3 Reasons Why You Might be Reluctant to Start a Hotel Blog

Starting a hotel blog One of the best ways to enhance hotel marketing efforts is to start a hotel blog. But many small properties and boutique hotels don’t engage in blogging. If you’re a property owner or hotel manager, you may be reluctant to start a blog for one of these 3 reasons: Continue reading


What’s Keeping You from Starting a Blog?

[tweetmeme]Do you want to start a blog for your business, but have been reluctant to get one going? You’re not alone. I recently posted a Facebook question that asked, “What is your biggest fear about starting a blog for your business?” These were the top three answers:

  1. I take too long – (procrastination)
  2. I don’t know what to write about
  3. I don’t have the time

Let’s tackle these excuses one at a time, so I can convince you that a blog will be worth your effort.

#1 – Procrastination.

There are a couple of ways to beat the “I take too long” excuse.  Take a deep breath, and as one of my friends and life coach Jenn Lee says, “Be Bold.”  And get organized.  Make a list of 10-20 topics to write about. Once or twice a week, sit down at your computer, and set a timer for one hour to write. At the end of the hour, save your work and come back to it another time. If you finished the article, great! If not, that’s ok too. You’ll finish it the next time. Remember, it usually takes a while for a habit to become routine. And that’s what blog writing will be – a new habit.

There’s an even easier way to beat the procrastination excuse. Hire a professional copywriter! Preferably, one that is trained in search engine optimization to make sure your blog gets noticed by Google and your target audience.

#2 – Not knowing what to write.

I hear this excuse a lot whenever I talk about blogging for business. But it’s not as hard as you might think to come up with topics. Set up a Google alert for keywords related to your business. Look for news items that would be of interest to your audience. Read other blogs in your industry for ideas. Put your own spin on an article you like. If you’re still stumped, check out this list of 42 blog ideas.

#3 – I don’t have the time.

This excuse is similar to the procrastination one. And it’s certainly one I can empathize with, especially if you’re a small business owner. There are only so many hours in the day, and you wear so many hats already!  If you’re trying to market your business on Facebook or Twitter, the thought of starting a blog may be overwhelming. But, it will be worth it. Companies with a blog attract 55% more visitors to their website than those without, according to Hubspot.  And if you are using Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, you can share your blog articles with your fans and followers.

My advice is to follow the steps I mentioned above. Spend one hour a week on a blog. Write as many articles as you can, and save them as drafts until you’re ready to publish. Take advantage of apps that will automatically post your blog on social networking sites, such as Facebook’s Networked Blogs app.

Or, hire an SEO copywriter, like myself, to do the work for you. That way you get the benefit of having a blog, without having to spend the time and energy writing it yourself!  If this sounds like the solution for you, email me today for a quote.


3 Reasons Why It’s Ok to Misspell Your Website’s Keywords

[tweetmeme]I do a Google alert for the keyword “SEO” so I can keep aware of the latest search engine optimization news, and to get ideas for writing blog articles. (This is a good strategy to use when you want to search for news in your industry.)

I came across an article this morning that reminded me of something that happened early on in my SEO career. I had to optimize a website, and I noticed that whoever had worked on it before included some misspelled words in the meta tag titles and in the copy. I thought that was strange at the time, and corrected the misspellings. But I since learned that intentionally misspelling words is a strategy that some “SEO experts” employ.

In reviewing the matter, I’ve come up with 3 reasons why it’s “ok” to misspell keywords. Actually, I’m kidding. These are three reasons why you shouldn’t bother!

1. Misspelling words makes your site look unprofessional. If you’re selling a product or service online, don’t you want your website to look professional? Of course you do! That’s why you spend the money hiring a web designer and a copywriter to make the images and copy look good and convey to your target audience why they should do business with you. So, why on earth would you ruin that look with misspellings?

2. Google’s automatic correction feature makes the strategy pointless.
People do make mistakes when typing in a search query, but if you’re trying to optimize your site for artificial grass and constantly spell the word “artifical.” You’re wasting your time, and jeopardizing your efforts to win business. (See point #1.)

3. Google will penalize you!
Google’s webmaster tools blog says point blank, “It isn’t a wise idea to stuff a site’s content with every typo imaginable. It’s also not advisable to hide this or any other type of content using JavaScript, CSS or similar techniques. These methods are in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and we may take appropriate action against a site that employs them.”

If you’d like to learn more about SEO Basics for your Business, sign up for my FREE webinar on April 26.

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Top 10 Most Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords

[tweetmeme]The LinkedIn social networking site sometimes gets overshadowed in the press by Facebook, but like the Energizer bunny, it keeps going and going. It currently has more than 90 million members in over 200 countries, with about half that number in the U.S. alone.

It’s proven to be a great resource for job seekers (I landed a part-time social media job from it myself last year).  There’s just one teeny problem. Why, oh why, do so many Americans feel compelled to use the following words on their LinkedIn profile?

10 Most Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords

1. Extensive experience
2. Innovative
3. Motivated
4. Results-oriented
5. Dynamic
6. Proven track record
7. Team player
8. Fast-paced
9. Problem solver
10. Entrepreneurial

Laziness? Lack of creativity? Whatever the reason, these were the most overused “buzzwords” used by U.S. professionals in 2010.   Thesaurus, anyone?

It is important to use keywords in your LinkedIn profile, which I’ve talked about in this blog before. But why use the same boring words over and over?

Let’s take the word “innovative” for example. I searched the term on Thesaurus.com and came up with the following synonyms:

avant-garde, breaking new ground, contemporary, cutting-edge, deviceful, ingenious, innovational, innovatory, inventive, just out, leading-edge, new, newfangled, original, originative, state-of-the-art

Any of these would be more “original” than innovative. (Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself!) If you have a LinkedIn profile already, take a look at it, and make sure you’re not using any of these words. And if you don’t have a profile yet, look at the profiles of people in your industry for ideas, and make sure that what you write will stand out from the crowd.

Here’s an example of a LinkedIn profile I wrote for a client in the flooring industry. If you’d like something comparable, hire a professional copywriter to do the job. The price you pay can deliver big dividends if it gets you noticed by a prospective client or employer. Contact Gloria today for a free consultation.

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SEO Trend for 2010 – Making Best Use of the Title Tag

With 2009 rapidly coming to a close, it’s time to start making plans for 2010. And what better way to do that than to talk about upcoming trends in Search Engine Optimization.
In the past, I’ve talked about how important it is for each Web page to have a unique, keyword-rich title to display on a search engine results page.
That advice is still relevant, and will continue to be so in 2010.
But I’m not talking about the “Title Meta Tag” that displays at the very top of your web browser. I’m talking about a different “Title Tag.”  This one contains text that pops up in a box when your mouse hovers over a particular word or image on a Web page.
See the grey box with text hovering over the image on the screen-shot below?
Title Tag
Title Tag Displayed on Webpage
That’s a title tag.  This device gives you the opportunity to add a fuller, keyword-rich description of the image or word the title refers to.  Remember, the search engine spiders are pretty savvy.  They want to see unique content. So don’t repeat the same keywords in your title tag. Use slightly different words that still contain the meaning you want to get across to your visitor.
In the example above, the title tag is displayed over a graphic. But you can also add title tags to page links.
If you’re planning on revamping your Web site in the new year, keep title tags in mind. They can be a useful tool to enhance your search engine rankings.
If you’d like more information, please feel free to comment here, or e-mail me at gloria@gloriarand.com.



3 Reasons Why Case Studies are a Valuable Marketing Tool

Many businesses typically include testimonials on their website as a way to convince potential clients to buy their products or services.

But if you want to go the extra mile to promote your business, a much stronger marketing  tool to use is the case study. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. A case study allows you to go into detail about why your product or service is superior to your competitor’s. Instead of relying on a customer quote, you can use specific facts and figures to demonstrate how you were able to enhance your customer’s sales,  productivity, etc.
  2. A case study allows you to paint a compelling story for a potential client by illustrating the challenge your customer faced, the solution your company provided, and the results.
  3. A case study is a powerful sales tool, since the more case studies you have to show to a potential client, the easier it will be to convince that client to do business with you.

How do you go about producing a case study?  The first thing you should do is interview your best customers to see if they’d be willing to be featured in a case study. If you’ve got a client who raves about your product or service, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them to talk about their experiences.  Ask the client to provide concrete details on how their company benefited from your product/service.

After that, the format is straight forward. The case study should include the company’s background, the challenge it faced in the marketplace, the solution your company provided, and the results.

The finished product can be displayed on your company website, or printed for inclusion in an information packet you hand out to potential clients.

A case study is only a great tool if it’s written in a manner that will enable it to convert your leads into sales.  If you’re a small business owner who isn’t comfortable writing this type of marketing material, hire a professional copywriter to do it for you.



Why is it still smart to publish a business ezine?

Social media is all the rage these days, with everyone atwitter over Twitter, and businesses starting to sell products directly thru their Facebook page.

So, why would a business bother to publish an ezine or e-newsletter for its customers?

It’s still an excellent tool to offer subscribers some useful information, and to promote products or services.

Publishing an ezine does take some time and effort. You have to research and write articles. You need to have an existing email list in place, and a method for acquiring new subscribers – such as providing an opt-in box on your website. You also need to test your subject lines to make sure the ezine gets opened by your subscribers. 

But the benefits can be well worth it to your business.  An ezine:

  • Creates a positive relationship with your customers
  • Provides an inexpensive advertising medium for your products/services
  • Drives traffic to your website and/or blog
  • Generates leads

So, how do you decide what type of content to include in an ezine?

First, you need to decide who your target market is for the ezine.  Then, think about what type of information would be useful to that audience that you can provide, such as:

  • Informative articles
  • Product or service reviews
  • Industry or company announcements
  • News links
  • Tips & tricks
  • Surveys
  • Q&A

You’ll also need to decide how often you want to send your ezine – weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

For instance, if you own an organic lawn care service, you could send out a monthly ezine that features general lawn care tips, the benefits of organic fertilizer, and advertises a specific service you offer, such as pest control.

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t have time to write an ezine.”  Or, “I’m not a good writer. How can I do this?”

Here’s the good news. You don’t have to. There are many freelance writers available that would be happy to do the research and writing for you at a reasonable cost.  Ask your business associates if they know anyone, or just go to Google and search freelance writer.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a copywriter over someone who writes articles for magazines, for example. That’s because a copywriter knows how to write copy that sells. And after all, that’s the ultimate purpose of your ezine.


All “SEO” Problems are Small Stuff

How quickly a day can change…

Monday morning I landed a new client who didn’t blink when I told her how much her website project might cost, and wrote me a check right then and there as a down payment!

Flying high on her confidence in my writing and optimizing skills, I came home from the meeting, sat down at my computer, and started work updating another clients’ website with the new copy I had written for their home page.

I made the first few changes and then checked to see that everything looked ok.

Much to my surprise, everything was NOT ok.  In fact, it was terribly wrong!

The graphics weren’t loading right.  There were boxes on the right that should be on the left.  Images were missing.  Copy was missing.  What the heck had happened?

I rechecked my work. The code looked fine. I double checked their website to make sure it was still ok, and it was. I downloaded the code again, and looked at it with my Internet browser, but the home page was still a jumbled mess!

After an hour and a half of going nowhere, I called my clients’ web designer for advice. He suggested I use a different FTP program and HTML editor, which I did, but the results were the same – a messed up website!

Now, I never expected to deal with html code when I became a copywriter. I figured I’d write new copy, give it to my clients, and let their web designers implement the changes.  But I’ve found that most of my clients don’t want to deal with their web designers (for a variety of reasons), so I’ve made the changes to their sites myself.  I had to upload content to a business news website several years ago, so I was a little familiar with html code.  I’m also a quick study, so I didn’t think it would be that hard to handle…

Until now.

One of the first rules of business is to never over-promise what you can’t deliver. I felt terrible about not being able to upload the new home page to my client’s website. But I swallowed my pride and contacted my clients to explain what happened.  I told them I’d get together with their web designer the next day to figure out how to get their home page updated.

The next day, I logged onto SixMinutestoSuccess.com for a little video inspiration from Bob Proctor of “The Secret.”  The topic was “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  All problems are small stuff.”

Potent words.  So, I decided to heed his advice. I wouldn’t “sweat the small stuff” and instead, I’d find a solution.

I called up my client’s website online, looked at the source code, and compared it to the code I had downloaded.   I noticed right away that there were some extra lines of html code in the “bad” page, so I deleted them. This time, the site showed some improvement when I viewed it with my browser, but it still wasn’t perfect.

Since I hadn’t heard back from my clients’ web designer yet, I knew it was time to call in my own personal web consultant.  Don’t tell anyone this, but he’s my 14-year-old son. Hey – I may have a college degree, but I know when to call in an expert, and believe me, this teenager knows more about html code than I do!

After I explained what I’d done so far, my son had an inspiration. Instead of trying to figure out WHY the code was wrong, he just copied the “good” code from the website, and pasted it over my “bad” code.

Voila!  Problem Solved!

So what lessons can we learn from all this?

1)      Don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Even from your own son) and,

2)      Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Because all problems (even SEO ones) are small stuff!


Why “Home” has no place as a website title

How many times have you searched on Google and found a listing where the title only said “Home Page” or “Home”? You have to look below the title to the description to discover the company’s name and/or its business.

Why does this happen?

Most likely, it’s a lack of knowledge, time and/or money.

Companies that use “Home” or “Home Page” as the only title for their main landing page may not realize they are limiting their ability to attract new customers.

These firms may not have the budget to hire a web designer and/or a copywriter proficient in search engine optimization who would explain why it’s vital to have keywords in a title.

An SEO copywriter knows that web page titles and descriptions must contain keywords that people use to search for a particular product or service in order to attract the search engines and potential customers.

Some companies try to save money by creating their own sites, using a simple template provided by a website hosting company. But that decision may wind up costing them money, because the failure to include keywords means potential customers may not be able to find their site on Google.

A company that relies on “home page” for its title doesn’t provide any clues about its business. Someone searching online must rely on the description that is displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). But if there are no keywords in the description either, the chances of a site appearing among the first ten or even 20 listings are slim to none.

A few hosting companies won’t let you eliminate the word “Home” from the website’s title. But don’t let that stop you from adding keywords in a short description following the word “home.” If you can’t figure out how do it yourself, ask your hosting company’s technical support group to make the changes for you. And if they won’t do it, find someone else who will.

“Home” may be where the heart is, but your potential customers won’t go there, unless you give them a keyword to show the way.