Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2009

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WHAT'S ON THE WEB Let your personality shine through Quick Tips on Web Writing • Keep it short and sweet. Use short paragraphs and pages and stick to your main point(s). • Use simple, conversational language. Avoid stiff, formal language that may alienate the reader. Use language that is personal and professional. • Link to relevant pages. Keep your pages shorter by linking to related information. Internal links to other pages on your site and links to outside sources can improve your search engine rankings as well. • Make your copy easy to scan. Web users rarely read word for word. Include headings, use bullet points or numbered lists, and bold or highlight key ideas for quick reading. • Organize your ideas. Use one main idea per paragraph. For longer pages of information, summarize your main ideas at the top of the page with a bulleted list. • Use short paragraphs. Break up longer paragraphs to make for an easier read. Put important ideas in the first sentence of each paragraph so readers will catch the main idea even if they don't have time to read the whole paragraph. Most importantly, never lose sight of the fact that the quality and readability of your content is the most important factor. Excessively overusing keywords (known as keyword stuffing) can hurt you rather than help you—not to mention irritate your readers. The text should sound natural when read aloud and not like it was written for the search engines. FRESH CONTENT Another factor that determines your search engine rankings is how regularly your site provides new or updated content. A high-ranking site includes a mix of static content (content that makes up the backbone of your site) and fresh content (new or regularly updated content). Let's compare it to something more familiar—food. Most likely you have in your pantry a mix of perishable foods (like fresh fruits and veggies) and nonperishable foods (like flour and salt). In order to achieve a balanced diet, you need some of both. Search engines are the same way. They favor websites that include a balanced diet of fresh content (perishables) and static content (nonperishables). One way to infuse your site with fresh content is to host a blog on your website. Blog posts are a quick and easy way to add new content to your site and keep your clients up to date on what's happening at your business. Your blog posts can be as long or short as you need them to be. If you're running short on time, keep it brief, but try to post at least once a week. 24 massage & bodywork november/december 2009 as you write for the blog. Let your clients get to know you as a person, as well as a professional. You can blog about anything—from your upcoming massage events in the community to the latest massage news and research to new modalities or services that you plan to offer. Your blog is also an excellent place to share self-care and wellness tips with your clients and to pass on information that has enriched your own lifestyle. What are you learning about in your profession and personal life? Share it with your clients. If you have a passion for nutrition, share tips on healthy eating choices. If you come across information in your continuing education classes that you wish your clients knew, share it in a blog post. Morgan uses the blog on her website to connect with her regular clients. "Anyone can subscribe to my blog," she says. "They get an email telling them I have made a new post. I post specials I am running or events I will be at, along with some information about massage and [its] various benefits." Notifying her subscribers of new blog posts allows Morgan to keep in touch with her clients and encourages client retention by serving as a reminder of her services and of the importance of massage therapy. Even if you don't have a blog, you can still keep your website fresh with a current specials or a news page. Include information on limited time specials, new services offered, on-site massage events, and business announcements and awards. Your static content (business hours, FAQ page, description of services, etc.) generally stays the same, but keep in mind that even staple foods can go bad over time. Take a look at your static content every so often and make any necessary changes to keep it accurate. Update your business hours, add recent testimonials, and freshen your therapist profiles as needed.

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