Writing for Business


November 3, 2012  2:28 PM

To whit or to wit?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
According to Peter Cohan, there are six reasons Facebook stock is only worth $7, _____: competing objectives, slowing growth, conflicted ownership structure, weak monetization, lack of user privacy and overvalued shares.
a. to wit
b. to whit
Continued »

November 2, 2012  12:53 PM

Disinterested or uninterested?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 
Which is correct?
According to some critics, Google is _________ in fixing YouTube flaws.
a. uninterested
b. disinterested
Continued »


November 1, 2012  1:13 PM

Misplaced modifiers and dangling participles

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
a. As a quick and easy way to share content, I recommend Dropbox.
b. I recommend Dropbox as a quick and easy way to share content.

Continued »


October 31, 2012  12:36 PM

Halloween (or Hallowe’en) history, trivia and a quiz

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
_________ is here and you know what that means — cybercriminals have set up bait sites for SEO poisoning.
a. Hallowe’en
b. Halloween

Continued »


October 30, 2012  8:16 PM

Should you capitalize “president”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
The CEO is often the _______ of the company.
a. President
b. president

Continued »


October 29, 2012  1:52 PM

What was the first word transmitted on the Internet?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

The first word transmitted on the Internet, on Oct. 29, 1969, was “lo.” The funny thing is, it was accidental. What word did they intend to type?

Continued »


October 29, 2012  11:27 AM

Combined words and Lewis Carroll

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?

What do you call words like phablet,  Kinect and electrocute, that are each made up of parts of two words?
a. retronyms
b. portmanteaus
c. anacronyms

Bonus questions: What two words are each of those made from?
a. phablet = ______ + ________
b. Kinect = _______ + ________
c. electrocute = _______ + _______

Continued »


October 26, 2012  3:03 PM

“myriad” or “a myriad of”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
Phablets are among ________ new gadgets introduced in the last few years.
a. myriad
b. a myriad of

Continued »


October 24, 2012  1:08 PM

What’s wrong with this sentence?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

What’s wrong with this sentence?

Windows Server 2012 is the latest version of Windows Server, formerly named Windows Server 8.

Continued »


October 22, 2012  8:50 PM

Linkbaiting: The good, the bad, the ugly — and a mystery solved

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

I was writing about linkbaiting today, the practice of trying to entice readers to link to your content. Of course, the best link bait is good content. But high-quality content is no longer sufficient with the mountains of content — some of it good! — available online these days. You need to use tactics to get your content in front of enough readers so that some people will link to it and it will, eventually, perform better in search results.

Catchy titles are in again! A few years ago, snappy titles were all the rage. They were link bait, although they weren’t called that then. The concept was simple: Write a compelling title that represents your content. But then came the dark days of SEO dominance. It seems that search engine bots and readers aren’t attracted by the same types of titles, so “snappy” was out and things like keyword stuffing were in, instead. Although that was frowned upon as a tactic, it worked for a while.

I’m kind of excited to be legitimately trying to attract humans again. Like most things, though, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way:

Right: Create a title that makes the reader want to read your content. And make sure the content provides what the reader expects from your title.
Wrong: Create a title that makes the reader want to read your content. And then provide some content that may have some slight connection to the title.

So. Getting back to my title, that’s the good and bad. Here’s the ugly part. While I was researching linkbaiting, I came across a linkbait title generator. SEOhosting.com provides an example of searching on “dog training”:

 Here are some of the linkbait ideas that this tool generated:

  • The 7 most controversial videos of all time about dog training
  • 10 ways people have gotten rich exploiting dog training
  • 5 amazing things you probably didn’t know about dog training
  • 6 shockingly evil things about dog training
  • 5 insane but true things about dog training
Their catchy title was: Linkbait generator: A tool every blogger should try. I’m not convinced — and on principle, I’m not linking. I have no issue with the titles themselves but the fact is,  a lot of people are writing generic content about, say, dog training, and then slapping on  titles like “5 insane but true things about dog training” to attract readers. That’s ugly.

I wondered where all those wild titles for poorly written content came from. And that’s a mystery solved.

For more on linkbaiting, see Jonathan Morrow’s Why no one links to your best posts (and what to do about it)

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar.


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