Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Content Writers and Pay: How do you know if you need a pro?

The trend seems to be that more and more companies understand that they need quality content on their sites, they want blogs, they want ads and they want articles.....but, they do not want to pay.

Of course that is incorrect, how much writers are paid is based on what the market supports. For example, you are not going to pay $5 for a donut when the bakery across the street sells the same type of donut for 50 cents. That is just simple mathematics.

But when it comes to writers, it may not be that simple, because all writers are different. Some writers are working for as little as $3 per blog post or less, 15 cents per forum post and (at least in Utah) for as little as $10/hr for full-time web site content writing. The other thing to consider is that most writers have been trained through universities, who do little content development education. Graduates have been taught to write essays and prose, and if you are lucky they have have been taught to write magazine articles. Even those who graduate in journalism are not taught SEO extensively. Whereas, trained SEO writers and content development professionals make 35K to about 65K per year, so in summary, you get what you pay for.

So how do you know if you need a pro SEO writer?
If you have or want to have a profitable and busy online business, then you should consult a pro. However, the pro may not be doing all of your writing, it may make more sense to hire less expensive writers to write things like product descriptions, Google ads and so on, under the direction of the pro content development or SEO guru. You may be tempted to skimp on your blog writer, but according to the latest studies, blogs are read, subscribed to and shared, when they are well written, above all other criterion, so you may want to invest in a good writer. In addition, in my recent experiences, I have a client who receives more traffic to their corporate site from their blog than from any other put some thought and some cash into your blog.

What is the difference between a writer and an SEO specialist?
Writers, to put it simply are trained to write interesting and compelling copy. Nowadays, they may also know a little about keyword selection, keyword density and keyword rich titles.

SEO specialists, are often also writers (or started out as writers), but they know more about the technical and marketing side of producing content for the web, for example they understand search engine friendly code, keyword campaigns (Google, Yahoo and so on), article promotion techniques, network marketing, traffic analytics, pay-per-click campaigns, link sharing, link promotion and much, much more.

So when is it not worth the money to hire an SEO specialist?
If your site is just going up because you think you should have a web site, but you don't expect to get business from it, for example a tire shop in a small town really only needs to be able to be found if someone wants to know where the shop is, what their business hours are and other simple details, but it is not a web business. In a case like that, it should cost very little and the site should require few changes once it is live.

However, if you want to have an internet based business and expect to receive all or most of your business from the web, you should hire an SEO consultant. In addition, if you are launching a high profile site, such as a university site or a hospital or other large organization, you will need a content specialist as well as a team of great web programmers and writers. Another reason to hire an SEO pro or at least a really good writer is when you want unique content that reflects your personality or the personality of your company. This type of writing is more complex than simply writing a product description for a ream of paper.

Ok, so in summary...hire a pro for web content development, for leading a team of writers and for high profile or internet based businesses. Hire a writer for simple writing, product descriptions and the like, hire a really good writer for blogs, articles and high profile pages.

If you are confused, not quite sure what kind of writer you need or need helping hiring a writer, email SEOjive for a consultation,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Corporate Blogs: To blog or not to blog

To blog or not to blog, that is the question curious SEOers and marketers are asking. Blogging can be quite effective. But before you invest a lot of time into blogging consider the following:
  • Do you have anything to say? Now really, not too many people are interested in just reading more of what you have on your corporate site. So you will want to think about what you can offer to the blogosphere.
  • How much time do you want to invest? The best blogs add new content often (more than SEO Jive does, for example...)
  • Can you compete? There are likely millions of blogs out there, can you compete, can you find a niche?
  • Will it help? If you already have a high ranking site and you do not need the blog for links back or help with your ranking, then do you need it?
Ok, if you have decided that you really can benefit from a blog, then what next. There are several ways of starting a blog, for example:

Online Blog Service: Such as blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal and so on. These services offer the benefit of a link back from a higher ranking site, but they do not offer the benefit of the content on your site. However, they are extremely easy to use and you can launch your blog immediately. I really enjoy using Blogger and have experienced success using it, but I also really like WordPress products ( or These types are also the easiest to update, since you don't have to deal with your service or FTP and so on.

Blog Software: Blog software can be used to develop a blog to be self hosted or published on your own site. Self hosting gives you the benefit of the content, but not the benefit of a high ranking link back.

HTML, XHTML. etc: You can write you own in DreamWeaver or whatever product you use and publish your own unique blog. You can publish these blogs yourself using your web host and benefit from the content, you could even host it with a unique url and link back to your corporate site if that helps.

So should you blog? Simply put, yes if you have something to say and you think it will help your ranking or company marketing.

Author: Pamela S. Stevens, SEO Jive

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fonts: The Most Popular Fonts of 2007

According to their hottest selling fonts are as follows:

10. Papyrus
9. Gill Stans
8. Monotype Corsiva
7. Interstate
6. Helvetica
5. Futura
4. Citadel Script
3. Frutiger
2. Optima
1. Phenix America

Most people do not put much thought into fonts beyond readability, but for some fonts is everything, what they live and breath. There is even a movie about Helvetica, called Helvetica which is about typography, graphic design and global visual culture.

If you are interested in the basics about choosing fonts, see my article 10 Font and Text Tips.

If you are interested in purchasing a font, please use on of my affiliate links, please...

Author: Pamela S. Stevens, SEO Jive

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gaming Laptop for Web Page Building?

Why not? Often the specs needed for gaming are similar to what you would need for building web pages and running Adobe products. I just found one of my first CES favorites for the year that satisfies these spec demands.

Introducing the Gateway P-171XL FX, yes Gateway.

17 in screen
2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme CPU
3 GB of RAM (sweet)
Dual 200GB hard drives
512 MB Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTS graphics card (I am drooling at this point)
9.3 lbs (a bit heavy)
About $3000 (ouch)

Well, I am not in love with the price, but I think I am in laptop lust anyway.

Check out a few pics here:
Pic 1
Pic 2

Here is what other bloggers are reporting:

Wired Blog Network



Author: Pamela S. Stevens, SEO Jive

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Computer, Software and Service Requirements for Building Webpages

Computer requirements for building your website can range from a pretty basic set up if you are using a web based web page builder like those offered by Yahoo Business or more demanding, like if you are using Dreamweaver.

Let's start with the advanced set up:
Intel Pentium 4 or Better
1024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet or phone connection for activation and site loading
2GB of RAM or more recommended
Enough hard drive space for software and site folders

CS3 Professional or Dreamweaver and PhotoShop

Web page host (See Lunar Pages, in right nav ads)
Domain name registration (Go Daddy or other, web host may also provide)
FTP program (may be offered through web host)
Template or build your own (See Template Monster)
Web Stat Tracker, such as or Google Analytics
Training if needed:
Stock Photography if needed: See Jupiter or Getty sites

Over 2 GB of RAM is definitely recommended for multi-tasker types, because when I tried to use Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Photoshop and a security program on top of the operating system my system was not happy even with 2GB of RAM, not to mention that I also usually add in Word, an email program and Pandora for music.

Really basic (and limited) set up:
If you use something like Yahoo's SiteWizard or Microsoft's FrontPage you only need something like this -
A 133MHz processor
32MB memory
28.8KB modem

Though I have a friend that could not get the SiteWizard to work on a Mac so you may want to research that if you own a Mac. But basically, any newer laptop should be able to publish these type of pages.

Microsoft's Front Page if desired

Yahoo Site Builder or similar service
An Internet connection

Photo editor for resizing and cropping of images

Of course once you get the computer, the software and set up the services you face the hardest part, building your site.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another Site Launch: Blueprint Bluepers Constuction Humor Site

Last night a site I have been working on for the last week was launched. The site is Blueprint Bluepers and is site dedicated to construction humor, published by the Nigro Firm, Inc.

This site was tons of fun and interesting from a writers perspective in two ways. First, how I first imagined the site changed as we went along dramatically, it evolved. Compared to most construction humor sites, this one is much different, it has all original content including the cartoons and is quite intelligent. Secondly, they allowed me to have a page on this site and I learned that writing about yourself is much different than writing about someone else, I will have to run that page through my editor so he can make it represent me and my work better. As mentioned in previous posts, every writer needs an editor.

Anyway, please go visit this site, even if you do not work in the construction industry you will enjoy the quality construction cartoons by artist Chaise Payan.

Blueprint Bluepers

Author: Pamela S. Stevens, SEO Jive

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another Site Launch

I just finished the content for another site this weekend, we basically built this one and completed it in less than three days. It is a clean, simple yet amusing site that is lots of fun.

If you are a dog lover you will love this site. It is a site created for a newsletter published by The Nigro Firm, Inc, but it lacks the staunchness of most corporate related sites, we wanted it to be fun and a refreshing break from the norm.

Beagle Review

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Old School SEO Tricks

If you have been in the SEO business a while you have likely seen many search engine tricks come and go. Maybe you are even employing a few still or you have old sites that still have old stuff on them.

Overall, the search engines want to rank high- good sites. Sites that people like, sites with unique content and sites that have good basic coding construction.

Bad Old School SEO Tricks
  • Invisible keywords: You have likely seen this from time to time by highlighting a blank looking section or a section of background to make dumped keywords appear. Naughty, naughty and Google doesn't like it.
  • Link Spamming or Link Dumping: Go to any popular blog site or abandoned forum and you will find this, literally tons of keywords with links back on unrelated sites. This was used to obtain high ranking site link backs. It is likely the links will not even be followed back unless you do it yourself. Good sites do not have to pay for links back nor do link spamming, good sites are linked back organically by customers or visitors who want to share your site or by legitimate associates or partnerships.
  • Redirects: This was popular till it was frowned on by search engines, it involves a company creating numerous fake or keyword laden sites with redirects to a single site that they are trying to push. The idea was to spread out your web presence with multiple sites instead of just one, this is still popular with and without redirects. Sometimes this happens for legitimate reasons, like a company name change, which can be done with care, but shouldn't be tried unless it is necessary.
  • Keyword Dumping: Often webmasters will dump tons of keywords into the code that may or may not be in the content or directly related. This was done to try to capture visitors who are searching secondary terms. It is better to list keywords that are specific and in your content and keep in mind that many searchers nowadays are entering up to three terms at once, such as "Seo, Tips, Blog."
I am sure you can think of many more, but this is my list of bad SEO tricks that must go.

Author: Pamela S. Stevens, SEO Jive

Monday, December 10, 2007

See my Newest Site

This site was launched last week for the Nigro Firm, Inc. It is for a small Utah company that has an interesting, hard to market construction service. I did all of the content development and writing. We are still working out the kinks and will clean up the code soon. But over all it looks good, considering a content person and a graphic designer did most of the work. Though, like many sites it looks better in IE than FireFox.

The site includes all original content, graphics and images. The website launch will be followed by a direct marketing campaign, since the product is relatively unknown. The site, though SEO friendly, is more for information than internet marketing. Some services, like this one, are rarely searched for online and more general search terms are highly competitive, making it a challenging project that must include direct marketing and word of mouth to succeed.

Nigro Firm, Inc.

Last Minute Things to do Before Launching a New Site

If you are like me, you are a content development person or a writer, and not a coder, but there are things you can do to make sure your site looks good and is functional before launch.

  • Cover the basics. Make sure your page titles and descriptions are good. I have seen many sites with a page title of “home page” or “about us.” About who? Try to get your company name in there, for example ABC Technologies: About Us.
  • Make sure your images are labeled. Often images are left with an empty “alt” tag, so when someone mouses over the image or the image does not display alternative text is not displayed.
  • Check all links. Check links in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla FireFox and other browsers if your visitors commonly use them. Also check email links and verify they work, send a sample email to yourself to test.
  • Ask for a third party grammar, spelling and content edit. Often we fail to see our own errors or we think we have conveyed information well, but we have not. Always ask for a third party opinion.
  • Look at every page. Check for good spacing, image placement and so on. Is it easy to read? Can the user learn about your product in the less than three seconds they may visit your page? What stands out?
  • Check dates. Do you need to update any dates or other dated information that you may have written a long time before launch? Are your copyrights current?

After all of these checks and your third party review, you will still find errors, so keep tweaking your site, good luck with your launch.