Guidelines for writing great articles

Part of my efforts with the Mississippi Magic Magazine involve setting up guidelines for writing great articles.  If you are wondering why a technologies consultant is posting guidelines on writing great articles then let me explain.  We are in the business of creating success in our constituents that we partner with through consulting and development.  That being said… Mississippi Magic Magazine provides an outlet of expression for people and businesses in Mississippi but it does not employ writers to produce magazine content.  Therefore, all the writing done on the Mississippi Magic Magazine is done by volunteer writers that have a vested interest in the community.  From business owners to pastors of churches, people active in leadership in the community provide all of the content found in magazine.  To make this a profitable venture for each of them, we’ve found it necessary to publish a guidelines for writing great articles.

Benefits:

  • People like to do business with those they are familiar with.   Through connecting with our community through your articles, you’ll lower the barriers that people have to traditional broadcast style advertising communications.  .
  • Articles will be broadcasted to the RSS subscription readership.
  • Articles will be indexed by search engines so that anyone looking the information you provided will find it and you on the internet.
  • Articles will spread in a viral method through through social media sites such as twitter, facebook, and linked in.
  • Unlike traditional media, articles written will be available online well into the indefinite future.
  • Articles will link your thoughts, expertise, and methods to your perceived value as a solutions provider and allow people to reach you.
  • Articles always make the front page when they are published.
Good practices:
  • Offering needed information to make an informed decisions.
  • Offering solutions by showing how to solve a problem.
  • Providing lists of methods or resources.
  • Expounding upon a subject.
  • Offering information about events by featuring information, pictures, and video covering people in the community.
  • Praising and pointing out the good about others.
  • Simplifying complex information, instructions, or events.
Avoid:
  • Slandering others.
  • Defaming others.
  • Advertising your products or services.
  • Soliciting business.
Using these methods, community leaders can provide invaluable content that leads people in the community to them as a provider of services and goods.  Through the relationship formed between the reader and author in the magazine articles these leaders have an inroad to the reader when the reader seeks to find a provider for a need or want that the author can fulfill.
This style of marketing defined in these guidelines for writing great articles are known today as inbound marketing.  By using them you’ll get found on the internet and connect with your customer.
– Joel

Simplifying the Sales Process Funnel

The Sales Process Funnel
Sales Process Funnel

A simple version of the sales process funnel

Know: If you want to do business with someone you’ve got to give them the chance to get to know you. That means that you’ve got to have information about your business available and delivered it through the right channels. That’s why its so important to have a good website, a blog, and to utilize social media.

Your website is the hub of your inbound marketing brand. All of your efforts through social media, blogging and participation in industry related blogs act as spokes pointing back back to your website. Your site should tell your businesses story and contain several compelling offers.

Blogging allows you to publish a lot of information about your business that can be catalogued by search engines making you findable and should be the backbone of your seo campaign.

Social media helps change the context of your message and can make your message deliverable to an audience that might not normally view it. 

Like: Once your prospect gets to know you through the channels mentioned above you’ve got a chance to establish a relationship with them. By responding to comments that prospects leave on blog posts, communicating via services like facebook, linkedin, twitter and email, and providing valuable information and resources that helps your prospect gain understanding of a complex issue or solve a problem you’ll open the door for a friendship in which both of you can win.

Trust: This element is the one that often gets looked over in the business world. Once you’ve gained a relationship with a prospect it is critical that you do what you say you would do and that you focus on building the relationship instead of simply going after the sale. I know it may seem counter-intuitive to put the sale off at this point, but if you sell before you have gained your clients trust you will have problems. Before the sale occurs both you and the prospect must have a clear understanding of what your roles will be in the deal. You must determine if you fit the role of a supplier and if the prospect fits the role of an ideal customer before continuing on to the sale. Your prospect might not need your particular solution but may be a great source of referrals. Either way at this point your prospect has become a tangible asset. If you’ve established the trust factor and open communication before the sale then you’re customer is your partner in making the deal go through and things will go much more smoothly.

Try: In the trust phase of the process we talked about determining an ideal fit. Adding a try stage to your process can work wonders for determining that fit and generating referrals because your prospect knows, likes, and trusts you. Allowing the prospect to play the role of a customer by trying a sample of the product offering before purchasing the product can also increase the likelihood that they will make the purchase because the their perception of risk is much lower when they know that they can back out of the deal without a hassle.

Buy: Finally we reach the stage where you get some direct compensation for all of your hard work, but wait… the job isn’t finnished, rather it’s just begun. You’ve now got a customer that knows, likes, and trusts you. They’ve received the benefit of the resources you’ve offered through your inbound marketing campaign, tried your product without risk, and made the purchase. You have both determined that you have an ideal fit in your roles so now it’s time to get some valuable feedback about your product, testimonials, and referrals from your trusted friend. If you can keep the relationship alive then you’ve got a valuable resource to help take your business to the next level and business between you should continue as long as the prospect has a need to be filled as competitors will not have the advantage of  price competition because you have developed product and brand differentiation.

There it is as simple as it can be.

– Joel

Related Posts:

Introduction of The Sales Process Funnel Chart

Remarkable Content: Educating your prospects, leads, and customers.

Thoughts on CRS Funnel Development

Comments are appreciated.

 

Apache 301 redirects using .htaccess without the WordPress redirection loop.

Improving SEO with Apache 301 redirects using .htaccess

When optimizing SEO it is important to set your site to redirect traffic from yourdomain.com and www.domain.com to the same site. Search engines view www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com as two different sites and that can cause them to inaccurately attribute inbound links to either one site or the other, but not both. By creating a 301 redirect you cause all traffic from one of the sites to be permanently redirected (moved) to the other site. Listed below are two methods for doing this with Apache web-server.

Using www in the domain. All traffic is directed to www.yourdomain.com

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yourdomain\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com.us/$1 [R=301,L]

</IfModule>

Using yourdomain.com. All www traffic is directed to yourdomain.com.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yourdomain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

</IfModule>

The WordPress redirection loop

The Problem:

The wordpress redirection loop occurs when you have installed wordpress and configured it in a way that doesn’t match your .htaccess redirect. The case could be that you’ve set up the wordpress installation on www.yourdomain.com and created a 301 redirect to in your .htaccess file to direct all www.yourdomain.com traffic to yourdomain.com. When you attempt to load your website in your browser you will notice that you get an error message informing you that the site is redirecting in a manner that will never be resolved.

To correct it:

  • Remove the 301 redirect from the .htaccess file for your site.
  • Login to your wordpress installation and verify how you set your domain up there (www or not).
    Wordpress Configuration Screen Shot 1
    Wordpress Configuration Screen Shot
    Wordpress Configuration Screen Shot
    Wordpress Configuration Screen Shot 2

  • Rewrite the 301 redirect to match the wordpress installation.  For example if you installed wordpress on yourdomain.com set your .htaccess redirect to direct all www.yourdomain.com to yourdomain.com.

Now your site and wordpress get full credit for inbound links and you are well on you way to maximizing the value of your off page SEO.

I hope this helps you.

Your comments are appreciated.

– Joel

Black Hat Search Engine Optimization – Why cheating doesn’t pay

How JC Penny spammed Google

Recently JCPenny was found using link farms to build SEO for it’s online business model. It hired a third party which managed to trick Google into thinking that millions of sites were linked to the JC Penny site and by doing so caused it be listed first on Google’s organic search results for queries on many products that it offered. According to the NY Times it was caught doing this three times before any sanctions were taken against it, but now Google engineers are manually burying JC Penny’s results back several pages in the search results.

You can read up on the details of the JC Penny story here if you’d like. There’s a moral to this story. JC Penny used a firm that specialized in cheating the Google search algorithm and giving it’s end users results that were not accurate. Google’s standard practice in dealing with this ype of activity is to black list the offending site so that they don’t show up at all. Google had prior relationshiop with JC Penny so it elected to do something different, but it may have open itself up to litigation and an anti trust suit due to its activities if it is found to have been in collusion with JC Penny. This would be bad for Google’s business and you can bet that this type of practice will not continue in the future.

The Losers

JC Penny loses out on this deal because it has spent a lot of money on a campaign that is now actually keeping it from achieving its e-commerce goals. Google loses credibility and may face penalties for not handling JC Penny like it has handled other firms. Both firms lose in the long run.

The Winners

Both JC Penny and Google won out in the short run. JC Penny gained market share online and Google sustained its revenues from JC Penny for the pay per click campaign it was offering them.

Conclusion:

Stay away from companies that offer black box SEO solutions where you don’t have to do anything to have your site promoted. It just won’t work in the long run. The best way to gain SEO is to create remarkable content. Remarkable content will make others want to link to your site just as I’ve done in this article and the legitimate links will build the authority of your site.

Your comments are appreciated.

– Joel

Publishing tips for Blogs to improve Search Engine Optimization

Eight simple publishing tips for blogging to improve SEO

  1. Articles should be informative and entertaining. There is no substitute for creating remarkable content.
  2. Articles must be focused on the targets you have specified for your site and blog. By staying with the subject matter you specified you will build depth in your blog that will improve your ranking for the search engine keywords you will need to attract leads you can convert to customers. Use your personality in your style, but do not publish articles about personal issues that do not relate your targets.
  3. The title of the article must be well thought out and eye catching and should contain keywords.
  4. Use headings in the article and include keywords in them.
  5. Articles should be about a page long. If your topic covers a lot of material then break it up into as many articles as needed and publish them as a series. This will keep the length of the article short enough to maintain the readers attention and keep them interested.
  6. Publish frequently and do not worry about being perfect in every thought as the discussions that will occur will refine your thought process and you will learn from the experience while building SEO.
  7. Permalinks – the blog article’s url: should contain keywords as search engines routinely analyse these to determine subject and content.
  8. Be sure to place meta tags in the document

If you know of some tips I could include here comment on them below.

– Joel

7 tips for improving your score on website grader.

Here are seven tips I’ve found effective for improving a website’s score on websitegrader.com.

  1. Start a blog and publish content weekly.
  2. Place meta keywords in the heading of your pages. Example: <META keywords=”Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, JavaScript, AJAX, Business Development, Marketing, Joel Caton, CatonTech”>
  3. Place a meta description in the heading of your pages. Example: <meta name=”description” content=”CatonTech.com is the online home of Joel Caton of Meridian, MS, USA. It is devoted to business and web development with a blog containing articles on topics about AJAX, JQUERY, PHP, LINUX, WEB DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, and MARKETING”>
  4. Place an rss link in the header of your pages. Example: <link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”CatonTech Blog Feed” href=”http://www.catontech.com/blog/?feed=rss2″ />
  5. Register your domain for more than 3 years.
  6. Include a form for registration or email contact on your page.
  7. Include a twitter and facebook buttons and wigits on your page linking your site to your accounts with them.

These 7 tips are guaranteed to improve your score.

– Joel