Category Archives: Web Content

Associated Press Charges Now By The Word

You need to watch this video to understand the changes that the Associated Press is making in how writers on the Web can use their content. You can view the video blog that contains their new rate sheet at the Search Engine Guide blog.

What is very scary to content writers and bloggers is that if you use even just 5 words you will now need to pay $12.50 just as an example. Here is the Associated Press’ new rate sheet:

5-25 words $12.50

26-50 words $17.50

51-100 words $25

101 to 250 words $50

250 words and up $100

The Associated Press is also rolling out a special content tracking program and is clearly posturing itself to start raking in the cash if you use any combination of words that just might appear in one of their content piece titles or articles.

Seems like they should get something if they create the content right, but what if the article title was “Obama pushes health care” and you just by accident, without even reading their piece, use the same words in one of your blog posts. Are you going to want to click to PayPal to pony up the $12.50 when they send you a bill via email?

The Internet is changing our world, just look what it has done to travel agents! Now, you book your own ticket and hotel online and sometimes hotels even let you bid on their rooms. The world is way different in that regard and traditional travel agencies have had to cope with these changes. Some have gone out of business and some have focused on niche travel needs.  

The news media will also be having a major adjustment just like the travel industry did. They will need to look to new ways to provide value and cover their expenses. Personally, I don’t feel that what the Associated Press is doing is the right approach. I think for people such as myself and the speaker in the video it smacks of “old school” and a “death grasp” for cash.

I don’t begrudge a writer fair pay for creating a newsworthy piece but how we get our news is no longer through the traditional news mediums. It is time to brace yourself for big changes in the world of newspapers and magazines as well as online content in the very near future. You may end up not getting a paper on your driveway but have to subscribe to see your news online.

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Blog Posts Should Never Be Website Content

We’ve been hit with a real flurry of activity of website owners pretending that they want blog writing done, but we have to supply the content as Word documents and they have no online blogsite and a website that is under construction. I have to say that this smells to me like a client trying to get website content at a blog post price.

Yes, I know that some people like to do things on the “cheap” and it seems like a good idea, fool a quality blogger to write for you at a super cheap price when website content costs a whole lot more. But, I would like to explain why you should never use blog posts to build your website content.

1. Blogs are derivative works.  When we write a blog post, we find an article online on a news site, we read it and then put our own unique spin on it. Sometimes using our own point of view for the piece or a conglomeration of thoughts from other web news articles compiled into our own unique content. The content is unique but really not what I would consider suitable for website content.

2. Blogs being a more conversation medium than web pages. Blogs are also written in a different style and tone. Blogs are written in a more casual tone. Website content just sounds different when you read it aloud.

3. Blog writers, due to the market, are paid by far less money than web content writers. You will get what you pay for in this area. Although the content will be just fine and really even great for your blog, I would not recommend that a blog piece be passed off as authoritative website content or for that matter even as informational content on your website. Blog posts should stay as blog posts.

4. Website content is typically optimized for specific keywords and is written with a call to action and marketing language. This type of writing would be very boring for a reader to read on a blog, but is appropriate for search engines and a more sanitized selling message that is typically used on a corporate website.

5. Blog content needs to be timely to cater to readers and encourage interaction. Website content on the other hand should have more staying power and not speak to events that have passed or ask the client for input as there aren’t comment links on web pages as there are on blog posts.

Additionally, blog posts should not be used as Link Bait articles for similar reasons.

We are not fooled by clients who try to contract for our blog services and really want inexpensive website content. If you need website content don’t ask for blog posts. Get what you should have for your specific need. In the long run the extra money you pay for website content, that is created for this special need, will serve your site better in the long run winning you customers and communicating confidence in your products and services.

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Concrete Marketing Recommendations for Business Startups

I get asked a lot for help in regards to what a new business startup should do to develop a web presence and what provides the biggest return for investment. To help answer this question as concisely as possible, without you having to pay me a consulting fee, I have tried to share my insights in this blog post.

1. Purchase a great content-rich professionally designed website

I have to say if you do not have a great website, and I am not talking about one your kid sister made, or one created using a GoDaddy template, then you will not be able to convey the professionalism that you need to convey to create confidence in yourself or your products to potential customers. Many startups come to me asking why they do not generate sales and when I look at their website it appears that they are operating on a shoe string. The Web is a great equalizer. Your business startup website can make your business appear to be large, established, and successful if it reflects true professionalism in content and in design. This is one of the most critical expenses that any new business startup should invest in. You may choose to work with our firm for a custom website or a Quick Launch website or select another web design firm, but you must have a good-looking professional appearing web presence.

2. Get involved immediately with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

You’ve got to get the word out about yourself once you have a website. By updating your status and posting information, sharing and interacting online at a minimum of three times a day on these various sites you start to build an online presence, get authority links to point to your new website and inside content, and start to establish yourself as a contender in your industry. I have reviewed many social networking sites and these are the ones where I invest my own time (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). I recommend in some cases setting up accounts under your own name as the business owner. I do not have one profile for business and one for pleasure. Small businesses need to just get involved with social networking and typically some of your very first customers will be friends, family, and social contacts.

If you take the attitude that social networking is a time pit and worthless, you will be woefully wrong and out of the loop. In fact the more you involve yourself in these endeavors with the attitude that you are sharing and providing information and not looking particularly to sell, the more fun you will have and the more fruitful the connections will become.

I have closed sales from social networking contacts. It does happen, really. But if you watch any of the networking I do myself you will see that I am open, sharing, providing information on a wide variety of topics and soft selling my own services only occasionally. I do not use social networking as a brochure or lead generation opportunity, but yet it has worked to bring me business over time.

3. Get started on Google AdWords

If you have the budget you really want your very next step to be advertising your products and services on Google AdWords. Don’t waste money at this point on Yahoo, MSN adCenter, Yoddle or other pay per click enterprises. Concentrate on AdWords. If you cannot afford a professional account manager such as myself, then get started using the simple to use Google AdWords Starter version. If you are advertising your services to a national audience be prepared to spend anywhere from about $1.25 to $3.50 or so per click (some businesses will pay much more). Don’t go into this expecting to pay $.05 per click and set $150 per 30 days as your monthly budget. Allocate $500 to $800 for the first 30 days of clicks and set your maximum click cost to a “market reasonable” setting. Make sure you set up special landing pages for your ad group themes and have conversion tracking installed. Review your program often to make sure that your money is working for you and is an investment in the future not an expense.

4. Build great content on your website under your domain name using a blog

Now we’re moving into maintenance mode on your website. You must be adding to and growing your web presence over time to attract search engine robots, improve your placement organically, and to provide opportunities for readers to connect with you. There is no better way to do this than using a blog. Blogs build website traffic, allow for keyword dense topics to be discussed and housed under your domain name, and build “web authority” for your site over time. It is not necessary for you to have a professional blogger write for you. Although we offer this service, there is no replacement for your insights as the business owner, but you must be a consistent writer however and provide interesting on-topic information and resources in your blog posts.

5. Focus on customer service in all you do

I have found when I first started out that it was easy to do the work, but hard to find someone to pay for it. Here is where top notch customer focused customer service is key for a new business startup. You must provide free information and help initially to prospects, then move them to a paying customer status, and then finally  make sure that you do everything possible to satisfy them. My own business started out solely as a word of mouth referral service and now earns a six figure income. When you build your base on happy customers, rewarding referrals, and provide real advise and value to customers, your business will grow.

If you have other recommendations for a business startup, just leave your comments to this post below. I’d love to see what you think is important.

If you feel that you need a more personalized plan and review of your own business’ current statistical information we do provide consulting services for $90 per hour.  Much of the information on what you can do and how to do it however is provided as free content on our website and blog, so we invite you to dig deeper and browse our content. You’re sure to find a wealth of information in both locations.

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Check Out McCord Web’s e-Newsletter

Hey guys come check out our most recent e-newsletter at McCord Web. It talks about the new addition to Google, the Friend Connect. This is a new fun way to get noticed using your website. It gives your site social networking if you put the Friend connect application into the source code. It will allow you to use your Yahoo, AOL, and Google base accounts to join and find friends. It allows its users to be able to leave comments, rate the page or website with a star based rating system. Also you can upload videos. Over all it will allow you to extend your reach on the Web.

Content overview

Google created Friend Connect Gadgets

  1. Member panel gadget
  2. Comment gadget
  3. Rating gadget

Also the e-newsletter touches on the top content viewed in 2008 on the McCord Web Services website. In this article we give you links to the most viewed pages and content from the past year.

Concluding the e-newsletter we mention that we have four blog writers employed at this time. Most of the writer have been with McCord Web Services for about a year and a few writers for over 2 years.

To learn more or read our full e-newsletter visit this link to McCord Web Services. http://www.mccordweb.com/e-newsletters/2009/jan-09.html.

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Build It and They Will Come – Well Maybe

Many small business owners ask me “Do I have good website traffic?” “How does my site compare with others?” “How can I get my website to generate more business for me?”.

The reality is that a website with under 10 pages of content that promotes a service or consultant will typically receive anywhere from 10 to 30 unique visits a day. Based on what I have seen, this is about what you can expect in regards to traffic. So how do you get more and how do you get your website to start generating leads?

For small websites, this is my advice:

1. Get blogging now! A site your size, to become competitive, needs to grow, and needs to have a regular content addition program. Blogging is absolutely the easiest way to do this. If you don’t want to blog yourself, you can hire us to blog for you, we are experts at it.

2. Don’t waste your time and money right now on website optimization. Unless you are in a niche market or provide a desired but unique item or service that does not have much web competition, your website can simply not compete and place at that size organically on the search engines. That doesn’t mean that you should not be doing other things for organic placement, but I do not recommend hiring us or another firm for search engine optimization at this point in your growth.

3. Get going with Google AdWords. You can drive qualified targeted traffic to your website and really get good results with AdWords. I recommend a minimum budget of $500 for clicks for the first 30 days. Get a good account manager to set up your account so you hit the ground running. You will most likely also have to invest in account management fees and should most likely plan on purchasing time to create targeted website-matching landing pages for your ad groups for the very best results. We do this too, so make sure to check out our Google AdWords services before you ask anyone else to help you. We’ll take good care of you and be good stewards of your click budget.

4. Start getting links to build organic position and traffic over time with feature articles and white papers. Using article directory syndication sites, you can post a well written article with a link in your author bio back to your website. The more people who choose to pick up your article for their own use from the syndication site, the more links you’ll get back to your website helping your search engine placement. Make sure your articles appeal to a very wide range and do not just speak about your product. What you are really looking for is wide syndication and the link back to you so focus on business, real estate or health issues and articles for the widest distribution. We can write articles for you if you desire. You should review some that we have written recently as examples of how to appeal to a broad audience even if you are not going to use our services.

5. Do a press release once a month and generate links and traffic with your news spin. Another way to build buzz, but particularly how to build more traffic and more one way inbound links is by writing press releases and using PRWeb as your distribution vehicle. You’ll get great exposure and excellent staying power as sites pick up your news and links. I recommend the Search Engine Optimization level. Distribution at this level is $200 (plus you’ll pay about $175 for us to write your press release), but the exposure is excellent and much better than the cheapest level.

Even if you decide to do these items yourself or decide to hire another firm to do them for you, know that these five tips do work to help build your website, create your unique web authority, and help to improve your organic search placement.  The key to remember when it comes to a website is, just because you build it, does not mean that they will come to visit it. You need to be proactive and aggressive to build your authority and web visibility position to put your website to work for you as a lead generating machine.

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Writing Web Content

Writing quality web content is a craft. I tell website owners that readers have the “Burger King syndrome” – they want it (content) their way right away. When it comes to website content, you need to deliver the “goods” quickly, succinctly, and in a winning way.

Short and sweet is best and so is get to the point, but don’t get too carried away keeping your content short especially on the home page. You’ve got to have enough content to build a great keyword density on your top performing words to get traction in the organic search results.

The web is scanning medium. You should write for the web differently than you do for the print medium. Make sure to use headings and sub headings to break up your content. Make sure to use bullets, lists, and tables to direct the user to other pages or sections. Use anchor text to deep link keywords on products or services to help search engines travel deep into your inside web content.

I don’t recommend bolding keywords or phrases as this may encourage readers not to read your page content at all, but Yahoo and MSN do more heavily weight bolded words in their organic algorithm and you may be an extra boost on those engines if your top keywords or phrases are bolded. Google used to do the same, but does not take into account bolded words at this time. Not all websites are candidates for using bolding as a technique for organic placement it may impact the appearance and readability of the page.

Keeping your font size small also encourages reading versus scanning of your content page. But don’t work to defeat usability by keeping your reader from being able to increase the size of the font using tools and text size with their browser. It is best to have your font be set in percentages. My favorite for a typical size is 85% which is about 10 pixels or 10 pts.

The best home page for a website gives an overview of services and products and deep links in the content to important web sections. Ideally it should be more than 300 words long and less than 800 words long.

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