How to Write Website Content: 9 Tips for Success
Let’s face it. The internet’s crowded with content. In fact, there are about two billions of different websites online. This means that your writing must stand out. Otherwise, it is likely that your competition will leave you in the dust. In order for it to stand out, you have to capture the attention of your readers on a consistent basis. How many website visitors spend fewer than fifteen seconds on a website? Around fifty-five percent of them. But do not let that statistic intimidate you. Follow along to learn how to write great website content.
1) Understand who your audience is.
Sure, this is a simple concept. But simple concepts are often overlooked. This means you should take the time to consider who you’re writing for. And you should do so before your hand ever touches the keyboard. Ask yourself questions such as:
-Who is the main target audience?
-What are their interests?
-Is there a secondary audience?
-If so, what are their interests?
-How do people find this website?
-What are they looking to get in return once they access this website?
Here is an example. Say you get hired to write content for a group of attorneys. What is their primary audience? It is most likely their current clients. But do not stop there. What is their secondary audience? Well, secondary audiences can seem broad. In this case, the secondary audience could include a variety of people. Plus, a variety of occupations. Law reporters. Other lawyers.
People considering using that law firm in the future. This is why your content is so important. Your writing cannot seem too specific. That is because it might alienate people in the secondary audience. Online audiences come across content in many different ways. Some use search engines. Some use social media. Some find content through links from other websites.
Keep the next notion in mind whenever you write. Your goal is for as many people as possible to enjoy your writing. This will increase the likelihood that your content will get shared. It can also get re-posted across the internet. This is why search terms matter. Your content should feature relevant search terms that people often use on Google. These specific terms should get included in your headers and sub-headers.
2) Use an “inverted pyramid” whenever you write content.
As you may know, people have short attention spans. A person decides whether your content is worth reading in a matter of seconds. This is why your writing should get structured like an inverted pyramid. What does this mean? It means the most important information goes at the beginning of your writing. The less interesting writing can get placed toward the end of the webpage. Here is an example.
Let’s say you’re writing about an upcoming business conference. This means the most important information should appear at the top of the webpage. The date. The location. The main topics that will get discussed. Next, you can write about the supporting details.
This information includes the speakers who will be giving presentations. Next, you can include less important information. This can include writing about the history of the conference. Or even making a list of similar resources. That information will get placed toward the end of the webpage. This gives you an inverted pyramid. The pyramid prioritizes your content from most important to least important.
3) Compose sentences that are short and to-the-point.
Leave the long sentences for Stephen King. It is crucial that you write simple sentences. Why? Because people’s attention spans are shorter than they ever have been. Not to mention, not everyone is as gifted with words as you are. In fact, studies have shown that the average American reads at an 8th-grade level.
Always keep that in mind no matter what the subject matter is. The shorter the content, the wider the audience. Here is a key strategy that can help you out. While writing, focus on verbs and nouns. Try not to use adjectives and adverbs very often. Here is an example. Say you write the word “obfuscate.” Do you think the average reader is going to have any idea what that word means? Of course not. Instead, use the word “confuse.”
4) Recognize the readability of your content.
You may feel unsure about how readable your content currently is. Well, there is an easy solution that can help you out. You can go online and use free readability websites. All you have to do is paste your content onto the site. The site will then tell you how suitable your writing is for the average reader.
If it says your writing is at the college level, you will, unfortunately, have to dumb it down a little. The key is to stay consistent in adjusting your writing over time. After a few weeks or months, your writing will be easier for the average person to digest.
5) Use an active voice.
An active voice makes the content easier for people to read and understand. It also makes your content more direct and to-the-point. The key is to do away with as many passive verbs as you can. For example, do not write, “A bottle of beer was ordered.” Instead, write: “The woman ordered a bottle of beer.” Having an active voice will make your writing more engaging with all types of audiences. Passive voices usually do more harm than good.
6) Do not tell your audience. Show your audience.
Your writing will not get the views that it deserves if you use too many generalities. You should also avoid making too many high-level statements. Real-world examples that are specific matter a lot. They assist readers in both visualizing and understanding your main messages. Here is an example.
-Description one: “This is the greatest shoe on the market.”
-Description two: “We designed the Zoom X3 with supreme durability in mind. Premium leather’s etched into the upper for comfort and style. People will be gawking at your swagged-out shoes for years to come.”
Which description paints a better picture for the reader? The specific details in the second description should. That description is showing the readers something important. It is not going through the motions by telling the reader about the shoe. There is another benefit to using specific descriptions. They improve the SEO results for your website.
7) Do away with jargon.
Your writing should appeal to people across all backgrounds. This means your articles should never get written for only technical experts. This is why you should present your information in an easy-to-understand manner. For example, never assume everyone will recognize the acronyms that you understand. Spell them out in plain English before you abbreviate them.
Insider language narrows your audience. It also prevents you from connecting with a large number of people. Say you’re writing about niche material or having to use complex terminology. Explain the material as best as you can. But do not make the mistake of taking too long to explain it. You do not want to spend a paragraph writing what “YOLO” stands for. It means that “you only live once.”
This tip matters more than any of the others in this article if you are a technical writer. It also matters if you write about an industry that features a large volume of technical terms. If so, you’ve got to go out of your way to balance your writing. This is so both novices and experts can enjoy your content. Remember the following. Never write to your peers or colleagues. Always write for your audience. The less jargon you use, the more potential customers your company will be able to get.
8) Add some word-variety to your writing.
Some say that variety is the spice of life. And that notion applies to content writing. If you feel like your vocabulary isn’t the greatest, consider using word clouds. They are fun and will help you think of some new variations. How do you find them? It is simple. Type in “word clouds” in your favorite search engine.
The more often you write a word, the bigger it will appear in the cloud. Another option is for you to use a thesaurus. That is the fastest way for you to find synonyms that will improve your writing. But make sure that your SEO keywords appear in your writing many times. This will give your article its best chance at ranking high when people search for the terms.
9) Make your writing easy for people to scan and skim.
The majority of readers will not read your article from beginning to end. Instead, they will scan the page and look for the information that they need. If they experience difficulty, they will go to another website. This is why using bullet points and numbered lists is so important.
They make your content get grouped and organized into specific tabs. This means that “white space” needs to be your friend. What is it? White space is the empty space between sections, images, and paragraphs. If anyone tells you that it is “wasted space,” that person is wrong. It benefits web designers by making webpages not feel crowded or too busy.
The white space will make your content easier to read. Make an effort to divide your writing into structured sections. Each section can get its own sub-header. Here is an example. Say you are writing an article about the early-life of Michael Jordan. You could organize the writing into the headings below.
-Who is Michael Jordan?
-Jordan’s High School Basketball Career
-Jordan’s College Basketball Career at the University of North Carolina
-The 1984 NBA Draft
-Jordan’s First Season with the Chicago Bulls
Sub-headers such as these provide another key benefit. The benefit extends beyond helping people navigate the webpage. Sub-headers assist search engines in recognizing your content.