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YasTech Talks Website Essentials at ‘Ideas on Tap’: Content is King

Back in May we were asked to present at a local networking event called “Ideas on Tap“. This event is put on once a month by Vendasta (a large tech company headquartered in Saskatoon). Each month features a new topic and Saskatonians are invited to come, grab a beer, some snacks, and be enlightened as community members talk on their specialty.

Our specialty, of course, is anything and everything to do with websites. When we were asked to present at the May 27th IOT “Website Essentials”, we jumped at the opportunity. There are so many things that are essential when it comes to websites. However one stood out above all. Content. That’s right. No matter how stellar your design, how good your SEO – without quality content, your website will not be doing it’s main job –  that is converting visitors into customers.

Of course we needed a cool way to present this (without boring everyone to death), thus our presentation titled “Content is King – A Cliche Packed Presentation” was born.

Here are the highlights of our presentation.

Or if you’d rather not read, scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch the video or click here.

4 Clichés on WHY Content is ♕

make an impression on the web

1.Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Visual Appeal. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Make an impression

website conversions

2. Dangle a carrot in front of them.

Conversions. Dangle a carrot in front of them.

  • Turn those visitors into customers

SEO

3. Finding a needle in a haystack.

SEO. Finding a needle in a haystack.

  • Your content needs to be found.

content for brand engagement

4. Love is blind.

Engagement. Love is blind.

  • Use content to engage customers with your brand

4 Clichés on HOW to Make ♕ Content

quality website images

1.A pictures says a thousand words.

Professional Only. A picture says a thousand words.

  • Turn those visitors into customers with quality images

know your audience with web content

2. When in Rome, do as Romans do.

Know Your Audience. When in Rome, do as Romans do.

  • Speak their lingo, tell them what to do, show them what they want to know & don’t forget the CTAs

blogging web content

3. Built like a brick shit house.

Blogging. Built like a brick shit house.

  • Your most solid source for content. SEO, engagement & building creditability

writing web content

4. It’s go time.

Write Right. It’s go time.

  • When it comes time to write, don’t forget keywords & your audience

Last take-away….Time is money.

♕ Don’t waste time. Create some content.content strategy

  • One last take-away is give yourself a deadline. Force yourself to have it done by a specific date. Continuously improve later. And try to keep your content fresh and updated.

 

Watch the Video Here:

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9 Easy Steps on How to Write a Blog Post

9 Easy Steps on How to Write a Blog Post… and Why You Should.

Why Blog?

How do we get our website to the top of Google?

This is a question (and sometimes demand) we get from clients on an almost daily basis. And fair enough. I mean, a person can understand why a business would aspire for high google search rankings for the services they offer. After all, their livelihood depends on it. A person wants a plumber they Google it. Gone are the days of sifting through the yellow pages. This is not a shock to anyone and I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

What most clients don’t know however is that SEO (getting to the top of Google) is not something that happens overnight. SEO is a long-term strategy and something they will need to work at regularly. When we develop websites we do optimize all code, page titles, etc. to be search engine friendly. Though think of that, if you will, as more of laying the foundation of a house. It is up to you to build your amazing SEO home of your dreams. But how you ask? Content, Content, Content.

Blogging for the Win!

Blogging is the best thing a business/person can do for their website’s SEO ranking for a couple of reasons:

  1. Gives you something to share on social media accounts
  2. Acts as a way to provide frequent and fresh content to your website

But I don’t know how to blog!

Fear not friend, blogging isn’t as bad as you think. And everyone’s doing it. In fact because of this, there are tons of resources at your disposal. Like this awesome article by HubSpot (even has free blogging templates).  Just follow these steps below and you will be golden.

Blogging 101: How to Write a Blog Post

  1. Know your audience. Speak their lingo & to what they care about.
  2. Topic. Your title will likely change and evolve after your post is done, but one must always start with a topic. Often you will have honed into a more specific niche topic by the time your post is done.
  3. Write a captivating intro. Remember you’re trying to keep them interested not bore them to death.
  4. Organize, Organize, Organize. Cause nobody likes clutter.
  5. Write. Perhaps both the most obvious step and one people struggle with most, but hey thought we’d add it in.
  6. Proofread & edit.  Beyond grammar you want to make sure it’s visually appealing. Pictures & layout must be top notch.
  7. Add CTA (call-to-action) at the end. Bring out your inner bossy & tell readers what to do. Where do you want them to click next?
  8. Optimize post for SEO. Check titles, keywords, links. Make sure you have the content you want to be ranked for within your post.
  9. Pick a jazzy title. Again the point is you want people to read your blog. A good hook, line and sinker.

Blogging is Easy

So there you have it. The most important steps to remember when writing a blog post. If that good old #5 is what’s putting you off, don’t worry, not everyone can be an Ernest Hemingway.  Check out these awesome and free Blog Templates from Hubspot!

Are you putting off getting a website built? Check out our post on Why Every Business Needs a Website where we debunk all the bad excuses out there as to why someone might be putting off getting started.

Subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in the loop. We’ve always got more in our bag of tricks.

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What Type of Content Marketing is Best for My Business?

Content Marketing 101: Types, Benefits & tips.

It is safe to say most businesses today now do some form of content marketing. As Mr. Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative states,

Content marketing battles are in full force. Companies are pursuing content marketing more voraciously than years past: 76% of B2B and 77% of B2C marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago.

With so many types of content out there, choosing what is best for your business and strategy can be tricky. What are the benefits of an infographic, blog post, or e-book? What should I post to social media? Would it be good for my business to send out e-newsletters?

Knowing where to start can be overwhelming.

But do not panic because… “Help is on the way dear! Help is on the way!” (insert Mrs. Doubtfire accent).

Feldman Creative (the guru when it comes to online marketing) has created this awesome infographic to help get you started and educated on the most popular types of content marketing. Take a look!

content marketing types

Source:

http://feldmancreative.com/2016/02/types-of-branded-content/

Are you putting off getting a website built? Check out our post on Why Every Business Needs a Website where we debunk all the bad excuses out there as to why someone might be putting off getting started.

Oh, and don’t forget to signup for our newsletter below to stay in the loop with all our new online marketing tips.

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Million Dollar Blog Project – Journal 2

Let’s start with a brief recap for those just joining us. We recently launched a new blog called bestpsdfreebies.com, and like every blogger we wanted it to be wildly successful. After doing some searching online we decided to sign up for the Million Dollar Blog Project put on by Think Traffic. You can learn more about it here http://thinktraffic.net/mdbp/.

On one of the MDBP posts they said, “people who keep an accountability journal consistently outperform those who don’t keep journals by a wide margin”. This is our journal.

If you missed our first journal entry, you can read it here https://www.yastech.ca/blog/million-dollar-blog-project-were-in/.

We have been learning a lot, so let’s dive in…

What we did

Over the past two weeks we have dedicated ourselves to posting new freebies on the website at least three times a week. This might be a tough trend to keep up with but one way this has helped is with search engine traffic. More and more people each day are finding our site by searching new key terms.

We have also been able to find a couple more great places where we can place our content online that drives traffic back to our website. Our top two referral sites are Creattica.com and Design-Newz.com.

One new thing we have started is Pay-With-a-Tweet Friday’s. On Friday’s we release a premium design freebie and only give visitors the download link after they have tweeted or liked our post. To be honest I thought this would have helped our social media traffic more than it has.

Lastly, we have been able to convince a couple bigger blogs to post one of our freebies to their site. Both of these sites will be posting our content this week and we stoked to find out how much this might help our traffic numbers.

What we learned

Be consistent and always learn from others. We were denied guest posts on a couple large blogs but by making our content better and continuing to ask, we have landed some fairly large opportunities to expand our audience.

We have feel like the quality of our freebies has gone up. Sure there has been a couple days where we had to scramble to get something up and could have spent more time on something, but overall the experience has been good.

Google is a powerful source of website traffic. We have had days where we have seen over 140+ visitors just from Google organic searches. Quality content, strong titles, and a growing list of back-links have helped us rank well for many keywords.

What we plan to do

Our email subscribers are trickling in quite slow, so we are going to be working on an exclusive freebie for visitors who sign up for our newsletter. We are confident this will help our numbers.

Our first WordPress design is complete, so we are going to start on the development here in April. We want to launch this theme on Themeforest near the beginning of May, but know we have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to release a quality product.

We still want to create some type of contest to run for a large design blog. Like we said in our last journal entry, this might just mean designing a premium file for Graphic River and give a few of them away for free.

Our Successes

Our first month online has gone quite well. We have seen nearly 5000 unique visitors on our site and over 3500 freebie downloads. We never really set a goal for our first month as we weren’t really sure what to expect. Our goal for our second month is to double our unique traffic.

We continue to make great connections online and hope to continue to build relationships with other bloggers. Others are starting to contact us to have us guest post on their blogs so we hope take advantage of this and continue to build our audience.

 

If you made it all the way to this part of the blog, thank you! I would love to know what you think about our Million Dollar Blog Project posts and know if you are learning anything so please leave a comment below. Stay tuned. In two weeks we will follow up with how we are doing and if we actually did the things we said we were going to do.

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One Reason to Start Email Marketing Now

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “What is the best thing I can do to market my company online?” My answer is always EMAIL MARKETING. Finally, I found an infographic that highlights why everyone needs to start using email marketing as one of their main online marketing strategies.

Email Marketing

What this proves is that literally everyone who uses the internet has an email account. Email is not going away. You need an email account for everything now. You need one to sign up for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You even need an email address to create an account on iTunes to buy music and videos. So the only time email is going to become useless is when the Internet become extinct.

Sending out an email newsletter to your list on a regular basis helps keep your products and services top of mind. You can also use newsletters to educate your list and stand out as an expert in your niche. I can go on and on about how email newsletters are beneficial, but we have already written a couple blog posts about this topic. In a blog post we did back in April, “Email is Dead, So Why Does YasTech Tell Me To Do an Email Newsletter?”, we went into further detail about staying top of mind. We also wrote a post on “Email Newsletter Writing Advice”, that shows you how to write an effective email newsletter.

If you aren’t sending a regular email newsletter out, I encourage you to try it out. The cost to try it out maybe only be a couple hours of your time. Contact us, and we can help you get setup with an email service and you can be sending effective marketing emails in no time. You can even signup for our newsletter service here.

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Convert More Visitors into Customers

So you’ve got a website, and people are coming to your website, but sales aren’t any better than they were when you didn’t have a website. What’s wrong?

Most websites do a decent job at providing people with information about what your company does and the products or services you have available, but most fail in encouraging visitors to do something.

Here are some ways you can improve at converting more visitors into paying customers.

Create Clear Calls to Action

The biggest mistake people make on their website is that they forget to ask the visitor to do something. They have paragraphs of information describing their product or service, but that’s it. If you aren’t asking visitors to “Book Now”, “Get your Free Quote”, or simply “Contact for More Info”, you’re probably going to lose that customer.

Solution: Find areas in your content where you should be asking someone to take action, and add a button, link, or other call to action. Make sure it is something that stands out and can’t be missed (keeping it esthetically pleasing is important too). Don’t over do It though. Choose one objective per page and stick to that.

**POST UPDATE** I recently ran across an article that really goes in depth about creating compelling call to actions buttons. Check it out here!

Collect Email Addresses

Many people who come to your website may be interested in your product or service but may not be ready to buy at that time. But what if you were able to still collect their information and ask for the sale at a later time? There are many ways you can do this. You can get them too:

  • Download a free case study, white paper or report that might educate them about your industry or solve a problem they may have.
  • Offer a free seminar or webinar. You’re an expert in your industry so help your clients learn more.
  • Sign up for a newsletter. We recently wrote a post about newsletters that can provide you with further info about utilizing this form of marketing.

email sign up form

Once you have an email list you can start engaging these potential customers by setting up an email marketing campaign to send them promotions and industry information, or follow up their sign up with a thank you note with more directed information about your product or service.

Better Content

It is extremely important to provide clear, easy to read information about your products and services. When describing your product or service, make sure you explain the benefits of your product and how it can solve a problem for your visitor. Features are nice, but they aren’t what sell your product.  Keep your descriptive paragraphs short and use bullets or numbered lists wherever possible. This helps make your website easier to read and helps visitors find the information they are looking for sooner.

As we discussed earlier this week, you can also use video and podcasting to help you convert more visitors into paying customers.

Now What

Take a few minutes to skim your website to see if you think there is room for improvement. Most likely there is. Commit yourself to DO SOMETHING TODAY because that next website visitor could be your next big client.

Want us to take a look at your website for you? Fill out our contact form and we’ll be happy to take a look at your website and recommend ways to help you convert more visitors.

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Social Media Week

Last week we focused on blogging: the hows, whys and tools of blogging for your business. This week we’re focusing on social media. We’ll be talking primarily about Twitter and Facebook – though the ideas would translate to other similar services.

Should Our Business Have a Twitter Account?

While every social media guru out there will tell you that you should’ve been on Twitter a year ago and if you’re not you’re leaving money on the table – we believe it’s important to consider whether it’s really appropriate for your business to be on Twitter. It’s certainly not going to be worthwhile for every business, so let’s take a look at a few of the things to consider before signing up for a Twitter account.

Do You Have Anything to Say?

Twitter is 140 character tweets from your brain. Or your company’s brain. While it’s not like a website or blog where once you start you’re obligated to keep fresh as content, you still want to make sure you have something of value to add to the community.

Do You Have Time to Have a Conversation?

Twitter isn’t one way communication in the same way that a radio ad, flyer mail out or newspaper advert. You can post a tweet about a special on widgets that you’re offering, and someone could reply asking for your hours that your widget shop is open. If you’re not listening and paying attention to the conversation, potential customers could get turned off by your lack of response.

Are You Prepared for Negative Feedback?

What if someone replies and says that the price of your widgets are still too expensive? Or maybe they say that they last time they were in your store, a sales person was rude to them. What is your policy on customer issues and how might you handle that level of direct feedback?

Still Interested In Signing Up for Twitter?

We’ve focused a bit on the negative, reasons why you might not want to have a Twitter account for your business. For tomorrow’s post we’ll be talking about the benefits of having a Twitter account as well as some of the tools to manage your company’s Twitter account. Be sure to send us an email if you’ve got questions about Twitter you’d like answered!

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Wrap Up – Blogging Resources

In our kickoff week of Blogging Everyday (Almost) for a Month we’ve been talking about blogging and in particular, as it relates to your business. Hopefully you’ve been motivated to pick up the virtual pen and try out blogging for your business. For today’s post, we’ll list a few resources to help you on your way.

Places to Start Blogging

  • WordPress – We use a self hosted version of WordPress for a lot of our clients who want to incorporate a blog into their website. But if you want to just start out and test the waters, you can register a http://whateveryouchoose.wordpress.com address and start blogging right away. WordPress is what we recommend you start with as it’s very easy to transition from their hosted version to a version that’s hosted on your own website (i.e. blog.mybusiness.com) if you want to get more serious.
  • Blogger – The original blogging site that started it all (later bought by Google, and whose co-creators went on to form a little website called Twitter). Integrates well if you use a Google/Gmail account with their other services.
  • Tumblr – Tumblr is great for quick posting, and for a blog that incorporates a lot of media (video, photos). It’s got a great community, both business and non-business related.
  • Posterous – Posterous is similar to Tumblr. Quick and easy blogging.

Ultimately it is best for your business and brand to incorporate your blog more directly in your website, as we have done, by locating it at your website address (whether it’s blog.businessname.com or businessname.com/blog doesn’t matter too much). If you’re interested in adding a blog to your website, we can certainly help you get it setup.

If you’re just wanting to try it out and not worried about the look of the blog initially we can have you up and going fairly quickly. Later on, if you want help with the design/look of your blog (for example, if you want it to more closely match your website), we can help you with that as well.

If you’ve got any questions or comments about blogging, leave a comment or send us an email and we’ll do our best to answer it in a blog post in the future.

Next week we’ll be focusing on social media (Facebook, Twitter and various other services) and going over some of the common questions and concerns people have about bringing their business over to these websites.

Be sure to send us an email if you’ve got questions you’d like answered!

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Tips to Help Your Company Maintain Your Blog

In yesterday’s post, we went over the reasons why your business might want to have a blog and today we’ll talk about ways to help you keep going with your blog and avoid the fate of many who’ve started a blog but stopped within a few days or weeks when the initial ‘fun’ is over.

I Haven’t Updated in Awhile

A search for the phrase i haven’t updated in awhile turns up 468 million results (14 million in the last month alone) so don’t feel too bad if you’ve tried and haven’t updated in awhile once or twice before – you’re certainly not alone. It’s easy to start something, it’s hard to keep doing it consistently.

Schedule It In

If it’s not on your calendar, then it won’t happen. There will always be something else to do. This can be your actual day planner or just mentally in your head. For these blog posts I know that first thing in the morning at work, after I have some coffee, I am going to spend 30 – 60 minutes writing out an article for our blog. If I just left it to “whenever I have time”, it would never happen because there’s always going to be things that come up and are more pressing. If you have an assistant, tell them what you’re doing. Have someone hold you accountable. Decide how often you want to post a new article and then put that in every day/week on your schedule. Before you know it, it’ll be such a part of your regular routine that you won’t even have to think about it.

Remove Distractions

Here’s a few quick suggestions for removing distractions. This could be a whole blog post on it’s own:

  • Turn off your email client. Or at least change the default “Check for New Mail” setting to longer than the default every 2 minutes. Try 30 minutes and you’ll be amazed by how much more work you get done by not seeing that little number pop up on your inbox icon.
  • Log off Twitter & Facebook. Or whatever social network is pulling your time away from other things. You say you have the self control to stop checking it, but we both know you just checked Facebook while reading this sentence.
  • Turn off the ringer on your phone and put it facedown on your desk. If you turn the ringer off and then you still see the notification pop up that someone called or sent you a text, you’ve lost focus whether you actually check it or not.
  • Don’t fiddle with fonts. I’m guilty of this one. Whether it’s the fonts, or figuring out which application I’m going to use to write with, or what music I’m going to listen to while I’m writing – basically doing anything but actually writing. More on this in a future article.

This isn’t just for writing an article for your blog, it likely should be something you’re doing for most tasks that require more than 10 minutes of your time. But like I said, more in a future blog article.

Spend 30 Minutes Brainstorming Topics

I’m sure somedays you’ll sit down to write and be inspired by something you read or heard the day before – but generally, it’s much easier to write if the topic is already defined. Before I started this process, I came up with a list of 8 or 9 topics to get me started. That way I knew the first week I’d have at least a topic to write about. Between Michael and myself, we shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with the rest of the month’s topics now that we’re going.

But if I sat down each morning and had to try and come up with a topic, I’d waste a good 15-25 minutes thinking of something to write about – never mind the time I’d then spend on the fonts and colours!

Write in Advance

There’s nothing wrong with writing a bunch of articles ahead of time and then scheduling them out over the next weeks/months. There’s no reason that this article couldn’t have been written a week ago and then posted today. If you’re the type of person who, once you get going on something you can just keep going – why not set aside a morning or a day to write a bunch of articles all at once?

Collaborate

If there’s more than one of you, divide and conquer. If you’re posting once a week, take alternate weeks to post. Not only will it help with having time to write, it will also give your blog a more interesting voice. Don’t just assign one person to be “the blogger” and leave them high and dry. Unless they have a passion for writing and the topic they’re writing about, they’ll lose enthusiasm pretty quickly.

Calling in Sick

Try as hard as possible to be consistent in when and how often you post. But if you miss a week due to being busy, sickness, staff shortage, etc. just get back on the bike and try again. Be honest about what happened and acknowledge that a week was missed, but then move on to the topic at hand. Unless you’re running a membership site where people have paid to get articles on a specific basis, it’s fine to miss the occasional post. Just don’t let it slip more than once, otherwise you’ll be adding to the 468 million i haven’t updated in awhile posts on the internet.

And I think we have enough of those already.

Tomorrow

For the next couple of posts, I want to cover a few of these points a bit more in depth as I know there’s a lot of questions about some of them we get from clients. Tomorrow we’ll touch on something related to collaborating on posting – can you trust your employee’s to blog for your business?

If you’ve got questions or comments about what I’ve posted about today, leave a comment or send us an email and we’d be happy to discuss it further!

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Why Should You Have a Blog?

So in our post yesterday, we outlined the reasons why we’re going to be blogging (almost) everyday for the month of April. For today’s post, we’re going to cover a few reasons why your business might want a blog. A lot of the reasons for you to have a blog will be similar to the reasons we discussed for ourselves, but we’ll cover a few other reasons that you might want to blog for your business.

Create Content for Your Website

A blog is a great way to create and develop content for your website. There’s only so many pages you can have the go over your products, services and contact info. A blog allows you to talk more about your business in a less marketing-speak way that humans can understand. And you can update it daily if you want and keep putting out new content for people and search engines like Google.

Fresh, new content on a regular basis is also a great way to keep customers coming back. If they know that every Wednesday you’re going to post a new article explaining a different area of your business, they’ll come back to read which helps to keep your business and brand at the top of your customer’s mind.

Think About Your Business in a New Way

If you’re going to write a blog for your business, you’re going to have to think about your business in a different way than you typically do. You’ll have to sort out some of the reasons why you offer the products you offer, why your services set you apart from your competition, how your team works together to help your customers. You’ll need these reasons if you’re going to blog about your business – and you can’t just rely on marketing speak to get you through because your customers (and potential customers) won’t stick around if you just quote marketing jargon on your blog. They’re coming to your blog to find out more about you and your business and why they should hire/buy from you.

Reach an Audience That You Might Not Otherwise Reach

Perhaps your business is plumbing. If you do a Google search for “Saskatoon Plumbers”, you’ll get a list of plumbers along with a map. Hopefully you’re somewhere on the list. But what if a potential customer isn’t searching for “Saskatoon plumbers”, but is instead searching Google for “How do I clean a blocked drain?” – if you’ve got an article on your blog about how your installers cleaned out a block drain for customers last week, you could be listed somewhere in the search results when you wouldn’t have otherwise even been an option.

In our case, since we’re writing a bunch of articles related to creating, updating and maintaining a website – that gives us a lot of content for Google to search through and present as an option to people searching for someone to help with their website. Who knows, maybe you’re reading this right now because you found us through a Google search and landed on our blog. Get in touch with us and be sure to let us know if you have questions about blogging or updating your website content.

But It’s Hard Work and I Don’t Have Time and I’m So Busy and I Hate to Write!

All true. And so maybe having a blog isn’t a great fit for your business. But before you give up completely, come back tomorrow when we’ll talk about ways to help make blogging for your business a part of what you do, as well as tips to help keep doing it consistently.

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