Entries from April 2012 ↓

Essential Tools for Start-ups and Small Businesses

When starting out in buisness, whether you’re a copywriter, PR expert, social media advisor or anything else for that matter, getting the basics right is essential. This guest post by Simon Wilson gives new businesses some great advice.

Information technology has come a long way in the last twenty years.  Starting up a business has been made far easier because of these advances, allowing an individual to work more efficiently and eliminating the need for staff to help complete some basic, but essential, functions.  When it comes to essential IT tools for start-ups the first investment you should consider is you.  Modern businesses, both large and small, rely on IT.  If it’s not your ‘area’ put IT training top of your to do list.  Once you are confident in basic IT skills you will be able to harness the power of IT and the internet to put you ahead of the game in the business world.  There are a huge number of essential IT tools that can make your business easy to run, some are more overlooked than others.

A Website – Professional Presence

A website should be considered essential to any business these days.  Even if you don’t plan to set one up straight away it is worth buying a domain name.  But why pay for a domain if you aren’t planning to use it straight away?  With a domain name will come a professional looking email address, usually you’ll get a whole set of them; admin@; sales@; enquiries@ and so on.  You might be tempted to run your business from a Gmail or Hotmail account which seems like the free and simple option.  It is, but it is also the virtual equivalent of running your business out of the back of a van – and that’s exactly what it looks like.  A professional company email looks like a professional company email, whichever way you look at it.

Cloud Computing – Clever Computing

Cloud computing solutions are the most effective ways to manage your business and will increase your efficiency and therefore your productivity.  Cloud computing is basically the delivery of software over the internet.  A good example would be accountancy software or file sharing software.  Both of these have huge advantages in that they allow you to access documents from any PC with an internet connection.  Using cloud based software can also free up space on your hard drive and it means you don’t need an IT team to install, update and maintain your company software.  File sharing and data storage hosted remotely also means that in the event of a computer meltdown your company information, client records and accounts are safely stored out of harm’s way.

Antivirus Software – Safety Measures

With a reliance on the internet comes the risk of attacks by computer viruses.  Skimping and saving on antivirus software has led to many a minor nervous breakdown.  If you rely on the internet for business then always prioritise antivirus software above all other costs!  This is probably one area to concentrate on well-known brands and avoid cheaper versions.  There’s an old saying about buying cheap and buying twice and it’s one you can’t afford to ignore in this case.

An Accountant – Show Somebody Else the Money

Accounting has already been mentioned above but in addition to accounting software it’s sensible to consider employing an accountant from the start.  You can wait until the end of your first tax year and then, armed with a folder full of scraps of paper, beg a frazzled accountant to take you on!  If, however, you find an accountant before, or when, you set up they can advise you on the types of information you’ll need to retain and for how long.  They may also be able to help with advice on appropriate accounting software.  Different accountant’s charges vary and it is worth contacting several firms to find out how they charge before making a decision.

Author Bio

Simon Wilson blogs about small business, technology and being an entrepreneur, covering everything from payroll software and online accountancy software to increasing website traffic and tips on leveraging social media for businesses.  When he’s not online Simon enjoys early morning swims, ice climbing and visiting his local cinema.

The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.


Why Link Building is Important for your Business

Link building is probably, the most important element in your search engine optimisation strategy.Link building strategies


Well, it is the most important factor Google uses when working out how relevant your web page or website is for ranking purposes.

When someone types in a search query, Google heads off to find the most relevant pages that satisfy the query. It ranks them in authoritative order and the factor used to determine that is, you guessed it, its link profile.  

The ayes have it

Every inbound link that points to your website and web pages is seen by Google as a vote for it.

The more ‘votes’ it has, the higher its perceived authority.

The higher its perceived authority, the higher it’s ranking.

But not just any old links will do, Google’s far cannier than that.  Every link must have:

  • Relevance – it must come from a site of the same, or closely related topic
  • Authority – the site should be seen as authoritative in its own right
  • Trust – the links pointing to the initiating site should be good quality links

So the key is to attract authoritative links from related sites. But how do you do that?

Attracting link love

Knowing you need to attract links is one thing; actually getting them is something else entirely.

Where do you start?

First, there are links from directory submissions, but make sure you opt for directories that are relevant to your industry or market.

Then you need to produce great content that people will want to link to. Generating a lot of high quality, useful information can be time consuming, which is why many companies choose to contract it out to professional copywriters. However it is created, make sure it offers expert advice, opinions, and demonstrates your authority.

Once this has got out into the search engines it may well attract links straightaway, but you may also have to do some legwork. If one of your articles compliments another authority site, get in touch with them and direct them to it to see if they want to link to your content.

You should also hang out on the same online forums as your target audience. This is a great way to interact with other industry experts and could lead to a few links.

Another method is by writing guest blogs and articles. Authority bloggers always need great content, so if you write something that’s targeted for their readers that’s well researched and put together, they will publish it and include an all important link back to your site.

Link building campaign

Setting yourself a link building strategy is vital as it should be an on-going process.

Your campaign should look at attracting:

  • Links from authoritative sites
  • Links from a number of different domains (50 links from 50 different sites is much better than 50 links from 1 site)
  • Deep links – i.e. not just linking to your Home Page, your other pages need links too
  • Anchor text links – where you keywords are used as the link text
  • Local links – don’t forget local directories and your Chamber of Commerce as they will help with your local rankings

But one word of warning, never ever be tempted to pay for links. This practice is well and truly frowned upon by Google and any short-term gains you may experience will soon be lost once Google discovers what you’re up to.

A natural link building strategy is by far the best way to go. Try to build your strategy into your working week to make sure it is a constant process.


SEO – Why Keyword Density Should Never be Mentioned Again

Keyword density is one of those phrases from the past that should be buried.the end of Keyword density

In the bad old days of SEO (search engine optimisation), it was thought to be the best on-screen method of boosting your search rankings.

The problem behind this thinking was that if you had 10 instances of your keyword or phrase on your web page, but a competitor had 15, they would rank higher than you.

Can you see where this is going?

That’s right – the end result was a list of search results that took you to unreadable, unimaginative and very uninteresting content.

SEO the right way

Thankfully, most SEO copywriters today understand the value of natural copy that is written for the reader and not the search engines.

You see, if you write in a natural style about a particular subject, the keywords will appear and at a level that you would expect. The result is great information that is easy to read and that will help your on-screen SEO strategy.

If you think this is all stuff and nonsense and that having a certain percentage of keywords is still the way to go, have a read of this from Google’s very own Matt Cutts (speaking at SXSW earlier this year):

“What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”

Be natural

So there you go, if you continue to over stuff your content with keywords it will damage your website in the long run as well as having an immediate effect on your conversion rate.

Good SEO copy is:

  • Natural
  • Written for your reader
  • Simple to understand
  • Well laid out

It really is as easy as that.

The Qualities of a Good Guest Blogger

You want to widen your audience and what better way to do that than pitching for guest blogging slots.Qualities of a good guest blogger

Did you notice I used the word pitching?

A lot of people will write something, email it to a blogger and expect it to be accepted. Life doesn’t work like that.

The first thing to remember is that you don’t have a right to be published on another blog. That decision remains firmly with the blog owner. It is your job to convince them that your writing will:

  • Bring new readers
  • Suit their blog’s tone
  • Fit in with their niche
  • Entertain their readers

So how to you go about making an approach?

What not to do

If you do either of the following, you’re unlikely to be accepted and you may not even get a reply.

  1. Send in any old post and ask for it to be published
  2. Chase them within a couple of days if you’ve not heard anything

Why? Because it shows a lack of regard for their blog and respect for them as a blogger.

How to make an approach

First of all do some research and find blogs that you can write for. If your post is to be interesting you’re going to need some background knowledge and experience within the niche you’re writing about.

Once you’ve found a good fit, read through some of the old posts to get a feel for the style, voice and approach used.

Then, you can make contact.

In the first instance, email asking if they would be interested in accepting a guest blog from you. Tell them a bit about yourself and why you think your writing would benefit their readership. Give them a few suggested titles for posts and ask them which one they feel would be useful to their readers.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get an instant response. Leave it for a week before chasing, and if you do chase, be polite!

You get the green light

Once you get the go-ahead it’s time to write.

You would already have researched the tone and style of the blog you’re writing for, but also think about your layout. Blogs with sub headings and bulleted lists are much easier to read than those that are just a series of long paragraphs.

Keep your language simple, make sure you include some great information and follow the guidelines given to you by the blog owner.

Above all make it interesting and informative. If there is any whiff of a sales pitch going on (however well hidden) your submission will be rejected.

Finally, take great care with your spelling and grammar. The blog owner may be willing to correct the odd typo (after all, we’re all human), but if your post is written badly with loads of errors they are not going to use it.

If you are rejected because of this and manage to get them to agree to a re-submit, make sure it is absolutely perfect otherwise it will be deleted and that will be the end of your relationship.

If your submission is accepted, thank them and offer them another post (although before agreeing they may want to see how your first post is received by their readers) and start building a relationship with them.

As a blog owner myself, I know how valuable good guest bloggers can be – but if you want to get on the ‘good’ list, you’ve got to work for it.


Using Twitter to Improve Your Customer Service

Yes, love it or loathe it, Twitter is a fantastic platform for your business.

You can instantly connect with customers, you can act immediately, you can ask questions and get a shed load of responses – Twitter is amazing.

But are you using it to maximise your customer service and support?

To show you how it can be used to your advantage, I want to direct you to a great post I found on SocialMediaExaminer.com. Written by Leo Widrich, co-founder of BufferApp.com, it is a personal account of how Leo has used it to improve his company’s customer service and support.

After all, as he says, customer service is one area where you can really make your company stand out in a crowd – in the words of Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee):

“I genuinely believe that any business can create a competitive advantage through giving outstanding customer care.”

So, what are Leo’s tips?

Well, they go something like this:

  • Use Twitter to give a rapid response
  • Personalise your Tweets with your name or picture
  • Use DMs to your advantage
  • Use search tools to help people who aren’t even customers yet

So, if you want to improve your customer service and blow your competitors out of the water, have a read of 4 Ways to Use Twitter for Customer Service & Support.