• FAQs

          Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses drive visits to their website through organic search traffic. Given that the top organic search results receive a third of the clicks, a decline in ranking could be detrimental for your business. Implementing SEO best practices on your website will help to ensure that your web content is seen by as many potential customers as possible. The more visitors you have, the better your chances are of converting those visits into sales!

          Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps local businesses gain visibility by optimizing their local business listings for local search. A business that leverages local SEO will include its address, phone number, local opening times, and exact location in the form of a local citation. The goal is to rank for local searches which are usually performed by people in a specific geographical region looking for a business near them.

          We typically see results within the first 30 to 60 days, but when it comes to SEO, there are many factors at play. It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and results may not come as fast at you wish.

        • FAQs

          Digital advertising uses the internet to send advertisements to customers who are online through different websites and social media platforms like Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook.

          The price for Google Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

          The price for Social Media Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

        • FAQs

          This depends on the complexity and size of a redesign and if eCommerce is needed. On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks from the web design intensive stage to launch.

          If your website experiences the following issues: it’s not responsive on all devices, has a slow loading speed, the design appears old and tired, users don’t spend long on the site, sales are stagnant, or your business is going through a rebranding - your website needs a redesign to boost your brand awareness and sales.

          Sometimes there’s no need to rebuild a website. Minor edits, refreshing page content and images, or restructuring page layout for SEO best practices can boost traffic and sales.

        • FAQs

          Semantic search launched in 2013 with the release of Google's Hummingbird update. Since then, Google's search engine has become more complex. The integration of machine learning, with RankBrain, and NLP, with BERT, has enabled the search engine to better understand the context of a query and deliver more personalized and targeted results. Semantic SEO is the process of creating machine-readable content using structured data and linked open data to help search engines better understand your content.

          On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals. From meta tags to page content, website structure, and HTML, on-page optimization services are focused on making your website more visible to search engines.

          Structured data refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.

        • FAQs

          An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team's abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change it can be difficult to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

          As a digital marketing agency, SMA Marketing provides products and services in four areas: SEO, Local SEO, Digital Advertising, and Web Design

          We focus on building authentic, long-lasting relationships with our clients. We’re goal oriented and results driven and believe in doing good and making a difference in the world.

  • Contact

How to Always Have a Writing Topic Ready

How to Always Have a Writing Topic Ready

For the past several years bloggers around the world participated in the Write 31 Days challenge. I learned of this challenge in 2015 but joined for the first time this year (2017). It may seem daunting to produce one excellent blog post a week, but I encourage you to hang with me for a few minutes as I explain how I was able to complete the Write 31 Days challenge without losing my mind or my love of writing.

If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time you’ve encountered writer’s block. It can be frustrating or stressful when you are facing a deadline without a subject to develop, but there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you always have a writing topic ready. On her podcast Writing Coach, Ann Kroeker discusses The Writing Pipeline. This is her process of moving an idea for a blog post or article through steps from idea to draft, to a published document.

The best part about a writing pipeline is that you can customize it to your individual writing needs and goals. Although my process doesn’t look precisely like Ann’s, I too have found that an organizational method for writing is the key to always having a topic ready.

My Writing Pipeline

Prep Work

I write for three distinctly different blogs each month in addition to freelancing. Because of that, I gather as many content ideas as I can without concern. The common phrase readers make the best writers is true, but inspiration is everywhere.

My favorite sources of inspiration are:

  • Books
  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Podcasts
  • Sermons
  • Discussions with friends
  • People watching
  • Songs

This might seem like an extensive list, but remember I’m writing for a large variety of subjects. If you are looking to narrow your research down further, I suggest you begin by developing your reader persona and focusing on developing content that complements the document.

With all of these sources, it could be easy to lose ideas, which is why it’s important to find an organizational system that works for you. Some people will choose to organize their content in Evernote or Pocket (Ann features this app in her podcast) or to bullet journal ideas in written form.

The central hub for my content is Scrivener. I’ll explain why in another blog post (see how easy that was?) For now, just know that eventually, all the material I hope to use someday ends up in Scrivener.

Since my hub is a desktop program, I use Google Keep on my phone to track ideas as inspiration strikes. If you haven’t explored Google Keep you should do so immediately. This is my all-time favorite app, read the Google Play summary here.

For extended notes, like when I’m listening to a sermon, I use Memo. For articles read online, I utilized the “save link” feature for Facebook. Many people use Pocket for this, but I don’t like Pocket. It may seem that I have content spread out all over the place, but since Google Keep syncs to my Google drive, I can access everything from my laptop or phone when it is time to sort.

Sorting the Content

Sorting is the step that makes my process work. Once a month, or sometimes more often, I carve out time to pull all of the content that I bookmarked. I weed through that which no longer seems relevant versus that which I think I will eventually use. This material is then pulled into Scrivener and sorted. I can search by keyword in Scrivener, so I don’t have to stress about cross-filing.

While I’m filing, I write a blog post for my blog featuring the content from the month that I loved most. An article, podcast, blog post or sermon are all highlighted in the same post. It’s my monthly shout out to all of the fantastic work that is out there, and it also holds me accountable to sort through my content.

Here’s a simple example of what my filing categories in Scrivener look like:


Content Ideas/First Drafts

When it’s time to write I pull up Scrivener, and I pull the idea catches my attention. If I have a few posts due around the same time, I will pick a few ideas and start separate word documents for each subject.

Once an idea hits the word document phase, I’m committed. The piece may not be the one I turn in immediately, but I will work through it until a draft has formed. Anne Lamott is famous for encouraging a crappy first draft. And that is my only goal when information first moves to the Content Idea phase.


After I’ve gotten the first draft out of the way, I move on to writing. This phase may happen immediately after the Content Ideas phase, or it may occur the next day. The thing that works best for me is to have the word document open on my computer. I’ll think about the subject on and off until my designated writing time, or I feel ready to move forward. Since a large part of my work involves writing I have the luxury of carving out writing blocks where I complete articles due soon.

This focused time is most efficient when I am working off of first drafts or content ideas such as bullet point lists with research to support each point. In this phase, it’s common for three versions of the same blog post or article to develop. The document stays in draft mode until I feel it’s close to being finished. If time allows, I will then close the piece and leave it until the next day.

Ready to Edit

When I’m ready to edit my document, the first thing I do is read it through one more time. The distance I’ve had from leaving it alone overnight helps immensely in the editing process. I read it through once without Grammarly, and then I turn on Grammarly and go through the document until it is as good as it is going to get.

Sometimes I will have another set of eyes review the blog article before submitting it. It just depends on the context of why I’ve written it. Thankfully all of my content that goes out on blogs other than my own is reviewed by others before being published. No one is perfect, we all need editors!

Out for Review

Once a document is out for review, meaning I’ve sent it to my editor or the blog administrator where the content will appear once published, it sits in a folder specially designated to remind me what material I have floating around. When I hear back that it is ready to post, I then move the document to one of two folders.

Archived and/or Portfolio

I keep a copy of every blog post I’ve written. Everything published goes into a folder with notes as to when and where the article published. Some people choose to keep a spreadsheet with links to each piece. It is my eventual goal to do this, but I’m not there yet. Most of the content I freelance I won’t be able to track down and document in this manner so the spreadsheet would be an additional record.

The content I’m happiest with I keep in a portfolio folder. This is for quick access when someone asks for examples of my writing. Those pieces all have the web link to where they posted. This step is especially helpful if you hope to freelance because most places will ask for examples of your work when you apply.

Now that you have a little insight into how I gather and keep track of content ideas it will make more sense when I tell you how I was able to complete the Write 31 Days challenge for 2017 successfully. Although I learned of the challenge in 2015, I waited to participate until I had enough content research stored up to write all 31 posts confidently.

Not only was I able to increase my writing output for this short window, but I was able also to complete all assigned work that came in over the course of the month without losing my mind. If you find that you are struggling to find content ideas I encourage you to develop a writing pipeline. If we can help in any way send us a message!

New Call-to-action

Search by Topic

  • All Resources
  • SEO
  • Digital Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Web Development

Get Up-To-Date Digital Marketing Tips Delivered Straight to Your Inbox!

SMA Marketing Digital Marketing Agency Giving Back to Kiva Making Loans