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Who do you write for?

Ask a journalist who do they write for and they’ll probably ream off a list of magazines or newspaper.

Ask a web copywriter who they write for and they may list of a load of clients. But really when you’re asking that of a web copywriter that’s not necessarily the answer you’re seeking. The first on their list should be the reader. Of course you do some writing for the client and of course if you’re including keywords and key phrases in the text to help with SEO, well you’re writing for the search engines and their algorithms and systems.

Dealing with inadequate content

Some people to seem to think that a Google patent in relation to ‘inadequate content’ means that keyword stuffed, uninteresting and useless content will be filtered out of results. That’s great for search engine users so – they’ll probably get the useful information they came to the internet for in the first place. It’s a great theory – but there are other things at play…

According to the Financial Times “Google obtained a patent this year for a system that would help it identify “inadequate content” on the web, based on comparisons of what people search for and what they find.” This information could be sold to online publishers or given away.

The SEO by the Sea blog raises the question as to whether people would start writing content on areas because Google suggests there’s a lack of content on that topic? He also says that sometimes people blame the search engine as opposed to content creators when they get search engine results they aren’t happy with.  He adds: “It’s possible that there may be information on that query or topic that isn’t in a very search engine friendly format, which couldn’t be indexed by the search engine. It’s also possible that there just aren’t very many quality pages that might provide results on those topics.”

Referencing the Financial Times article on TechCentral.ie they’re saying “If true this could lead to a paradigm shift in how companies handle copywriting to become more reader- over system-oriented.”

So how ready are you for whatever Google is going to next throw at us? Do you have quality content? Do you think it matters? Are you writing for the reader?

Does what it says on the tin

Recently we underwent a name change and you’re now reading a blog post on webcontent.ie, the website of Web Content Partners. For a year this business operated under the business name Elaine Larkin Media.

But we weren’t happy with it. We felt it didn’t really reflect or portray in any way what business we’re in. Lots of business names don’t, but to have a more relevant business name had been important since the idea of setting up a web content business came to us back in the summer of 2008.

Elaine, the founder of this web content copywriting business spent a year on an Enterprise Platform Programme in Waterford and would regularly tear her hair out looking for the perfect business name. Early favourites were Pure Content and Fresh Content. Content, though an absolutely vague term, (it covers off audio and video as well as the written word) was high up there in the words the business name should include. Writer, writer or writing didn’t appeal – no disrespect meant to others with these words in their business names!

Some people don’t have a problem with picking a business name, but for us everything from esperanto online dictionaries to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable were perused. Online polls were created, results collated only to find the most popular names were registered trademarks in other countries or the URLs were unavailable in .com or .co.uk which can be nice to have.

One day, we came across Dropped.ie, typed in ‘content’ and webcontent.ie. It was love at first sight and out came the Laser card. As it’s no longer possible to register a .ie business name with the Companies Registration Office and because there’s a grey area about operating a business with a URL (such as webcontent.ie) we decided to register the business name Web Content Partners. (Any clarification on this welcome!)

Then it was back to both the web designer and graphic designer to make changes to existing website and logo and that was it really.

Sure, the name is a bit long, but the fact of the matter is we do partner with and are available to partner with a variety of service providers in the digital world: web designers, web developers, marketing agencies, digital agencies, SEO professionals, internet marketing companies, publishing companies and so on. That is apart from working directly with clients.

And we’re not limited to working with those just on our doorstep  Wexford or neighbouring counties like Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow or Tipperary. We regularly travel to Dublin for client meetings and this is the kind of work that can be done online and with occasional telephone contact.

What do you think of this little rebrand? Anything we should have done different in your opinion?

Inseperable: excellent design and excellent content

Reading is something I do a lot. At times, I just scan over the content of a broadsheet, a magazine, an e-mail newsletter or an online news website. Other times, I read every word in detail. Or, words jump out at me. I love seeing how different words can be used in different situations, or more interestingly what substitute words are not used. It’s all about reading between the lines.

One word that jumped out at me lately was the word ‘inseperable’. It was in an obituary and the relationship between the lady who had died (may she rest in peace) and her husband. They were described as ‘inseperable’ and nobody could recall seeing one without the other in decades. I thought that was sweet, to me it said something about a certain type of relationship from a certain era.

It made me think about relationships nowadays and how eyebrows are as equally raised if a couple are seen together the whole time or if they never seem to be in each others’ company.

Anyway, that was just a musing and I couldn’t really figure out whether inseperable is good or bad in human relationships. (I think it’s bad if say one half of the couple is more dependent on the other and doesn’t mix with anybody other than their inseperable half. But I think being inseperable while alose retaining strong friendships and relationships with others is a sign of soulmates or two halves becoming one. But less of that).

So anyway, my mind brought me off on an Alain Botton-esque tangent into the philosophy of love and relationships, but ultimately brought me back to the role the word inseperable has to play in my business. I’m in the business of words, writing online copy for businesses websites, ensuring that the content naturally contains those all-important keywords so that it’s found easily. But I also concentrate on good writing, making sure the content is interesting and readable, written in such a way that the reader wants to read it.

But, I’m a strong believer in good design and this is where the word inseperable comes into play. Why have a beautifully designed website if it’s just pretty to look but nothing else (unless maybe you’re just a visual artist and communicate in pictures and not words). The whole point of the exercise (in most business cases anyway) is that the website is informative or it makes people want to hire you or buy your product.

If your content is just slapped together by four or five people in the office, not edited for consistency, has no style about it, is way too long, or not informing enough, is filled with misspellings etc, it’s just not going to wow either existing clients or potential customers or investors. Good design and good content are inseperable. It’s a bit like being all dressed up and nowhere to go. You can separate the two, but really, honestly, in the age that content is king, you really shouldn’t.

The power of persuasive advertising

About a week ago, tired of my laptop slowing up and Internet Explorer crashing etc, I decided to do things like Defrag and delete unused programs and realising I only have 15% capacity left, bought an extrenal hard drive. One of the programs I removed was Google Chrome. I like messaging my friends on Gmail chat. I find it a pain in the a$$ to have Chrome and Explorer open. I pressed remove. Great. Only since then everywhere I’ve been seen “Have you got Google Chrome it’s faster”. I don’t have it, haven’t plugged in my externald hard drive yet, and my computer is chugging away worse than ever. So I’ve just downloaded Google Chrome again. And in the course of writing this I’ve realised it is now letting me use Google Chat. Yay!