The Web Writer

Small business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple


Small business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple

PC with Google


You need your small business in front of people looking for your product. So you want to be on page 1 of the search results, and you need the right keywords to get there.

But keyword research has some massive challenges, especially if you’re busy and on a budget.

For starters, Google keeps changing the way it uses keywords to rank pages. Then there’s the fierce competition for keywords from other websites all vying for the top spot. And countless articles giving conflicting advice, offering their own tool as the answer (for a fee, of course).

It’s all too easy to find yourself picking ones at random in the hope they’ll work. Sound familiar? I’ve been there, too.

Actually, it is possible to find the right keywords without spending hours on analysis or a fortune on fancy tools. Yes, really!A relaxed researcher

In this guide, I’ll take you through the steps to optimise your small business with a simple keyword research strategy. I’ll show you the most efficient way to find the keywords you need and how to use them.

First off, just to clarify:

What are keywords and why are they so important?

Keywords are the search terms your potential customers enter into google. They can be single words, or they can be phrases. Add these to your content and you’re telling both Google and your searchers that you’re a good match for the query. And that means Google is more likely to rank you higher and searchers are more likely to visit your website.

Keep in mind keywords reflect your customer’s language, so jargon related to your industry won’t get you many matches.

Here’s how to get your keywords:

Read moreSmall business SEO essentials: keyword research made simple

8 free marketing courses every small business owner should take

8 free marketing courses every small business owner should take

Professional clutching book in front of blackboard

With everyone glued to their smartphones these days, digital marketing is crucial to your small business’s success. And if you’ve a busy schedule, self-paced courses are a great way to learn the skills to promote your business through channels like online advertising, social media and blogging.  But drop a google search to find a course and you’re bombarded with countless options, all promising superior results.

I’ve been there, and I feel your pain. Being a caring, sharing copywriter, I’ve picked out the best online courses you can take –completely free– which give the range of skills you need to engage with your customers and grow your business online. Enjoy!

Digital Garage from Google

This is a broad intro to digital marketing, broken up into a series of bite-size videos. The concepts are very clearly explained, and if you’re not too computer-savvy or a novice to marketing, this is a great starting point.

There’s an emphasis on advertising options, and woven into the helpful info is a gentle plug for Google’s services. So keep in mind any option that’s promised to work wonders could be more effective for one type of business than another.

Read more8 free marketing courses every small business owner should take

5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free

5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free



With over 90% of shoppers now researching online before they buy, going digital is hands-down the best way to reach a vast audience. And because you don’t need a huge budget to get an online presence, you’ve a level playing field to compete with big companies for attention. Follow these tips to get your campaign off to a flying start – without the sky-high costs.

1) Get a website that beats the competition

You don’t need to spend a fortune on slick graphics to have an excellent website. Think of a site you love to use. Is it simple to navigate with informative content? Is the design flashy or clean? The free website builders like WordPress and Wix offer great options for a user-friendly, attractive site. And they keep upping their game to create flexible templates that are faster to load, and responsive across different screen sizes – a must for today’s smartphone-addicted world.

Read more5 ways your new business will pack a punch online – for free

3 key features of a compelling web page

3 key features of a compelling web page

Groovy keyboard

Isn’t it tough to stand out on the web these days?

Prospective buyers are ruthless in their research, jumping from site to site on their quest for the ideal product, spoilt for choice but starved of time.

Maybe you’ve upped your game and made your website look great and load fast, stretch and shrink to fit the screen of PCs to smartwatches. But your visitors still rocket away from your site faster than you can say ‘’welcome’’, and you suspect your content is the culprit.

So what will make your content stand out from the rest?

Many techniques for online writing work better on some websites than others. Hiring a professional (nudge, nudge) is a sure-fire way to utilise these. But there’s 3 basic things that will improve any webpage and keep visitors in your orbit:

1) Make an impact from the start

Your title is THE most important part of your content. Get this wrong, and click. You won’t see your visitor for dust. The content you worked so hard on won’t get a first glance. A great title is short and snappy, and does two things:

Read more3 key features of a compelling web page

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

Google's Digital Garage Icon

I’ve recently completed Google’s Digital Garage course. It’s an introduction to all aspects of digital marketing, from optimising your website for organic search to tips on video production. There’s 23 topics, with videos, quizzes and end of topic assessments to keep you on track.

At first, it seems there’s nothing not to love about the course. It’s current, comprehensive and free. But it’s had some flak for promoting its products under the guise of helping digital newbies. So…

…Is it worth your time?

In an article posted last year Dr Steven Dumbleton argues the course exaggerates the importance of digital marketing, misleading small business owners into spending their budget solely on digital. Others have noticed a sales pitch in many of the topics, while more recently Carolyn Mcintyre points out that cheating to get a certificate for online courses ‘’…is actually quite easy to do.’’ A quick search will give you the answers, so does this limit the value of adding it to your CV?

I think the course is both life-saver and sales pitch, and here’s why:

Read moreGoogle’s Digital Garage course: life saver or sales pitch?

What the heck is a copywriter, anyway?

What the heck is a copywriter, anyway?


Geek with laptopI’m at one of my first business seminars, hoping to learn but also hoping to promote my services to people who need it. ‘’I’m a copywriter,’’ I explain.

Some people are intrigued, but some edge away with a faint look of suspicion in their eyes. ‘’Oh. So you…write jingles?’’ One murmurs uncertainly. This isn’t their fault. Truth be told, I’m a bit socially awkward, better at writing than networking. Maybe my nervous grin was too wide. Who knows? Maybe I had something in my teeth.

But the experience highlights the typical confusion about what a copywriter actually does. Whether you’ve no idea or consider yourself an expert, I’ll set the record straight here. Copywriters aren’t a slightly unsavoury bunch who just write adverts and jingles.

Read moreWhat the heck is a copywriter, anyway?