“Peril”

I felt like I found “the One” moments ago.

Reading through a slew of blog posts I overwhelmed my browser with, I came upon a word that caused whiplash in my eye sockets. Well, almost that dramatic. Once I read the word “peril”, my mind’s eye created a quick crack of close thunder in a very dark, scary place. That place was probably my own head, but I digress.

goldfinch

Sometimes a tiny word in the right place can provide very enjoyable communication for the reader. I wish there was a database containing all of these words, but alas, these word preferences really vary from person to person.

Asking one of my sisters what word gave her the “chills”, she told me, “clock”, an everyday noun.

“Clock” is indeed a satisfying word. It really perfectly captures the staccato of the ticking hand. It doesn’t do me any favors when I’m reading, but that’s the ol’ variation from person to person at play.

Dear “peril”…where will you be next? Part of the excitement for me is not seeing you too often. While I hope to be at peace tonight, maybe you will pop up in a future blog post and perfectly convey the dangers of abusing SEO tactics once more.

 

Do you Want Your Work Skipped Over or Read?

Would you rather eat dirt or a sandwich?

This post concerns the marketing world, the field I spend the most time in. If you’re looking for a path or are just curious, then come on with me and learn about “readability”, something useful for mostly web material. Novelists, poets and academic writers might scoff at it.

What is Readability?

It is how easily the message of your text is understood. Things like long words and long sentences can deter the average Internet user. This is not because the average user is incapable of understanding your brilliance. It just jogs their brains a bit. Anything that slows down reading also tests patience.

If someone is snuggled up with a cup of tea ready to delve into a story, they want to savor the artistry of writing. If someone is navigating web pages, they want a quick dump of information. And that’s just the way we are.

seedy_bird

How Simple?

If your article/blog post can be easily read by a 7th or 8th grader, you have good readability. The Flesch Reading Ease Test measures several factors to determine this. Generally the more you can chop up a sentence, a paragraph or phrase, the better your score.

The Price of Ignoring It

Does Google look for readability when selecting search results? How big a factor is it? We just don’t know. Google likes to be mysterious. It is unrivaled, though many hardcore technology geeks use other search engines along with their Linux setup. And their Tor browsers. (We love you).

What to Choose

I am not a stickler on readability for this blog. For one, it’s actually about writing, and most people reading it are at least college-aged. This post in particular measures on an 8th grade level. My main concern is paragraphs. No one likes a text block.

Writing for other websites is a different story. Web writers need to dice up their material before submitting. Add subheadings. Throw out the passive voice. Stir in a few connector words. Make sure you don’t sprinkle in too much of the keyword. Viola, an omelette. Um, article.

Test your readability: 1

If you want to learn more: 2

The Bane of Website Writing

Everyone can write online, but not everyone can write it well. Some employers seem to be completely blind to glaring errors on their website. More likely than not, they did it themselves, hired someone for “experience and portfolio expansion” (slave labor), or hired someone for very cheap (slave labor with benefits). Due to their small company or greed, they have terrible writing that they are blind to. But customers and clients have a very fine-tuned detector for sloppy content.

Goose

Abundant errors that slip past your spell checker are one big factor make work look cheap. I have a few tricks that I use to help me edit my own work. But first, take a look at this passage which passes the red squiggle test:

“welcome to  nicks web site !  if you are looking fer clothe, shoos,, purse or moor, you have com too the the rite place!  are prices are low er then any other distributor on line!  we Cary all the Big Brands AS Well As lots s off smaller ones.”

Copy and paste that onto a WordPress editor and see that it passes. That’s why you don’t want to rely too heavily on your spell check tool. Below are my suggestions for supplementing your spell check.

Ctrl + F

Pressing these two buttons together brings up a search bar at the top right area of your screen. Type something into the bar and it will search the entire document for it. I like to search for two spaces in a row. This is handy because you should only be using one space during typing, including after punctuation. Additionally, it can be really hard to spot extra spaces with just your eyes. After you identify the offenders, you can go back and take one space away.

Don’t Guess on Capitalization

If you don’t know which words to capitalize, Google the phrase or rules. If there is any doubt in your mind, there’s a chance you are wrong, and your content will look odd to people who know better. You can eliminate this possibility with one of the greatest gifts of technology, given us by Alan Emtage–the search engine. This goes for spellings as well, but capitalization abuse is rampant.

Read Aloud

This rule is old but gold. Reading aloud causes you to go slower and pay more attention to the text. This especially helps with accidental repetition of small words like “the”.

Apply these tips to your latest document and see how it works. If you’re not already doing the third tip for your work, I’m shaking my head. Don’t underestimate its efficacy!

A Day in the Life of ‘The Wrong Fit’

You wake up early and get some coffee before opening up your laptop. You read your company’s emails and sigh importantly. You think to yourself, Its a great day too get there act together. (These things can physically hurt me to write. But just bare with me.)

Moving on, you read today’s assignment. It’s too easy. You just need to write about texting and driving. You crack your finger joints and begin.

Lots of people text and drive these days.

A word comes to your mind. Two words come to mind, in fact. They are “research” and “statistics”. You can’t remember how the first one is relevant, and isn’t statistics that math class you failed in college?

Texting and driving is bad, you continue. Texting and driving can get you into an accident. Texting and driving isn’t the only option on the road. Driving can be done without texting. Texting and driving–don’t do it.

traffic

Oh yeah, now you’ve got those keywords in. This assignment is coming along beautifully.

Two months down the road, your boss reviews your work and tells you that you are probably not the right fit. Surprise.

Based on this article by Chris Goddard on SERPs. It’s from an employer’s point of view.

The Magical World of Content Writing

There’s definitely a demand for content writers.

This post is directed at those of you who are new to this type of writing. I learned about it probably two years ago myself. It is a field that is either very easy or somewhat challenging, depending on the integrity of your employer.

Think of the last time you came across a blog, and it was complete gibberish. Ugh, who would read that? Good luck getting views. Well, you’ve viewed it. But it was probably a long time ago, before Google honed its skills. Why did that even show up when you typed in something completely different?

At some point a lot of us have thought that search engines just displayed results where your search results were used somewhere in the text; bonus points if they were used in the title. Sorta.

Many companies spend time seeing what common search terms are among search engines like Google and YouTube. These are keywords. Gotta keep up with the trends if you’re a spammy kinda company. One week it might be “Donald Trump”, “hair” and “real”, then the next it might be “birdseed” and “challenge”. Now if you’re a semi-quality site, you’ll have different sections to put your inane pop postings in.

If you want to make alphabet soup and show up in Google searches, then make no effort to have any sort of order. Put your keywords as “Donald Trump”, “hair”, “real”, “birdseed” and “challenge” every other sentence and hope it doesn’t matter that your article is not related to all of these things at once, which would frankly be quite an interesting post.

Read this before you get any funny ideas about getting rich quickly with the new info about keyword stuffing. Great advice.

These are the absolute basics. Keep posted as we advance at a comfortable pace. No need for a seat belt.

donaldtrumpbirdseed