HostGator Blog https://www.hostgator.com/blog Web Hosting and Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:53:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block Like a Pro https://www.hostgator.com/blog/defeat-writers-block-bloggers/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/defeat-writers-block-bloggers/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 18:42:25 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18337 The post 5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block Like a Pro appeared first on HostGator Blog.

How Bloggers Can Defeat Writer’s Block Writing isn’t simple. It takes time and involves lots of conscious thinking. And as a blogger, you can feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes you probably get frustrated at the thought of crafting another blog post. That’s okay. Many bloggers like yourself struggle with writer’s block. Henneke Duistermaat, a […]

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tips for writers block for bloggers

How Bloggers Can Defeat Writer’s Block

Writing isn’t simple.

It takes time and involves lots of conscious thinking. And as a blogger, you can feel stuck in a rut. Sometimes you probably get frustrated at the thought of crafting another blog post.

That’s okay. Many bloggers like yourself struggle with writer’s block. Henneke Duistermaat, a copywriter and business writing coach, gives more insight:

“Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that. But you can make it even harder by accepting writer’s block. Don’t become a tortured genius. Choose to get on with writing. Experiment. Find out what works for you.”

Ready to face your fears? Here are five ways to overcome writer’s block.

Creating a blog

1. Review Your Past Writing Achievements

Bloggers live on the edge of perfection. You want every post to reflect your brand flawlessly—the headline, the images, and the stories.

In the attempt to be perfect, you can easily get trapped in your own mind. Rather than posting your blog post, you may delay the publication date for several weeks.

On top of that, doubt can slowly creep into your soul. You start asking yourself: Is this post good enough? Will readers really enjoy it? Should I start from scratch?

To get out of this slump, it’s important to recall your past writing accomplishments. These accolades showcase how great you truly are.

Awards, certificates, and positive comments are all reminders that you can achieve success. So take a quick inventory of what you’ve achieved within the last few years.

blogging award exampleFor instance, your blog may have won first place in a competition. That takes hard work and talent. Use that excitement to fuel your next project.

Right now, you may feel unworthy, but you do have what it takes to produce compelling work. And don’t forget to take a step back and be thankful for your current writing  journey.

Your blogging matters, and writing is one piece of the puzzle. Move beyond internal conflict by looking at your past success.

 

2. Practice Free Writing When Possible

When you sit down to write, it can feel like a chore. You’ve got a specific topic and an outline to help guide you. However, this method can restrict your thinking.

Following a strict writing routine can become stifling. You may lose your sense of creativity and possess no desire to write from your imagination.

Give yourself the flexibility to think outside of the box. Free writing is a technique where you write without worrying about the spelling, grammar, or topic.

You’re writing with no fear. And that can be exhilarating!

The aim is to put words on the page. You can come back to correct any mistakes during the editing process. It’s all about releasing your mind from the burden of writing. Jeff Goins, best-selling author of four books, offers his viewpoint:

“Start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines. Say anything. And see what happens. Don’t think about it too much or make any fancy announcements. Just write. It doesn’t need to be eloquent or presentable; it just needs to be written.”

Also, switch up your writing utensils. If you usually type, use a pen and paper.

Stop editing while you write. Enjoy the freedom to make errors without judgement.

 

3. Spark a Conversation With a Friend

Inspiration comes in many different shapes and forms. It’s time to ditch the closed-minded attitude and gather new ways of thinking from external sources.

When you want to boost your writing skills, try talking with a friend or two. Ask them about their day and their thoughts on random subjects.

It’s a chance to travel in someone else’s shoes and learn from their daily experiences. You’ll pick up on what makes them happy and how they solve conflicts. All these intimate details are optimal for knocking down writer’s block.

You also may want to make an effort to watch your favorite television shows. Creativity can flow from simply admiring characters on the screen. Maybe you’ll get inspired to create a suspenseful cliffhanger or build your own content series.

If you’re not a TV fan, read books and articles in different literary genres. Exploring outside of your normal reading habits gives you the courage to do something out of your comfort zone. So instead of writing the same old serious video script, consider publishing a funny vlog.

examples of literary genres Novellas. Poetry. Odes. Sonnets. Narrative. Lyric. Drama. Comedies. Plays. Historical. Nonfiction. Biographies/autobio. Essays. Speeches. Articles.Pick up a new book or start chatting with a close friend. You can break through writer’s block with the help of another perspective.

 

4. Eliminate Any and All Distractions

Writing is an art form that needs your undivided attention. Multitasking as you write can destroy your focus and drag you down.

Think about all the distractions that occur while you’re writing. The phone rings and it’s the dentist office reminding you about an upcoming appointment. An email lands in your inbox and your beloved brand gives you a store discount, leading you down a black hole of shopping for two to three hours.

These distractions keep you away from your writing. While you may have bought an awesome new pair of pants, you still haven’t made progress on your blog post.

Before you disconnect from the world, you should assess what time of day works best for you.  Uche Ibe, a blogger at We Love Singing, explains:

“One simple way to do this is to try writing at various hours throughout the day, gauge your focus and energy levels, and compare what you wrote. If you find that you struggle to write in the morning, then it’s probably best to make time for writing at night.”

Carve out time in your schedule to write. When you create time blocks, you have room to focus only on writing and nothing else.

block schedule templateFrom Slack notifications to unexpected errands, it’s difficult to write with constant interruptions. You can make writing a priority with a dedicated schedule.

 

5. Start Dancing Around Your Room

Physical activity spawns innovation. By moving your body, you open the door to expanding your mental energy. Then, there’s more room for you to write with a clear mind.

Stanford University researchers found that “study participants who went for walks saw an 81% increase in tests measuring divergent thinking, a thought process associated with creativity in which you generate lots of ideas.” That’s huge for doing something as simple as walking!

Fuel your brain by taking a walk around your block or even jogging for a few minutes at your local park. Not only do you reduce the pressure of having to write, you also add a healthy routine to your lifestyle.

Of course, you probably want to kick it up a notch. So turn up your music and dance in your writing space. No one will judge you.

The objective is to relax and to have fun. By not scrutinizing your every move, you can bring in positivity and combat writer’s block.

Whether you exercise, dance, or just walk, a little movement can go a long way. Blast a few tunes on your iPod and get moving today.

 

Conquer Writer’s Block

Writing is a mental task that requires hard work. It’s no surprise you may feel depleted and experience writer’s block.

Move past this hurdle by looking back at your past writing achievements for inspiration. Gain a new perspective by calling a friend. And of course, regain your energy with a little movement, like dancing or walking.

Eliminate your fears. You can conquer writer’s block.

 

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Having Problems Publishing Your Website? Try These 5 Things https://www.hostgator.com/blog/problems-publishing-website-fixes/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/problems-publishing-website-fixes/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 18:42:21 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18460 The post Having Problems Publishing Your Website? Try These 5 Things appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Having Problems Publishing Your Website? Here’s How to Diagnose the Issue Running into a website error when publishing your website can be pretty stressful. You followed the steps to get your website online, but whenever you type in your domain name nothing comes up. Luckily, most problems surrounding your website can be pretty easy to […]

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problems publishing your website here's how to diagnose the issue

Having Problems Publishing Your Website? Here’s How to Diagnose the Issue

Running into a website error when publishing your website can be pretty stressful. You followed the steps to get your website online, but whenever you type in your domain name nothing comes up. Luckily, most problems surrounding your website can be pretty easy to fix – especially if you have a simple website, and the error isn’t coming from a code conflict.

Below we dive into some of the biggest issues surrounding getting your website online. If you’re stuck, then spend some time working through the list below. Hopefully, you’ll be able to resolve your website issues on your own. But remember, you can always reach out to technical support to help you work through any issues you can’t solve on your own.

With that being said, let’s jump in.

best WordPress hosting

Problem #1: You can’t see your website

So, you’ve uploaded your website’s files to your server via FTP. Or, you’ve installed WordPress on your site, but when you type in your domain you don’t see anything?

This is a pretty common issue. But, it’s also pretty easy to solve.

The most common reason your site isn’t showing up is that either your DNS records aren’t pointing towards your host, or you’ve updated your nameservers, but they haven’t transferred over yet.

First, make sure that your nameservers are pointing towards your new host. Second, check that your domain name hasn’t expired.

 

Problem #2: No changes are appearing on your site

If you’ve recently made changes to your site, but they aren’t appearing, then you probably don’t have an issue with your site, but rather with your browser. Your web browser is probably just calling up a cached version of your site, instead of the most recent version where changes have been made.

To fix this issue simply clear the cache on the browser you’re using to view your site.

how to clear cache in google chrome

If this doesn’t fix the issue, then double check that you actually uploaded your new website files to your server.

 

Problem #3: Your site looks incomplete

On occasion, when you’re uploading your site there could have been a connectivity issue, either with your Internet or connection to the server. It is rare, but it does happen.

If, when you access your site, it appears incomplete and only some of the files or pages are showing, then try to upload your site again. Solving the issue could be this simple.

 

Problem #4: Images are appearing as broken links

So you’ve uploaded images to your site, but they either aren’t showing up at all, or they’re displaying as broken image links. There are a few different reasons this issue could be occurring.

  1. The images could be uploaded to the wrong folder. If you’re uploading images via FTP, you need the images to be in the exact folder specified in the image path name.
  2. You could have the wrong image filename within your site’s HTML. For example, if your code says the image name is “freebook.jpg”, but you’ve named the image “free-book.jpg” it won’t be able to find the image. Double-check that the image filenames match what’s referenced in your site’s code.
  3. You could be linking to the desktop location of the image, rather than the image on your server. This happens when you’re building your site using a website builder on your computer. When you preview the site it looks good, but viewed online it won’t be able to access the same images. To remedy this make sure that your HTML is referencing your images located on your server, not your desktop.

 

Problem #5: You get an error message

If you’re using a CMS like WordPress to build out your site and all you’re getting is an error message, then there’s probably a plugin conflict or an error with your theme’s code. Now, if you don’t have any development skills, then this is probably an issue that you won’t be able to work out yourself.

However, if you did just make changes to your theme’s code and after those changes, you’re getting an error message, then there is a workaround.

To fix this issue login to the backend of your site via FTP, and locate your site’s files. Open up the file that you modified and copy and paste the original theme code before your changes. You can find this by downloading a fresh version of your WordPress theme.

 

Hopefully, the tips above have helped you solve the most common issues preventing you from publishing your site online. If you’ve tried the above to no avail, then we recommend reaching out to your hosting support team to help diagnose and solve the issue.

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4 Strategies to Turn Social Media Users Into Leads and Customers https://www.hostgator.com/blog/social-media-fans-leads-customers/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/social-media-fans-leads-customers/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:21:42 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18461 The post 4 Strategies to Turn Social Media Users Into Leads and Customers appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Here’s How To Make Customers Out of Your Social Media Fans Wondering whether your social media marketing investment is paying off? Your potential customers are already spending hours on social media. If you’re not investing in social media marketing, you’re missing out on a cool opportunity to attract leads and customers. Let’s take a look […]

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how to turn social media fans into customers

Here’s How To Make Customers Out of Your Social Media Fans

Wondering whether your social media marketing investment is paying off? Your potential customers are already spending hours on social media. If you’re not investing in social media marketing, you’re missing out on a cool opportunity to attract leads and customers.

Let’s take a look at a few strategies to turn social media users into leads and customers.

Creating a blog

1. Make your links clickable

Marketers often focus on getting more likes and shares for the links they share on social media. Along with other success indicators, emphasis should also be given to click-through rate for the links you posted.

Driving more clicks to your links will help you drive huge traffic to your site. In order to ensure that the links you post on social networks are enticing enough, it is essential to add Open Graph (OG) tags to your site.

OG tags are for social networks what meta tags are for Google. It helps you automatically preview your link by pulling out an image, heading and description when the link is being shared. This preview influences your users’ decision to click on it or not.

open graph tags on facebook

Always keep your images according to the optimal size of your preferred social site. If you’re targeting Facebook and Twitter, you might use an image with the size 1024 x 512 for perfect fit.

 

2. Become an early adopter

The early adopter advantage is huge when it comes to social media marketing.

For example, in just 19 months, Zynga became one of the fastest companies to reach $1 billion valuation, just because they were one of the first companies that have adopted social gaming for user acquisition.

Similarly, Spotify was an early adopter of integrating their app with the Facebook news feed, which helped them grow tremendously from 3.4 million to 5.3 million users within just two weeks.

If you’re looking for a rapid growth, be sure to jump on the social media bandwagon as early as possible whenever a new social feature is released.

Below are a few tips that you’ll find helpful if you’re looking to increase customer acquisition.

  • Choose the right platform: Don’t spread yourself too thin by focusing on all the different social channels. Instead, identify where your potential customers are and create a strategy for gaining traction on one or a few platforms in particular.
  • Seize opportunity at the right time: As social features mature, social sites will likely change the way they treat the app integration. It’s vital to seize the opportunity at the right time or you’ll fall behind.
  • Create an independent product: Social platform like Facebook is always in flux, so there is no guarantee that your app integration will work well all the time. It is in your best interest to create an independent product that doesn’t heavily rely on social media integration.

 

3. Build social proof

Non-app businesses can also leverage social media for user acquisition. Innocent Drinks is just one example.

Innocent Drinks Facebook post

Wondering why brands invest in social user acquisition?

It’s because people have a tendency to follow the choices of other people, such as their friends and family. By building social proof, you can create a positive perception of your brand in your niche circles.

In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 customers trust product recommendations from family and friends. Only 32% people trust content on your website and even fewer trust your ads.

Keep in mind that at its core, social networks are publishing and sharing platform. Rather than hard selling, build a relationship with your fans and followers on social media.

Starting a hashtag campaign can be helpful to spread the word out about your product. Tourism Australia, for example, encourages their fans to share their photos on Instagram during their Australian visit with relevant hashtags.

 

4. Retain your existing customers with remarketing

Social media is a great remarketing platform that lets you connect with people who have shown an interest in your product or services. With remarketing, you can show a customized ad to your existing and prospective customers, prompting them to return to your site.

In fact, it takes 3 to 4 visits for your prospects to visit your website to actually think of doing business with you. With remarketing, you can encourage them to return often and entice them to take action that you deem to be of value, like subscribing to your list or purchasing a product.

Target people who have shown an interest in your preferred social network by implementing a remarketing pixel on your site. The pixel will add a cookie on your visitors’ browser, which your ad network can identify. This way you can target them with a customized ad you’ve created just for them.

Follow the following remarketing tips for the best results:

  • Use onsite retargeting: Create an onsite retargeting campaign that targets users on your site who have engaged with your remarketing ad and show them a custom marketing message. This strategy of showing a custom message to the specific audience has proven to convert an additional 2 – 4% of your visitors into leads and customers.
  • Spend your remarketing dollars wisely: For the best ROI, it is advised to filter out people from your remarketing list who haven’t spent significant time on your site. This way you can save your remarketing dollars by not targeting people who are not likely to do business with you.

 

Conclusion

Social networks are great platforms for building brand awareness and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche circles. They can also be used to connect with your customers and retain them for the long run.

With the right strategies, you can turn social media users into leads and customers for your brand.

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The 20 Best Free WordPress Themes https://www.hostgator.com/blog/best-free-wordpress-themes/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/best-free-wordpress-themes/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:19:57 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18045 The post The 20 Best Free WordPress Themes appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Free WordPress Theme Roundup So, you’ve installed WordPress and you’re ready to start building your site. But, with the thousands upon thousands of themes to choose from, where do you start? We’ve heard this question too many times to count, so instead of referring people to yet another theme marketplace, we decided to compile some […]

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Free WordPress themes

Free WordPress Theme Roundup

So, you’ve installed WordPress and you’re ready to start building your site. But, with the thousands upon thousands of themes to choose from, where do you start?

We’ve heard this question too many times to count, so instead of referring people to yet another theme marketplace, we decided to compile some of the best WordPress themes into one place.

Best of all, every theme featured below is a free WordPress theme. You’ll notice as you scroll through the list that all of the themes are rather flexible, meaning they’re not super niche-specific. For example, these aren’t the best free themes for realtors or best free themes for photographers. Instead, each of the themes below can be adapted to your unique needs.

Just pick a theme you like and start customizing!

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1. Hestia

hestia

Hestia is a beautiful and flexible free theme. It’s super easy to setup and can even be integrated with WooCommerce to start selling products. The responsive design will look good on all devices, and its multipurpose approach makes it usable across a variety of niches. The homepage image makes it easy to draw visitors to your site and quickly highlight the work you do.

 

2. Talon

talon

Talon is a pretty impressive free theme. The large header is perfect to capture the attention the attention of your visitors. You can also customize the header as a static image or slider. If you run a business, then you can highlight your team members, including customer testimonials, and add your portfolio. It also has page builder support for added customization.

 

3. Bento

bento

Bento is an attractive free theme that’s very flexible. Everyone from personal bloggers to small local businesses and agencies can take advantage of this theme. It’s supported by multiple page builders, so it’s easy to give it a custom look. Plus, if you’re looking to start selling your products you’ll be happy to hear that it’s WooCommerce compatible.

 

4. Sydney

sydney

Sydney is an incredibly clean and minimalist theme. It’s equipped with a full screen slider and smooth scrolling options that give it a very professional look. It’s hard to find a modern interface that looks this good across a free theme. If you’ve been looking to add parallax backgrounds to your site without buying a premium theme, then give this theme a try.

 

5. ColorMag

colormag

ColorMag is a very clean and modern theme for those looking to start an online magazine. It offers complex sorting options, so you can easily write and organize across a range of different topics. It’s responsive, so it’ll look good on any screen size, and includes plenty of different widget areas so you can give your site a custom feel.

 

6. GreatMag

greatmag

GreatMag is another online magazine theme that places a big emphasis on visual elements. It offers your visitors a streamlined user experience while highlighting on your visual content. You’ll also be able to add social media buttons, incorporate advertising, and adjust the homepage layout to your liking via the multiple widget areas.

 

7. Flash

flash

Flash is a minimalist WordPress theme that caters to modern businesses. The full-page slider can be customized to your liking and you’ll be able to do things like add your portfolio, showcase your site stats, and more. It offers great customization options like color selection, multiple layouts, and multiple widget areas.

 

8. Astrid

astrid wordpress theme

Astrid is a clean and simple theme that’s best suited for agencies and small creative businesses. The homepage is very clean and lets you immediately show your visitors what you’re about. The service breakdown section lets you quickly break down what it is that your company does. With features like WooCommerce compatibility, a live site customizer, portfolio creation, and color selection, you can easily customize this theme to your liking.

 

9. OnePress

onepress wordpress theme

OnePress is a great free theme for businesses of all kinds. No matter what kind of business you’re running, this theme can help enhance your online presence. The homepage slider and overlay buttons are quite an advanced feature for a free theme. Plus, you have the ability to include the Parallax scrolling effect on some of the modules. Overall, this theme will help put your best foot forward when representing your business online.

 

10. Zerif Lite

zerif lite wordpress theme

Zerif Lite is a very clean and functional theme. It offers everything you could want in a free theme. It’s responsive, has elegant one-page scrolling, and includes a team member module and a bundled contact form. Overall, the theme is pretty simplistic, but it’ll go a long way towards making your business look professional online.

 

11. Amadeus

amadeus free wordpress theme

Amadeus is an elegant and clean theme perfect for the modern blogger. It’s a very simple design, so it can be easily adapted to most niches. The smooth scrolling feature is also a nice touch. With features like an elegant typography selection, video widgets, responsive design, and being SEO friendly right out of the box, this is a great theme for your needs.

 

12. Blaksan

blaksan free wordpress theme

Blaksan is a great choice for lifestyle bloggers. The theme offers your site a more feminine touch, while still staying very minimalist. It includes plenty of whitespace and provides a solid reading experience for your visitors. If you’re looking for an elegant way to showcase your blog posts, then give this theme a try.

 

13. Oblique

oblique free wordpress theme

Oblique puts a spin on the classic masonry layout. The header and overall design of the theme will give your blog a unique presentation. It also includes a slide-out menu on the left-hand side. If you’re looking for a way to make your blog stand out from the pack, then this theme is worth taking a test drive. Especially if you want to go for a bold and empowering look.

 

14. Sparkling

sparkling free wordpress theme

Sparkling offers you a very sharp and modern design. The homepage slider lets you showcase your most recent posts over stunning imagery. If you blog in the technology space, then this theme can be the perfect choice for your needs. Plus, it integrates with popular and useful plugins like Contact Form 7, Yoast SEO, and W3 Total Cache.

 

15. Allegiant

allegiant free wordpress theme

Allegiant is a sharp and minimalist theme that’s very flexible. Its multipurpose approach makes this theme perfect for a wide range of business types. It includes plenty of whitespace to give your site a modern look. Plus, it has advanced features like parallax effects and a full-width animated slider.

 

16. Breviter

breviter

Most blogs are boring, but yours doesn’t have to be. Breviter is a solid theme for creative bloggers. It offers unique and original styling that’ll make your content stand out. Plus, it offers plenty of media options for images, galleries, and videos. Give Breviter a chance and make your blog stand out.

 

17. Verbosa

verbosa free wordpress theme

Verbosa is a unique blogging theme. It includes a left-hand sidebar, along with the masonry-styled blog section on the right. This is the perfect theme if you have a lot of content you’d like to showcase. It’s quite a basic theme, but it can be styled to your unique needs as a blogger.

 

18. Shop Isle

shop isle wordpress theme

Shop Isle is a solid free eCommerce theme. It offers a full-screen slider and a very clean design to showcase your products. It’s WooCommerce ready, so you can begin selling right away. You’ll notice just how nice this theme feels with smooth scrolling, an elegant layout, and plenty of whitespace, so you can give your products the home they deserve.

 

19. AccessPress Parallax

accesspress free wordpress theme

AccessPress Parallax is an elegant one-page theme. Like the name suggests it offers a parallax integration and smooth scrolling effects. Plus, it’s very flexible and can be customized to suit a wide variety of business. The theme is simple, but quite beautiful, and will leave a good impression in the eyes of any site visitor.

 

20. ReviewZine

reviewzine free wordpress theme

ReviewZine is the perfect fit for any kind of review-based site. The clean interface offers plenty of options to showcase your product reviews. Plus, it has a star rating system, so you can individually rate each product. The responsive design featured slider, and carousel options for products offer you the best way to create and post product reviews.

 

Hopefully, the selection of free WordPress themes above will give you a great starting point for your WordPress theme selection process.

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Want More Site Visitors? Step Up Your Voice Search Game https://www.hostgator.com/blog/voice-search-seo-strategies/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/voice-search-seo-strategies/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:52:56 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18628 The post Want More Site Visitors? Step Up Your Voice Search Game appeared first on HostGator Blog.

4 Ways to Improve Your SEO for Voice Search There was once a time, pre-internet, when sitting at home or in your car asking questions of no one was considered odd. Now it’s the next great iteration in internet search. Echo and Google Home-style devices are trendy, and surging mobile use means more people want […]

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want more site visitors step up your voice search game4 Ways to Improve Your SEO for Voice Search

There was once a time, pre-internet, when sitting at home or in your car asking questions of no one was considered odd. Now it’s the next great iteration in internet search.

Echo and Google Home-style devices are trendy, and surging mobile use means more people want to ask questions, not type in search phrases, to find what they need.

But how, exactly, can you help your site get found in voice search results?

Here are four ways to improve your voice search rankings and make it easier for people to find your site.

register domain name

1. Go Local If It’s Relevant to Your Business

Does your business serve a local or regional market? If so, it’s time to claim all your local business listings so that you appear in results like “find a garden center near me” or “where’s the nearest doggie daycare?”

Start with Google, Yelp, and Bing and then claim other listings like Yahoo, the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, or other platforms that are relevant to your type of business.

Not sure how to set up your Google My Business listing? This post walks you through the best practices for Google local-listing SEO.

 

2. Get to Know Natural-Language Queries

If you’re used to thinking in terms of keyword phrases (like “voice search optimization” and “Google voice search SEO”), it’s time to start asking questions (like “How can I optimize my site for voice search?” and “How does voice search affect SEO?”)

That’s because we don’t search with our voices the same way we search with text. Instead of typing in the most important words and hitting enter, we ask Siri or Alexa, “Where can I find the best burgers in Milwaukee?” or “Is there a dry cleaner near me?”

What that means for your site is that you need to include text that reads like natural language—the kinds of questions customers ask their phones or digital assistants. Not sure what those questions are? There are a few ways you can find out:

  • Make notes on the questions customers ask you in person, on the phone, and via email.
  • See what questions people ask about your type of business in forums and on social media.
  • Use tools like Soovle to autocomplete questions you enter and show you what people are asking about in searches. For example, type in “how do you cook brisket” and you’ll see results like “how do you cook brisket on a grill” and “can you overcook brisket,” sorted by popularity on different platforms including Google, YouTube, Bing, and more.

use Soovle to find autocomplete suggestions for voice search

3. Use Natural Language Queries on Your Site

When you see commonly searched questions that are related to your business, try to work them into your site’s headlines, subheadings, and text. This aligns your content better with what potential customers are looking for, and it can also give your site a more conversational tone, which most people find appealing.

Just don’t go overboard with the questions. Remember the days when sites would try to game search results by dumping repetitive keyword phrases into their pages so that their copy read like it was written by a robot? You want to keep the questions and answers on your site natural sounding and relevant.

Another way to fine tune how your site appears in results is to stay focused on long-tail keywords, which is another way of saying “be specific.” In a market with 15 businesses providing children’s party entertainment, including “children’s party entertainment” on your site may not even land you on the first page of local search results. But if out of those 15 businesses, only two provide hula mini-lessons for the kids, including “hula lessons for kids’ parties” is more effective because it’s more specific—it helps people find exactly what they want.

 

4. Post Videos That Answer Questions Your Visitors Ask

There’s another type of content you can use with natural language queries: videos.

YouTube videos can perform better than text-only web pages in Google search results, according to Michael Peggs at MarketingProfs. If there are questions that lead people to your website, make a few videos to answer them. For example, if you sell something like Acme barbecue pits, you can create videos that answer questions like “How do I put together my new Acme barbecue pit?” and “What’s the best way to smoke brisket in an Acme barbecue pit?”

Making short explainer videos takes some work, but it’s not as big of a production as you might think. Each video needs four to five elements: a script, a voiceover, visuals, some editing, and maybe music.  KISSmetrics has a great tutorial on putting together an explainer video on a tiny budget, with details about what should be in your script, how to record a voiceover that sounds professional, and how to source your visuals—something that can be as simple as doodles you’ve scanned into your editing program.

If you create videos, you’ll want to get the most search results mileage from them. Remember to:

  • Title your video as a search question using natural language and the keywords that lead to your site.
  • Use schema markup on your video if you embed it on your site.
  • End each video with a call to action that directs viewers to your business.

Keep each video brief. There’s a raft of data out there showing that two minutes is more than long enough for most viewers. And by keeping each one short, you can free up time to make more videos that answer different search questions for your target market.

 

Voice Search Is Always Evolving

As you implement each of these strategies, remember that the goal is to help customers find your business. When you land new customers, ask them how they found you and you’ll get a sense of which voice search strategies are working well for you and which you can refine more. And keep an eye on search trends, because the one sure thing about them is that they’ll keep evolving as the way we use technology changes.

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