And the winners are…

As promised, here’s a little info about the two lucky peeps who won my June competition.

Both get 500 words of web content (or indeed any other text) totally FREE.

One of the winners is Rachid from the UK. He is a graphic designer, who also creates front end graphics for apps and websites. In his spare time he’s a multi-talented man who brews beer and tends to a very large vegetable plot at the bottom of his garden. The day I contacted him, he had apparently been busy propping up his perilously sagging raspberries…! Rachid is also fit as a fiddle and just ran his first mountain marathon last week in North Wales. Nice! You can find out more about Rachid’s fab work at The Upright One’s Facebook Fan Page.

Our other joint winner, Stephen, is a bit of a petrol head. Well, in my books anyway, because he rides motorbikes, plus he’s dead talented at fixing anything on wheels with a motor. Stephen hails from Gibraltar and was watching a Star Wars film when I contacted him to say that he’d won the competition. I hope you got to watch the end of the film, Stephen? Although he is not really quite sure what on earth he is going to do with these 500 words yet, I hope he’ll find a good purpose for them. Maybe he’ll let me create a wee website for him?

So there we are. Congratulations to both, and I’ll post more details about the projects each winner gives me at a later date.

Have a great summer week you all.

web content competition winners

The June competition winners have been drawn…


The June competition winners have just been drawn out of the hat!

TWO lucky subscribers have been contacted, one via the Facebook fan site, the other by email.

My congratulations to both winners!

You have plenty of time to claim your prize: 500 words of web content – on any subject you choose.

Watch this space for more news this week, as I update you about the winners.






Image courtesy of Master isolated images,

All about my new content writing venture & A BIG THANK YOU to all my clients and friends, plus an EXCITING COMPETITION at my new website…

It’s official, I’m a freelance writer. Only since last year, my blogging hobby has taken me to amazing heights. THANK YOU to all my valued clients who put their faith in a new writer, as well as my dear friends who have supported me along the way. A special mention to my husband Jose, who has listened to my incessant rants and silenced my worries. I simply couldn’t have done it without you all.

As a “new business incentive”, I’m running AN EXCITING COMPETITION in June 2013:

Subscribe to my blog on my website OR ‘Like’ my Facebook Fan Page


AT THE END OF JUNE, I’ll pick two random names out of a hat, out of all my subscribers on both sites. The winners get a FREE 500-word article each on any subject of their choice. If you need enticing web content, a sexy blog post, new sales brochures, a school essay or resumé… or even an obituary (let’s hope not), this could be your chance to have it written professionally at 0-cost.

Look forward to seeing you all soon and thank you again for all your help and encouragement! (I’ll keep you all updated about the competition as the countdown timer starts ticking…)

Jo x

Avoid early online death: do's and don'ts for new bloggers

Avoid early online death: new professional blogger do’s and don’ts

ID-10064533Why start a professional blog?

Are you asking yourself this question?

If so, you might not have found the exciting niche topic you’re eager to tell the world about – yet.

Blogging works best as a platform to educate readers or to spread information about something you are very passionate about. There’s no point in starting a blog just because everybody says you need one.

Think: What do you love telling people about?

Dig REALLY deep

If you begin blogging with a vague idea, sooner or later writing will become a burden.

Boring articles are ones that show lack of enthusiasm. And long lapses between blog posts (just because you felt writing was a chore) will kill any online reputation you intended on creating – before it’s even born.

Long-term commitment

This goes for every kind of online presence. Whether it’s a FAQ site or a LinkedIn group, know that running an online community takes a lot of effort. And at first it will seem to take a long time to get readers and followers.

Building an audience who are genuinely interested in what you have to say takes a heck of a long time. If you want to blog successfully, you’re in for the long haul. If you cannot blog often enough, make sure you have a dependable line of guest posters or paid bloggers ready to fill the spaces.

Here are some VERY BASIC but HIGHLY PRACTICAL tips and tricks to make your NEW blog as READABLE and USEFUL as possible:

1. Know WHY you’re blogging

For businesses and professionals, a blog can be a place to tell people about their services and products in a friendly, informative, non-salesy way. An artist or a writer may want to connect with the rest of their professional community. A performing artist will want to entertain. Many want to convert blog visits to direct sales profits. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve EXACTLY?

2. Follow me!

Your hard core fan base will want to read every single word you type. Provide them with an easy way to follow you, from day one:

  • At the very least, include a ‘subscribe’ box where visitors write their email address and receive your blog posts or newsletters regularly as you post them.
  • Try to include share buttons at the bottom of every post: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Digg, as well as email and print options are recommended.
  • Some bloggers like to include an RSS button.

3. Hone your tone

A blogger’s personality shows in a blog. The personality has to be in accordance with the topic and the nature of the business, however. If a blog is about stocks and shares, jokes are inappropriate.

If your passion is comedy, start a humour blog instead. Want to share your parenting skills? Educate people without being patronising. A good rule of thumb is to use a friendly tone that speaks to people on their level – neither beneath or above them.

4. Only post relevant content

If your blog is titled “New York Dog Grooming Trends”, then your blog posts need to stay on that topic. Some professional bloggers post personal information or talk about things unrelated to their subject.

If a visitor clicks on a Google search link that promises them “cool dog grooming ideas for city dogs”, then that’s what they will expect to find. If they don’t, then they won’t stay, nor will they come back, Tweet, Facebook or Pin your site. (Never mind bring Fido to your salon.)

5. Consistency

Some people say you must blog every day. This depend on who you are and who your audience are. Maybe your clients don’t want to receive posts from you every day. Relevant, useful blog posts once or twice a week work fine. Whatever you do, deliver quality, regularly. It’s better than posting meaningless fluff every day.

6. Include clear contact information

It’s remarkable how often people forget to do this. An easily found page that says “Contact” works best. If you include Skype links or an email form, test them regularly to make sure they work. If you can’t be reached easily, you’ll lose potential clients, readers or guest posters.

7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

As Winston Churchill said, “I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”  Ask any blogger who has been around for even a short time, and they can tell you about mistakes galore.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes are the least of them. Deleted domain name, lost databases, comments left open to spammers and trolls… you name it, someone’s done it. But don’t lose sleep over it.

Just go ahead and enjoy writing. Because that is, after all, what blogging is all about.


If you are still thinking about setting up a blog, bear the above tips in mind.  Writing is a calling. Lots of professional writers have a hobby blog or a hub site they love to write for, just for personal satisfaction.

Do you have any other essential tips for bloggers?


(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici,

(Video courtesy of Tyler More,

Top six provocative ways to write a kick-ass blog post

Top 6 Provocative Ways to Write a Kick-ass Blog Post

ID-100111047Sex, violence and death… according to Ray Winstone, these are the three great elements in any best-selling drama. Shakespeare knew this too.

Blog posting is no different from any other kind of writing when it comes to substance. You can have the most SEO-friendly title in the world, but unless you start with something riveting, write a middle that crunches with deliciousness, and finish the job with a BANG…!

Then your readers will skim and skip half way down at best. And forget any comments.

So what makes for a cracking blog read?

1. Feel it

Writing about a museum? Don’t just look up adjectives on Kick off with a gruelling description of how suicidal Goya felt when he painted the horror film image of Neptune devouring his only son.

Need to do a piece on hot tubs? Describe the sensations of slipping into an outdoor hot tub on a starry winter’s night.

Closing your eyes and really feeling the stuff will help you communicate something really intimate to your audience.

Goal: Play on emotion and senses for a deeper impact.


2. Be contemporary

Say you’re grappling with an assignment on website security. You want to convey the importance of protecting blog sites or email password. Be specific and current. Look up recent news stories about large-scale brute force attacks and the hacker organisations behind them; tell people what’s going on in the world of web security right now.

Yes, headlines quickly become old news and some stories only have temporary value, but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful at the time. Not every blog post needs to be timeless. When providing solutions to contemporary problems, relating a post’s content to current events gives power to your message. (Just make sure you credit your reputable news source.)

Goal: Give your statements extra support from trusted outside sources.


3. Fine detail

If you’re writing on “cheapest new cars 2013”, obviously, include the prices. But even better, include the prices for models with different equipment – what do three doors, five doors, sunroof and add-on sports bumpers cost? What about diesel vs. petrol? Finally, research and include the prices in other countries and currencies if you’re aiming your article at a global readership.

Really, really, really useful detail is what makes readers share stuff, bookmark it and keep referring back to it.

Goal: Make your article so useful your reader can’t live without it.


4. Break it up

If it feels boring to write about, the reader will be feelin’ ya. Humour doesn’t work in every context, so sometimes it’s worthwhile to break up the text with extras, like relevant quotes, anecdotes, coincidences, lyrics from songs, bizarre facts and so on.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” – Albert Einstein

For example, if you’re writing a piece on fruit and veg based diet plans, ask your readers if they knew that lemons contain more sugar than strawberries. When writing an article comparing high street banks, include quotes from leading economists. Give your post an extra dimension.

Goal: Astonish/wake up your reader.


5. Make sense

Law students learn to construct essays in a very specific way. In the beginning they provide an argument. In the middle they present facts for and against the argument. At the end, they state how they’ve proved their case.

Similarly, short story writers and novelists need to provide a hook or “ticking bomb” at the beginning, highs and lows in the middle, a slow rise to a final climax, and an ending that resolves the characters’ problems.

Being methodical and logical throughout a blog post gives it a natural flow. Making notes before writing helps.

Goal: Tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.


6. Provoke a reaction

Ending a blog post with a question works well. Challenging the reader works even better.

With so much waffle and rubbish online these days, 99% of blog writers are in a complete rut. They keep rewriting and churning out articles that say nothing and just hope someone will happen across their site, read a bit of their post and click on the compulsory link. Yawn…

I bet you can’t think of six more ways to make a blog post highly entertaining.

Goal: Yeah, you get the picture.


(Image courtesy of marin,

Hats off to Thomas tTyon, writer

Hats off to Thomas Tryon

Thomas Tryon, engraving by Robert White

Thomas Tryon was a shepherd in rural 17th Century England.

What’s he got to do with blogging?

Well, the guy was a writer genius and a self-starter – like many bloggers today are.

Thomas had never received an education as a child and he could not read or write. As a teenager he realised that the only way to get forward in life was through literacy. So he sold one of the two sheep he owned and paid a man to teach him how to read and write.

He definitely picked it up! He became an author and eventually published 27 “self-help” books on various topics – including vegetarianism, alcohol abstinence and education.

Bear in mind, that in those days you had to kill a goose to get quills for writing, and order your paper from France… no iMacs or smartphones back then!

Pretty darn good for a shepherd boy.

Check out Thomas Tryon’s books on Amazon.


Keeping Google Happy

MC900434734The current trend in internet marketing is based almost entirely on good content. To rank high in Google searches, your web content has to be:

  • Rich in facts, figures, prices, concepts and/or ideas
  • Relevant
  • Well researched
  • Of an appropriate length

Try not to duplicate stuff within your own site. Google rejects content it considers redundant, so a SEO tactic based on fresh, creative material is what works best.

TOP TIP: Have you tried things alternative to textual content? Like podcasts, infographics or videos?

how to write good blog titles

Tip – How to Write Good Blog Titles

Woman Using Laptop and Cell PhoneSome writers like to use long titles that contain all the keywords that might bring traffic to an article or post. Other recommend short titles. So which is best?

Perhaps the balanced approach is to title blog posts as people would search for them on Google.

For example, if somebody was looking for tips on writing content, they might type in “How to write high quality content” or “Tips for quality content writing”. Use one of those as a blog post title and you can’t go too far wrong.


pinterest for business

Pinterest for Businesses

Red and Clear ThumbtacksWith pinning now as popular as Tweeting, you might want to consider Pinterest as a marketing tool for your business. Companies using Pinterest create virtual ‘pin boards’ that have a relationship with their product or brand.

How can we make the most of Pinterest for business?

  • Set goals: decide what your business wants to achieve with Pinterest. You may wish to promote brand awareness by highlighting your company policies – maybe your company is eco-friendly, for instance. In this case, you might want to pin images of how you recycle. Pins that link directly to your web are great for driving traffic to your site and giving your images exciting titles will increase the chances of people clicking on them.
  • Create useful, interactive pin boards. When you create a pin board, it is best to collate a selection of brightly coloured images with individual impact, yet they must also work well together as a whole. Use your own pictures to avoid any legal issues, make sure they are of a high quality and as interesting as possible.
  • Promoting your company’s products in a “non-pushy” way works well on Pinterest. If your company sells swimwear, why not pin images of antique swimwear and beach toys or accessories?
  • Open your boards for interaction: getting you customers to pin pictures can do wonders for your site traffic.

(Image courtesy of twobee,

why mobile optimise your ecommerce site

Why You Must Mobile Optimise Your Ecommerce Site

ID-100129186In 2013, the trends in smartphone browsing and shopping have surprised even the cleverest of ecommerce bloggers. The online consumer is an ever demanding animal and where desktop computer browsing offers personalised and tailor made shopping experiences, we now expect the same from our tablets and smartphones.

Ecommerce businesses must now provide mobile optimised pages that…

  • Load quickly
  • Can be navigated with ease
  • Provide personalised offers and discounts
  • Take geographical location into account

And if you’re really thinking forward, consider customer loyalty points that work both for in-store and online purchases!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,