Entries from October 2010 ↓

Do I Really Need a Website?

copywriter - having a websiteHaving a website is the new black – everyone seems to be doing it these days. But there are still a small percentage of businesses that have resisted the urge to dip their toes into cyberspace.

Why are they resisting?

  • It wouldn’t suit our customer base
  • We get enough customers without having an expensive website
  • I don’t understand all that computer stuff
  • It’s too expensive
  • I don’t want to sell online
  • I don’t have time for one of those

These are just a few reasons why businesses shy away from using the power of the internet.

Well, whether you sell online or not, a website is still a very powerful tool for any business. To try to convince you it may be worth taking the plunge, here are 4 reasons why you should consider a website for your business:

1. Open all hours

The last thing you want to do, being a business owner, is to be at your customers beck and call 24 hours a day. We are all struggling to get that work/life balance right, but when you own your own company that can be difficult.

Unlike you, a website doesn’t need to eat, drink or sleep and is open for business 24/7. Your customers can browse it whenever they want to. Plus many people will research local companies on the internet before making a decision about who they’ll buy from. So if you’re not on the net, the changes are you’ll be overlooked.

2. Credibility

As mentioned in my previous point, people like to research companies online before buying.

Your website and its content is a great way to instantly build rapport and credibility with perspective customers. They can take time to read about you and what you offer. If you come across well they will be more inclined to do business with you as they will already feel as though they ‘know’ you.

If you don’t feel confident enough to create your own website copy, hire a professional copywriter to write it for you. That investment will ensure your website contains copy that is powerful, search engine friendly and will convince your customers to get in touch and buy.

3. Money

Appearing online will boost your income potential. Even if you have a physical shop, selling online will generate income for you 24/7. As in my first point, your online shop will never close. If you sell services, your potential customers can react instantly to your website and email you.

With over half of all UK consumers now regularly shopping online (Forrester UK Online Retail and Travel Forecast 2008-2014), if you don’t have a website you’ll be turning your back on a vast untapped marketplace.

4. Widen the net

Having a website will extend your reach.

Rather than relying on local customers, a website will enable to you to reach clients nationally and even internationally. You will tap into marketplaces you’d only ever dreamt of working with before. This could lead to business growth, diversification…the opportunities are endless.

If you think having a website is too expensive, there are alternative services available. I’m thinking of websites such as BT Tradespace and myProspot. Both of these offer the opportunity of utilising their powerful platforms and extensive social marketing tools to market your business.

Plus myProSpot also gives you the opportunity of having your own website, with your own URL (e.g. www.briarcopywriting.com) so it will look just like your own specially developed website but at a fraction of the cost.

So as you can see, there really are no barriers to getting a website.

Keyword Research – How About YouTube?

Sally Ormond, freelance copywriter, comments on Kieron Hughes’ post “Using YouTube as a keyword research tool for SEO” that appeared on SEOMOZ.org

When you think about keyword research, you probably instantly think about your products, services and geographical information.

The main tool you would probably name would be the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. After all, what better authority on keyword value than Google’s own tool, right?

Well there is also another possibility; one that actually gives you data from the search engine using public – so straight from the horse’s mouth.

I came across it in a post on SEOMOZ.org by Kieron Hughes – in his post he discusses the merits of using YouTube as a keyword research tool for SEO.

As Kieron states uploading videos to YouTube is simple, anyone with a computer and internet connection can do it. But it’s not the video itself that is valuable for research purposes; it’s the descriptive content that accompanies it that is a gold mine of information.

Taking the example of speech therapy, Kieron illustrates how a search on YouTube generated associated words such as:

•    Autism
•    Oral motor exercise
•    Chewy tube
•    Down syndrome
•    Oral motor therapy
•    Apraxia

That would not have been generated through Google’s tool. So if you are researching a subject area for a client in which you don’t have in depth knowledge, YouTube could prove a valuable tool in your keyword research armoury.

A gold mine of information

People from all walks of life, professionalisms and personal experiences use YouTube as a platform to share their knowledge and experiences. These are normally people who use the search engines daily and so are invaluable sources of information.

So by using YouTube as a resource you could change your initial site navigation from:

YouTube as keyword tool

To something more representative of your industry with greater SEO potential:

enhanced navigation

So next time you are doing some keyword research – either for yourself or for a client – don’t overlook the potential of YouTube.

How to Become a Blogging Expert


When you enter the world of blogging as a newbie its terminology can seem rather daunting.

Tweeting     –         SEO        –         HTML    –         Plugins

The best advice I can give anyone who’s looking to start a blog is to be yourself.

By all means take a look around the internet to see what other bloggers are doing, but at the end of the day, your blog is a reflection of you. It is your vehicle through which you can voice your opinions, give reviews and share information with others.

So how can you move from novice to expert blogger?

Here are 4 simple things to remember which will help you make that transition.

1. Be unique

As I mentioned earlier there’s nothing wrong with looking at other blogs for inspiration, but don’t try to copy or conform to the prevalent style in your industry.

You are an individual. You have your own dress style, your own sense of humour, you wear your hair the way you like it and you go to the places you want to go to. So transfer that individuality to your blog.

When starting out you’ll probably read dozens of articles about how to get started. Most of the information will be relevant and useful, but remember to use that as a guide only and be yourself.

2. Reliable

When you start to blog and build up a readership, make sure you stick to your blogging frequency. If you post on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday your readers will grow to expect new posts on those days from you. So make sure you don’t disappoint.

If your readers take the time to leave a comment on your blog (that’s not spam) respond to it. Even if it’s a ‘thank you for your comment’ generating that type of conversation is what blogging is all about.

3. Think

If you want to engage with your readership make your posts personal. That doesn’t mean to say you have to write about what you did last night or what you ate for breakfast. On the contrary, make sure your personality comes through your writing. Include your opinions; relate topics to situations you have been in.

Resist the urge to post in haste. If someone has wound you up or done something you feel strongly about don’t quickly write a caustic post. Always think about what you’ve written before you hit publish.

4. Attractive

Although it’s the content on your blog that will keep your readers coming back for more, it also has to look attractive.

There are numerous free templates out there so make sure you find one that suits you. Keep it simple and unfussy – less is most definitely more.

Blogging is a great way to engage with people, voice your opinions and share information. Doing it regularly will help you quickly learn some of the technical stuff. But don’t think you won’t be able to cope with it. Most blog platforms are simple to use.

I’ve been blogging for 3 or 4 years. It has helped me develop as a writer, put me in touch with some amazing people and it’s proven to be a valuable part of my search engine optimisation strategy for my business as a copywriter.

It has never been easier to get your voice published so make the most of it – start your blog today and before you know it, you’ll be an expert.

Google Local and Marketing

Have you claimed your Google Local listing yet?

If not, you should.

One very good reason is that it’s free. A second is that it could give you the opportunity of appearing in the Google 10 box (shown below) which will give your local Google exposure a shot in the arm.

google 10

If you have claimed yours, well done you’ve taken the first step to boost your online visibility. But how are you using it?

Have you just claimed it and left it at that?

Your Google local listing is more than just a line of text. It should be viewed as a marketing tool for your business – a free marketing tool.

When compiling your listing you have the opportunity to add video, photos, receive customer reviews and list events.

Utilising all of these tools will help generate more business for you. Yes it will take time, something we all could do with more of, but it will be worth it. Plus you can manage the effectiveness of your listing through its analytics.

Try to think of it as a dynamic Yellow Pages. Unlike its paper counterpart, your Google listing is:

  • Versatile
  • Free
  • Interactive

Make the most of it and keep it updated with fresh content. Encourage customers to write a review; list new offers and events. Basically treat it as you would any other form of marketing. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you should neglect it.

Understanding Social Media

social media Social media is something we all know we should be doing, but actually getting started seems rather daunting.

With blogging, Twitter, Facebook and all  the other forums and channels out there, where on earth do you start? How do you tweet? What’s a poke?

These are questions that act like a barrier to people dipping their toe into the warm waters of social media for the first time.

But fear not as help is at hand.

I came across a post the other day on dailybloggr.com about a Beginner’s Guide to Social Media by Creative Concepts LLC. It is a guide that takes you through the basic terms used in social media.

It’s well worth a look and you can download it for free here.