The Good and Bad of Blog Post Templates

Web design templates have been around for years. Some business owners (and even a few professional designers) use them to save time while creating WordPress sites, landing pages, and other common tools. Lately, content writing services have been getting in on the act. They have started offering blog post templates that are designed to help you pump out articles with less time and stress than ever before.

We are seeing these blog post templates everywhere, which means you’re probably coming across them as well. But should you be using them for content marketing?

To find the answer, let’s look at the good and the bad of blog post templates.

The Positives of Blog Post Templates

As with web design templates, starting with an article outline offers some advantages.

  • Blog post templates get you writing quickly so you don’t have to worry about creative blocks or staring at an empty screen.
  • Using a writing template gives you a structure you can follow, which can be important for those who have trouble organizing their ideas.
  • Often, blog post templates start with a simple idea that you can duplicate or adapt to virtually any industry.
  • The templates are based on popular article styles so the resulting post should theoretically be something readers will be interested in.

To sum these up cleanly, you would say that when you start with a blog post template, the hard work of writing is done. That’s a huge positive, especially if you’re the sort of person who has trouble being focused or motivated enough to sit down at your keyboard. However, there are a few downsides.

The Negatives of Blog Post Templates

In our business we often note that web design templates can be constraining. Blog post templates have some of the same drawbacks.

  • The topics and outlines you find in blog post templates are all very similar and generic. That makes it easy to crank out content, but hard to write something that stands out.
  • In some ways working with a template can stifle your creativity. It’s hard to generate an original portrait when you’re painting by numbers, and the same holds true when you’re writing from a list of predefined bullet points.
  • If you don’t do enough with your blog post templates, then you could end up with duplicate content on your website, causing Google to ignore the content you’re creating (which sort of defeats the purpose).

Those are some pretty big downsides. That brings us back to our original question.

So, Should You Use Blog Post Templates?

Blog post templates are kind of like training wheels for content marketers. There is nothing essentially wrong with using them, but you shouldn’t expect to compete with the leaders in your industry by filling in blanks, either.

Our advice? Give them a shot and see what kind of results you get—particularly if you’re someone who has struggled to create written content in the past. Over time, as you develop your own voice and rhythm, you can stop using them and move on to more effective content marketing habits.

Colonial Pipeline Attack: Enhance Your Website Security

On Friday, May 7th, the Colonial Pipeline Company was forced to shut down the nation’s largest pipeline after their computer systems were hacked. The company found that the cyberattack involved ransomware, which is a type of malware that encrypts networks and blocks access until a ransom is paid to restore entry to the system. In response to the threat, Colonial had to temporarily shut down their network, cutting off supply to thousands of gas stations stretching from Texas to New Jersey.

Colonial Pipeline Company supplies nearly 45% of the gasoline supplied to the East Coast. While the pipeline had most of its systems operating just days after the cyberattack, the incident resulted in consumer panic, gas shortage, and the highest fuel prices we’ve seen in over 6 years. Fuel shortages remain as spooked drivers continue to swarm gas pumps across the East Coast. 

Pre-pandemic gas prices peaked at $2.60. On Wednesday, May 12, a resident of Richmond reported seeing fuel priced at $6.99 a gallon, showing that gas stations are taking advantage of the pipeline disruption and the rise in consumer demand. As of Monday, May 17, the average national gas price was $3.04 despite the pipeline restoring service. This hints at the lasting effect the disruption could have on the United States economy. 

Businesses Experience Increased Risk of Cyberthreats

The truth is, cyberattacks can happen to anyone. In fact, since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime is up around 600%. Hackers pose as representatives from trusted organizations to gain unauthorized entry to computer networks via malicious links or email attachments. The recent pipeline threat has left business owners wondering how they can protect themselves against such phishing attacks. 

How The Marcom Group Can Help

A hacked website can leave your important data vulnerable. You could experience a significant drop in traffic and even lose access to your website. At The Marcom Group, we understand how crucial website security is for each of our clients, especially in these uncertain times. This is why we offer premium website hosting with WordPress Security and Maintenance.  

With WordPress Security, we can help prevent hacks from happening in the first place. Our security monitoring services thwart potential cyberattacks by scanning for viruses, malware, blocked IP addresses, unauthorized admin access and login attempts, as well as other suspicious threats. Files and other content are scanned for backdoors, trojans, and malicious code that could devastate your website. We monitor your website in real-time and address critical problems promptly. If your website does happen to get hacked on our watch, we will fix it at no additional charge. 

As part of our maintenance services, we consistently monitor disk space and scan for out-of-date plugins, themes, and WordPress versions. We keep WordPress and the related WordPress plugins up-to-date. If a plugin becomes incompatible, we’ll find an updated one ASAP. If an incompatible plugin breaks the website, you can count on our experienced team to fix it. We know that a high-quality website that functions reliably is the best way to ensure customer satisfaction. That’s why we’ll do everything we can to keep your website secure and operational 24/7. 

Protect Your Website Today

Don’t leave your business’ website vulnerable to cybercriminals who will take advantage of your confidential data and potentially even your customer’s.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Web Hosting

Web hosting is an easy topic for business owners to ignore. After all, most don’t really understand how it works, never see the computers where their websites are stored. Also most are easily bored by details like server speeds.

So, rather than get into the technical minutia of different web hosting packages and configurations, today we simply want to remind our clients and readers that it’s time to review your hosting package. In fact, it’s likely that you could benefit from upgrading to a better plan.

Reluctant to spend money on something you don’t quite see the value in? Let’s look at a few things you get with dedicated web hosting…

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Is Your Business Website Ready for 2020?

We’ve flipped the calendar to a new year, and that has a lot of business owners thinking about what’s ahead in 2020. Many are thinking specifically about their websites, which have become crucial to sales and marketing and our digitally-driven world.

When you have a top-notch web presence for your business, you have an advantage over the competition. When your website isn’t keeping up, on the other hand, it’s hard to keep customers coming your way.

With that in mind, is your business website ready for 2020? Here are four questions you can ask yourself to find the answer…

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Is Your Business Website Mobile-Friendly, or Just Mobile-Compatible?

You have probably heard by now that more than half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices. Experts agree nearly two-thirds of us will access the internet primarily through phones and tablets in the next few years. We agree that Google factors mobile compatibility into it’s search algorithm.

Many of the business owners and executives we work with are aware of these facts but don’t really incorporate them into their online marketing strategies. They do the bare minimum to make their websites mobile-compatible but don’t really go any farther.

That can be a big mistake in an increasingly mobile-dependent world. It’s always a good idea to give your customers more of what they want. If they’re using mobile devices to find you, then it makes sense to provide a better mobile online experience.

We think so. To help you determine whether your business website is mobile-compatible or mobile-friendly let’s look at three different levels of implementation…

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Why Premium Web Hosting Is a Smart Investment

Why Premium Website Hosting Is a Smart Investment

You see some peculiar things in the web design and website hosting industry. It’s not unusual for a business owner to visit our office in luxury cars, while drinking an expensive coffee. They usually inform us that they’ve selected the cheapest possible website hosting plan they could find.

We chalk these situations up to a lack of information. Most non-technical people don’t understand the ins and outs of web hosting. They tend to choose the lowest price option. However, that can be a big mistake.

Before we get into the reasons why choosing the lowest price website hosting plans can create future problems, we have to explain the issues you face with regular, bargain-basement shared hosting plans. When you sign up for one of these packages your website hosting company stores your website on a server with hundreds or even thousands of others. That digital overcrowding can decrease performance (i.e., the speed your website loads), especially if some of your “neighbors” send spam, have viruses, or are engaged in other unsavory activities.

Conversely, with the premium web hosting plan you get your own dedicated server, or virtual server space. That comes with a number of advantages that make premium website hosting a worthwhile investment. Let’s look at a few of them now…

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What a Perfect Web Design Looks Like

When business owners and marketing executives turn to us it isn’t because they want an “average” or “great” web page design – they want the very best. But what exactly does that mean?

We hear versions of this question almost each and every day. So, we want to help our readers and clients by shedding a little light on what the perfect business web design looks like.

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Why is Your Search Traffic Drying Up?

Is your search traffic from Google starting to dwindle? Have you noticed that your search rankings for important keywords are dropping… and that sales are falling at the same rate?

We meet with at least a dozen business owners and executives every year who are facing the same kinds of problems. The first thing they want to know is why their websites aren’t generating sales opportunities like they used to, especially if they’ve been using search engine optimization for years.

Every situation is different, but below are some of the common reasons we see search traffic dwindle or even dry up completely.

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The Downside to a Successful SEO Campaign (and How to Fix It)

Most online marketers dream of having a top Google ranking for a high-traffic keyword. That’s because they know those websites with an SEO campaign attracts the most visits, and that those visits frequently turn into phone calls, online inquiries, and even walk-in customers.

However, it’s important to note that there are multiple potential downsides to executing a successful search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Namely that you could suddenly find yourself with a flood of new interest, and that some of your new prospects might not be a great fit for your company.

Granted, getting too many phone calls, email submissions, and inquiries is usually a great problem to have. However, it can lead to difficulties nonetheless, particularly if all the extra activity stops you from paying enough attention to your best current and potential clients.

So, how do you deal with the extra time needed to handle the additional dozens or hundreds of sales inquiries that come your way when you have a high-ranking Google website? Here are a few proven pieces of advice you can follow…

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How To Break Customer Indecision Online

One of the most difficult things to deal with, as an online marketer, is seeing a trend of customers leaving your website at the last minute. They might abandon a shopping cart, close a window before filling out a lead form, or go back to Google when they should pick up the phone.

Why does this customer indecision cost you money? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

Although every buyer and visit is unique, potential customers generally leave you without taking action for one of three reasons: they didn’t intend to buy anything in the first place, don’t have enough information your product or service, or don’t feel sufficiently motivated on an emotional level to move forward. Almost any conversion problem you face is going to come down to one of those issues.

Luckily, none of them are impossible to solve. With that in mind, look let’s look at some fixes you can employ to get customers to place an order or fill out a form instead of clicking away from your website…

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