posts, but don’t worry, I have quite a few gifts for all my readers of the internet marketing kind and others of general interest.

I can’t resist getting new products sometimes so I’m going to make many of them available to my subscribers free for a week (sometimes a reseller licence does not allow a product to be given away free).

I should have it all ready in the next three days, so keep watching this space!

Cheers

Trish

How to Make A Great Flyer

Flyers are a great way to advertise something for yourself, for an organisation you belong to or for marketing both online and off. There’s no need to be a genius to create a great one, either; if you have some basic tools and follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to design your own flyers in no time.

1. MICROSOFT WORD – Begin with a basic software program like Microsoft Word or Publisher. Open up the program, then look under “File” then “New” to see if there are already existing flyer wizards for documents or templates. If so, start there and adjust one to suit your needs.

2. COLOR – First take a look at your project budget. Is there room for full-color printing of hard copies to distribute? If not, don’t worry. Regular black ink on colored paper produces nice looking, professional flyers. Coordinate the paper color with a theme for the month, like green paper for St. Patrick’s Day or red or blue for the 4th of July.

3. TEXT / FONT – Don’t have too many different fonts, text sizes and styles in one document. Just choose a couple of complimentary fonts and sizes. For ideas on which to use, start a collection of flyers that are stuck on your door, around your mailbox and placed on your car’s windshield. Search your favorite industry web sites for ideas, too, by looking at their online documents for downloading. Print them out and check to see what you link and don’t like about them.

4. PULL TABS – Add pull tabs to the bottom, so that if the flyer is placed on a bulletin board, passersby can pull off a tab and take the info home with them. Check the Help menu for directions. Basically you add a wide text box along the bottom portion of the flyer. Then you insert one row of columns. Click on the first column and write what you want to say – not much fits here so take care! Maybe use your URL or website address and phone number. The text will run horizontally like normal, reading from left to right. So what you do is highlight it and click on “Format” from the top menu, then “Text Direction” do make it run vertical and fit in your tabs. Do the same for each tab.

When you’re finished, print flyers for local distribution or email to others to print as needed.

For business building, you can also turn the document into an Adobe .pdf file to distribute online. Upload it and include links to it in your emails and forum posts. Attach the pdf to emails when you know recipients accept attachments and can take a look, too. Reach out online and off with great looking flyers and grow your business one step further!

New Blog for Senior Computer Users

Hi everyone, welcome to the new blog.

The purpose of this blog is to create a community where folk of senior years and other beginner computer users can all learn from each other and support each other in our journey towards making more use of our computers and finding ways to earn extra income from them and from the internet.

For those unfamiliar with the word ‘blog’, it is derived from the term ‘web log’ and is basically a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. These entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order.

Blogs are a great way to involve people because they give everyone a chance to make comments on any material posted or to send in helpful answers to problems other members have written in about, so this blog will be replacing the newsletter that some of you were receiving.

Many of you don’t know me, so I’d like to introduce myself. I am a baby boomer, living in Queensland, Australia at present, but thanks to the internet, am in frequent contact with people all over the world. I have two daughters and three grandchildren living on the other side of Australia and the rest of my family living in New Zealand or scattered all over the globe. Naturally I am a frequent user of email & Skype to keep in contact with them. (For those who don’t know about, or use skype, it uses the internet to make long distance phone calls that are free to other skype users or allow you to ring someone’s regular phone very cheaply. We will be doing an article about skype and other similar systems – so stay tuned. If you register to receive email notification of new posts, you’ll get the news immediately this topic is posted.)

I have been a computer buff for twenty years or so after buying my first home computer. Believe it or not, it didn’t have a hard drive at all, just 2 single sided 5.25″ floppy disks and just a little amber screen about 150 x 100mm!

While not an expert in any area, over the years I have helped many, many people to learn how to use their computer better and about eight years ago I started giving structured, one-on-one computer lessons, mainly for seniors.

During this time, I came across a great number of people who had acquired a computer by various means, some by being given an outgrown desktop model from family members who had upgraded, or buying a cheaper PC (personal computer), new or second-hand for themselves or even, as my own mother has done, buying a laptop for the convenience of being able to use it anywhere (like in a warm room in winter!).

One of the things that saddened me was to find that many of these owners would like to get more use from their PC, but were scared to do much in case they damaged something; they didn’t know how to do more than just some of the basic tasks and in many cases, ended up only using these marvellous tools for email and playing patience (or solitaire, if that is how you know it). If this is you, don’t worry – playing solitaire is a great way to become proficient with your mouse!

Now that’s fine if you are happy to be just using your computer for email because it certainly allows you take keep in touch with distant relatives and friends almost instantly. However, for those who would like to take advantage of other functions and features, I’m hoping that the information in this blog, and the comments from others, will inspire you and bring you information and tools to assist you as you learn to make your computer work for you.

Learning can be great fun or it can be a drag, it all depends on how you approach it and what you want to get out of it. Naturally the reasons for people wanting to learn more will be many and varied so the plan is to present some projects/information for beginners and some in varying levels for more advanced users. I won’t be re-inventing the wheel, but will be bringing together ideas, games and projects devised by others into this blog, so that you have a base to work outwards from.

Working along alone is sometimes hard and we lose momentum and hope. I’ve found from personal experience that by belonging to a community of like-minded people, there’s nearly always someone ‘out there’ who can help with something you’re stuck on, or just to say ‘hey, I know what it’s like. I nearly gave up, but hang in there, try this and you’ll soon have the hang of it’.

Do you know that studies have shown that the point where most of us give up is when we are nearly there? I’m sure this resonates with some of you, it certainly did for me when I first heard it. So, hang in there, ask a question, make a post – just don’t feel isolated as there are thousands of people our age out there getting a great deal in so many ways from our PCs.

There will be articles from other senior clubs and forums, ‘how to’ articles, reviews of products and also a special area devoted to using your computer and the internet to earn money. I doubt that there is anyone, not matter what age, who would not find it useful to have another stream of residual income, so there will also be links to information, programs and products that could be helpful on your journey.

I would love to hear suggestions from readers on topics they’d like to learn about so please write your ideas in the ‘Suggest Ideas’ area. You also have the opportunity to make comments after any post. Perhaps add extra ideas or methods that have worked for you and would help others. If you think what is written is rubbish, you are free to say that also, but please abide by the rules, no spamming, no personal attacks and no offensive language.

It is my hope that by coming here often to check out what is on offer we can become a community that shares and grows together.

If you would like to be sent an email whenever there is a new post, enter you name and email address in the form on the home page.

Please be assured, this site is not primarily to push you to buy anything. I would be happy for you to join in, contribute your ideas and never buy a single thing, but please respect the position of others who may want to do so, especially if they are building an on-line business. I would not be where I am today without buying products and mentoring along the way so there will be space for featured & recommended products as well as helpful hints, ideas and general information here on the site. If any readers wish to contribute original articles, please email me.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes, Trish