Google Optimization: Keyword Research

Google optimization is a long-term process in the Search Engine Ranking Game. And is the question on the tip of every business owner’s lips; How do I improve my Google optimization?

Anyway, my first experience with Search Engine Optimization was way back in 2003 when I ran a small recruitment business in South Korea. Back then all it took to rank number 1 on Google was a keyword-rich domain name and some keyword-stuffed content. Those were the days.

Nowadays things are a lot different. Keyword stuffing is out for a start. Thanks to the Panda Google search algorithm update.

Since then there have been thousands of Google algorithm updates. Some worked. Some didn’t. But generally thanks to these updates. You’ll find that Google these days generally prioritizes well written, well keyword researched content in line with user search intent.

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To keep up with Google’s algorithm updates, marketers should prioritize content quality and understand user intent. 

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007

Well, that and nearly 250 other ranking signals. Everything from on-page semantic markup, to backlinks, to expertise, authority and trust (EAT). And not forgetting the all-important page speed optimization that has to be completed for your website before it can rank.

Choosing keywords to get you ranked on Google Search. I find personally, that choosing your keywords for search engine/Google SEO is a lot like panning for gold. You have to sift through a lot of mud before you get a golden nugget.

I’m going to go through one approach for doing keyword research to rank on the Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Doing keyword research for Google ranking is different from doing keyword research for other marketing activities such as content marketing for social media.

Starting Google Optimization of the Rebel City tour.

I’m not in the tourism niche or anything. However, I am in the interactive content and web app space. And in order to raise the profile of Hahamarketing.com as well as to celebrate the 100 years of the birth of the Irish nation. I’ve created a Rebel city tour web app.

The Rebel city tour takes you on a tour of Cork city 100 years ago. Listing the various republican volunteer actions against the British Crown forces in the city.

The tour features everything from bomb factories, assassinations and shootings. All on the streets of Cork city.

And provides geolocation info to steer you between way points on your mobile phone. Assuming you are in the city center with your smartphone. As well as pictures and an audio description of the stories of the Irish war of independence you can access from home.

To take advantage of this [position zero] feature and generate more clicks, include a page of fairly general frequently asked questions and provide clear answers. For example, a sales software provider can post answers to questions such as “What does point-of-sale mean?” to cast a wide net and draw in readers. “More than 50 percent of Google clicks originate from featured snippets

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007

Goals:

I have 3 main goals in mind for this Google optmization project.

  • Create a blog post that’ll drive traffic of at least 100 daily visitors to my Rebel City tour of Cork city from Irish searches within 4 months.
  • Use topic clustering to create relevance for my chosen keyword head term on Google. I will do this by creating a pillar post and several (around 6-8) cluster posts linking back to the pillar post. I hope to produce 1 blog post a week over 7 weeks.
  • Rank my chosen blog post on the first page of the Google SERP in 3 to 4 months for my chosen keyword search term ie. ring of kerry cycle.

Measuring My Progress

There’s hardly much point in setting SMART goals if you can’t measure your progress now is there? To this end, I’ll be monitoring my Google ranking and other metrics in the Google search console.

I’ll also be using Google Analytics to measure my user session time, bounce rate, sessions and other metrics. While keeping a close eye on dimensions such as geolocation, device type and language of visitors.

To use Google Analytics effectively. We’ll first need a measurement plan.

In my measurement plan I’ll set out exactly what it is I wish to measure and what exactly my Key Performance Indicators are going to be. I’ll also be sure to set goals in analytics for things like new users, newsletter subscriptions, video views etc…

A side note about the search volume figures. Generally, you’ll find search volume figures from 2 source categories. Google keyword planner and various other sources such as chrome extensions like whatsmyserp or ubersuggest.

Also SEO tools such as SEMRush.com, SERanking.com and Ahrefs.com provide search volume figures, keyword difficulty and domain authority (DA).

People change. Plain and simple. And as our behavior changes, technology evolves to keep up with our wants and needs. So, search engines have to change too.

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007​

Keyword Difficulty Score

I personally ignore the keyword difficulty metrics from such SEO tools. As I have my own method for ascertaining keyword difficulty, which I describe below. I don’t really trust the SEO tools for this important task.

consumers who search for less popular keywords expend more effort in their search for information and are closer to a purchase, which makes them more targetable

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=8e3a398a-e16e-4111-bcb3-5367cf07d792%40sessionmgr4007​

Domain Authority

As for domain authority. I find it of some use for high-DA websites with E.A.T. Any site with a domain authority of over 70 using these tools. Generally means that it’s a relatively important website. Anything below 70 and the tools start to vary their estimates wildly. Anything below a DA of 30 and the figures should not be trusted in my opinion.

For smaller websites, I prefer to use Alexa ranking instead. Note: Alexa is being retired.

Search Volume Metrics

As for search volume figures. My initial reaction would be this. If you want to find out what people are searching for in Google. Ask Google.

Especially considering Google doesn’t release exact search term volume. The problem however is that keyword planner search volume is bucketed eg. 1K – 10K searches. While also at the same time being broad match. So ring of kerry cycle will be included in search term results for cycling kerry. This has advantages and disadvantages.

Is the search volume from the various SEO tools and extensions any better? And where do they get their data from?

Like I stated previously. Google is really the only one that knows what the search volume figures are.

However by piecing together figures from multiple sources such as Clickstream data, Google ads forecast and user data.

SEO tools take a rough best guess at search figures. While these figures can be useful. They should not be taken for the gospel. They are not accurate exact match figures like the SEO tool creators would have you believe.

The Keyword Research Begins

This is how I personally approach searching for Google optimization and SEO.

First, find a competitor web page that ranks highly in Google for your head term ie. “cork city tour”. You might find it easier to break down search queries into groups when gauging user intent ie. Navigational queries. Informational queries. Commercial queries. And transactional queries.

​Since a tour sales company is in the number 1 spot for this search term. It’s safe to assume that the search intent for this term is commercial.

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Google search term for ‘tour cork city’

Run the leading website of your choice through a Google keyword planner analysis to get a list of relevant keywords. In this case, i’m going to go with the website on the number 1 spot on Google. Now sort the table records by the all important Avg. monthly searches.

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Running Competitor site through Google keyword planner.

According to Google, there is only moderate search volume for terms like cork attractions. However there is lots of search volume for the term ring of kerry. Since Kerry is an adjacent county to Cork. And is only a relatively short drive away. It may be interesting to follow this path and see where it leads.

Taking Ring of Kerry of as my head term I now turn to my whatsmyserp chrome extension. I type ring of kerry in to Google and see what comes up on whatsmyserp.

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Ring of Kerry Cycle Search Term

If you don’t want to use whatsmyserp chrome extension. If for example, you aren’t using chrome. You can get the same results or better using the Google autocomplete function. Which will suggest search terms for you when you start to type a query.

​These search terms will be ranked in order of search volume descending. And are a great indication of Google search volume.

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Google Autocomplete

Whichever solution you use. We can come to the conclusion that the head term ring of kerry gets somewhere in the region of 22K searches per month.

According to our moz bar metrics above. The number 1 webpage in the Google SERP has a DA of 46 and has 554 backlinks to their webpage.

Although, it’s the quality of the backlink that counts. Not the number. At this initial stage, this page is probably too competitive to be pursued. Instead of the head term, it makes more sense to go after a long-tail derivative search term instead.

​It seems – from whatsmyserp – that ring of kerry cycle is a popular long-tail search term. Definitely something worth looking into. So again, we search for user intent and general Google search results by entering the search term ring of kerry cycle into Google.

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UGC content for Google search term ‘ring of kerry cycle’

BINGO

On this Google results page or SERP. We find web pages from charity donation sites, sports clinics. But most telling of all – less prominent User Generated Content (UGC) pages from social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. This tells me that it will be worth my while competing for this search term.

Finally, so the question remains. What does a Rebel city tour in Cork city have to do with a cycle around the ring of Kerry?

Well perhaps we’ll create a blog post or web page which ties one to the other. Maybe a web page with the title… ‘Ring of Kerry cycle finished. What’s next?’ well, come to Cork city and do the Rebel city tour of course.

Of course creating a blog post for online content creation is another blog post which I hope you’ll read.

​Happy Hunting!

Page Speed Optimization for SEO

Intro

Wondering how page speed optimization can help with SEO?

Ever since Google introduced mobile-first page indexing. Page speed has become a top priority for web devs and marketers alike on the net. Especially since large websites stand to lose millions of Euros or more for every fraction of a second their website takes to download.

Don’t forget to check out our guide to keyword research for SEO and our guide to keyword research strategy for content creation while you are researching SEO strategies.

Have you ever wondered why Google search queries have such a fast page speed? Google optimizes it’s algorithms and page speed for this task. And Google expects you to conduct page speed optimization as well.

Slow loading is detrimental for search engine optimization (SEO) because it can lower your site’s ranking, resulting in fewer visits, reads, and conversions; ​

https://searchengineland.com/google-speed-update-page-speed-will-become-ranking-factor-mobile-search-289904
SEO Site Check
SEO Site Checker

Page Speed Optimization; Reducing Your Page Speed

We’re going to go through some high-level paths to increasing your page speed. Leaving out the bleeding edge solutions that may or may not shave milliseconds off your page speed. We’ll focus on some basic page speed optimization techniques in this post.

Generally for the web, your page size should be around 500KB or half a MB. And should load in less than 3 seconds on a mobile device.

So let’s begin shall we?

Any site that takes longer than three seconds to load is in serious SEO trouble. Ensuring that any multimedia content is optimized for fast load time and performance is key. 

https://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6a6ca944-a419-48d4-92f8-b15d211cd923%40sessionmgr4007​


Tip 1: Optimize your images

No doubt. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when you optimize images on your webpage.

Image Format:

There are 3 main image formats that are compatible with modern browsers. PNG, JPEG and WEBP. Some people recommend WebP images. While they do have better compression ratios and are compatible with most modern browsers.

I personally use png when details are intricate, I need transparency or the resolution required is high. And I use JPEG otherwise. PNG formatted images are known as lossless images. They store all the image information.

JPEG images on the other hand are lossy. They lose some of the image information during compression.

Raster vs Vector Images:

When to use raster vs vector images: Raster images ie. PNG, JPEG or WEBP encode information pixel by pixel usually. This is memory and bandwidth intensive. Especially for mobile devices.

Vector images on the other hand. Simply trace or outline images and can be resized easily. They are suitable for patterns and logos. But not for photos or detailed images.

Serve responsive images:

By serving images of the required dimensions. You can save memory, bandwidth and page speed times all at once. Responsive images are served from adaptive websites and are common in Content Management Systems such as WordPress.

Adjust the bit depth of your image:

If you were a painter, you wouldn’t squeeze red, blue and orange paint on to your palette. If you knew your painting only required black and white paint. This is kinda like adjusting the bit depth of your image.

If you have to use banner or larger images, the adjusting bit depth can create large gains. By removing colors from the palette that aren’t necessary.

Use Delta Encoding for Your Images:

Delta encoding works like this. If you have 2 adjacent pixels of the same colour. Then why waste space saving the information on both pixels? Just save one pixel’s information and only save the difference for the second pixel. In this case the delta would be zero.

Remove EXIF Data on Your Images:

Each image you create is stored with EXIF data. Everything from GPS location if the device has a GPS chip. To camera information and so on.

Lazy Load Your Images:

By loading images on your webpage. Only when the visitor scrolls down the page and consumes the images. You can save significant resources.

Personally, I use browser-level image lazy-loading. This form of lazy loading is compatible with most modern devices and is easy to implement.

Add new post wordpress
WordPress Javascript Optimization

Tip 2: Optimize Your Javascript:

Use the PPRL Pattern to Preload Javascript Assets. The PRRL acronym stands for Preload, Precache, Render and Lazy load.

  • Preload the most important assets first.
  • Render the initial route ASAP.
  • Pre-cache the remaining assets.
  • Lazy load other routes and non-critical assets.

Generally though, while also using the PRPL pattern. It’s best to inline critical JS and CSS above the fold for your webpage.

Precaching assets with a service worker can help your page operate offline and reduce resources and page speed at the same time. Workbox provides a collection of tools that allow you to create and maintain a service worker to cache assets.

Code Split Your Javascript

Decide upon what JS you need and what JS you don’t need for every page.

There is no point in downloading a large JS file on webpage number 1. If the JS is only used on web page number 2.

Use web dev tools to find code that isn’t being used. And split it into different files.

Remove unused JS:

Any code that isn’t used on your site. You should get rid of. Use chrome web dev tools to find unused code. This holds especially true for libraries that might contain lots of unused JS code.

Press Control+Shift+J (or Command+Option+J on Mac) to open Dev Tools.

  1. Click the Network tab.
  2. Select the Disable cache checkbox.
  3. Reload the page
  4. Check coverage tab
  5. Compression and minification of JS:

Minification:

Minification is the process of removing extraneous characters from your code ie. newlines and white spaces. If you are debugging on the client side. You can always use a Pretty Print function to create readable code again.

Tip 3: Compression

​Compression is the ability of the server to zip or compress files and resources before sending them over the network to your device.Make sure your server is compressing it’s downloadable content before sending it to the browser.

This can save you lots of time and bandwidth at the end of the day. 

Google Results Page Editor Example
Google Results Page Editor Tool – Great for SEO.

Finally

So that’s a brief run through of the various aspects of page speed optimization. We didn’t cover the other methods of optimizing page speed. Simply because of the diminishing returns those methods will achieve. 

First concentrate on the above. If your web page speed is still too slow. Check your server for Time To First Byte and other metrics. 

Page speed optimization is a great first step towards optimal Google ranking. However writing great content is also a must. For info on how to research Google optimization.

Alternatively, if ranking on Google isn’t  your thing. And you’d prefer to be the toast of the content networks ie. YouTube, Reddit, IndieHackers.

Read this blog post on keyword research for creating online content.

Happy Hunting!

The Fancy Text Generator by Hahamarketing.com

With the Fancy Text Generator by Hahamarketing.com, your social media words become art.

Facebook Social Media Font Generator
Facebook post with the Font Generator

What is this fancy word art generator used for?

Ever wish you could use fonts on your social media profile, or anywhere else on the Internet?

Do you want to spice things up on your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok or Instagram feeds?

Now you can choose from our create a range of fonts and post to social media, and the web in general, to your heart’s content.

Mix things up with a classic sans font. Add some class with a traditional serif font.

The world wide web is your oyster with our font generator…

LinkedIn Social Media Font Generator Image
LinkedIn Fancy Text Generator. Words + Font = Art.

Enjoying using the Fancy Text Generator?

Why not commission your own custom web tool to get yourself noticed online? It’s easy and surprisingly great value for money.

Alternatively, link back to this page from your website or blog so that your visitors can see how easy it is to write on social media using cool fonts.

Although we created the font generator with Social Media in mind. You can cut-and-paste from our font generator onto any website on the web that supports Unicode.

Hahamarketing.com Suite Of B2B Tools

Finally, check out our range of B2B tools and see how easy it is to jump start your sales and marketing process. These tools are guaranteed to boost your sales and productivity as well as taking the pain-inducing, manual tasks out of your marketing workflow.

Alternatively, check out our portfolio of the work we’ve completed on-time and on-budget. We can help your business get noticed online in no time. Start today.

Contact Us Today

At Hahamarketing.com, we help small businesses get noticed online. Contact us today for a free consultation and start earning leads and customers for your business.

Prevent a turkey-astrophe this Christmas. The Turkey in time press release.

Turkey in Time Logo
Turkey in time logo by Hahamarketing.com

I created the turkey in time cooking calculator for my elderly mum. To help her cook the Christmas turkey during lockdown.

Dara, Creator of Turkey in Time.

The story behind the turkey calculator.

As my parents get on in years, it’s getting more and more difficult for them to cook the holiday (Christmas) meal every year. My mum especially is having trouble with the turkey.

This is only aggravated by COVID. Since lockdown is a very real possibility again this year in Ireland. I won’t be able to guarantee that I can come home to help with the turkey.

Hence, the turkey in time web calculator, to make it as easy as possible for my mum to create the perfect holiday turkey.

How does Turkey in time work exactly?

I developed the Turkey in time web page to guide, even the most novice of cooks, through the turkey cooking process. I wanted the interface to be as easy to use as possible.

You simply enter your turkey weight, stuffing and eating time. And the turkey in time calculator will tell you when to start prepping your turkey. When and how long to cook your turkey.

You can also download a turkey cooking tips and tricks guide. There’s a video. There’s also a link where you can purchase your turkey and all/any ingredients.

Hahamarketing.com founder
Dara Burke, founder of Hahamarketing.com

Bio of the creator.

My name is Dara Burke, from Cork city, Ireland. I’m the creator of the Turkey in Time web page.

I’ve been a web nerd for nearly 20 years now. I spent 6 years in South Korea after finishing engineering at University College Cork. I ran a web business in Korea called EnglishTeachingKorea.com, which paid for my world adventures. And which I eventually sold after returning to Ireland.

I took the time to travel extensively around India, China, Russia, South East Asia, Europe, Japan, the Philippines, the USA and many other countries. In addition, I got the opportunity to travel the trans-Siberian railway journey from Beijing to Europe.

I’ve also lived and worked in several countries such as Germany, Belgium, England, Korea, the US etc…

I’m a recent graduate of Dublin Business School where I completed the Digital Marketing postgrad with a 1st class honours grade.

When I’m not taking history walks around Cork city. I’m working on passion projects and client projects with Hahamarketing.com. Or training in the local gym.

I can be reached by email at dara@hahamarketing.com. I’d be happy to arrange a time to be interviewed over the phone or by video conference.

I hope you enjoyed Turkey in Time.

Happy Holidays.

Blogging For Saas Founders?

In this article, blogging for SaaS founders. We’ll cover everything you need to know to start marketing your blog professionally in the Saas niche. For info on improving your writing style. Try our blog article Why Does Your Writing Suck?

Also, you’ll find tons of ways to improve your blog writing and gain engagement by taking inspiration from our blog article 10+ Ways To Tighten Up Your Blog Writing. Thank us later.

Marketing Your Saas Product By Starting a Blog.

So you have created or are creating a Saas product. It launches with it’s core functionality inbuilt. You’ve been careful to make sure that you stuck to Eric Reis’ Minimum Viable Product theory of development.

You know the Software Development Life Cycle like the back of your hand. You might be out of BETA. Whether you are a developer working alone. Or with a team. Thank God for Git right?

Surely creating the application is the hard part? I mean if someone can master the range of skills needed to run a Saas. Then they can surely handle the marketing aspect as well? Wrong.

If you build it customers won’t nessecarily find it and subscribe on the Internet. No matter how good a product it is. Or what kind of problem it solves. I learned this the hardway. When I got burned by the Saas niche.

As a matter of fact. Crapware software sold right. Has a much better chance of gaining market share than proper web development work that isn’t. Just look at any public repo on Git and you’ll find a rogues gallery of software products, written by great devs and dev teams. That just weren’t sold right?

So How Do I Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen To Your SaaS Product?

If you have a marketing department. Then you can leave the marketing to the pros. If you have a marketing and a sales department then lucky you. I’m assuming in this case that you have funding and are looking to expand aggressively.

If you don’t have a marketing and sales department then don’t worry. Either way, a blog is an excellent way to start your inbound, content marketing journey.

So How Do I Start Blogging As A Saas Founder?

We’re going to give you tips here on how to prepare to begin blogging as SaaS founders. Before writing your blog article for your SaaS. These tips are generally SaaS specific. But can also be used by anyone writing a blog for any niche.

  1. Start with the customer in mind. Do your market research beforehand. Know who your target market is. What problem you are solving for them. And which channels they use to communicate with each other.
  2. Create Buyer Personas. Print them out and write articles to engage them one-by-one. Keep them close to the screen when you write.
  3. Next to your Buyer Persona print out. Write down the purpose of the blog article eg. gain customers, newsletter subscribers, video views etc…
  4. Do your keyword research before you begin. Important. No point in doing this after you finish. Or you might have to rewrite substantial parts of your blog post. Treat keyword research as if you are mining for gold. Most of the big nuggets are collected upstream. Go for the small volume, long-tail keywords.
  5. Don’t forget to do a Google search for your chosen keywords. This will reveal user intent.
  6. Read the blog posts of your competition and others in your industry for ideas.
  7. Only post if you have completely SURE (Specific, Unique, Relevant, Engaging) content.
  8. List benefits not features eg. our product auto-magically sends an SMS to your phone when someone submits a WordPress content form. Feature. Instead, say something like. Never miss out on another lead from your WordPress site by losing to a competitor that responds faster.
  9. Use foreshadowing. Tell the reader what you’ll cover in your article. Without them having to read the whole thing.
  10. Make it scannable. Very few customers have the time to read lengthy blog articles in these days filled with information overload. Highlight text in bold and provide infographics where possible.
  11. Use many CTA’s (Call To Actions). Whether you are looking for new subscribers to your newsletter. Or to your app. Make sure you have prominent CTA’s on your page.
  12. Avoid jargon and marketing-speak.
  13. Use highly descriptive and personal power words eg. exhilarating, outstanding.
  14. Have a theme for your post. Write posts for each stage of the Buyer’s Journey ie. Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Loyalty.
  15. Video is the king of content. If video is impossible. Then try some Interactive Content.
  16. Create both pillar posts and cluster posts. Pillar posts cover a broad subject comprehensively. Cluster posts are shorter and cover niche questions and keywords. Cluster posts link back to pillar posts. Helping to establish relevance in Google’s eyes. Every pillar post should have at least 8 cluster posts. These are called topic clusters.
  17. Back up your blog. Remember if you are using WordPress. You’ll have to back up your database in order to backup your blog.
  18. Make your posts conversational.
  19. Be figurative. Not literal. eg. This product is a lifesaver. Not. This product is a great help.
  20. Create a working title first. In your pen and paper outline of your blog post. Write down at least 5 titles. Before choosing the best one. A/B test.

For more expert tips on blogging. Check out the free HubSpot Inbound Marketing Course at HubSpot.com.

Last word on marketing your SaaS By Blogging…

Remember, those businesses that educate the best. Will gain the most market share. Take that advice to heart when you begin your journey blogging as SaaS founders.

Also, don’t forget the fundamentals of writing a blog ie.

  • Goal Setting
  • SEO
  • Social Media Promotion
  • Conversions
  • Reporting
  • Email Marketing.

Armed with these tips. You should have a leg up on the competition with regards to writing a blog post to promote your Saas.

Should you have any further tips on writing the perfect blog post. Make sure to let us know in the comments below. Or ask a question if you wish and we’ll respond ASAP.

Happy Hunting!

10+ Ways To Tighten Up Your Blog Writing.

Exploring ways to tighten up your blog writing?

Now, I didn’t do too bad in my leaving cert (end of school exams). The only reason I didn’t do even better though. Was because my language results let me down. Irish and German in particular.

My first job out of college was in the German department of a hotel booking chain. The reason I could speak German all day. Yet didn’t receive an A grade in my school exams. Was because I’m a grammar phobe. I hate grammar.

On that note, I thought it about time that I clean up my writing a little. And tackle some of the more common English grammar mistakes. Lest I repeat them again and again in my blogging.

Improving Your Writing.

I’ve tried to break down some simple grammar principles here. In language even I can understand. With some help from the guys and girls at Google.com, GrammarCheck.net and Grammarly.com. So if you get the chance. You should check the grammar sites out for yourself.

Don’t forget to check out some of my other posts on improving your writing style such as Why Does Your Writing Suck?

Can Your Blog Benefit From These Writing Mistakes, Simplified?

Let’s assume, since you are a blogger. You know the difference between there and their. And it’s and its. If you don’t, then Google is your friend. We are going to run through some other grammatical errors that people (me) make in their blog from time to time.

  • Who’s vs Whose. Who’s is abbreviated for who is or who has. While whose is a pronoun, so describes a person. Eg. Who’s developed that website? Whose computer is that?
  • Effect vs Affect. If you are talking about cause and effect. Use effect, the noun. Otherwise use affect, the verb. Eg. That medication had no effect on me. I took the medicine, but it didn’t affect me.
  • Who vs Whom. try this simple trick: If you can replace the word with “he”’ or “’she,” use who. If you can replace it with “him” or “her,” use whom. Eg. The computer belonged to whom? Who bought a new computer?
  • Then vs Than. Then is used in order or sequence. Than is used in comparison. Eg. He installed the computer, then took a break. He had more than one cup of coffee.
  • : (colon) vs ; (semi-colon). colons are used to show something is following. Semi-colons join 2 independent clauses. Eg. John said: “I don’t want to do it”. John went to the shop; I followed him there.
  • That vs Which.  If you can remove the clause without destroying the meaning of the sentence, the clause is nonessential and you can use which. Eg. That’s the best website that I have ever seen. That’s the best computer which I saw all day.
  • Regard vs Regards. Regard is used to express consideration. Regards is a friendly greeting. Eg. She shows no regard for others. My kindest regards to you and your family.
  • As regards vs With Regards vs In Regards. With regards and in regards can be used interchangeably. As regards is used to introduce a topic. Eg. With regards to the rules on web design… As regards to the new web design rules.
  • In vs On. Use in when something is located inside of a defined space. Use on when something is touching the surface of something.
  • Commas vs full stops. A full stop ends a sentence. A comma shows a pause, breaks up a list or separates part of a sentence. If in doubt, use a full stop.
  • For vs To. Use “to” when the reason or purpose is a verb. Use “for” when the reason or purpose is a noun.
  • Quotes vs Italics. I use quotes only to reference written or spoken words. Otherwise, I use italics.

More ways of tightening up your blog writing?

Are there any simple writing mistakes that I’m missing? If so comment below and I’ll add them to this blog post

Also, if you are interested in more web tips in general. Don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter on the Hahamarketing subscription homepage. We’ll keep you up to date with writing and general web tips.

Happy Hunting!

Why Does Your Writing Suck?

Does your writing suck? For a number of years, after college. I taught English part-time in South Korea to kids of different ages. Going through the same grammar and writing textbooks day after day. Not only gave me a new-found respect for teachers.

But also drilled some of the rules of writing English into me. Which up to that point were skills that had been sorely lacking.

Reasons To Hone Your Writing Craft.

There are many reasons to tidy up your writing style. Especially if you are a blogger or copywriter. Not only does your writing style get noticed by your visitors. But it can also affect your Google position.

While I don’t pretend to be a professional writer or copywriter. I do write occasionally for Hahamarketing.com. So it’s in my best interests to study the craft. I think you might find this guide useful. Especially if you are a novice writer who blogs or writes on the side.

I’ll keep updating this post with tips as time goes by. So if you have any good tips you’d like to see included. Please don’t hesitate to comment below. Or follow this link for more of my writing tips.

Your Writing Technique Will Effect Your Google Position.

Google knows when you’ve been naughty. Misusing commas, prepositions or parenthesis. And for sites that aim to achieve Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) in Google’s eyes.

Especially for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites eg. medical, financial websites. Among the ranking signals will be grammar, sentence construction, spelling mistakes, tone and general writing technique.

What’s more, because Google uses behavioural signals as a ranking factor. The more people who respond to your web copy on the Google results pages (SERPs). The higher your website will climb on the Google rankings.

Many of these tips were researched by myself on Google. Some were taken from grammarcheck.net; I’d recommend you check this website out if you have the time.

Tips To Stop Your Writing From Sucking.

  • Use full stops. Not commas. Commas are used to separate independent clauses and after coordinating conjunctions eg. and, yet, but, so, for, or, nor. Too many commas make a sentence cumbersome to read. Read your sentence out loud. If you need to take a breath. Then it’s too long. Also, use commas instead of parentheses (brackets) if you can.
  • Tell a story. If your writing does suck. Then maybe this is one of the reasons. Brands with a great brand story. Are 20 times as effective in selling as brands without. Whether you are writing for personal enjoyment, business or a bit of both. If you publish to the web. Then you have a brand.
  • Vary your sentence length. Write paragraphs with varying sentence length for best results generally. Like a musician varying the cords played on his/her instrument. Short sentences add pace. Long sentences slow the pace down.
  • Use pronouns sparingly. Let the subject of the sentence do the work. Eg. Tom opened the can. Not. He opened the can. Don’t use it/she/he unless you really have to.
  • Paragraphs. should have no more than 4 sentences in them. Separate your ideas. For each statement or idea. Create a new paragraph. Avoid the wall-of-text effect. Break up your paragraphs. Especially important for mobile copy.
  • Use adverbs sparingly. adverbs are for lazy writers. Show. Don’t Tell. Eg. Tom turned on the computer quickly. Try instead. Tom was so fast, it seemed like the computer turned on by itself.
  • Keep your writing as tight as possible. If you can say it in fewer words. Then do so. Avoid redundancy. Be merciless.
  • Read your work out loud. Catch any stray words or inelegant sentences.
  • Avoid passive voice in your writing. Eg. The code got written on the computer. Try instead. Bill wrote some great code on his computer.
  • Keep sentences short. Sentences should have no more than 15 words in them.
  • Pick a tone for your blog eg. informal, educational, business, fun. Be consistent with your voice.
  • It’s not about writing. It’s all about rewriting. Take some time to edit your article. Leave at least a few hours and return to your article with fresh eyes before releasing it.
  • Ending A Sentence With A Preposition. This isn’t a grammatical error believe it or not. And it’s fine when writing to friends or family. However in a business or formal setting. Avoid. Eg. What did he need the computer for?

Does Your Writing Still Suck?

Lastly, I’d just like to add. The browser extension from grammarly.com is a must-have for any budding writer. It’s chrome compatible and really helps to cut down on those pesky spelling and legibility errors. if you have any personal writing tips that you think I’ve missed. I’d be happy to add them to the list.

Before You Go.

Also, if you are blogging with WordPress. The Yoast.com SEO plugin gives you both an SEO and readability analysis of your writing. On top of other great features. Both of these pieces of software come with free versions that are great.

Happy Hunting!

How Do You Choose Software For Your Small Business Without It Ending Badly?

Choosing software for your small business can be a make or break opportunity. You need something that’s value for money. Doesn’t go offline too often and allows you to take your data with you should you decide to switch to another provider down the line.

In this article, i’m going to go through the 10 points I look for in a software vendor solution. In the hope that it can give your small business some food for thought.

Intro:

I have a checklist of requirements that I go through before committing to choosing software for my small business.

It’s not only the cost involved in subscribing to the new software that matters. But there’s also the not inconsiderable time commitment required in learning a new user interface and workflow.

1) Does It Have Data Portability?

Can you switch software service providers and take your customers and customer data with you when you go? Important. Especially when it comes to payment gateways like Paypal or Stripe.

Ask their support before committing to a solution.

2) Server / Bandwidth issues.

How fast is the service? Simple test. Sign-up for a free trial and access the service online via your web browser. Is the site slow or fast?

If it’s slow, check Google to see if Google is slow or fast. If both are slow. Then it’s your own Internet connection. If Google is quick. Then it’s the vendor’s software that is slow. 

3) Investigate Uptime.

The length of time between the vendor’s service going offline for any reason. Worth checking out for your software solution (see below).

4) Support.

Always test support. Often software companies will offer support over Twitter. Some companies are based on the other side of the world and work 9-5.

So it takes at least 24hrs for support to get back to you. Also, is the support helpful and knowledgeable?

5) Sign up for a free trial.

Generally, software vendors have a free trial. If you sign up but get distracted and can’t spend the time to test. Ask them to extend your free trial for another few weeks.

Make the time to test the system the second time around. I often get an extension on a free trial for software I haven’t used much the first time around.

6) Check online reviews.

Most important.

Sites like trustpilot.comcapterra.comg2.com all contain customer reviews of software services. The best thing to do is to type in “my-software review” into Google and look for one of these sites. Where “my-software” is the name of the software product you’re researching.

7) Does the site have a status subdomain?

Eg. “status.acuityscheduling.com“. Acuity Scheduling has a status page that gets updated if they go offline for whatever reason. The status page should also tell you the uptime of the site. AcuitySheduling has a 99.98% uptime, which is good.

8) Does the software have an up to date changelog?

Bit of a technical one. But you want software that is updated and improved often. The changelog displays changes made to the software. The when and the what. So type “changelog mypthub.com” into google and it brings up the latest changes to the software. 

9) Does it have a WordPress plugin?

Not a deal-breaker, but handy nonetheless. Especially if your website runs the WordPress content management system.

Most software should have a WordPress plugin that gets updated regularly. WordPress runs 38% of websites so it’s a good sign if the software integrates with WordPress.

To check type “my-software WordPress plugin” and see what comes up. 

10) Are you contacted over social media (particularly LinkedIn) by a company employee after signing up?

Good sign. Gives you a go-to person to contact with any issues you are having.

Generally this means the company has their house in order in my opinion.

Conclusion:

Finally, I’d suggest shopping around when it comes to choosing software for your small business. Often up-and-coming software vendors will try to make a name for themselves by offering features for free. That their more established rivals are charging for.

If you think I’ve missed any steps in the list. Let me know in the comments below. Alternatively if you have any questions. Just leave a comment or else contact us.

Don’t forget to read our blog post on sourcing free images for your business. If you market to clients in the health, nutrition or fitness niche. Make sure you check out the Hahamarketing.com Health Profiler.

Happy Hunting!

Trading Online Voucher Scheme Tips #2: ThinkBusiness.ie Advice

Next in our series of articles about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme by the Local Enterprise Office in Ireland. We talk to John Kennedy from the Bank Of Ireland business resource site ThinkBusiness.ie.

If you’ve never visited ThinkBusiness.ie, we suggest you check it out for information that concerns Irish businesses.

For more information on the Trading Online Voucher Scheme read our blog post. For specific advice from the Local Enterprise Office please view our article.

What is the current state of Irish e-commerce in 2021 John in your opinion?

Better than it was certainly. At one stage only 1 in 4 Irish companies had an online payment facility. It’s improved a lot lately. Back in 2014 it was estimated that 70% of all e-commerce transactions left Irish shores. Nowadays it’s estimated that 60% of irish people buy from overseas.

The government started the Trading Online Voucher Scheme 5 or 6 years ago. They made it a big focus. Today companies such as Salt+soul, siar photography, ps i love you and many others are reaping the whirlwind.

Salt+soul used to do 70% of their business online. Now it’s 100%.

Multyfarnham cookery school did only 10% of their business online. Since the pandemic, that’s increased to 100%. So 100% of their revenue comes from the Internet. They received the help of their Local Enterprise Office in Westmeath.

How has the pandemic changed the way people do business in Ireland?

Online matters now more than ever. However, there are still disadvantages to shopping online though. Such as waiting weeks for goods to come from abroad. Then there’s Brexit and customs charges.

What would your advice be to business owners who are thinking about expanding their online presence?

Enquire at your Local Enterprise Office. Online marketing is hard. The Local Enterprise Office will help you with site, training and ongoing support. Take this opportunity with both hands.

A lot of shoppers and consumers won’t be going back to shopping offline in my opinion.

The bigger sister to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme is the Online Retail Scheme. So businesses should check that out if they don’t qualify for the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.

Has the Trading Online Voucher Scheme been a successful business-incentive program in your experience? How could it be improved in your opinion?

It could be improved by having more case studies coming to the surface. It’s a great thing that it exists at all. Anything that helps.

Which online tools should small business owners know about when beginning to trade online?

Pointy.com helps you bring all your inventory online. It’s an Irish company that was acquired by Google. They created a piece of hardware that interfaces with your Point Of Sale software. They help drive footfall to your brick-and-mortar shop.

Sharing your site to a local community group on Facebook is a good idea.

Shopify.com covers everything to building website, training, online promotions. It may not be your own website but allows you to trade online.

Also, some retailers display a QR code in their window for customers to scan and be taken to their website.

Which niches are in the best position to capitalise on the scheme and on online trading in general?

I would have thought it’d be clothes and physical goods. But really it’s people being inventive. Necessity is the mother of invention.

The ones that surprised me most were people who had something to train or teach.

What is your advice to business owners who are thinking about applying for the scheme?

If you don’t already have a relationship with your Local Enterprise Office. You should have. Start by enquiring.

Local Enterprise Offices are keen to help. Talk to them. See what’s feasible. 

How can business owners maximize their budget with the scheme?

Do your research. If you plan to spend on tools, courses and platforms. How does that fit in with your working capital cost?

People don’t have time, the problem is lack of time and trying to keep the lights on.

The Local Enterprise Office will direct you better in terms of what is a priority and what isn’t. 

Study other businesses and see what they invest in. Make sure you spend your cash on the right things. Web designers aren’t cheap. 

What sort of support does the banking sector (and BOI in particular) offer to SME’s that they should know about?

We did some work with Shopify, Pointy and the E-commerce Association before Christmas. Talk to your bank manager and check out what’s available. The banking sector is a key part in keeping the lights on. Do your research. 

Having taken on the government schemes is a string in your bow. The Credit Guarantee Scheme helps with funding if a business needs to expand. These are loans underwritten by the government.

Anything you’d like to add that might be important to readers?

Just that digital is the future. People are shopping online out of necessity and convenience. You can still have a relationship with your loyal customers.

Online selling means your business keeps selling while you sleep.

Conclusion:

A big thanks to John Kennedy from ThinkBusiness.ie for taking the time to share his experience.

Online trading is clearly the future and is here to stay whether you like it or not. Contact your Local Enterprise Office. Do your research. Start today.

If you would like to discuss any of these tips. Please leave a comment below.

For a free consultation about developing, marketing or designing a website or expanding your online presence. Contact us.