Holly Herrick’s Website Refresh Launched

Author launches new, fresh site

Over the last four years we’ve had the privilege of working with Charleston cookbook author, food writer and blogger Holly Herrick.

Holly has been extremely busy over the last years authoring a number of new cookbooks. In the past several months, she’s focused much of her writing on exploring Charleston with insider insights and things to see and do in our town.

Holly Herrick Cookbook Author Food Blogger and Writer

Responsive site focuses on content

To support her expanded writings, Holly wanted a more contemporary, responsive site that was as fresh as her inventive recipes. Working in conjunction with Holly, we reviewed what she liked and didn’t like in websites, discussed her hopes for the new site and got busy designing a new look and feel, using her brand identity previously created by Jay Fletcher.

The new site provides a magazine format home page which allows users to jump into the site’s content based on their interests. It also updates Holly’s brand with a new sassy tagline and approach.

We thank Holly for allowing us to support her on her professional journey. We’re looking forward to more tasty adventures as Holly leads us on new explorations of Charleston and the Lowcountry.

If you would like to see your website updated with a new, responsive theme, give us a call. You’ll find our facelifts are far less uncomfortable than those from a plastic surgeon and a whole lot more fun!

Why Your Website Needs Compelling Copy

Cheryl’s Note: This guest post is from my colleague Heather Mueller who is one of the most savvy web copy writers around. Her tips on creating compelling copy and setting attributes for it are important advice for every business owner and following them will lead to less frustration and more success.

Frustration button

On the web, you have mere seconds to grab people’s attention. Which is why having a polished, professionally-designed website is so essential.

But what if you’ve invested in a killer website for your business—one that’s mobile-friendly, fast and filled with stunning visuals, readable fonts and a beautiful color scheme—and it still isn’t generating the results you expected? What more can you do?

The answer is in your copy.

Carefully crafted web copy is what turns casual website visitors into paying customers. Add a few SEO (search engine optimization) elements, and more of your dream customers will discover your business in Google, too.

What high quality copy can do for your website

For example, did you know image captions are some of the most-read copy on a web page? Or that image alt tags (for people who are visually impaired) help search engines determine what your website is about? Or that after last year’s big Hummingbird update, Google favors conversational language?

Paying attention to these details can make a big difference in how your web pages are indexed by search engines, where they appear in search results and, most importantly, what people will do when they land on your site.

High quality web content can:

Lead more dream customers to discover your business in Google

And Bing, and Yahoo, and even often-overlooked search engines like YouTube. (Yes, even YouTube has a place for search engine-friendly copy.)

In addition to writing image captions and alt tags as mentioned above, you should spend some time crafting unique title tags and meta descriptions (more on this below), headlines (also known as h1s), subheads (h2s, h3s, h4s) and behind-the-scenes code (called structured data markup) to help your website stand out in search results.

Even your image names and URLs can impact how the search engines “read” your web pages and blog posts.

Convince people to click from search results to your website

Every web page has a title tag that appears as a clickable headline in search results, along with a meta description or, in some cases, snippets of on-page web copy.

Web copy: write compelling titles and descriptions
Don’t overlook your website’s page titles and descriptions. This is where great web copy can help drive more revenue and profits to your business.

If you spend time on just one aspect of your web content, it should be page titles and descriptions. If you want people to click on your search result instead of a competitor’s, it needs to be compelling.

Keep visitors from hitting the back button

How often have you clicked on a Google search result, only to find the actual website doesn’t offer what you were looking for? Your prospects are doing the same thing. And they’re deciding within seconds whether or not to hit the back button.

Your copy should give them a reason to stick around.

Answer a pressing question. Provide a solution. Include an offer of help. Web copy that sells is typically:

  • Free of jargon and acronyms
  • Easy to skim (that’s what bullets, bolding and short paragraphs offer)
  • Focused on readers and their needs

Great web copy can also inform your website’s calls to action—the language that convinces people to signup for your newsletter, follow you on social media, subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed and hit a “buy now” button.

Make your web content a priority, not an afterthought

Do you have one of those polished, professional websites I mentioned at the start of this post? Great! Now go fill it with compelling, searchable web copy that sells.

Heather Mueller of Mueller Writing is a website copywriter who went digital with her love of the written word after a decade in journalism and public relations. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and Google+.

Don’t Let Your Website Turn Into a Vegetable When WordPress Upgrades

Pumpkin or Coach-Which is your website theme

Will a WordPress upgrade turn your theme into a pumpkin?

Remember the old tale of Cinderella? Her Godmother equipped her with a beautiful gown, glass slippers, footmen and a gleaming gold coach to carry her to the ball that would change her life—if she got home before the final strike of the clock. She didn’t quite make it, fleeing the ball, the arms of her prince and loosing her slipper in the process. Not only that, but her coach transformed to it’s original form: a pumpkin.

You could be like Cinderella if you use a free WordPress website theme that will turn into a vegetable when the WordPress platform updates.

Free = you get what you pay for

There are many sources where you can get a free theme to which you add your content, colors, logo, and images. But you don’t own the theme—or in the parlance of Cinderella—you don’t own the coach that takes you to the ball—and you could be left with squash. That is if the developers of your site’s free theme didn’t code it in accordance with the WordPress platform’s codex.

WordPress is updating it’s platform on an ongoing basis. If your free coach, ummm, theme, is not coded as it ought to be you’ll be left sitting in a mess when WordPress upgrades.

If you’re ready for an upgrade, we’re ready to carry you to the ball, in a coach you own, which won’t “squash” out on you at midnight.

Photo credit: flickr user Sam Howzit creative commons attribution license