I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Do you need to hire an expert?

Recently, I saw an article called ‘do you need to hire a SEO expert’.

My immediate response was yes and no – depending on what you mean by ‘need’, you may or may not need a SEO expert.

Do you need an SEO expert because you have to be qualified or an ‘expert’ to do it (to at least an acceptable level)? No, not really.Professionals see how pieces fit together

However, an expert may do it faster and have knowledge to work more efficiently and get better results, but it is possible to do it yourself. Of course, if you don’t know anything about SEO and have to study it first, an expert’s value is greater.

Do you need an SEO person to help you get SEO done alongside everything else you do? Then quite possibly, yes you do. It depends on how busy you are and how much importance you place on SEO obviously, but SEO is one thing you can consider outsourcing.

Of course, if you are just after time saving, you may be able to use someone to work on your SEO (such as finding places to guest blog or comment and checking your site for deadlinks and duplicate meta data) rather than finding someone qualified to give you advice and expertise.

Does the same apply to hiring a professional writer?

Again, it is a maybe type of answer.

Do you need a professional writer to help you get everything done in a working day? Yes, you quite possibly do need help.

Do you need a professional writer because you can’t do it yourself? That depends on what you’re after. Most people in business can probably write webcopy and blog posts themselves so a writer is perhaps not necessary to get the content onto the page.

However, some people can’t write well so would get much better results via a professional – and probably find it is done with less time and stress, too.

Some people can write reasonably well, but will still benefit from someone who has a better understanding of business writing and can be objective about the content.

So if you can write with good spelling and grammar, understand about writing for a business audience and have plenty of time, no you don’t need a professional writer to help you!

Survey/feedback questions

Pointing out clear choicesIt’s unlikely that you have never done a survey or filled in a feedback form about a seminar or such. Unfortunately, it is also unlikely that everyone of those questions you answered was clearly written or easy to understand.

If you are involved in preparing any surveys/feedback forms, it is important to think carefully about how you ask questions. Obviously, the first step is to know what answers you need – do you really want to know how old people are or just the difference between adults and teenagers?

Here are three recent examples I have come across where the question is not going to get the right responses:

“1. Please list as many soft drink flavours you can think of”
“2. For each flavour, please select A, B or C where A is ‘yes, I knew it was a flavour but forgot it’, B is ‘I didn’t realise it was a flavour’ and C is ‘I’ve never heard of it’. {and then list every flavour whether or not the person listed it in question 1}”

So if you had written orange as a flavour in question 1, how can you select A, B or C for orange in question 2? As it was an online survey and answering was necessary, people would guess an answer so the final results mean nothing.

“Were you satisfied with the course handbook?

  • excellent
  • very good
  • good
  • ok
  • poor”

The options do not answer the question – was I satisfied can only be answered with yes/no/partially. To offer those choices, the appropriate question would be ‘How would you describe the course handbook?’

“Which of the following have you ever given your child?

  • brand X vitamins
  • brand Y multi-vitamins
  • brand Z mulitvitamins
  • brand XY kids calcium”

Personally, I hadn’t given any of them to my child but there was no option to say ‘none of the above’ or even ‘other vitamins’.

So once you have written any questions, go back and read them in order to see if they make sense and are complete. One way to check multiple choice answers make sense it to add each one to the question so “were you satisfied with the course handbook? excellent” quickly shows an issue.

I’ll go through some tips on writing useful questions soon! In the meantime, what poor survey questions have you noticed or had trouble answering?