Living in the Corona World

There haven’t been many cases close by here. There was one, then five. And nothing more for several weeks. Then ten, and now fifteen, within days of each other. In this small town, with big families, it is reasonable to expect we would see such clusters.

Oscar, our regular taxista (cab driver) before the pandemic, tells us we are best to stay out here in the country where it is “safe and calm.” He doesn’t say much, but he does say there is “a lot of fear in town.”

How My Life Changed

My life likely changed less than yours. Before, we went into town once a week on Fridays to do our shopping. While we were gone, Mercedes would come over and clean for a couple of hours. Byron would work around outside the house, doing noisy things, like cutting the grass in the orchard.

Now, a truck comes to the end of the driveway on Sunday mornings. I buy about two-thirds of what we need off the back of that truck. They have everything from popcorn and TP to apples and lettuce. It’s a short interaction, but it’s now all I have. Otherwise, one of the construction crew takes orders from my husband over WhatsApp and delivers the rest of what we need, usually on Tuesdays.

When we go to the building site at the other end of the driveway, we all wear masks. We talk about where the kitchen countertops go, or how to custom make a bathtub big enough for North Americans. Same conversations, just with masks. It’s mandatory here, although I am sure we could decide not to, on our own property. But I’d rather go with the better safe than sorry approach. It’s not a political statement here.

What the Future Looks Like

From where I sit (behind my computer as a freelance writer,) not much has changed, yet I know the reality. My workflow remains the same, although most emails now end with something like Stay Safe.

The plan is for the new house to be ready in a few months. No, I don’t even ask exactly, anymore. The combination of relaxed Ecuadorian cultural timelines and a global pandemic means everything is somewhat up in the air. When it is ready, we will move in. Until then, I’ll wait.

I haven’t left the property since March 13th. That’s over four months now. I’m not sure how long this will last, but I admit, I’ll stay right here in paradise and wait it out.

Take care, and stay safe.

Do you Care for an Aging Parent?

Ten thousand boomers turn 65 years old every day in America. We’ve been talking about this coming crisis for decades, and now it is here. So 1 in every 3 employees holds down a job and volunteers for an average of 5 1/2 years to assist their loved ones.

CareWise(tm) Solutions help employee-caregivers stay productive on the job while providing superior care for aging or disabled family members. 

Right now, we are soon launching a Crowdfunding effort to develop a smartphone APP for working carers. This APP frees up employee-caregivers using remote technology, collaborative schedules, customized organizational tools, and access to resources. 

As our crowdfunding efforts move forward, I’ll update you on how to pre-purchase the APP for your family or your organization. Companies purchase the APPs as part of an employee benefits package because of the increase in productivity seen by employee-caregivers and their teams. 

In the meantime, check out the Lifeworkx website to learn more about CareWise Solutions. 

Readability Scores

Readability Scores

Choose Your Level

This week readability scores came up more than once. A few complex topics needed simplifying. My clients want to simply inform their current customers about complicated topics, without condescension. So, we discussed the concept of “Readability Scores” and what that really means.

Some of what goes into web content or blog readability is about image placement, subheadings, bullet points and other things on a page that make it easier to read. That’s not what I am talking about here.

The Flesch Readability Scores Test

People mostly scan content on the web. Posts that are easy to read and scan make sense. The Flesch Reading Ease test scores the complexity of copy and rates it on a scale of 0 to 100 (see below). Generally, a score between 60 and 70 (8th to 9th grade) is considered typical for most industries.

Then again, many industries easily support more difficult text. A government website I worked with this week scored at a 20 to 30 level. The client preferred that the information from that website be rewritten for his customers in that 60 to 70 range.

 

Score

School level

Notes

100.00-90.00

5th grade

Very easy to read. Easily understood by an average 11-year-old student.

90.0–80.0

6th grade

Easy to read. Conversational English for consumers.

80.0–70.0

7th grade

Fairly easy to read.

70.0–60.0

8th & 9th grade

Plain English. Easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students.

60.0–50.0

10th to 12th grade

Fairly difficult to read.

50.0–30.0

College

Difficult to read.

30.0–0.0

College graduate

Very difficult to read. Best understood by university graduates.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Why Readability Scores Matter

Your readability scores influence how much time your visitors spend on your website. It may seem counterintuitive, but the easier readability scores tend to keep website visitors for longer. Readers bore easily. (Thanks for staying with me here!)

When your visitors stay on your website longer, your SEO ranking goes up. Google watches how long people stay on your site. If your nearest competitor engages readers for longer than you do, they are ranked above you.

Deliberate Choice is the Key

If you know me at all (and if you don’t, here’s a clue) you know how strongly I believe in deliberate choice. So, just like anything else, choose your readability score to fit with your audience, your subject and who you are. It is that combination that will make for successful web content.

Melody

P.S. The Flesch Readability Score of this post is 71.1

The picture is the view out my window. The mare’s name is Paloma (Dove), and the colt is Luz (or often Lucita, which means “Little Light”). The bushes are a salak (snake fruit) and mangosteen in my tropical fruit orchard here in Ecuador. 

Big Machines and Blogs

Big Machines And Blogs

Big machines. I mean really, really big machines. The kind that makes roads, and my 750m long driveway, were here this week. I hide away and write blogs, as the machines make the driveway.

The Big Machines

There were at least a dozen dump trucks full of what is locally referred to as “lastre”. This is a terra cotta coloured pre-marble material used for gravel roads and driveways, very nearby. Drive for less than an hour in any direction, and no more lastre.

The other big machines were here to move the lastre around. We get about 4 times as much rain as Vancouver or Seattle, so we have to be conscious of erosion. The under footing is mostly a clay mix that makes most everything amazingly stable.

In fact, this well was dug by hand. blogs wellNary a stone to be found. And that Byron does dig a nice hole.

The Blogs and Such

This week I have been working on a book. Not mine, that’s another project. This is a book by a respected psychologist on the east coast of the US. It is yet in the early stages, but I am interested to read it when it is finished!

There have been more dental blogs for Dr. J, in the UK, and a rewrite of a Miami Daycare’s website. I have an ongoing blog project with an amazing health supplement that required some proofreading of their brochures. If you know me, you know I don’t say this lightly… when this supplement is in production, I am “getting me some”!

I finished a couple of proofreads for some academic projects, and a CV cover letter just to round out the week.

Oh, it’s only Tuesday!

Step-by-step the house is being built, and the finca (farm) is taking shape. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

If you know someone who could use some blogs or other writing, please ask them to contact me.

Leave the Copywriting to Me.

Melody

SEO Content Writing This Week

SEO Content Writing This Week

One of the best things about SEO content writing is the variety of topics I encounter every week. This week included everything from peridontal research studies to Christmas. There was more ongoing work in the financial industry, and even some on interior design and alternative medicine.

The SEO Content Writing Niche

One of the most common pieces of advice a freelance writer will receive is to “find your niche”. They choose narrow subject areas like “cryptocurrency” <blech>, or “fashion”, or “travel”. Seldom do these niche writers venture forth to write outside of their niche.

My niche is business. My talent/skill is seeing what your client needs to take action.

How I Developed That Talent/Skill

For more than 2 decades, I instructed an internationally acclaimed sales course. There were 55 professional B2B sales reps in each class. In each of the 12 sessions of the course, I had to fine-tune the sales concept to every product/service. That meant that, on the fly, I was developing examples for hundreds of products.

If you have ever worked with professional B2B sales reps, you probably know they can be rather tough minded. I had the ability to quickly adapt the material to their unique situations. This was the foundation for my award-winning sales and graduation levels.

What Does That Have to Do With SEO Content Writing?

SEO content writing is much easier. This same skill, adapting sales/marketing techniques to unique situations, is required. Now, I can sit behind my computer and do these adaptations at my leisure. I can revise and rework each line. When instructing the classes, I was public speaking, and had to do it all at light speed. No revisions.

So, that’s why SEO content writing for business is my niche. I have written for accountants, and funeral homes, on the same day. From my point of view, the same principles apply. Solid SEO content writing requires convincing, persuasive language, on informative topics. You give me your topics, and leave the copywriting to me.

Melody