100 ideas and topics to make your blog sizzle

This post is my response to a couple of the biggest challenges many of our clients face when it comes to creating great content for their blogs.

The two challenges are:

… you don’t have time…

… you don’t know what to write about…

A successful business owner always has something to do, so not having time is the norm. Think of your blog as income generating – you need to make time for it.

In this post I want to concentrate on the second answer – you don’t know what to write about.

What if I was to give you an easy solution?

Ideas and topics for blogs

[Read more…]

How can your business create great website content?

Do you want to create great website content that engages people? Content that encourages them to take a desired action?

But you’re not really sure how to get started?

This post has been written to give some basic but very necessary guidelines around creating content and will hopefully help you avoid content mistakes.

It has been created to help you to understand what is important about crafting quality content and to inspire and give you the confidence to go forth and write. While these processes are necessary for your content to be found in search, the most important thing is to just get started.

Get started with content

The Form

The shape, visual appearance and tone of your content requires a certain amount of attention from you.

If you give consideration to the quality and structure of your content, the finished result will have the desired impact. If not, you run the risk of disengagement with your audience and you will have lost an opportunity.

If you have taken the time to create and produce attractive content by carefully crafting your words don’t let the structure and appearance of your work let you down.

View your content as a representation of how you feel about your work and make sure the overall structure and headings are congruent with the topic you are writing about.

Keep your paragraphs short – your audience doesn’t want to read a big block of text… no matter how good it is.

Create headings, sub-heading, graphs, diagrams, use bullet points, lists, numbers, italics, different fonts and formats and make good use of images. Link out to other high quality sites where appropriate.

If your content looks good on opening, chances are your readers will stay with you throughout the post and share it with others.

The Tone

It doesn’t matter how good your content is, it will only attract attention if the tone of voice is right for the audience you want to capture.
[Read more…]

The return of the Weekend Wrap – Vol 21 – Web Marketing insights

It’s been a while since we collected a bunch of exceptional posts from our favourite sites about SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Conversion Rate Optimisation and all the other stuff that makes the online space so fascinating and challenging. Well, we’re back with some incredible Web Marketing insights that you will find riveting, educational, informative and thought-provoking, so much so that you will (hopefully) want to share with others. If you want your skills, your website or your business finely tuned and operating at maximum potential join  us for the best of the week!

First up is our gorgeous winter sunset over Ohope Beach. Spring flowers are everywhere and with summer on the way, we can’t wait for swimming, margaritas and BBQs.

Ohope Beach Bay of Plenty

Storytelling is the buzz word we hear everywhere, but it’s nothing new!  Going back in time we can see that cavemen were actually the first storytellers (and the infographic masters) with their cave paintings that told their story 40,000 years ago, giving us an insight into how they lived.  Modern storytelling is a main part of our lives as it educates, informs, enlightens and entertains, interprets your experiences and above all, communicates information.

If you need any proof of this, work your way through the posts below and you will be convinced of the benefits for your business and how you can weave your story into all your online communciations.  Some seriously good reads here.

Our SEO sections looks at why we should be embracing Google+, more on links, getting back to basic SEO and why… and the Ultimate Guide to SEO for eCommerce sites.

Why is social medial the new paradigm and what happens if we don’t get on board?  We can really learn a whole lot from Generation Y who are mastering this space and making a big societal impact with their knowledge of technology.

Last but not least two great posts on conversion rate optimisation, why we need landing pages and how crucial the speed of your website is.

 

Content Marketing

3 Ways to Get What You Want by Giving People What They Want

The masters of content give us some very valuable information in this post about marketing and connecting your product or services to consumers’ desires, the psychology behind it and how to turn your customers into unstoppable evangelists at the same time.

This Will Be The #1 Business Skill Of The Next 5 Years

Everyone loves them, everyone tells them, they have been around since the beginning of time and they are unique in their cause and effect. Stories continue to entertain, surprise, delight, enlighten, create indelible memories and cause us to make changes. What is different about stories now is the way they are being used for business and the opportunities storytelling creates – we are told it’s a skill we need to master.

The New Rules Of Content Marketing

With the emergence of digital, social and mobile platforms producing an explosion of content, the most important element of content marketing is “creating engaging and effective stories.” The word from Michael Brennan is…

give your buyers engaging, compelling, thoughtful stories and they will gladly give you their attention, respect, and business:

(heard this before somewhere)??
[Read more…]

Are you communicating with your audience – and is it still working for you?

Can you recall the words in this acclaimed hit by one of the most famous singer song-writers of the sixties – Bob Dylan?

The times… they are a-changin!   

The lyrics to this song captured the social and political upheaval of the ‘60’s and if you listen to the rest of the lyrics they are as relevant now in the social space that dominates our world today – as they were then – just look at the opening verse!

The times they are a changin

 

Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’ then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…

Well times are a-changin’ – are you??

The world is now connected in ways we could never have imagined ten or even five years ago. Information systems and the emergence of the Internet and online technologies have opened up ways of communicating with your audience and given you the opportunity to speak to your customer base in a way that has not been experienced until now!

Are you taking advantage of these technologies to speak to your customers?

This massive advance in technology and shift in communication portals has literally opened the doors to millions of customers who now shop online – what does this mean for you?

This revolution in technology affects us in more ways than we could ever imagine… as it not only changes the way we communicate, it also changes the way we position our business in front of our customers.

You need to be involved in the continually changing, evolving world of online marketing and actively learning, implementing and taking part in these new paradigms that are leading the changes.

for the times… they are a changing…

Think back to what your marketing strategy looked like ten years, five years, or even 12 months ago!

How were you talking to your customers then?

Are you still communicating with them the same way?
[Read more…]

Weekend Wrap 20: What is SEO? UX myths & the ultimate LinkedIn cheatsheet

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with some easy to grasp  SEO basics – it’s good stuff and it is in an Infographic for ease of reading.

For the more advanced SEO geeks there is a technical post with step by step instructions on how to avoid duplication and have correct optimisation for WordPress.

Did you hear about Interflora disappearing out of search around 14th of February?  Have a look at this post and make up you own mind as to why Google refuses to comment. Why is Interflora is showing up so quickly, just 11 days after being penalised?

If you’re not up with Google+Local you will definitely want to read this one – insights from David Mihm – the authority on Local Search.

Moving to social media and the hottest social business platform right now seems to be LinkedIn.  If you think it’s just a portal to showcase your C.V. think again… there’s an awful lot of business done on LinkedIn and this is one of the best guides to effective LinkedIn use we have seen.

Next up Copyblogger asks the question – is it time for content marketers to abandon Facebook? What do you think?

We have found some brilliant posts in the content marketing field including a very comprehensive resource for everything you can think of related to content strategy and SEO – Huge! check it out!

There are posts on creating remarkable content (high end stuff), web copywriting tips from one of the best, a 3 step process to writing content…

And there’s lots more…

The image this week comes from our new location where a lone gull sits looking over Ohope Beach – which has just this week been voted the Best Beach in New Zealand.

New Zealand beach image

SEO/ Search engine optimisation:

What The Heck Is SEO And Why Should I Care?

This fantastic infographic from Point Blank SEO is a back to basics, simple introduction to SEO for people who do not really want to know about the complexities of SEO implementation. Exactly what is SEO? Simple concepts, a brief history, easy to understand explanations for the newbie or for people in your organisation who are not up with digital marketing and SEO.

SEO Friendly WordPress in 12 Steps

Right, now that the easy stuff is out of the way it’s time to get into a more technical post on how to correctly optimise your WordPress site to eliminate the dreaded duplication issues that Google is unimpressed by and to ensure your site functions as well for SEO as possible. Nice post, useful step by step instructions – check it out.

Interflora Gets Its Google Rankings Back, 11 Days After Penalty

This story lit up the SEO blogs in the last few weeks. Massive UK brand Interflora was removed from Google for paid link strategies which breached Google’s guidelines. Every news site that accepted their paid advertorials had their Pagerank reduced to zero. You can imagine the loss of revenue this would mean for Interflora (and for the news sites). They must have worked day and night to remove the non-compliance and then 11 days after the penalty they are back – but with lower page positions. I think some of the sites that have had to wait 3 or even 6 months would not be impressed with the speedy return.

Google refused to comment about Interflora’s disappearance from its search results, but two days after the penalty — and another penalty that lowered the visible PageRank of some UK newspapers — Google issued a warning against “advertorials” that pass PageRank.

UX Myths That Hurt SEO – Whiteboard Friday

SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Fridays are always very informative and come straight from the fore-front of SEO thought leadership – especially when hosted by Rand Fishkin. This one looks at common User Experience myths that actually hurt SEO efforts. Particularly interesting is the use of stock images to enhance a page versus one with just text – which one do you think would work better?
[Read more…]

Weekend Wrap 19: SEO predictions, social proof, renegade content marketing

There’s been a lot of talk, controversy and opinions shared on where SEO is heading for 2013.   The first post in the Weekend Wrap for this year is from Eric Enge at Search Engine Watch where he gives his SEO predictions for the ever changing world of search.  We follow that with the essential SEO elements of keyword research – is it the most important part of SEO?

If you have ignored Google+ in the past, it might be a good time to read this post from Dejanseo where they explain the difference between authorship and author rank and whether author rank will be factored into Google  in 2013.

No,  link building is not going to go away and Jon Cooper sets the record straight in this enlightening post and tells us why it’s here to stay.

Mike’s post ‘8 SEO fundamentals for marketers and agencies in 2013’ is a good read and if you’re in the marketing game you will want to be informed on how content strategy, social media and technical compliance will be critical to web marketing.

Other great posts offering valuable insights for social media proof, link building for ecommerce sites and our last post for the week comes  from John Doherty on The Future of Cross Platform Publishing.

The image this week is from our new office in Ohope Beach

High Profile Enterprises view

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Revelations for 2013

It’s crystal ball time and in this post Eric Enge shares his picks for what Google is likely to do this year. As Eric says – one thing is for certain – there will be many major changes this year and the first big one will not be far away.
Great post looks at the essential SEO element of keyword research. Top SEO Nick Eubanks takes you through a range of strategies from basic through to more advanced. SEO without keyword research will be a waste of your time. Check this out.
Confused about authorship and author rank? This post separates the 2 concepts nicely and shows why it is important to know the difference. What are the odds that author rank will be factored into one of Google’s updates this year? Pretty high I think. Time to get more active on Google+!
Jon Cooper nails why link building is not going away any time soon and gives examples of why actively chasing links does not have to be black hat or at all manipulative. If you have an interest in the coalface of SEO this is for you.

[Read more…]

Weekend Wrap 18 – SEO in 2013, loving Panda, social media experts challenged

Everyone wants to know where SEO is heading in 2013 and the first post up this week gives valuable insights from 30 of the industry’s most enlightened SEO thought leaders.

This is followed by a very interesting look at the Mormon SEO strategy! Surprising stuff!

Love Google Panda or hate it – here’s a different point of view on how Panda actually works for us…

A controversial post from Darren Woolley at TrinityP3 that has certainly rattled some social media experts’ cages with its challenging honesty and an insightful interview on content marketing with Kristina Halvoson author of “Content strategy for the web”.

Lots of other great posts in between and we wrap it up with a post from Kissmetrics demonstrating how high conversion websites improve their results.

Photo this week – my favourite flower white hydrangeas hydrangeas in flower

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

As 2012 draws to a close the race is on to see who can create the definitive offering on what SEO in 2013 will hold. It may be difficult to go past this one – a comprehensive breakdown of what to expect from 30 of the most highly respected SEO thought leaders in the industry. A must read for SEO fans.
Who would have thought that the Mormon Church would have such a highly evolved SEO strategy? In this post Distilled offers a fascinating breakdown on how the church has nailed SEO to rank for phrases like church, scriptures and Jesus Christ. This is really interesting!
A refreshing take on Google’s Panda update on SEOmoz. In this post Ruth Burr goes against the flow on most SEO sites and instead of berating Google as a greedy, controlling monster gives her view on how Panda has improved search experience for everyday users. Not surprising to see the black hats hitting the thumbs down sign as their own sites have all been hit with these updates.

Real Relationships Lead To Search Marketing Success

The 2012 move toward relationship building and away from link building has become a key strategy in SEO. This is covered here on Search Engine Land with real examples of how building a powerful network brings top website results and then shares ways you can become more social and improve your online networking. 

 

Social media/content marketing:

3 ways to make sure that social media expert is really an expert

From our client TrinityP3 comes this thought provoking post by Darren Woolley. This proved to be a controversial one and it certainly raised the hackles of a number of “social media experts”. Darren expresses dismay at the lack of experience or authority of many presenters at social media events in Australia and offers a 3 step process to check if the speaker has any authority. (check out the comment thread too)

Weekend Wrap 17 – Growth hackers, top social media tools and how to increase blog traffic

A brilliant line up this week and we kick off with an “oldie but a goodie” from Rand Fishkin – an incredible resource for bloggers to tuck away, followed by another great post about “growth hackers” from Distilled and what constitutes an effective SEO strategy.

And Forbes have a post which looks at the 20 most social CMOs in the Fortune 100 – surprising how difficult it was to find 20 who actually use social media. How does that work?

Also see what happens when you take some of the top SEO  industry players and debate the current state of link building  in an informal setting – very interesting and a fun post for those of you who follow SEO – there’s a few gems here!

And also from the Social Media and Content Marketing section we have Content,  Confusion, Clarity – a look at content and SEO from Search Engine Watch, a post from Mike Morgan demonstrating benefits and the dangers of using social media tools (includes a few horror stories) and the epic post of the week is from Jonathon Colman – a brilliant piece which questions content quality in the SEO space – must read this one…and lots more to keep you up to date and up late at night!

Photo this week Bobo the alpaca relaxing in the carrot grass!

Alpaca at Muriwai farm

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (Updated 2012)

This one is from Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz fame and comes from WAY BACK in January. Amazing how all of this is still totally relevant despite the huge updates by Google almost every month this year. This is one to keep as a reference – put as many of these into practice as you can and note how effective the copywriting and structure of the post is..

SEO’s Are Growth Hackers

John Doherty of Distilled adds another great post about “growth hackers”. In his words growth hacking is all about data driven marketing and relates to not only growth but also customer retention. Being creative, implementation, measurement, repetition – as he says these are all part of a well executed SEO strategy. A good read!

An Open Discussion on the Current State of Link Building

Get half a dozen SEO thought leaders together (online) and get them debating the current state of link building. The informality of the structure offers real insights – five starting points are given then it is up to the participants to share their opinions and the conversation develops from there. Great idea!

What [insert random topic] taught me about SEO

This is the lighter post for the week. If you consume a lot of SEO blog posts like we do you will identify with what this post is poking fun at. “What Whitney Houston taught me about SEO?”, “What waterless urinals taught me about SEO” and many more gems that should have gone nowhere near the publish button!
[Read more…]

Weekend Wrap 16 – Google 2012 Review, Small Business Link Building, Fake Social Media Experts

So much insightful information this week it was hard to choose – but we think we selected some of the very best.

Starting off with a 2012 review of all Google updates which will definitely inform and a WordPress theme change SEO check list which is invaluable.

If  you are a small business owner looking for a link building strategy that works – you can read it here.  Also an epic post you will  want to tuck away and read over and over again from Jason Acidre – it’s everything you need to know about inbound strategy and is a fantastic resource.

Our light-hearted post this week gets stuck into social media experts – it’s very amusing and we also feature a post from one of our favourite bloggers Mark Schaefer – he shares his wisdom on great titles for blogposts – always valuable and interesting.

Photo this week – Okiroto Stream Muriwai Beach

Okiroto Stream west coast Muriwai

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Wow! 2012 has been a huge year for Google and SEO and this blow by blow summary covers Panda, Penguin, Google notifications, trust and reputation, exact match domains, the Pirate update and a lot more. This yearly summary is in early like the malls and their Christmas decorations.
In this post 5 top US SEO/content strategy experts are asked about the increasing role of content marketing in SEO, measurement of content marketing results, the cost to business and some great examples of companies getting the combination very right. Some very useful insights.
This one is perfectly timed – we are gearing up to move to a new WordPress theme ourselves. Distilled always gives great value and this is no exception. A nice, easy to follow check-list to make sure you don’t lose ground when you move to a new theme. Watch this space for our new design over the coming weeks.

There is always a ton of stuff around link building when you are a big industry player like Kissmetrics or SEOmoz but often these tactics just do not work for a small business. A small local business is unlikely to have the budget, time resources or social reach for a combination of epic content, infographics and linkable, shareable content that goes viral. This post gets real about what works for the little guys.

Weekend Wrap 15 – Google Insider Secrets, Evil Link Building, Epic Content

Some real goodies this week from our search for the best around the Web!

See what Google are  really doing (!!) in this in-depth interview with an ex-member of the elite search quality team, the current state of SEO from those who know and where to from here… how to rid your e-commerce website of those errors that hinder your ranking, a humorous, refreshing post on evil link building methods, a look at the views of 35 powerhouse social media personalities on how to be influential on Facebook, a great post on how epic content or long-form posts in content marketing get big rewards and much, much more – plenty here for your week’s reading to keep you up to date.

A little bucolic scene this week – visiting family enjoying feeding the alpacas

Alpacas eating from buckets

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

What better way to get insights on what Google is really doing than to interview an ex-member of Matt Cutts’ search quality team. The first interview caused a bit of a storm with Google saying that this ex-Googler didn’t really work for them and disputed some of his claims. This follow-up is just as interesting and contradicts some of Google’s public inferences.

Top SEO Tips Straight From the Industry Experts [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some of the biggest names in SEO share on Hubspot their insights and opinions on what is the current state of search engine optimisation as well as giving advice on the best approaches to take. Insights from Rand Fishkin, Darmesh Shah, Stephanie Chang and Greg Shuey.

This post on Kissmetrics is a must-read for anyone working with an ecommerce website. These errors are almost the default setting for many ecommerce sites when they are first built and they will seriously hinder your chances of ranking well on Google.

And here is one just for fun. Peter Attia has put together a follow-up of 9 nasty ways to build links (and recommends you don’t do any of them). Good to see someone having a bit of a laugh when so much SEO commentary is dead serious.

Weekend Wrap 14 – Creative Link Building, Web Copy Mastery, Social Signals

This Weekend Wrap brings more on building links from some incredibly creative people down to the foolhardy who still think buying links is a good thing…

This ties in nicely with the SEOMoz post on how to drive more visitors and more links through social media, and the heights people will go to for the most sought after link – along with some good advice on SEO practices to keep you on the right side of Google.

Everyone wants to write great copy and this week we have an excellent post which will definitely show you how – fantastic examples on getting it right and getting it wrong – a must read…

A very interesting read that digs down into the psychology of online behaviour and how it relates to blog comments, plus the mother of all posts – a whopping 7,000 words  that you should definitely make time to read and learn from this masterpiece that demonstrates effective web copy.

Lots more excellent material to broaden your marketing portfolio and learn all that is new in the online space.

Another glorious day at Muriwai Beach today – shot taken looking north towards Kaipara Heads.
Muriwai Beach looking North

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Fantastic post chock full of creative ways to get links – “I sailed a boat, ran a half-marathon and climbed a mountain all on the same day for a link”. Innovative ideas from many of the best SEOs in the world.

 

Love this! It would be very funny except it is, unfortunately, quite true. “Why don’t we just buy some more links?” on the image is pretty good but the actual 7 phrases are worth a look.

 

SEOmoz piece that gets down to the nitty gritty of how social media affects SEO outcomes with analysis of social signals as well as insights on how social media can drive more visitors, more time on site and of course more links.

 

In the post Panda, post Penguin world it is ironic that SEOs have to look like they are not doing any SEO. This is a really insightful post on the important SEO elements that will keep you the right side of Google’s guidelines while still improving search performance.

[Read more…]