Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Write for a Blog, E-newsletter, and the Internet

When was the last time someone send you a link to their travel blog . . . and you actually enjoyed reading it? Did you read it to the finish?

While there are many good blogs out there - and a few really great ones, the truth of the matter is that the internet is innundated with wordy, difficult to read blogs that fail to capture attention.

Here are a few tips on writing for the internet that will make your blog, newsletter or internet article stand out, drive traffic ro your site, and ease the eyestrain of your readers:

Content on the Internet has to be easily scannable. Thanks to the Internet and broadcast media, people have far less patience and tolerance for large blocks of narrative text. When you create new Web text, make sure it's "chunked out" (broken into smaller blocks of text separated by a break) or "chunked down" (shortened).

Explain your points in short paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easier for the reader to follow. No one likes to look at a long block of solid text. Three, four or five sentences are usually enough for one paragraph.

Use the traditional newspaper structure of "inverted pyramid" writing. Like newspapers, the Internet should be a fast read, involve a lot of content and catch the reader's attention. Make sure your five W's (who, what, when, where, why, and also how) are close to the top. Details of lesser importance should follow, from general to specific (that's why the pyramid is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom). The idea is this: Even if the reader only reads the headline, they should have a good idea of what the article is about. And if they read only the first few lines, they should have a very good idea of the main points in the article

Here is an example of our Green Tortoise Adventure travel newsletter: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs053/1101592235017/archive/1102949516783.html

Try to use keywords so the search engines can find the article. Also link to our own website with the proper landing page - the page that contains more information. The more keywords, the better. That's because search engines – the “publishers” of the internet - have “spider bots,” which crawl all over the internet looking for just the right websites to recommend to every person who enters a word or phrase in a Search box. The best keywords are ones that are most likely to be used in a search engine and picked up by a "spider bot."

So now, cute and catchy titles are out because the "spiders" don't recognize cute and catchy; they want short and precise titles using those keywords that also must appear over and over in an internet article. Synonyms are out - it's now all about keywords! This is how the people who are out searching for articles on the internet are matched up with the articles an author wants them to read.

When designing the layout, keep in mind the "f shaped" eye pattern that internet users utilize. Click here for examples of this study:

The F pattern's implications for Web design show the importance of following guidelines for writing on the web:

Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are conducting their initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't.

The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There's some hope that users will actually read this material, though they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second.

Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behavior. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words.

So now what are you waiting for? Start composing your blog and live your dream!


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Perfect Bus Trip to Yosemite

From cascading rivers and thundering waterfalls to the legendary granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome (pictured), Yosemite National Park is a nature lover's dream. Walk on wooded trails, visit the alpine lakes and meadows of the high country, and hike through an ancient grove of Giant Sequoias, the largest living things on earth (and, having sprouted 1,500 years ago in some cases, also some of the oldest)!

On Mondays through September, the Green Tortoise will trek to Yosemite, California's first National Park and one of America's favorites. This is the perfect three-day, four-night trip to take if you've never been on the Green Tortoise and want to get a sense of what a longer adventure trip is like. The cost includes all camping fees, the park entrance fee, and all but one meal. Weekday Yosemite bus tours leave Monday evening and return early Friday morning, giving you three full days to enjoy the bounty of the park and the eastern Seirra.

Can't get out of work that long? We have the solution! Join us for a weekend escape you'll never forget -- twice each month we travel to the park as well. Weekend adventure bus trips depart on Friday evening for two full days in Yosemite, including a day in the valley and another in the picturesque high country with a walk amongst the ancient Sequoias. We'll drop you off in San Francisco in plenty of time breakfast before heading back to the "real world."

We've included our full list of departure dates here. You can also visit our website for more details about our Yosemite adventures: http://www.greentortoise.com/adventure-bus-tours-california.html

Or call us at 415 956 7500 and chat with us!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Green Tortoise turns 35!

Happy 35th Birthday Green Tortoise!

This year Green Tortoise Adventure Travel celebrates 35 years of affordable adventures with extraordinary people! Our founding belief that beautiful places, good food, and travelers with an enthusiasm for life are the only essentials for rich travel experiences continues to make Green Tortoise the only trip of its kind.

So come celebrate with us! Every year, people from all over the world enjoy the beauty, excitement, and inspiration of our adventure bus tours. Even a weekend escape to Yosemite on the Green Tortoise is a vacation, and the longer adventures will become life-long memories. Make this the year to discover (or rediscover) the magic of a Green Tortoise adventure!

(415) 956-7500 USA and International