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The Spider Is Not Your Customer
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The itsy-bitsy spider crawled 'cross the Internet
Cruising the websites to see what he could get.
Out came Google and Bing and ranked all the sites
And the itsy-bitsy spider went off to surf again.
In the days of my lost and misspent youth I worked in the wonderful world of retail. Specifically, I spent five years in store management. I managed stores in Riverside, CA, Laredo, TX, two different locations in Austin, TX, and my last store was in Plano, TX. Regardless of the demographics of my location, there was always one constant-contact with the customer.
In the modern era of Internet commerce many businesses have forgotten this seemingly antiquated idea as transactions become more impersonal and the focus turns toward Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google page rankings.
Statistics say over 42% of Google users do not get past the first listing when they conduct a search and nearly 90% never get past the first page (top 10). These numbers make the importance of a well-organized and well-designed SEO campaign obvious.
Where many businesses fall short is the next step: What impression does your website make on the customer once they have clicked their way to your homepage?
Many companies have become so caught up in keywords, click-backs, and other SEO optimizers they forget it is the customer, not the web crawler, who will be buying their products and/or using their services. In short, the impression your company makes on potential customers is still as important as it was in the long ago days of brick-and-mortar businesses.
Writing for Humans
As a former retail worker perhaps I am hyper-sensitive to this issue. I cannot count the number of times I have clicked on a high-ranking link only to be disappointed by the content on the company's homepage. A poorly written homepage, regardless of how appealing it may be to the web crawlers, can turn a customer off as surely as a rude salesclerk.
What I have found is good writing and presentation are necessary to close the deal once the customer clicks through to your website. This is where the freelance writer comes in. By hiring a freelance writer your company can create a website which will appeal to both the crawler and the customer. After all, if those who visit your site do not end up buying your products or using your services, the investment made in SEO is money down the drain.
In addition, a professional writer is outside of your company. They see your company as a potential customer would and are able to use their skills to tell the world what makes your company unique. Many freelance writers also produce material for article marketing campaigns. Having the same person write your website text and articles for your marketing campaign allows for a consistent presentation of your message which will help develop your brand in the minds of current and potential customers.
Finally, since freelance writers are contract employees, you are not responsible for paying for vacation days, health insurance, Social Security taxes, or payroll taxes. You can hire on a job-by-job basis allowing your company to maximize benefits while minimizing costs. Many freelance writers value repeat business and may be open to negotiating a lower price per piece for a commitment on your company's part for specified number of jobs.
Nearly every company hires professionals such as accountants and lawyers on a contract basis to handle areas of their business for which the need of an on-staff employee is unnecessary and/or prohibitively expensive. The new healthcare law, set to take effect in January 2014, will dramatically increase the cost to employers of hiring full-time staff, thus making freelancers even more cost effective.
Therefore, it makes sense for your business to get on the freelance train now, before demand for (and costs of) freelance writers increases. Hiring a freelance writer to compose the text for your website as well as articles to help market your company is just smart business. Making sure the freelancer you hire can produce quality content aimed at the people who actually buy your products and/or use your services rather than writing solely to satisfy the search engines is even smarter.
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