If you are planning on helping your website move to the top of the search engine rankings then you will always be told that content is a vital factor in optimising your site. However, we often get asked just how much content business owners are expected to write as the thought of having to fill web pages with interesting and engaging copy can be quite daunting! There will always be debate amongst the SEO industry as to the optimum length of web content and there can be pros and cons to both short and long articles. This means that there are a number of factors that you should consider when planning the length of your web copy.

At Wagada we are experienced in writing user-friendly web copy that adds real value to your customers and, in doing so, will give your website a boost with Google too. So here are our guidelines on how to decide on the ideal length of web content for SEO and our top tips for how to write effective online copy.

Understand what Google wants to learn from your web copy

Whilst there is no limit to the maximum word count that you can use we would always recommend keeping to 500 words as a minimum ideal length of web content for SEO. This is because Google can class any article or page below this word count as having ‘thin content’. This means that they feel that if there are not enough words on the page there is a risk that there is not enough information to help the customer effectively. By using this as a minimum word-count guideline you will know that Google should view your content as giving more value to your readers. It also means that your articles will be long enough to include a good amount of information, and you can fit in your keywords easily without making your page look over-optimised which Google definitely doesn’t approve of!

Google’s bots and algorithms are becoming more sophisticated all the time and they are now looking for web pages and articles to clearly demonstrate their intent and the field that they are in. You should make sure that your web content is of a good length as you will need to include relevant information to show that you are an expert in your field – and that you can convey a high level of knowledge to your customers.

One thing that has also become increasingly important to Google is the usability of your website. This means how easy it is for your customers to find what they need on your site. With more and more customers shopping online and more products available online it’s all too easy for customers to make a quick decision to leave your website if they can’t find what they are looking for. Therefore you need to make sure that your copy is focused on helping the customer find the information that they need quickly and effectively.

Create a usable website that is focused on what your customer needs

As usability is so highly valued by Google then to make your site work for the search engines you need to make sure it works for your customers too. When you are planning your word count for your online copy never make arbitrary limits or feel constrained by numbers.  Instead concentrate on whether the length is right to provide the optimum online experience for your customers.

Begin by thinking about what your customer is looking for when they visit your website and what they will be wanting from each page. For example your Home Page will often be much shorter in terms of text than other pages. Customers come here to be signposted to the areas of your site that will help them and so they won’t want to have to wade through lots of irrelevant text to get there! If you make this page too text heavy you could risk losing them altogether.

Likewise there will be some pages on your site that you can use to really show off the knowledge and expertise that you have in your business area, and you will want to make these as detailed as possible. This is particularly relevant to blog articles or news pages which you should fill with lots of engaging web copy. Longer copy is often much more valuable for these pages.

Present your web copy clearly

Whilst the content of your web copy is key the way that you present it is also really important and can help your users to find what they need clearly and easily. This can be particularly important if you are looking to write a longer article. Although long articles can be great for your site optimisation one of the downsides to longer pieces of online copy is that often time-poor browsers just don’t have the time to read them and may be put off by an overly long page. Alternatively they might decide to come back and read them later when they have more time but this can lead to pogo-sticking which could give a bad impression to Google.

One way to get round this problem is to clearly pick out the main points of your copy so that customers can understand the key issues without having to read the whole article. Use elements such as sub-headings, bullets, bold text and links to highlight the most important areas of information in your text. This allows people to scan your article and pick out the elements that interest them without necessarily having to read the copy fully.

Write copy to encourage social shares

Social sharing is a fantastic way to get your content seen by potential customers and if your blogs or website are shared on media such as Facebook or Twitter it can encourage more people to visit your site – and may help to move you up the rankings.  Interestingly research from Paddy Moogan shows that the longer the post is the more likely it is to get social shares with posts of between 3000 to 10,000 words the most likely to get shared. You can see this in action in the below chart

So we can see that high quality content is vital to help boost your site’s optimisation and it’s important to think about the ideal length of web content before you plan your web copy. However whilst you should aim to keep your text above 500 words don’t get tied down by setting definitive boundaries to your word count. Consider each web page and blog post individually and review how it will help your customers and what they will be looking for when they visit your site. You can then tailor your copy to meet that need. Don’t be afraid to write longer posts as they can be really popular with customers and will help Google to see that you are a real expert in your industry.

Well 2016 seems to have flown by and we can’t believe that we’re now into the last quarter of the year. But we’re pleased to report that things are certainly not slowing down for the Wagada team. In fact, we’ve got an exciting month ahead as we’ve been chosen as finalists for the Best Business Women Awards. With a gala awards ceremony to be held at the gorgeous Tewin Bury Farm Hotel in Hertfordshire, we’ve got plenty to look forward to. Especially as we’ve been selected for not one but two of these highly regarded and prestigious awards!

What are the Best Business Women Awards about?

We love the fact that the Best Business Women Awards have the key objective of creating a way to recognise the great women in our business community. As more and more female entrepreneurs are taking centre stage, it’s important to have a forum where their hard work, success and dedication can be acknowledged. Not only that, but these awards are for female business owners who are making a big difference to their local community, as well as to their own lives and those of their employees.

The Best Business Women Awards are the creation of Hertfordshire-based, multi-award winning Mumpreneur Debbie Gilbert. Debbie has been running small businesses since 1999 and so she has a real understanding of what it means for women to own their own businesses. She also knows the impact being nominated for an award can have on small business owners. She feels that it is vital to celebrate the amazing successes that women have had in the business community, and where better to do this than with an awards event specifically tailored for women who run their own companies.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that Wagada really champion women and working mums in our industry. So we are very proud to be nominated for both the Best Business Award and the Best Business Women in Technology Award. They are both important categories and we know that the judges were very strict with their criteria when choosing the finalists. So read on to find out more about what Wagada have achieved to get through to the final round of the awards.

Best Business Award

The Best Business Award, sponsored by Clydesdale Bank, will be given to the business who can showcase outstanding achievement and success. This can range from profitability, to fabulous customer service, from strong business growth, to innovation within the business industry.

At Wagada we feel that we have been able to combine strong business growth with a clear emphasis on putting our clients at the heart of what we do, and we always offer the highest standards of customer service. We also aim to be at the forefront of the digital marketing industry and are consistently innovating and refining our proposition to enable us to offer the most value to our customers. Wagada are very honoured to be chosen as a finalist for this award.

Best Business Women in Technology Award

It’s been great over the last few years to see more and more women entering the technology industry, which has often been criticised as being dominated by men. We’re passionate supporters of getting girls and women interested in the STEM subjects and into the digital industry.  We know just how much women have to give to the technology industry and it’s fantastic to be chosen for an award that recognises the role of female-led technology businesses.

As well as the excitement of being finalists in this category, we also hope it will enable us to inspire other women to join the technology sector.  It’s a rapidly growing and exciting sector and we love the fact that no two days are ever the same.  We’re keen to celebrate women in the digital sector and are extremely proud of our nomination in this category. This award is sponsored by SCA Group.

Why awards matter!

As you can see we’ve had to really show the judging panel how effective we are as a business. We’ve found that reviewing our work for an awards nomination is a great way of assessing just how far we’ve come. We love what we do, but sometimes it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of the job, without stopping to pause and review where we are.

As these awards are Hertfordshire-based, it’s also a great way to celebrate what’s been achieved in our local community and to network and meet up with a range of inspirational business women. It’s always good to share, and spreading business knowledge with others is a vital part of what we do. The experienced judging panel for these awards comprises a number of high profile, local business women who have proved just how much women can achieve in the workplace.

We feel really motivated by our inclusion as finalists in these awards and it’s a great feeling to see our hard work being recognised.

Congratulations to all of the finalists and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the awards ceremony on 20th October. Keep an eye on our social media channels to find out how we get on!

As you know at Wagada we love content and believe that it is key to creating a fabulous website that your customers will want to visit, buy from and share with their friends. However sometimes large amounts of text on a screen can be off-putting and daunting to website users, so it can be a really good idea to break up the text with images. Humans are very visually lead and research has shown that adding images to web copy and social media posts makes people more likely to read them. Images appeal to our subconscious minds and really bring the words on the screen to life.

However it’s not simply a case of adding a few images into your post that you like the look of. In fact getting your pictures right can be a vital part of encouraging interaction and engagement. Pictures help you to create your company identity and tell your customers the story of your brand. It can be worth putting as much time and effort into your pictures as you put into the writing itself. So when you begin to visualise a web page or a blog post always think about the images that you are going to use to complement the subject that you are writing about.

We’ve come up with some great ideas about the different types of images that you can use online, and we’ll discuss how they can help you to engage your users.

Telling a story with images

Telling a story to your customers is a key theme in 21st-century marketing and images can really help you to define what you offer to your target market. Online users no longer want static images of items for sale with a plain background behind them – that’s a sure-fire way to turn them off your product! Instead use storyboard images to give your product vitality and to help potential buyers to understand how the products will add value to their lifestyle.

To create an effective storyboard image think about how your product or service will fit into your customer’s lives. How will they use it and how will it benefit them in their day to day life? You should also consider what aspirations they may have and think about why they are buying your product. For example if you sell furniture you could picture it in a show home setting – fully accessorised. You could show people relaxing and having a coffee on their sofa, or a dinner party in full swing at the dining table. By using images in this way you can move from selling simply a product to selling a way of life to your customers.

Complement images with powerful language

Pairing words with images can be powerful and compelling. To achieve this effectively you need to keep it simple and think of one or two words or a short slogan that embodies what you are trying to tell your customer. Then you need to find an image that will bring these words to life. A good example could be a gym or personal fitness trainer who wants to show clients how they can help them reach their fitness goals. By overlaying the words “reach your goals” onto an image of a runner crossing the finish line of a race you can show your customers as well as tell them what your brand is all about.

Graphs and charts can make data stand out

In many circumstances you may have a lot of data that you want to convey to your potential customers, but paragraphs of dry data on your website may turn customers off and lead to high bounce rates from your site. We know that many people are time poor and when they visit a website they want to get the information that they need as quickly as possible. Therefore a great way to show off this data quickly and effectively is to create good quality stand out charts and graphs that highlight the key facts that they need to know. Bar charts or pie charts in bold primary colours really grab the eye and are a quick and powerful way of getting your key points over to your clients.

Infographics combine data and design

With the rise of social media and sharing sites such as Pinterest we have seen a new sort of image – an infographic. This is an image designed to show information or facts in a way that is engaging and appealing. Infographics add interest to the data that you are trying to share and are a quick way to get your message across. They are often designed so that the most important facts are given the most prominence which means that even a quick glance gives clients the information that they need. Then once they are interested they can take a closer look to find out more. These images work brilliantly on Twitter and Facebook as people will often share them with their social network. Whilst it can be worth investing in a designer to create some infographics for your business there are also a number of websites and apps which allow you to design your own.

Remember to optimise your images for great SEO

Of course when you add images to your website you also need to make sure that you have optimised them effectively for the search engines. As Google can’t understand images (yet!) you have to add in ‘alt text’ tags with keywords that tell the search engines what the pictures are showing. It can also help to give your image a descriptive filename before you upload in onto your website as this also helps the search engines to understand more about what the image contains.

Google is also very keen on websites being usable for its clients and pictures that take ages to download may cause frustration and lead to a higher bounce rate from your site. So ensure that file sizes for the images you choose are not too big and that they load quickly and easily with no disruption to website users.

As you can see images can be really vital in both building your brand and creating an engaging website that your customers will want to visit and share with their friends and contacts. Use imagery to tell a story to your customers and mix pictures and words to help convey the benefits of your product and service. Images can also help the search engines find you so make sure that you optimise all of your website images too!

 

 

When Wagada was set up, one of the key founding principles was that the staff here would be able to have a great work-life balance. We really believe that the key to a successful business is a happy and motivated team. Research has found that workers who are feeling stressed out, tired and overworked are going to be less productive, less loyal and may need more time off work due to ill health.

So we were excited to hear that work life balance issues will be brought to the nation’s attention during National Work Life Week 2016, which will take place from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th October. The week is all about giving employers and their staff a chance to focus on their wellbeing and to encourage them to think about what having a good work-life balance means for them. As part of this initiative they are also running ‘go home on time day’ on Wednesday 5th October. On this date, workers will be asked to leave on time and to upload a picture of their clock/watch onto Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #timetorebalance. We think this is a really innovative way to promote the importance of work life balance and flexible working!

So why is work life balance so important?

We were shocked to learn these facts about working life for parents in the UK today:

  • A third of parents (29 per cent) reported being burned out often or all the time
  • Four out of ten parents say that work intrudes to stop them spending time with children often or all the time
  • More than one in ten UK employees work over 50 hours per week
  • Workload is the main reason that working parents are putting in extra hours at work
  • Four out of ten younger fathers would take a pay cut to improve their work-life balance

We think that these disturbing statistics really bring home the fact that it is time for a change in workplace culture in the UK. That’s why we are so supportive of this campaign which aims to encourage discussion and debate about family-friendly working policies which is long overdue.  We hope that it will have a positive impact on those employees whose current lack of work-life balance still leaves much to be desired, and will help employers to understand the benefit of promoting flexible working.

How can companies promote work life balance?

Creating a great work life balance for employees is now easier than ever. There are so many ways that businesses can help their staff to feel less stressed and more in control of their lifestyle. Here are just some of the things that companies can do in order to support improved work life balance:

Introduce flexible working policies

Offer people a range of hours so that they can choose to work the times that fit in with their lifestyle. We live in a 24 hour culture and many jobs don’t need to be done within the traditional 9-5 working hours. Families with school age children often struggle with before and after school child care, so offering family-friendly school hours shifts or term-time only working can be a great bonus for staff. At Wagada we have many working parents who manage their job and family in this way.

Promote working from home

With email, skype and mobile phones readily available, ask whether it really is necessary for employees to be physically in the office all the time. Working from home has many benefits. Getting rid of commuting time means that staff will actually have more productive time to work and helps to reduce the inevitable stress of tube strikes, traffic jams and the wrong type of leaves on the track!

Many homeworkers also say that having a chance to work away from ringing phones and office gossip means that they can get more done too. Working from home on an ad hoc basis can also help companies become more family-friendly, as it means that if children are at home due to being ill, or employees want to watch their child running a race at sports day, they can do so without having to use up their valuable holiday time.

There is some really great, cost-effective technology available, to suit businesses of every size, so that people can work remotely, be able to access documents, data and systems quickly and easily, and feel part of the team even if they’re working from home.

Encourage regular breaks in the office

We’ve all had days where we find ourselves sat eating our sandwich at our desks and dashing off emails between mouthfuls, but it’s really important to take a break. This is just as important for employees’ physical health as their mental health. Being hunched over a keyboard can take its toll on the spine and exposing eyes to a screen for long periods of time can cause tiredness and eye strain.

Many companies are now looking at ways to help their employees relax at work. It could be that you instigate a regular weekly lunch out on a Friday, or get a great corporate deal at a local gym, so that staff can have a quick workout at lunch time. It might even be as simple as setting up a group of colleagues who go for a 20-minute walk at lunchtime, to recharge their batteries and blow away the cobwebs.

Have fun at work!

Another way to get a great work-life balance is to make sure that being at work is fun for your staff as well. At Wagada we are all passionate about digital marketing, our work and what we can offer our clients – indeed, no two working days are ever the same. We always make sure we take some time out to enjoy ourselves too. Some recent events have seen us running around St Albans in a crazy Pancake Day race, and putting on our pinnies to get baking for National Cupcake Day (and our creations were very tasty too!).

Flexible and family-friendly working at Wagada

We are really proud to have a number of flexible and family-friendly working policies in place at Wagada. Many of our staff are working parents who want to combine the needs of young children with their desire to have a satisfying, fulfilling professional life. It’s great to have such a dedicated team and the fact that their work-life balance works for them means that they are happy and motivated too.

But don’t just take our word for it – take a look at what flexible working means to our team in their own words:

“Thanks to Wagada’s commitment to flexible working, I’ve finally been able to achieve the balance I’d been looking for since my children were born” – Helen Mariner, Copywriter