Tips for Getting Your Small Business Site Noticed By Google

SEO imgThe term “search engine optimization” is enough to confound even the most established small business owner. We know that it is an important part of online marketing and that, if it’s not done right, our websites will be shunned by Google. What we are not sure about is how to use SEO to our advantage and see better rankings for our efforts.

Google uses an algorithm that helps it determine where websites should be ranked. That formula is always evolving, and no one person has the secret key to figuring it out. However, the core of that formula remains the same: quality content and plenty of it.

You don’t have to be one of the multi-billion dollar companies in order to get your website noticed by Google. Even small businesses can find success on the search giant with the right content strategy.

Keep the good content rolling

What are people looking for when they turn to Google? Answers. Not just answers to questions, but solutions for problems they are having. They are looking for products that help fill a need and services that can help them.

The link between your website, where you have those answers/ solutions/ products/ services, and Google is the content you have published on the Internet.

Your content includes your blog posts, articles you have written online, social media posts and even the information included on your web page.

The important thing is to make sure that your content offers value and that you keep it fresh. Don’t let too much time pass between posts or else the search engines will stop seeing your website as active.

If you don’t feel like your writing skills are strong enough to create a stream of content that will draw in readers, consider hiring a ghostwriter to do it for you. You can find writers that have a lot of experience with SEO and who can match your brand voice.

Don’t overdo the keywords

Not so long ago, content marketers were obsessed with the idea of keywords. It got to the point where a lot of content sounded garbled and didn’t read naturally. That’s because so many people wanted to cram a specific set of keywords into their writing, regardless of how bad the writing actually sounded.

Google has long-since wised up to those tactics and has started ignoring online content that has been “keyword stuffed.” Instead, the search engine looks for content that provides value to the reader, not the robots.

Including keywords is still important, but they don’t have to appear in your content at a proper saturation level. What Google looks for is long-tail keywords. That is, having a natural phrase that includes your keyword plus two or three others.

Social sharing gets a thumbs-up

With the prevalence of social media these days, it is important to note that Google sees sharing on social media as a valuable factor in page rank. The more your content is getting shared on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and especially Google+, the more notice Google is going to pay to your website.

Make sure that you are sharing your new blog posts through your social networks. Make them appealing to your followers so that they will also share your content. Before you know it, you could have a piece of content that has gone viral!

There is no magic formula for improving your ranking. If you want to see an improvement in your page rank, you have to satisfy Google. The only way to truly do that is to offer people content that they will find valuable.

How do you stay on top of creating valuable content?

How to Create a Business Blog (Even If You Hate to Write)

Image courtesy Againstar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy Againstar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not everyone is a natural writer. Perhaps the gift of prose is not in your basket of talents; or you simply don’t have the time or the patience to keep up with a blog for your business. But these days, if you want to build a successful brand, creating valuable content has to be an important part of your marketing strategy.

If you ask many business owners, they feel the same way that you do: blogging is a necessary evil. Content marketing has proven to be a valuable part of any business’ marketing plan for many years and it will continue to be because today’s consumers are taking in a high volume of content online. That includes blog posts.

So, knowing that you need to maintain a well-written blog for your business, but still hating the whole blogging process, what do you do?

Here is what you do:

Hire a ghostwriter

It sounds like something only celebrities do to get their life stories onto bookshelves, but hiring a ghostwriter is what many businesses have started doing to get quality content for their blogs and web pages.

You can find writers for hire through many freelance websites or search for someone who specializes in writing on your specified topic.

The most important factor in hiring a ghostwriter is to find someone who can capture your own tone and voice. This is someone who has to represent your brand in a writing style that is appropriate for you.

Check their writing samples and speak with previous clients about the quality of the writing they have done. Anyone can say that they are a writer on the Internet, but it takes the right kind of person to create content for your brand.

Share content from others

This does not mean copy-and-pasting another blogger’s posts into your own blog. Instead, what you can do is find content that is available for reposting. You can find blogs and articles that cover topics that relate to your business all over.

Find a way to contact the author and ask if you could repost the content to your own blog, giving them appropriate credit, of course. Many will be happy to have the content they worked hard on shared with another audience.

If you don’t want to repost the entire article, you can also write a short synopsis of the article and link back to the original blog post. Just remember to always give credit when you are referring to or reposting another writer’s content.

Conduct interviews

Some of the simplest, yet highly-read, blog posts are Q&A posts where a person is interviewed. You can interview important people in your industry. Reach out to them and let them know that you are interested in interviewing them and why.

Have a questionnaire ready that you can fill out for each interviewee ready to make it quick and easy.

Podcasts and Vlogs

If you are more of a talker than a writer, you could record podcasts instead of writing blog posts. You could record interviews, talk about product tips, or give an industry news report.

Another option is to record videos to post on your blog. You can demonstrate products; give a behind-the-scenes look into your business. If you write a fitness blog, record yourself demonstrating some exercises. If you have a food blog, prepare a recipe on camera.

When you’re not a writer, it is hard to be an enthusiastic blogger. That doesn’t have to stop you from creating a fantastic blog that will help your brand grow. Try any of these tactics to generate great content for your business blog.

Have you considered outsourcing your blog writing?

How to Drive Your Business With an eBook

Image credit elec-sellEvery business has at least a dozen stories to tell. Today, sharing those stories through an eBook format with your audience goes a long way in driving business. Using eBooks as a marketing vehicle is a hugely underutilized tool that so many businesses are missing out on.

Building your brand in the age of social media is all about engaging with your customer. They want to interact with your business on Facebook, follow your tweets on Twitter and see the images you share on Instagram.

Offering your customers free content created just for them is another way to forge a deeper connection. An eBook is a simple way to put out valuable content to your audience and it costs you little more than the time it takes to create.

Since so few businesses have begun to utilize this form of content, you can give yourself an edge over competitors when you offer your first one. Writing an eBook will show you as an expert in the industry. By giving more value to your audience, you are building their trust in you as well.

Writing an eBook lets you:

  • Tell the story of your business
  • Share your victories, big and small
  • Reward your audience

The great thing about an eBook is that it has a lot of flexibility. It can be just 50 pages or as many as 1,000. Whatever you need to tell the story.

It can include audio clips, videos, charts and images.

You can have an eBook published yourself without having to go through a publisher. Amazon has made the process so much simpler.

You can create the eBook either in an eReader format or simply as a PDF. As a PDF, your book will be easy to add to your website or blog and they will be easy to print as well.

When writing an eBook for your business, there are three rules:

1. Write what you know

This is true in all forms of writing. This is a chance to share your knowledge. Your audience wants information that relates to your business and industry and an eBook is your chance to give it to them.

You can write a how-to guide, share your own recipe for success, put together a cook book, a buyers’ guide, or even a collection of frequently asked questions along with the answers.

The possibilities of the type of content you can share with your audience through this format are endless.

2. Don’t just publish one

Get into the habit of releasing new eBooks as a part of your marketing strategy. If your audience is happy with the first one, keep their interest by offering something new on a regular basis.

3. Make them free

An eBook is a great way to score low-cost advertising. It can be downloaded and shared thousands of times and help connect your business to a lot of potential customers as well as strengthen the relationship you have with current ones.

You can offer a free eBook as incentive to sign up for your email list, purchasing one of your products or services, or signing up for your upcoming webinar. People love the word “free” and they will be more likely to return to your website in the future when you offer them something for nothing.

Think of all the knowledge you have gained since starting your business. Sharing what you know with your audience is one of the best ways to market your business and strengthen your brand. An eBook is one of the simplest and most effective ways to build your notoriety and become an expert in your industry.

Have you considered writing an eBook as part of your marketing strategy?

How to Create Your Own Stockpile of Content Ideas

lightbulb photo: Lightbulb! Lightbulb-1.jpg It is no secret that, if you want to be successful online, you need to produce valuable, unique content. The Internet is bursting with potential customers who are all online searching for answers, new products and the right service provider for their needs. For small business owners, the way to draw those customers to you is to snare them with your content.

The rules for online content have been that you 1) Stick to a consistent posting schedule, and 2) You write at least 500 words a day. But there is another rule that needs to be added to the others: Generate a list of content ideas.

To stay relevant online, you need to produce fresh content on a regular basis. Many business owners find that the hardest part of creating online content is coming up with ideas of what to write about. Staring at a blank page for 20 minutes might help spark an idea once in a while, but it isn’t the best way to get a start on content production.

What you need is to create a stockpile of content ideas that you can pluck from whenever you need inspiration for a topic. Keep a notebook or even a file on the computer with a list of content ideas. Then, whenever you are stuck behind a writer’s block, you already have a place to look for a great idea.

Here are some ways that you can generate some interesting topics for your online content.

Answer the questions nobody else will

In every industry, there are many questions that small business owners avoid answering online because they are worried that it will take away from their revenue. For instance, a wedding planner might not want to share inside secrets because they think it will mean fewer people will pay for their services.

Just think of all the questions you’ve tried to find answers to online only to hit a dead end. If it’s happening to you, it’s happening to thousands of other people as well. Be the person who is willing to answer the questions that no one else in your industry is willing to answer.

When you give people answers they can’t find anywhere else, you will become the person they come to again and again in the future. Because you have made yourself an authority in the industry!

Challenge the status quo

Is there something that almost nobody agrees with you on? Maybe you have come up with an idea that could change the way businesses can save money but everyone else has told you that it’s too radical or that it simply won’t work.

Controversy is great for sparking interest. People are intrigued by the rebel, the person who is willing to step over the line and shake things up. Don’t settle for writing about topics that everyone has found safe. Go outside of the norm and write your honest opinion about the topic you are passionate about.

Consider the future

People like to read about what the future holds for your industry. Many business owners don’t want to consider what might happen a few years down the road, but you can be the person to change that.

Maybe you believe that something that is wildly popular right now will fizzle out by the end of the year. What do you think is going to take its place? Try your hand at predicting the future. You won’t always be right, but once in a while you might just surprise yourself (and your readers) with the future you envision.

Content creation can be a tricky road. Trying to think up topics on the spot can make writing more frustrating. Instead, look at creating a stockpile of topic ideas that you can keep on hand when it is time to write new content.

Make a list of topics. Stick to a regular writing schedule. Do research for new topics often. Those are the rules for creating valuable content.

Do you often hit roadblocks when you are writing content for your business? What do you do to generate new ideas?

Why Your Business Needs to Have a Blog

Content continues to be a very important driver of traffic. When you have the traffic, your business sees a boost in online sales. This is why businesses need to put a lot of effort into content marketing. If you have unique, beneficial quality content, you will be able to increase traffic to your site.

One of the best ways to make sure you have fresh content available online is to maintain a business blog. A business blog is a short-form piece of content that is posted to the blog section of your business’ website.

Each blog post needs to be about a specific topic that relates to your business. For instance, if your business is a wedding venue you will want to have blog posts that are wedding-related: Creating Centerpieces on a Budget, Shopping for the Right Dress, Choosing a Caterer.

One of the benefits of maintaining a blog is that it gives your business more online visibility. Being found on the Internet is an important part of helping businesses thrive today. A blog will help your business show up in search results when people are doing a search for products or services related to your business.

Here are the reasons that you need to start a blog for your business today:

Blogs drive traffic

Every business wants to get more visitors to its website. The way to do that these days is by having fresh content updated on your site often. This isn’t something that happens regularly with your static content like your About Us page. What you need is a blog linked to your site that is consistently refreshed with new and valuable content.

The more pages you have linked to your site, the more search engines are going to take notice and move you up in the ranks. By having new content added frequently, you are signaling that your site is active.

Traffic turns into leads

Every blog post you write is a new opportunity to generate leads. All you need to do is include a powerful call-to-action in each post. A call-to-action can be something as simple as inviting the reader to download a free eBook, sign up for a webinar or subscribe to your newsletter. Anything that will encourage them to share their email address with you.

Blogs help establish your authority

A blog is a place for you to establish you as an expert. Use your blog as a place for people to go when they need answers to their questions. By having content that is created by your brand for a target audience, you are also establishing a concrete relationship between your brand and your readers.

Blogs offer long-term results

Once you have a few post views and leads from your blog posts, they might sit quietly for a while and not get much action as you continue to post new content. But that doesn’t mean that they are done working for your business.

After that content is out there, it’s still there! It’s still available for other people to find it when they do a search for keywords that are included in your posts. So, for years down the road, those blog posts that you put out when you get started will continue to be able to draw traffic to your website.

Content marketing is going to continue to be a powerful tool for businesses. Have you started a blog for your business?

How to Make Your Writing (a Little Bit) Better

The Director of Columbia University’s writing program and author of the new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction reveals a few ways to write a fresh and engaging story.

I came across this post on Oprah’s website and thought it was worth re-posting for my readers. There are some great tidbits, guidance and instructions for making your writing better. Now that online content is so huge, it’s always a good idea to tweak and work on your writing or hire a ghostwriter to assist you.

1) Be Bold (Even if You’re Not) Regardless of how timid you may feel inside, you need to project an assertive tone in your sentences, conveying that you have a right to speak and that know what you’re talking about. This may mean bluffing—both at the beginning and maybe throughout one’s writing life. One of the boldest openings is a confession of ignorance. You might tell people that you don’t know everything or that you’ve forgotten some of the story. Surprisingly, instead of alienating your readers, this tactic usually makes them believe you more, because it lets them know you’re a human being—imperfect, like all of us, but honest.

2) Make Yourself into a Real-Life Elizabeth Bennet Whatever you write, particularly if it’s an autobiography or any kind of nonfiction, you would do well to turn yourself into a character. The reader needs to sense very quickly the real individual behind the prose—in order to like or trust the narrator of the piece. To start, you may need to take inventory of yourself, so the reader will have some idea of who is talking. For instance, what are your geographical roots, family background, ethnicity, social class, religious training, sexual preferences, and political affiliations? Not that your entire identity can ever be explained by membership in this or that one category, but at least the sum of them helps define you—if nothing else, then in your opposition or refusal to identify with any of these assigned labels. What are your pet likes and dislikes? What are some of the crucial experiences in your life? Certainly, this is the heart of memoir or personal writing.

Now comes the “characterization” part of your character. You need to dramatize yourself. Paradoxically, this may mean putting on a mask, emphasizing just those aspects of your personality that throw you into sharper light, that make you seem a little more odd or idiosyncratic—in any case, not completely typical. The easiest way to do that is to single out those parts of your personality that are most vibrant, or even disparaging. Self-mockery is a perfect example. If you can laugh at yourself, you will find it easier to see yourself as a character.

3) Take the Contrarian Position It’s sometimes a good idea to go against the grain of accepted thought, simply because it takes the reader by surprise and engages him or her in a stimulating, feisty relationship. (It also helps to build the author quickly into a character—see number 2.) To advocate for Mom, apple pie, world peace or universal brotherhood can be pretty bland. Try airing a more antisocial or counterintuitive position, just for the fun of it. Some models to consult in this technique are Laura Kipnis’ “Against Love,” Witold Gombrowicz’s “Against Poetry,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Joyce Carol Oates’ “Against Nature” or my own “Against Joie de Vivre.”

The other way to be contrarian is to praise something that usually inspires distaste. William Hazlitt’s “On the Pleasure of Hating” is one such topsy-turvy example. Think of something ostensibly negative—disappointment, envy, chagrin, obesity, air pollution—and make a case for it. Of course, this defense of the indefensible can be done ironically, as in Jonathan Swift’s classic “A Modest Proposal,” which purports to argue in favor of eating babies as a solution to overpopulation.

4) Don’t Forget Your Inner Adult When writing about your past, don’t be afraid to reflect on the way you were, from the standpoint of the way you are now. You don’t have to pretend that you’re still 9 years old or stay within the child mind: You can avail yourself of the perspective of acquired wisdom over the years and move back and forth in the narrative between the younger person you were and the older person you’ve become. This means you don’t have to tell every story entirely through scene and dialogue. You can forget about that “show, don’t tell” business. Do tell. But do it frankly, thoughtfully and, wherever possible without self-pity and with good-humored detachment.

5) Bring in the World Even if you are writing a memoir, and telling what you feel is just your own private story, there are ways of bringing greater relevance and resonance to the tale by hitching it to a broader perspective: historical, psychological, sociological, theological, whatever. You begin to see yourself as part of a larger pattern, and this will take you to the library, where you can gain new insights.

Research also helps to keep the material alive when you are starting to get sick of yourself and your story. If you start out knowing all the answers, your resulting writing will appear stale. But if you engage in an exploration, a need to get answers to questions that are still unresolved, there is a much greater chance that the writing will come alive. And research can certainly assist in any such exploration.

For more information on writing techniques, consult Phillip Lopate’s new book To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Expert-Writing-Strategies-How-to-Write-Better#ixzz2LMYAJ4yF

What do Petticoats and Writing Have in Common?

stock-photo-lelystad-the-netherlands-june-unidentified-car-collectors-pose-in-front-of-an-old-timer-at-79575172

As I was sitting in my recliner last night, trying my best to find that light-bulb moment or the next viral blog post, for some reason the petticoat came to mind.

I know you’re thinking…what!? My sentiments exactly! I had no idea where I was going with this, but something sparked inside me to simply start writing. I was hoping it would come to me as fast as my speedy typing.

Wikipedia defines the Petticoat as follows:

“In historical contexts (sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bedgown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not strictly speaking underwear as they were made to be seen. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. In this context a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half-slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments. Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK,  although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned.”

Going way back to my childhood, (and yes, that was quite some time ago), I can remember having such frilly, foo-foo dresses. They were just not quite completed until I had all those petticoats underneath my dress. Once those were on and fluffed, then I felt as though I was completely dressed.

As I reminisced about those days, I saw myself running and playing and jumping around, just to experience all the fluffiness, fullness and the sounds of crinkling petticoats. Not only did they make me feel feminine and girly, they also made me feel extremely dressed up and exquisite. Like I’m sure some of those on the red carpet feel when they are all dolled up. That is how I felt! Like a model! Simply beautiful.

There was something about the sound of all that crinkly material and the crushing, rustling-type sound they made. The way they would fly up into your face when you sat down. The manner in which you would lay your hands on top of your dress to push it down just so you could see. The gorgeous way they looked under such a beautiful and frilly dress. Of course, in most cases there were matching shoes and socks, as well as gloves and purse.

The more you had under your dress, the better you felt.

So, how does that relate to writing, you ask?

Well, think about this. How do you feel when you have completed an awesome article or blog post that gets raving reviews, or increases your followers, or is shared amongst your friends, family and social network?

Doesn’t that make you feel all frilly and foo-foo and tingly inside? The sounds of the petticoats are similar to the sounds of raving fans applauding like you’ve just finished a Tony award-winning performance.

You feel like running and jumping and twirling around exhibiting tons of glee and excitement. Well, maybe not to that extent, but you are excited and thoroughly happy with yourself. Right?

If you have created compelling content that others want to read and share, you should be proud.

Petticoats are Meant to be Seen

Remembering back to those petticoat days, I can remember how cool it was to have layers upon layers of petticoats. The colors were also something to be admired. From pinks, purples, red (yep…had to have red, it’s my favorite color) to the simple white and beige. Whatever color I wore, it was meant to be seen. Imagine that. You wanted to show them off.

Which brings me right back to writing, (you knew I was coming back to it). Whatever you write, whether it’s a blog post, article, eBook or white paper, you want it to be seen, admired and appreciated. You want to provide solutions to problems and issues people are having.

You want to be the one they search for when they are in need of answers. You want to be that “go-to” person. But exactly how do you do that? Well, you do your homework and figure out what problems your readers or clients are having. And then give them what they want.

If you can teach your readers something they don’t know you’ll have a robust following. Then those readers will share your content with their friends, and so on and so on.

What happens when you create valuable, informing, educational and even humorous content? It will be seen by many.

Desired Fashionable Shape

What does the petticoat’s fashionable shape have to do with writing? You need to make sure your articles and blogs posts are fashioned in a readable and shareable format.

For example, include compelling images to your articles as well as shaping your post in an appealing manner. Make sure you have enough white space between paragraphs. Chunk your content so it’s easier to scan. Create intriguing headlines and paragraph titles. Use a font that is easy on the eyes to online readers. Always add something personal, emotional or some sort of life experiences.

Before writing your next article or blog post, think about something in your personal life you can use to relate to your product or services.

Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. People can relate to those types of experiences and it’s quite possible they are going through something you’ve already been through. Think about how helpful that could be to others.

Add flare, experiences, emotion, humor, solid advice, and you will dazzle your audience to no end.

What have you found in your articles and blog posts that have increased readers and followers? Do you find by adding life experiences to help tell your story beneficial?

Columbine Student’s Father 12 Years Later

Since the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT, I felt this post speaks volumes and will give you something to ponder as we try to come to grips with everything that happened.

Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, Columbine High School victim, sums it up brilliantly on what he feels is happening in our schools. I totally agree with him. See if you agree. It is definitely worth reading.

Here we go:

Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this. On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal.

There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript: “Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,

Your words are empty air. You’ve stripped away our heritage, You’ve outlawed simple prayer. Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question “Why?” You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge.. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!” –Darrell Scott

————–

My prayers continue to go out to all those affected by that tragedy in Newtown, CT. How has it impacted your life? Do you check with your kids at school more frequently? Do you simply thank God for protecting them? Has it changed the way you do things? Please let us know.

Do You Know the Benefits of Hiring a Ghostwriter for your Business?

No matter what field you’re in, the life of your small business depends on written content to maintain a strong online presence and build your brand.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  Sure, you’d like to start a blog for your business, write an e-book, or maintain an active Facebook or Twitter feed, but you’re already wearing so many hats–now you have to be a writer, too?  No, you don’t.  Instead, consider hiring a ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter is an expert writer who can handle any written task such as articles, blog posts, press releases, essays and e-books according to your specifications and let you take credit for them.  Once the publishing industry’s best-kept secret, ghostwriters are now a trusted part of every industry from medicine to music, and have become very popular with small business owners in particular.

Let’s face it; some of the world’s smartest, charismatic and talented people are terrible writers.  Ghostwriters can help their clients look as competent and knowledgeable on the page (or screen) as they are in person.

Why do you need a ghostwriter?

Well, consider what your time is worth, and how it can best be put to use to help your business.  Do you think that being hunched over a keyboard writing a blog post is the best use of your time or your talent?  By leaving your writing needs in the hands of a capable ghostwriter, you can go back to doing what you love, and remind yourself of why you started your business in the first place.

Even if you did have the time to write (and brainstorm, and edit) it yourself, having well-written, informative and enjoyable content is not quite enough.  Experienced ghostwriters can also help you create targeted content that skillfully uses keywords that will help your website or blog rank high in search engine results while avoiding being marked as spam.  After all, what good is a blog if no one reads it?  The more people who seek out your website, blog, and social media and benefit from the valuable information you provide, the more money you will make.

It can be hard to let go of control of something as important as online marketing for your business, but your business needs YOU more than anything else.  Successful business owners know that part of their success comes from knowing how and when to delegate tasks.  Many will tell you to do what you’re best at, and hire skilled people to handle the rest.  Wouldn’t hiring a ghostwriter be a great place to start?

Have you hired a ghostwriter in the past? What have you learned from using a ghostwriter?

Do You Know How to Choose the Best-Selling E-Book Topics?

Choosing an e-book topic that will sell well is a lot like choosing the best wave to ride. You want to find the one that is on its way up. Like most things, e-book topics follow trends. One month, the topic of dog training secrets will be all the rage. The next, its clean eating tips.

If you want to be successful with your e-books, you need to stay on top of the rising trends. The idea is to find out what people are talking about, what information they are searching for right now instead of taking a few guesses at what they might like.

There are several tactics that you can use when you start to research popular e-book topics:

Clickbank

One of the best places to find e-book ideas is on Clickbank, one of the most popular places to find e-books. You can look at what topics are trending at the moment and what ones are on the rise.

To make the search even simpler, use a site like cbengine.com. CB Engine collects data from Clickbank, making it easy to find what topics are growing in popularity.

To use CB Engine, click on “CB Best Gain” in the left column. This will show you the products that have moved up in the rankings on Clickbank. You can choose your search criteria based on momentum, popularity, moving up and moving steady, and those that have big payouts.

Click on a product to go to its data page and review the vital statistics.

Using this information can help you stay on top of trends that are on the rise before the market becomes saturated with e-books. Keep an eye on topics that are jumping higher on the charts to take advantage of growing opportunities.

Do Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is a fantastic way to find popular topics for e-books. You start by writing down a few of your own topic ideas. For example, if you are interested in writing about gardening, you could list ideas like:

  • First-time gardening
  • Gardening when you don’t have the space for a garden
  • Container gardening
  • Organic gardening

And so on.

Write down as many ideas as you can based on your chosen niche topic. Use a keyword tool, like the one for Google AdWords. Type in your ideas, one at a time, and see the results.

The Keyword tool will show you how many people are searching for that keyword phrase (or something similar) every month. You will be able to see how popular those search terms are as well as how high the competition is for them.

Choosing keywords that have too much competition could mean that your e-book would get lost in the crowd. Look for keywords that have a high number of searches but with less competition.

Repeat this process with all of your search phrases so that you can get a clear picture of how well each niche topic will do for you before you invest more time and research into it.

Search the Kindle Book Store

The Amazon Kindle Store is one of the most popular places to find e-books on virtually any subject. You can use the site’s lists of Top 100 books to see what is trending right now.

You will see how long a book has been on the Top 100 list, whether it is moving up the list or moving down. You can also break this down according to category to see what is trending in your specific niche.

Look at Forums

Internet forums are a great place to go when you are looking for topics that people want to know about. People will typically go onto a niche forum to post a specific question about something they need to know.

For example, on a gardening forum, you might see several people posting questions about how to deal with garden pests without harmful chemicals. With that information, you know that there are people looking for more information to help resolve this common problem so it is probably a good topic for an e-book.

E-books have grown in popularity over the last decade. Many people turn to them for quick information about a variety of topics. This is an area that you can focus on when you want to create valuable content.

Are you considering writing e-books? How do you brainstorm ideas for topics?