Articles and blog posts can be an effective way to drive traffic to your site and can boost your reputation as an expert in your field.
As with all online marketing, strategy is everything. A failure to plan can mean a lot of wasted effort with articles that either don't reach the right people or fail to convert interested readers into customers or loyal followers.
Use these 10 tips to make sure your online articles yield the results you want.
Identify your reader
Write with a typical reader in mind to keep the focus firmly on your market. Tailor each article to their interests and needs. Do you want to attract the attention of new parents in Japan, or do you want to appeal to tech-obsessed students in India? Whoever your typical readers are, consider what you can offer that can solve a problem for them or enhance their lifestyle.
Adopt the right tone
Match an article's tone to its topic and reader. This matters even if you only communicate in English. After all, you wouldn't use the same style when discussing crafts with your grandmother as you would comparing notes on K-Pop with a teenager. Adapt by using the right jargon and, where appropriate, slang. Remember, we are more likely to listen to "people like us," so changing tone to suit the reader helps to build trust.
Style and levels of formality are of course even more important with many Asian languages. Honorifics, personal pronouns, and verb forms might all need careful handling. Even in casual online encounters, overly familiar language should be avoided.
Opt for professional translation
Whether your markets are concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region or include other parts of the world, multilingual content helps you cross language and culture barriers. Unfortunately, translation errors put those barriers right back up, and can make your business appear unprofessional and untrustworthy. There are all too many linguistic pitfalls when translating from English into languages such as Korean or Hindi. A professional translator will guide you around these and help you project the right image.
Make it reader-friendly
Search engines these days appear to favor substantial textual content on a page. However, reading from monitors and the smaller screens of mobile devices can challenge us all, regardless of language or alphabet. Help your reader out by dividing up large blocks of text. Sub-headings and bold text can act as visual signposts. Images also are useful for breaking up the page and adding interest to a text-heavy article.
Be SEO smart
These days search engine optimization needs to be handled carefully. Overdo it and be shunned by the search engines. Fail to do enough and your article is unlikely to rank well. Keywords need to be woven into the text in a natural way. Opt for variety over repetition, and use long-tail terms to help you rank well even when competition for your top keywords is high.
Web users have a low tolerance for junk. Search engines are getting better at recognizing it too, and will send it right to the bottom of the results pages. If your articles don't meet a genuine need or serve a useful purpose, they risk falling into this category. The same goes for anything that's stuffed with keywords, is purely for self-promotion, or carries too many ads.
Vary anchor text
When you create a link back to your home page or product page, make the link a meaningful one. Help out search engines by including a relevant keyword; for example, link to "Singapore Travel Information" rather than only to "information." However, don't always write the exact same text. Keep it varied to keep search engines happy.
Keep links relevant
Links and references can help to give an article authority - but this only works if they are high-quality, relevant sources. Avoid throwing in links to the websites of friends or to sites that won't boost your reputation. The goal of an article is generally to bring traffic to your own site, so don't confuse readers with affiliate links either.
Watch your bounce rate
There's a lot to be learned from web statistics, whether via your browser's analytics tool or an independent service such as Statcounter. Study not only keywords but how long people are staying on your page, how many are clicking through to the intended destination, and what percentage of them are bouncing right back to the search results. High bounce rates mean your readers aren't finding what they expect in your article.
Trusted content is shared
The best way to promote your articles is to let other people do it for you. A study from The New York Times, The Psychology of Sharing, reveals that people share things that they think will be helpful to others and that help them to connect. However, first they have to trust the content, so make building a reputation as a trustworthy source your priority.
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Christian Arno is the founder of translation services provider Lingo24, Inc. Launched in 2001, Lingo24, Inc. now has more than 200 employees spanning four continents and clients in more than 60 countries. Follow Lingo24, Inc. on Twitter: @Lingo24.
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