I’ve just finished a round of website reviews, and I’m here to tell anyone listening (which includes contacting a slew of former clients with whom I remain in close contact) that you need to implement or update your About and/or FAQ pages.
I know a number of bloggers using Blogger (Blogspot blogs) either avoided creating such pages or simply made posts they linked to and have passed out of mind as they have passed from sight. But now that Blogger offers “pages,” you’re out of excuses.
I know a number of people who said their site was so new no questions had been asked, let alone any questions frequently asked, so they put it off for another day… Those days have rolled into how many seasons or even years now? *wink*
Even those of you who took great efforts to create such information pages should really take another look at them…
The truth is About pages and FAQs are quite popular and important pages. They are where people look to make contact with you, where they look for more information to evaluate if and how to do business with you. That business may be buying ad space, arranging a link swap, or finding additional information needed in order to commit to buying your widget. In any case, every time that page isn’t found, you’ve likely lost that sale.
After the round of such poor and just plain missing pages, I’m almost certain your site’s About and FAQ pages would benefit from a critical update. I’d bet my reputation on it.
Would you bet your reputation on them? Because you are, you know.
If you aren’t sure that your primary information pages are up to snuff, get them (and the rest of your site) evaluated by with a website review.
If you’re not sure just what information is necessary, which questions and answers should be on your FAQ, contact us about a consultation. We can assist you with a simple list of what you need, write it for you — even code it for you, if necessary. Contact me with your needs and budget.
Because of our years of experience in the Internet trenches, we’ve long been individually helping other writers, bloggers, artists, sellers, and entrepreneurs start-up or increase their online presence; now we’ve joined forces, offering you our firsthand knowledge and experience.
The most familiar sort of Blog Tour is the Book Blog Tour, which is the virtual version of yesteryear’s book tour. At UP to the DL, we don’t limit the idea to only books — you can use blog tours to promote anything, any product or service, including, simply, yourself.
However, if you aren’t familiar with all the details involved, virtual tours can become real nightmares!
Organizing a Blog Promotional Tour involves:
Identifying potential hosts — that will reach your target audience
Contacting potential hosts
Making the pitch, helping sort through the options with hosts
Scheduling the tour and individual host actions
Answering technical questions and concerns of hosts
Performing the check-ups and follow-ups necessary to ensure a good tour
Proper timing of it all!
And, if you are an organized person with enough time to do all of this, do you know what things are most vital to a successful tour?
Do you really know how to identify your target market and evaluate which of the millions of blogs, podcasts, zines, newsletters, etc. are honestly able to reach them?
Do you know how to anticipate, avoid and over-come host/blogger concerns?
If you have a limited number of products (or none at all) to give-away for reviews and contests, do you know what other tour options you can offer — some of which are even more likely to garner the results you desire?
Do you know what sort of tour events or activities will help you more increase cash flow, which are designed for long-term, how to maximize long tail results — and which ones you really need?
Once you have secured hosts that will reach your target market, do you know how to best capture the attention of your potential readers or customers?
Do you know what sorts of posts and tour activities will positively (or negatively) affect things such as PageRank (PR) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Do you know how to create promotional tours which will get bloggers excited to participate — and their readers converting to sales?
We’ve been writing, reading and buying online for over a decade. We know, as press, readers, and consumers what bores & what soars.
We know what pitches get, well, pitched via that delete button. We each have over a decade of networking with other bloggers, building relationships and contacts to ensure results.
We know what sorts of things discredit you, harm the reputation of you and your product or service. We will organize your online event so as to maximize your sales and your personal brand.
Hire U.P. to the D.L. as your blog tour coordinators and liaisons; we’ll maximize your presence and sales.
We know how to identify the online conversations and communities where your audience is congregating — and we know how to ethically participate in those relevant conversations so that you, your products, services, and brands are engaging with your customers and potential customers.
The success of your virtual promotional tour is dependent upon several factors which you influence:
The number of books, products, gift certificates that you can provide for reviews, contests, etc.
The amount of your participation in the events (interviews, offers, comments you post, Tweets you make, etc.), communication with U.P. to the D.L. and hosts, as requested.
The strength and appeal of your book, product, service, brand, etc.
The performance and appeal of your website, blog, etc.
The number of response options you offer (newsletters to subscribe to, social sites you belong to for “following,” number and quality of sales outlets, etc.).
Your efforts in promoting the tour, via your own site, BookTour.com, etc..
Authors who have traditional publishers (i.e. not self-published works) should check with the publisher, as they may pay for the Blog Tour fee, all or in part, &/or copies of the book out of the book’s promotional or PR budget.
(In fact, authors who are shopping their books should take heed; many publishers, large and small, require authors to include a marketing plan of the author’s promotional efforts and budget along with their manuscript submission.)
At UP to the DL, we also provide tips for our clients on how to make the most of a tour once it has officially ended.
Blogging is a form of self-publishing — and it’s a beautiful thing; but it comes with its own set of responsibilities.
I personally don’t abide Paid Posts and proudly proclaim my No Payola status, but as those posts rather cover my sentiments, today I’ll focus on the ethics involved in Blog Tours — specifically in terms of the rules of UP to the DL Blog Tour Services.
These rules are based not only on the experiences we’ve had hosting blog tours, posting reviews, receiving pitches to promote this or that, but on fundamental ethics — good ol’ common sense. And these rules are designed to protect the integrity of bloggers, blog readers, consumers, and promoters alike.
Rule #1 It is not ethical to review something you’ve never used, read or otherwise employed; that’s fraud. Therefore, asking a person to commit a fraudulent act is unethical, at best.
Rule #2 It is unethical, to say the least, to insist a reviewer not publish or share a review that is not flattering. Such “reviews” are not reviews at all; reviews are to be thoughtful opinions, educated critiques, and, above all, honest. Individual hosts may, after reviewing the item and honestly disliking it, post their negative (but not hate-filled or personally attacking) review as they wish; or, they may wish to contact us for help regarding their conflicted responses and uncomfortable situations.
Rule #3 Follow-through on what you promise. Send your review copies, samples, contest prizes on time; publish your blog tour event as promised; get back to people as promised. In the rare cases where “life happens,” please contact U.P. to the D.L. as soon as possible to communicate and problem solve the situation.
Any and all persons who break these rules, are found to be guilty of such unethical behavior, will not be allowed to participate in any U.P. to the D.L. projects of any kind. Offenders may also find themselves the subject of unwanted press, with a public disclosure of their behavior.
I know these rules may sound more stern or even scary rather than inviting, but practicing these principles protects and respects the integrity of all involved! It is our expectation that everyone upholds these values and has a commitment to the rights of consumers and brands.
I believe search engine optimization (SEO) is best and primarily served via the content you write. If you believe that, you may stop reading; but if you aren’t convinced…
People seek entertainment and information the same way online as they do in the real world: by asking questions. The only real difference is that a lack of complete sentence structure and punctuation won’t get in your way online. *wink*
You and I may differ wildly in terms of our demographics, interests, and needs (for example, perhaps you are a 20-something male interested in the latest tech gadget while I’m a 40-something female who may be looking up some obscure silent film actress), but we each end up doing the same thing. We each find ourselves at some search box, be it at a search engine, sales marketplace, or favored site, typing in text and clicking to get the results. Those words we typed are the questions we have; on the Internet, these queries are called “keywords.”
What Google and other search engines, including internal search engines on individual websites, try to do is provide the best possible answers to our questions, the most relevant information that matches our query. Search engines are based on programs or algorithms which do their best to interpret what a searcher wants and, attempting to replicate human understanding, gives it to them based on the text or written content it can find.
In trying to take the search as question and help the person find the answer, Google et al employs not just what you say about your site (meta tags, descriptions, folksonomy, etc.), but what your site actually says. In other words, it ‘reads’ your site.
Every word in every post and page.
Including your links out to other sites (because if you’re not having conversations with others, you might just be a mad mumbling fool talking to himself).
To check how much of authority or credibility a possible answer has, search engines also look to see not only who links to that page or post — but for what. And just how do those links get there? By people who read your content!
Ah, the power of the written word.
But it doesn’t end there.
Back to you and I as question seekers on the Internet…
After we’ve posed our questions and received a list of possible answers, we evaluate the responses to our questions.
We each use our own individual criteria for trustworthiness, we have different ideas of what’s funny or entertaining, etc., but we each sort through the options or answers provided to us and make determinations about what we find. And what do we questioning searchers use to evaluate the possible answers? We read the content.
First, we read the brief snippet of content shown with the link, as grabbed by the search engine; if that passes the mustard, we click and go on to read more of that page or post. If that’s what we seek, we likely read the whole post or page — maybe even reading more pages at the site, clicking what’s recommended there, etc. If it’s still not the answer we are seeking, we go back to the list of possible answers or try phrasing our question differently and begin our search for the truth all over again.
This is why written content is so important; what you write is how you are found and how your site is evaluated.
Believe it or not, search engines are our friends and partners in our quests, so there’s no point in trying to “beat” Google or any search engine with SEO tactics.
What’s the point in trying to divert those seeking information on silent film stars over to a site dedicated to tech gadgets — or vice versa? Annoyance?
You can give yourself a little nudge with some basic use of technology to assist in SEO; but frankly, your time is best spent on creating unique content that will address the needs and interests of the question seekers.