Ducard Search Marketing | SEO & Content Marketing Experts
Ducard’s roots are firmly embedded in the world of digital content, with our specialism placing us at the forefront of search marketing. Reach new heights with Ducard Search Marketing, creators of the highest quality content and digital marketing.
Social media has become a big part of marketing in recent years, with companies using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn to generate results. However, you may find your social media strategy is not bringing in the desired results, so we are taking a look at the common marketing mistakes found with social media.
Failing to Find A Target Audience
Not everyone uses social media in the same way; some people are on there as a way to keep in contact with family and friends and are not interested in being influenced by companies. As such, it is important to have a target audience in mind when building your strategy. What is the demographic? Is there a desired tone of voice? Which platform is best for your desired audience? Relevant questions such as these play a role in implementing a successful strategy.
Posting Without a Defined Strategy
It can be easy to post things on social media that don’t really help with your marketing goals, so it is a good idea to have an outline of the right social posts in advance. A defined strategy, that has some flexibility so you can change it based on response, will help you stay organised and aware of how social media is impacting your marketing campaign.
Using Every Social Media Network
There are so many social media networks out there; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn to name a few. While it is a good idea to have a presence on several social sites, it is time consuming to use them all, and they won’t all gauge the same response. Find the platforms which work best for you and post regularly to them.
Posting Too Much or Not Enough
Sadly, it is hard to figure out how often you should post to your social media accounts. There is research about how often you should post, which is a good starting point. You want to make sure your social media accounts are active and engaged with the audience, but you don’t want to be spamming followers with content that could turn them away, un-liking, unfollowing or muting your feed.
Not Engaging with the Audience
As a business, you may forget that social media is a two-way platform. Your social media channels offer your consumers and clients a way to contact you and engage in your content. If you are just using it one-way to get your message out, you miss out on a lot of benefits. Be sure to regularly check the messages, replies and comments on the channels you use.
All social media channels have analytics you can use to review the overall engagement on the page along with how individual posts have performed. The analytics give you the chance to see what works well and what doesn’t as well. Analytics also show the social media platforms which gain the most clicks and conversions, so you can adapt your marketing campaign accordingly.
At Ducard, we are experts in social media, content and SEO and can help improve your marketing campaign and Google rankings over several months. For more information on the services we provide, get in touch with us today.
The weather is warming up and that means offices are going to be hot and stuffy for the next few months. Just like a cold office can impact work ethic and productivity, as everyone is focused on keeping warm instead of their work, an office that is too warm can make a working day hard.
At Ducard, we have a third floor office, with skylight windows. Though this gives us loads of natural light, it can get a bit too warm and stuffy on summer days. As such, we have a few expert survival tips in place that keeps the office moral up and productivity high, and we have shared them below.
It is important to stay hydrated and though a cup of tea or coffee will give you that much needed caffeine boost, it is not hydrating. The recommended daily fluid intake is 6-8 glasses, which equates to about 1.2 litres. Drinking water has many benefits, from boosting brain power, providing energy and also prevents headaches, which can occur when using a computer every day. You might want to install a water cooler too, so you can have cool and fresh water for everyone.
Opening windows can give you some fresh air, but it doesn’t always help to circulate the much needed cool air. Switching on the air con when it is needed will stop people from feeling tired in stuffy office air. If air con isn’t available, get some desk fans that will help blow the air around and keep the team feeling fresh.
This is something everyone at Ducard loves – the occasional ice lolly, ice cream or milkshake! Getting a big box of fruity ice lollies for the freezer helps keep the office mood up! There is nothing better than an ice cream on a hot, sunny day and that applies whether you are inside or out. Have an office run to a café to grab some milkshakes, or pick up a tray of McFlurries, and watch everyone start smiling again and the motivation levels increase!
Get Outside at Lunch
Whether your lunch is half an hour or a whole hour, it is a good idea to get outdoors when the weather is nice to soak up some Vitamin D. Getting some sun when you spend 9-5 indoors, five days a week, is also important for mental health. It can be disheartening for people when the sun is shining but they have to work, so getting outside for 15 minutes on your break, taking a walk around outdoors can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the rest of the day!
An Early Finish
Of course, this depends on the office, work load and generosity of your boss, but an early finish when the sun is shining goes a long way to help surviving a hot office! We have been lucky to be rewarded with a few, such as in the heatwave of 2018, allowing us an hour extra to get down to the beach or work from home while sunbathing in the back garden! Though an early finish doesn’t need to be every week, it is a lovely feeling when the sun in out!
Do you have any survival tips for a hot office? We’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our other blogs relating to content marketing and SEO, another thing we are experts in at Ducard!
Learn more about our team at Ducard by checking out our latest interview from our Head of Outreach, Chloe! These questions will fill you in with lots of interesting facts about life outside of work to questions about her job here at Ducard!
What is your favourite part of working at Ducard?
One of my favourite things about working at Ducard is the variety of work I get to do. One minute I am writing content, the next I am looking into new outreach strategies.
What is outreach and why do you enjoy it?
Outreach is all about helping to tell a brands story through other people such as bloggers, online publications and websites. By doing this, we help reach an audience for our clients who may not have heard of them before.
I enjoy outreach as I get to work with such a variety of people such as bloggers and build strong relationships. It is a great feeling to see how well a campaign has worked and see the benefits from it.
Is there something you have learned from working at Ducard that will stay with you?
Before I worked at Ducard, I had no idea what SEO even was, and since starting my role here, I have honestly learnt so much about it and the different factors that go into making a website rank. I would probably say that SEO as a whole, and if I ever end up doing anything else, I don’t think I will ever forget about it!
As a blogger, what are top tips for working with other bloggers?
If you are a brand who is looking to work with bloggers in any way, you should make sure that their audience is similar to yours, as you don’t want to target people who have no interest in what you are offering. Many bloggers are always happy to help with brand awareness, whether that is through a social post, guest post or a product review and will be a lot of effort in to make sure your brand is heard.
My tips would be to see how engaging their audience is as in the world of bots, fake followers and more (especially on Instagram) it is hard to see who is legit. Someone might have 50K followers on Instagram, but if no-one is engaging in their content, that should be a red flag!
What is something all bloggers should know?
As I work within the SEO sector, I knew that I needed to optimise my content, but I think a lot of bloggers don’t think too much about this! Make sure you are including alt tags, title tags, meta descriptions and internally link your content! You can find Chloe’s blog over at Chloe Talks!
What is your favourite social media platform for building a brand?
It really depends on what the brands’ goals are and their target audience. However, I am a huge fan on Instagram at the moment, and I think it is great for all businesses as your audience can often get to know the people behind the brand.
How has your career progressed?
Over the last few years, my career has changed drastically as I started out as an accounts assistant, then worked at a property surveyor doing social media and admin duties, then became a home carer whilst doing admin at the same time. I have tried a lot of different things as I never really knew what I wanted to do, but I’m pretty confident that what I do now, I will be doing for the rest of my working life!
What is your favourite TV show right now?
I have just finished re-watching Game of Thrones, and that is probably my favourite show of all time. I have been watching a lot of true crime documentaries too; completely obsessed!
Where would you go on holiday tomorrow if money was no issue?
Cayo Coco in Cuba; I have been there three times already when I was younger and had some great family memories of that destination.
What music motivates you?
I’m a huge pop-punk fan and don’t go one day without listening to blink-182, so it will have to be anything by them (preferably when Tom DeLonge was still part of it)!
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Chloe! If you want to find out more about the work we do at Ducard and how we can help improve your website’s rankings and social media output, get in touch with us today!
Last Friday on 8th March it was National Proofreading Day, and we are looking at why it is an essential part of content strategy. Proofreading is reading over a draft before publishing it live, checking for minor spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. Though it is one of the last tasks when it comes to writing content, it is an essential part of the process.
Content can be written and published in a fast-paced and pressured environment, which can lead to mistakes going unnoticed and slipping through. With the time and energy put into content, thinking up creative ways to engage with your audience, you don’t want basic errors or a typo to consistently happen which can ruin your work somewhat.
A small typo can detract from the impression you want to make, and mistakes can show carelessness and undermine your brand and reputation. If someone notices an error in the first few lines, they are also likely to stop reading on, which can affect the performance of your website. Also, when sharing content on social media, your audience has easy access to point out any errors and incur negative feedback.
By proofreading your work to give it a final touch up, it can also ensure the clarity of the message you include in the content. Proofreading will help avoid embarrassment from a simple mistake, negative feedback and the time it takes to correct errors and should be included in everyone’s publishing process.
Proofreading requires a good knowledge and understanding of the English language, spelling and grammar. You also need a methodical, almost pedantic approach when reading through content to make sure you are catching the errors. Proofreading doesn’t mean you should be changing large portions of the text but just looking out for spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. A proofreader should also keep an eye on the formatting, accuracy of page numbers, headings and captions and make sure the content is in line with the tone of voice and style you are aiming for.
Becoming a good proofreader doesn’t happen quickly as your brain will often shift around what you are reading because it knows what it should be saying rather than what it actually says. However, there are common mistakes to look out for such as a missing letter or mistyping such as ‘our’ instead of ‘out’ due to R and T being next to each other on the keyboard. Homonyms being misused such as ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ can often remain unchecked. Proofreaders should also look out for inconsistencies such as the use of American and British English, capitalisation of proper nouns and pacing of punctuation.
Though reading through your own work is important, to pick up the more obvious mistakes, you should send content to a colleague to look at it as well. Another pair of eyes will catch the smaller mistakes that have slipped through during your writing and proofing process. If you have no one else to proof work, leave it a while before rechecking yourself, reading slowly.
You can also use proofreading tools such as Grammarly or spellcheck. However, online tools do not always determine a mistake in the way a human proofer would, if the word is spelt correctly for example, so getting another person to check over it is essential.
Hopefully, this post will encourage you to include proofreading in your content strategy, or enforce it if you have fallen slack. At Ducard, our dedicated team of content writers proof their own and each other’s work, making sure it is polished before being published live. If you have any further queries on the work we do and how we can help your business with content and social media, get in touch with us today.
Interview with Our Digital Marketing & Social Executive Kim
Our Digital Marketing & Social Executive Kim has been with us nearly seven months and has taken to her role like duck to water! Being such an integral part of the Ducard team, we thought we’d do a little interview to find out a little more about her!
What is your favourite part of working at Ducard?
Probably the busyness and variety! One day I could be writing a blog, the next focusing on email marketing and then working on new social strategies. I like being busy, and I don’t usually stop!
What is a top tip for marketers?
Know your audience and continuously monitor where they are. There’s no point in focusing your marketing efforts on one platform if that’s not where your audience is anymore. Consumer behaviour is constantly changing, so it’s crucial to stay on top of it.
What is the best social media platform for a business?
It really does depend on the type of business and your audience. If you’re targeting customers that are older, Facebook is probably the best social platform. Whereas, if your audience is younger, Instagram is getting even more popular. If you’re targeting businesses, then Twitter and LinkedIn will be the best.
Why is social media important?
Social media is 24/7; if a business doesn’t have social media, I’d be less likely to trust them. Social media allows companies to connect with their consumers and build loyalty and brand awareness. You can either do social media really well and gain a lot, or poorly and have it affect your business in a detrimental way.
As a blogger, what do you enjoy about the activity?
I like having something that’s my own! I enjoy writing, photography and travelling, so combined all to inspire other people’s travels. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my blog, and it’s nice to have people recognise what I do and say they enjoy reading my ramblings! (I’m over at www.theadventuretome.com if you want to have a read!).
What is it about marketing that interests you?
Understanding how people think and shop really interests me, I’m a creative thinker and exploring new ways to target different audiences is fun! Marketing is really immersive, and I often find myself discussing marketing outside of work when I see a good or bad campaign.
What’s your go-to music, TV show and food to cheer you up?
I’ve got a really varied music taste; my go-to music choices currently would either be The Chainsmokers or Catfish And The Bottlemen. I’ve been binge watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians, but usually just end up watching Vlogs 90% of the time. Food wise, it would be crisps and dip!
What is your favourite part of the day?
I’m a bit of a foodie, so probably whenever I get to eat!
If you could have any job, what would it be?
I’d love to travel the world full-time, which unfortunately isn’t realistic full-time! Other than travelling, I enjoy music and fashion, so probably doing marketing for one of those realms!
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
This is tough! I’d either go with Iceland or Australia, both polar opposites. Currently, it’s raining in the UK (like most of the year) so probably Australia at present for some much-needed sun!
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Kim a bit more – look out for more interviews with the Ducard team and posts on how to improve your websites through content, social media and SEO!
Types of Content to Include on Your Website’s Blog
When starting your blog, it is good to consider the different types of content you may want to post – read here for ideas and information.
In today’s world, an online presence is important for businesses, and one way to achieve this is through a regularly updated blog. There are several benefits of having quality blog posts on your website, as they help drive traffic to the site when shared on social media and provide your customers and clients with the information they may not find elsewhere.
If you are planning on starting a blog for your business, you may want to think about the different types of content to include on your website’s blog. Read on for some suggestions which can help to engage and inform readers.
A feature is a long-form piece of content you can pack a lot of information into. However, you need to make sure the content is engaging, entertaining and informative to keep people reading. Including great images and breaking it up with H2 headings helps people flicking through summarising what you are trying to say, and also encourages the reader to spend time actually reading it. Features which come in the form of a list, e.g. Top 10 Reasons Why… read well on Google, and are perfect examples for ranking as a snippet or high in searches. It also helps to add in links to relevant landing pages into long feature pieces so readers will know where to click for more information.
Including industry news on your blog gives readers an insight into what is happening with your company. For example, at Ducard we have added blogs on the news relating to SEO, social media and digital marketing, areas we are knowledgeable and interested about. Sharing industry news lets your readers know you are also keeping up to date and involved in the industry you specialise in. This can include new trends, trips learned from conferences and more.
Interviews are an excellent way to connect the company with the client/customer. Including interviews on your blog increases the chance of interaction and response from the audience, and helps to increase your blog’s authority and adds some diversity to the content. Interviews also help to break down the walls and build communication. A lot of customers are happy to know a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes, and it can add a personal touch to the work you perform. Interviews can be with members of the team, which we have on our blog, or interviews with industry experts.
Infographics are excellent for catching attention and relaying information in a simple way. Infographics are great for sharing content without spending a lot of time on it, and though it may seem lazy, it is really effective. There are a few online tools you can use to build infographics if you don’t have the software to do it yourself too, so you can make them as eye-catching and detailed as you want. You can also include an embed code on your infographic, so it can be easily shared and credited to you by others.
Guest posts are the practice of contributing content to another person or businesses blog in order to build a relationship, authority, links and exposure. Creating a guest post establishes a relationship with a blogger or other business hosting your post and gives you exposure to their audience. The concept is easy: you write a blog fitting their requirements and get a backlink in return, and it is seen as a win-win solution for both websites!
If you want to know more about what content to include on your website and how it can help your website’s rankings, why not get in touch with us today and find out about the solutions we can provide?
Optimising your online business doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Check out these basic techniques.
The term ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ is used a lot in the modern world of digital marketing. Sometimes referred to as Search Engine Marketing and commonly abbreviated to SEO, this simple term was in fact in use before the creation of Google in the late 1900s. However, the internet has come a long way since then, and in the modern age of digital technology, SEO has dramatically expanded.
Now more of an umbrella term than a specific technique, Search Engine Optimisation is the jewel in the digital marketing campaign’s crown. With many businesses hugely reliant on their ability to be found on search engines, the importance of being ranked highly on sites such as Google cannot be overstated.
However, for many small and medium-sized businesses, the term SEO can be quite daunting. Beliefs that it is complicated and expensive can stop companies from attempting SEO at all. The truth is, though, that optimisation can be really simple, as every website has some form of SEO on it that can be optimised with very little time and effort! Here are some simple types of Search Engine Optimisation that are quick and easy to do, which could help your website stand out.
First of all, it’s important to understand what search engines, such as Google, are doing when they arrive at your site. Simply put, their data-catchers, often referred to as spiders, crawl your page to try and understand what it is about in the simplest way possible. Search engines are looking for key indicators that explain your website’s point of focus, and one of the first things it will look at is the page title.
It’s important to note here that the page title isn’t always the biggest piece of writing on the page – search engines look for code, not sizes or colours. The title is often the writing that appears at the top of the web browser, usually in the webpage ‘tab’. The title informs search engines, in the bluntest way possible, what is on the page, and is key towards optimising your site.
Make sure that what you are offering or promoting features in every relevant title page, so Google knows where people should look if they’re searching for that service. Like most things in SEO, you must find a balance between pleasing the search engine spiders and also making it clear and easily readable for your users.
This point applies particularly to companies with a lot of text on their pages but is also found on many shopping sites. H Tags is the term commonly used for headings on a webpage. While, as we mentioned previously, search engines cannot tell headings based on size, they can discover them through coding, and they use these headings to understand your page in more detail.
Like with the page titles, this is about making it crystal clear to Google everything that your page is offering. While it might look engaging for consumers to put a personal message or slogan in this space on a page, this does very little to help your standing in the eyes of search engines. Again, you need to make a compromise between pleasing potential consumers and appealing to search engine spiders, so more people can reach your site.
Using images in SEO is a lesser-used concept that can, at times, divide opinion. This is also a good time to introduce that key point once more – search engine spiders cannot ‘look’ at your website in the traditional sense. They can only understand the site’s code and will not pick up on colours or other visuals. That is why almost all images on the internet now have alt text, a phrase that accompanies the picture’s code which search engines can use to understand the picture’s contents. Alt tags can be freely modified, which makes this another website feature that can help with SEO. However, the way it is used is important.
Image optimisation steps into the realm of white and black hat SEO. Put simply, white hat SEO is slow but lasting ethical optimisation, and black hat is unethical, with quick but wavering results. It is possible to use image tags as a way of forcing your products and services through the search engine machine repeatedly. However, we would always recommend being honest with Google about the content of your images. Not only does this help with long-term ranking, but it will also show a human side to your site that search engines are increasingly looking for.
The meta description often separates those companies that know SEO from those that do not. In reality, though, it is straightforward and uses a lot of the techniques and practices previously mentioned. Meta descriptions are what appear under the title of the page on search engines, usually in grey font, and is there to explain to users what is on your page. The meta often has to be entered manually, or search engines will randomly pull text from the top of the page to use. While search engine spiders may also use meta descriptions to understand the page further, this small passage plays a larger role in getting search users onto your site, making it something worth completing.
These are just a few simple ways of making your site more search engine friendly. While this will give you a good foundation to build on, SEO is a long process, and genuine improvements take a lot of commitment and effort. A blog is often the next step towards search engine improvement – take a look at our post on tips for creating a successful business blog for some quick and easy pointers on this. However, if you are looking to take your business’ SEO to the next level, why not get in contact with us today?
If you are looking to create a blog to promote your company online, consider these helpful tips to get you started.
In the modern world, an online presence is crucially important. Depending on your business, it might be more important than any physical storefront or may replace it entirely. It’s important that what people see from your company online matches with your beliefs and provides the best platform to captivate and interact with your potential customers. This is why digital marketing is such an important facet of modern business.
With this in mind, many companies now turn to blogs as a way of informing and interacting with their potential online base. Here at Ducard, we are experts at creating high-quality content for business blogs and news feeds, and we have learned many tips and tricks along the way to where we are now. If you are a business looking to create a blog as a method of promotion online, consider some of these helpful tips to get you started.
Host your Blog
If you’re starting from scratch, then the first thing you have to do is create your blog or news feed, and that means finding somewhere for it to call home. Some may find it easier to create an account on a service such as WordPress in the company name and begin typing away. However, you will see more significant benefits if you create a location on your website for it to belong.
At this early stage, it is crucial to understand the core purpose of your blog for your business. Yes, informing and entertaining your customers is a vital part of it, but it is equally important that the blog helps to elevate your company to a higher level of internet authority. By merging the blog with the business site, you will make sure that traffic to your blog is counted as traffic to your company, which is a great way to impress the search engine bugs that choose where to rank you on sites such as Google!
Find the Balance between Selling and Informing
When businesses set up blogs for the first time, their instinctive reaction is to fill it up with press releases, product advertorials and awards nominations. While this is great for your business and may interest regular customers, it is not usually successful at acquiring new visitors. More importantly, search engines often dislike blogs that are seen to promote themselves too much. The importance of quality content on your website cannot be overstated; therefore, it’s important to find a balance between selling yourself and informing your visitors.
An ideal business blog will be less about themselves and more about their knowledge of the sector in which they operate. By showing your unique insider knowledge, not only will you attract a wider audience with an interest in your market, but you will also be seen as an authoritative voice in your industry by search engines. That means that you will begin to rank on sites like Google, which will increase the views for your blog and business, creating a positive spiral for your company!
Following on from the point above, it’s essential that once you begin to build your audience online – and get into Google’s good books – you continue to create posts frequently. The world of online moves at a much quicker rate than most businesses realise, and any good results won through blogging can be lost even faster.
Regular blogging doesn’t mean that you have to write a smart, intelligent piece every single day. Depending on the competitiveness of your industry, one post a week could be enough to keep you floating along. However, there is no hiding from the fact that the blogs that perform in fits and spurts – a few posts one week, then nothing for a month, for example – will slide away, while those that create quality content on a regular basis will continue to grow!
Running a business often means juggling many different things at once. From chasing invoices and clients to looking after employees, there is always a job to do. This constant management is, often, what makes digital marketing such a complex and demanding issue for many businesses.
Hopefully, this post will help you in the creation of a blog for your company. However, if you would like help with managing the ongoing digital marketing operations of your business, including the creation of high-quality blog content on a regular basis, then get in contact with the team at Ducard today – we can’t wait to get started!
Writing is an excellent skill for anyone to possess. Something that is easy to pick up but hard to master, creating content and being able to write quickly and effectively opens up many avenues, both for professionals and businesses. However, there is a difference between being able to write and being able to create content that not only works for an audience but also the electronic search engine crawlers that many strive to satisfy every day.
Here at Ducard, we pride ourselves on our ability to produce content that is not only engaging but also satisfies search engines. Here are some tips to help you create SEO-friendly blog pieces.
You will probably have plenty of ideas in your head concerning your next blog piece, and it’s likely that a few of them will look more enticing than others. However, it’s important to consider SEO at every stage of the process, and the planning is no different.
Depending on the age of your site, you may have a back catalogue of posts already. If so, try to look for trends in previous pieces that point to a topic that performs particularly well. If not, try typing related questions into a search engine to find niche topics that may not have been covered by anyone else recently, or in much detail. These techniques can help you find the correct subject for your blog post, amongst other methods.
This is easily forgotten, especially when people are focused on creating the perfectly-designed SEO blog post. Even if you are writing with Google in mind, you need to remember the people who will be reading your blog. It is essential that you write enthusiastically about your topic, creating quality content that will excite your audience.
It is your audience that will be reading this, so it’s vital that you come across as not only knowledgeable but passionate about your subject. As an added incentive, search engines are smart enough to differentiate between an unengaging, self-promoting article and an exciting, well-informed piece of content and will demote and promote pieces accordingly!
Structure Your Blog
So, you’ve found a niche subject and have written an exciting piece of content about it. The next step is to refine it for SEO. First of all, search-engine-friendly pieces should be 650 or more words long, detailed enough to portray your knowledge but not too wordy to put off online audiences. After that, there are a few differing structures that can help increase your piece’s value within the eyes of search bots.
The use of sub-headings is an easy way to improve the look of your blog post, both for search engines and reading audiences. These can come in the form of statements that divide your piece or give answers to the topic question, or they can be questions themselves, giving the post further opportunities to answer niche questions asked by online searchers. Another option for blog structure is to use shorter bullet points, which is particularly useful when given as either an answer to the blog post question or as a chronological timeline.
Unfortunately, for businesses with little time to dedicate to writing posts, a healthy, SEO-friendly blog requires regular updating to maintain the website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines. To retain authority and successful ranking on search engines, it is important that your website is consistently full of engaging, informative and SEO-friendly content. This is often the hardest part of the SEO blog puzzle for many businesses, and the need to continuously create relevant content is an area where we can help.
Hopefully, this article will help you to begin creating search-friendly blog content! If you are a business owner who is struggling to find the time to create regular blog posts that satisfy Google and other search platforms, why not get in contact with us today to see what solutions we can provide for you.
Writing is a good skill to master and content writing is a way to build your experience and ability. It is not enough to just be able to produce original ideas or get people quickly hooked into a story, writers also need to be aware of the language and grammar in their work.
When you are reading something with lousy grammar, it can be distracting and so knowing the basic rules is a good place to start, especially if you want to build up your writing skills. We have put together six rules writers should know before they get started.
Homophones can easily catch you out. They are words which have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins or spellings, e.g. “stationary and stationery”, or more commonly confused, “you’re and your”. Spell check won’t catch them out, and can easily sneak past a proof-reader’s eyes, and a good solution is to understand the definition of the words you use. Using Grammarly or even a simple click to check the synonyms is the best way to make sure you are using the correct homophone.
Common Nouns and Proper Nouns
A frequent mistake in English is to capitalise random nouns. For a reminder, nouns name people, places and things, and nouns can also be classed as common or proper. Common nouns name general items, e.g. beach, school, hospital, coffee shop, and proper nouns name specific items, e.g. Saunton Beach, Pilton School, North Devon Hospital, Caffe Nero. My biggest hate is the capitalisation of the seasons, as they are not proper nouns, though for some reason it does sometimes look like spring needs an uppercase ‘s’.
Adjectives vs Adverbs:
Knowing the difference between adjectives and adverbs is something that is taught at school, but many people forget about it. Adjectives describe a noun or pronoun and adverbs describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. They are pretty easy to correct when you read them through, as it’ll be obvious that the sentence doesn’t make sense.
Know Where to Put an Oxford Comma
The Oxford or serial comma is an optional comma before the word ‘and’ at the end of the list such as “We write content on England, Wales, and Scotland”. It is a stylistic piece of grammar, meaning it is not always required and depends on the article you’re writing. Some say it provides clarity for readers; others say it clutters the page and adds confusion.
Use Semicolons to Join Ideas
Punctuation can be confusing when it comes to writing as there are no definite rules (see Oxford comma above) but you shouldn’t be afraid of a semicolon. It is most useful for joining two ideas when you don’t want to use a conjunction. The two ideas could be separate sentences but if they are linked it is best as one. An example would be: “The office needs a fruit box; it’s a healthier snack than chocolate.”
Know Your Tenses
Tense can be the cause for a long blog post on its own, as there are multiple tenses beyond just past, present and future and all worth knowing. One which is often mixed up is the use of perfect tense; your “have, has and had” or “be, being and been.” In content writing, the present perfect tense is used, in ways such as, “We have written about grammar for our latest blog.” Ensure the verb tense is consistent in your work; edit it and proofread.
These are just a few of the grammar rules to write by, and even these can be bent depending on what you write! If you have any grammatic rules you live by, we’d love to know – we can add them on here! In the meantime, take a look at some of our other blogs about content and SEO:
Do you regularly update your website with quality content? Or would you like to know more about the benefits of content on your website? Here at Ducard, we can assist you with these vital website decisions which will ultimately improve your organic search engine listing.