AUTHORS – LAST CALL for you to get Four Months FREE Book Promotions with a difference…

Another opportunity for book authors! Prepare your four (4) articles now. LAST CALL for you to get Four Months FREE Book Promotions. Hurry, 7 spots left! 🙂

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Dan Alatorre’s WORD WEAVER Writing Contest for July 2017 – let the games begin!

This gallery contains 16 photos.

This is a great opportunity for all the writers out there waiting to be published! Check out what Dan Alatorre offers together with some friends 🙂

How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up? Frustrating, I know.

Basically, what you need is to reach out to more people than the usual. Make your online presence solid and felt. That said, have you checked your site lately? Start checking!

“A lovely website” needs to show brains and brawn, too, otherwise, you lose prospective customers. Perhaps, it’s time to hire a web content writer to help you.

Basic Auditing How-to

audit-your-site

I got this image from the well-known Search Engine Watch that incidentally has written a more extensive article on this topic as well

Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work. If you already have a writer in your stable, then good. Make sure she knows or learns how to audit sites as well.

Writers mainly take care of the articles, but the misconception is that’s the only skill expected of them. A skilled one helps take care of things beyond the articles. In the web business, content means a lot of things aside from textual information.

For a start, in auditing, you need to know how your site is faring in the online world. What is its domain authority and page authority? How many backlinks and by whom? On what pages do search engines list it when a search is done, if it gets listed at all? And so on.

Next, find out its existing page status problems and technical issues. Those maybe getting in the way of good user experience, therefore, visitors leave.

Then there’s the matter of whether keywords, optimizations, web designs and layout work or not. An SEO content writer with ample knowledge of web development and design would be a prize to find.

All of the factors mentioned, your auditor needs in order to identify and analyze problem areas and consequently fix them.

To be able to do this, she has to have enough know-how, especially in using helpful software and platforms like Google Analytics, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMrush, WhiteSpark, and ScreamingFrog. She has to be able to interpret what the results mean.

But the more critical part is the analyzing, the precursor to crafting solutions.

Questions to Consider for Review

site-health-check

Of course, you or your current employees can do this, provided you have the time and necessary skills. You can start reviewing the contents, design and layout of your site based on some of the questions I have gathered.

Contents

  1. Are the business names and logo/brand visible and clear? Where are they?

  2. Is there a header image?

  3. Where are the Name-Address-Phone (NAP) details in the site? Do they include emails and toll-free numbers?

  4. Is there a Google map at the Contact Us page? How about at the footer?

  5. Is there a working contact form in all the pages?

  6. Is there a navigation menu at the top? Does the top menu have dropdowns? Is there a navigation menu at the bottom?

  7. Are there pages specifically for Home, About Us / Firm Overview, Blog (if any), News, Resources, and FAQs at the navigation menu?

  8. Are there pages for the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy? Are there links leading to them?

  9. Are there sidebars? Does your site need them?

  10. Are the images and videos posted in the site relevant and clear?

  11. Are there visible social media logos around the site?

  12. Do all the links redirect properly and to the right pages?

  13. How many fonts are used in the site?

  14. Are accreditation and/or rank seals added?

  15. Are there copyright details at the bottom? If yes, are they present in all the pages?

Design Principles

  1. Is there precedence (guiding-the-eye)?

    – position (where something in particular is placed), color, contrast, size (does it affect perceived order of relevance), design elements (largely based on what is added to the site and how it affects visitor’s actions)

  1. How effective is the spacing?

    – line spacing (affects readability), padding (putting space between text and other elements), white space (for balance, proportion, and contrast)

  1. How clear, easy and user-friendly is the navigation feature?

  2. Are there breadcrumbs in all the pages, sub-headings and a sitemap?

  1. How are the texts (typography) looking and working?

    – font choices (do they look good and appropriate for the site, how many used), font sizes (affects readability), spacing, line length (affects readability), color (must make sure the texts can actually be read by anyone), paragraphing (left-alignment is always suggested to avoid gaps)

  1. Are things aligned in an orderly and polished manner?

  1. How is the design clarity? Are the pixels creating problems?

  1. Does everything match (consistency)?

    – sizes, choices, coloring, styles, elements, etcetera

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing as well as useful?

  1. How relevant, clear, appropriate and useful are the pages and contents to the site?

  1. Are there unnecessary elements (music, flash, autoplay, etc.) that can be done without?

  1. Are the title pages/headings easily understood and logical?

  1. How informative is the FAQ page?

  1. Are testimonials included in the site? How many? Do they appear real or fake?

  1. Is the Call to Action clear?

    – contact forms, online customer service representative, registration feature, email address for questions and feedback, indirect action items like “learn more”

  1. Is the site selling something? Does it have an SSL certificate?

  2. How mobile-ready is the site?

I have given you initial ideas on how to audit your site. These are culled from research (like a Psdtuts+ article I found very useful) and my own auditing experiences. There are more to find and learn but the further research, I will leave to you. Meanwhile, your auditor must be able to work with your web developers and designers to incorporate changes.

In auditing, it’s not simply knowing what to look for. It takes a lot of common sense, an analytic mind, patience and practical approach—all of which, the writer hopefully has. If your current writer is not cut out for this, find another who is. Hire a web content writer who can.

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NOTE: I’ve been saying this for a year or so already. This was originally a guest blog that got published along with my byline. Unfortunately, the site soon became inaccessible for quite a while. It went back then I found that somebody else took my place as author. I tried every way to reach them and actually sent a message telling them to fix it, to no avail. I just checked last Friday and found the site missing again. So here it is, I thought I’d share here. It’s just fair considering that it was supposed to be a reciprocal thing. No one paid anybody and if the other party is unable to hold its part of the bargain, we have the right to take back what is ours.

Give to Where Credit is Due

give-me-credit

My comment they most probably won’t approve

I just posted this comment on a page where MY writeup How To Improve Site Performance? Audit, For Business’ Sake! can be found:

Excuse me. I wrote this through MyBlogGuest. Kindly put my name back or delete the post entirely…Thank you.

Why? ‘Cause I just got fed up waiting for them to put my name back as author. It’s bad enough that they didn’t put my name back, but somebody else’s name and mug is there. I sent them a message already ages ago, to no avail. Just because Google messed up and they probably got hit by Google, it doesn’t change the fact that I wrote it.

Talk about taking credit for other people’s work! It would have been acceptable if it was some ghost-writing job that I or our company got paid for, but it was a guest-blogging thing that did not involve money, only a chance for exposure, that of the writer and that of the publisher. It’s supposed to be a mutually beneficial thing.

Let’s see what they’ll do next. IF they do what I’ve asked them to do, I will take down this post. If not, sorry, tough luck. Maybe I’ll do something else and then we’ll also see what’s going to happen.

 

Blogging Ethics: Five Ways to Keep it Proper

Call it ‘online journaling,’ ‘weblogging,’ or simply ‘blogging.’ Gone are the days it was called ‘writing in my diary,’ which we kept under lock and key, stacked away where no other person could find it. Nowadays, we write in our own journals for others to find and (gasp!) read.

Blame it on technology. Due to social media, weblogs emerged out of people’s need to be heard and seen, and to return to others the favor. It’s neo-exhibitionism and -voyeurism in a more positive context.

Everyone can now have his own blog. A web content writer like you, however, is not everyone.

web-content-blogger

Creating Your Brand

Brand awareness is the key to landing projects. You don’t just write and hope what you’ve written is good enough. “Good enough” is not good at all if it fails to capture and keep your intended clients’ attention.

Let them know that if an article is by you, it’s all about originality, credibility and quality—YOUR brand. That will definitely keep them interested in getting you especially when they outsource article writing.

Always keep that in mind when you are blogging. By now, you’ve heard of the famous line “Content is king.” Concentrate on that, make it your blogging mantra.

Meanwhile, a part of building your brand is to make sure you are doing things properly when you blog. This is important as many employers do tend to check how applicants “behave” when they don’t think the employers are looking.

They want to make sure it is really you who have written the samples sent them, if you can be trusted with company information, if you can do more than write content,…The reasons are for them to know and for you to find out, hopefully, not the hard way.

Becoming a good writer isn’t just through writing well. Half of it is practical know-how, common sense and discipline.

Blogging Ethics 101

As a blogger, there are several things you must remember and that are listed below. These are quite important, considering that as a web content writer, writing is your life and, most probably, your bread and butter. You’ll want to look as professional as possible.

1. Post more articles rather than photos and videos of yourself so that clients can have a look-see on your potential as a writer, not as a photographer, filmmaker or party animal. Not to go off-tangent here, be careful with what audio-visuals you choose to share either. Wholesome is the word.

Remember, this is the word to follow when posting stuff in your social media accounts as well. If you’re going to be unwholesome, make sure you keep your account private. Stay hidden from prying eyes.

2. Blogs are often where some share private thoughts and vent their spleen on various angsts. Well, it’s your blog so you can do that, but if you want to be taken seriously, don’t. Treat your blog as your own business, ergo, professionalism and discretion are in order.

Write less about your emotional baggages. In fact, reserve that for a more personal, more private blog.

3. Be trustworthy. Prospective clients, for instance, won’t be impressed by you dishing out dirt and trade secrets of past employers.

4. Never plagiarize. In a comment somewhere, somebody shared “…what you can do is pick up the content from that website and modify its language so that the language that appears on your blog does not match with it. So you get your content as well as escape from plagiarism.” Uh, not really.

Clueless or just plain evil, I don’t know. Changing clothes, however, does not change who you are. So plagiarism is still plagiarism, no matter how you dress it up. Any self-respecting writer will never do this and try to fool himself. If you’re worth your salt, you”ll be a decently working professional. It gives that pop-culture born phrase “Honest to blog!” a whole new meaning.

5. Don’t be a snob. Reply to comments to your posts. If others find time to read what you’ve written and comment, say even a simple “thank you.” That’s being respectful, showing appreciation and a sign of professionalism.

Don’t be afraid to read and comment on others’ posts either, although always make sure you comment wisely. That can widen your network and build up your reputation as a credible writer.

Very easy tips, really, but highly important. So keep to the right and you’ll never go wrong. You can only get better.

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Before anyone reacts violently and say we should blog what we want to blog about, let me say that first, I agree with you (as long as it’s not any kind of discrimination), and second, the target audience for this (though not strictly just for them) are web content writers. This is actually a sort of reblog of Blogging the Ethical Way.

As a guest blogging venture, the deal was the article provider would get exposure but the publisher got exclusive rights to the unique article. However, the publisher’s site has been missing for many months, so to speak, and now it’s Domain For Sale! That’s hardly fair, is it? So until they come back, this stays here.

Tips in Choosing Unique Gifts for Special Occasions

Looking for the perfect gift to give a friend or a loved one? Let guest blogger Janet Adams give you a few practical tips.  🙂

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Tips in Choosing Unique Gifts for Special Occasions

Gift is the word that strikes our mind when we think of any occasion. If you are invited for any special occasion, choosing a gift really becomes a mind-numbing work. You contemplate for some time on it. While musing, your mind runs through various kinds of gifts. But then you need to choose the best, unique gift that suits the occasion. Your selection of gift should be in such a way that it scintillates the eyes of the receiver.

How to select a unique gift for any special occasion?

For Birthdays

Birthday bashes occur so often around the world. Children love to celebrate their birthdays and they wait for their special days to receive a number of gifts. So it will be apt to give gifts according to the age of the child. Some soft toys or animated toys, stuffed animals, crayons, or markers will be suitable. Or may be some dresses like frocks, shirts and jeans. There are some children who love to read books. So then a book by their favorite author must be apt gift.

In case of a teenager’s birthday, if it’s a guy, then you can gift him T shirts, and if it’s a girl, may be some jewel accessories. Perfume is also another option that can be gifted to both guys and girls. For a best friend, you can gift a photo frame, a personal favorite book, a watch, bags and accessories ,a set of his favorite musical band CD’s etc.

For the birthday of a mother, you can give her ornaments, or outfits, books if she loves to read, a vanity bag etc. While for a father, you can buy watch, wallets, a pair of shirts and denims etc. And with the case of siblings, may be a movie ticket or any type of gadgets would make their gift better.

For Weddings and Anniversaries

Weddings and Anniversaries are auspicious and special occasions. So choosing the right kind of gift is always important. Wedding gifts should reflect the interest and requisites of both the bride and the groom. The gift that you buy should be an asset for them. Household presents, kitchen ware and appliances, a bigger photo frame for a picture of the bride and the groom, a pair of rings, a pair of branded watches, flower vase etc. Your gift depends on how well you know the couple. If you are a really close best friend, then you could go for costly gifts, but at the same time, if you are just a casual friend, select some normal stuff that project a classy, rich look.

Moving on to anniversaries, choosing the best anniversary gift isn’t much difficult. In choosing a gift for your spouse, a piece of jewelry, a mug emblazoned with a picture of you both, any event or vacation tickets, a surprise romantic candle light dinner, etc., will be perfect. While if you are gifting a couple, you can give them a heart-shaped keychain engraved with the duo’s names, gallery frame set, an antique piece of rich look etc. If it’s your parent’s anniversary, you can gift them bouquets of flowers or a piece of poem written by you.

The “Days”

So we are living in a generation where we have some specific special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. A mother always puts her happiness away for you and family. So to your mom, give the best gift she’ll ever get. In fact whatever you give is a gift to your mom. Take her out for shopping and buy her what she wants. Buy ornaments, bags or outfits, books, etc., according to her wish. It’s her day, so leave all selections to her. On Father’s Day, you can give him a pair of branded shoes, wallets, blazer, etc. For Valentines’ Day, you are left to choose anything that your love or lover likes. You will surely get a hint of what your beloved likes through leisurely chit-chats.

 

Presenting a gift brings excitement and exhilaration to the one who receives it. So choose the best gifts according to the individual’s taste and add more happiness to their special day.

 

Author Bio:

Janet Adams has chosen a career in writing to serve in an organization, English-literature writing service that helps students in building a successful career in academics. She has a Masters Degree in Business Studies from a reputable university and has a good experience in writing business papers as well.

X Marks the Now-Missing Spots #atozchallenge2014

“X marks the spot.” I’m sure you’ve heard it said, at least, in books or movies. The letter is considered as a sign, a mark, as said. In other words, it’s an exact location.  

I am down to my last two letters for the A-to-Z Challenge, “X” and “Z”. “Y” came first for the simple reason that I didn’t know what “X” to write about till the other day when I had an inspiration. Then what happened this morning? I decided to check  MY FOLDER and found that a lot of what I’ve written as guest blogger, under the Web Content Writing category,  now lead to error or missing pages.  X MARKS THE NOW-MISSING SPOTS is more like it.

I am totally disappointed. I will have to search for those articles, maybe they’re in there, somewhere else, in the same sites. Unfortunately, I think some of the domains have already expired. Right now, there are only these three that are still right there:

THE FIVE WRITERS YOU DON’T WANT: SPOTTING THE BAD APPLE

avoid-bad-writers

You need a writer. Do you know how to spot the bad writers from the good ones? Know the five types of writers to avoid to save you time, money and energy.

THE WRITING DUMMY’S GUIDE TO BLOGGING

blogging-tips-for-newbies

New to blogging? A few tips to help you blog right

HOW TO IMPROVE SITE PERFORMANCE? AUDIT, FOR BUSINESS’ SAKE!

site-auditing

You know you’ve got a great business, but it’s performance is somewhat dismal. How to improve it? Site check, please!

 

Hope the others get published again, and soon!

 

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Have you ever guest-blogged and found your articles missing, too? Share your experience!

This post is for the…

a-to-z-challenge