You may have experience writing for a newspaper or crafting short stories, poems, and creative non-fiction, but website content is completely different. You’re creating content that will interest, inspire, educate, and entertain readers who share a gravitation toward a specific topic. They want to quickly determine the value of reading a page of content and skim down the page to determine the quality of the writing.
If you use the following eight writing tips, most of those readers will realize your content is reliable and fresh. They will then stop skimming and start reading. Hopefully, most of them will find your content so entertaining or educational that they follow your call to action and sign up for your newsletter, click to another page on the website, or contact you for more info. So…
8. What Do You Want To Say?
Before you start writing content for a page on your website, create a short summary that states the message you want the content to convey. Each page on your site must deliver something of value to the reader, and this is your chance to sum up what you want to communicate in one or two sentences.
With your summary fresh in mind, determine who will benefit most from hearing that message. This defines your target market, and you want to pretend you’re talking to a real person within that market as you write.
Start with an opening that will grab their attention or show that you understand where they are and what information they need and want. As you create additional content, make sure that every paragraph relates back to that summarized message. When in doubt, highlight and delete the content to see if the piece loses impact. You can always add it back if you decide it is essential.
7. Don’t Clutter Your Content
What if you come up with great content that doesn’t quite fit that tightly focused message you’re currently composing? Save that information and use it to create a new page for your website, a blog post, or marketing material. You will likely come up with many new ideas for future website content and blog posts, so you may want to start a swipe file where you store all of those ideas plus links to resources that you may use in the future. If you ever experience writer’s block, this file will give you the inspiration needed to start writing again.
If you notice that one piece of content is becoming far too long, continue writing until you get all of your ideas on the page. You can then go back and remove parts that can spin off into their own pages of content. Use those chunks of removed text to create additional pages for your website, and then link between these pages so that readers can find the added information easily. This will ensure that each page of your site has a focused point that is easy for your readers to follow and remember.
6. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
There was a time when keywords were the foundation of website content. The game was to stuff each page with as many keywords as possible so that the search engines would understand what the page was about and position it on the first page of search results.
This was essential to driving free traffic to a website, but this game is no longer relevant. In fact, putting too many keywords within your content will create an unnatural flow that the search engines can easily identify, and the result is a penalty that keeps your site out of the search engines altogether.
5. Master The Science Of Keywords
Keyword research is still a good practice, but you should use it more for brainstorming ideas for future website content. Keyword research tools will help you identify search terms that real people are searching for, and that tells you what topics will attract members of your target audience.
You can use one or two keywords for each page of your website, but keep the density to no more than two percent of your total word count. It’s typically adequate to assign one primary keyword and a few secondary keywords for each page. You can use the primary keyword in the opening paragraph and use the secondary keywords wherever they fall naturally.
If you write according to a clearly defined topic and never force a keyword into place, you should naturally keep your keyword density within an acceptable range. The only exception is when your keyword is too general.
For instance, the keyword “weight loss” may easily fit into a page of content related to weight loss, but your density may go too high unintentionally. If you focus on longtail keywords like “natural weight loss” or “weight loss goals”, you can use variations of the keyword phrase to limit unnecessary repetition. For example, you may use “natural ways to lose weight” or “goals for weight loss” as variations of your original keywords.
Also notice that spinning a general keyword into longtail keywords will give you new ideas for future website content. You can easily write a page of content about weight loss goals and an additional page about natural weight loss, but covering “weight loss” from all possible angles in one page isn’t possible.
4. Write Skimmer-Friendly Posts
While readers may sink into a cozy chair with their beverage of choice and take the time to read every word of a novel, most have different habits when it comes to reading a website. You have to assume that at least some of your visitors are reading your content on their cell phones or tablets while sitting in a waiting room or on break at work. They don’t have time to read every word of your content until they know that your site can deliver the information they need in a manner they respect.
That’s why you want to avoid large blocks of text on your website. Break the content into sections by using subtitles, and keep paragraphs short. Add images and charts to bring the page to life, and insert bullet points rather than writing long lists in paragraph form.
Content written in list form, informally known as a listicle, is quite popular as well. Most of your readers will browse your subtitles before focusing in on your actual content, so make sure these titles clearly identify what information is delivered in each section of your content. You can have fun spinning creative subtitles, but make sure they still help readers determine what information is to follow.
3. Never Intentionally Misspell (Or Do This With Great Forethought)
Incorporating misspellings into website content was once a popular strategy to reach searchers typing those misspellings into search engines, but that is no longer necessary. Even more important, doing so will make your readers second-guess the legitimacy of your site. After all, how can you deliver useful and accurate information on a topic if you don’t even know how to spell key terms related to that topic?
You may come across keywords that are misspelled, and that does tell you that some members of your target market are searching for information or products with those misspellings. Rest assured that the search engines now redirect those misspelled searchers to listings that reflect the correct spelling. Your job is to deliver valuable information on the topic or offer great products at competitive prices, and you have to spell words correctly to reach those goals.
2. Speak To The Reader
One of the most common mistakes writers make when crafting website content is to switch between multiple points of view. This becomes confusing to the reader, so it’s best to pick one perspective and remain consistent.
While third person is an authoritative voice that is necessary for some professional journals, second person is often the best point of view for website content. This is the point of view that uses the word “you” so that you’re speaking directly to your reader. This makes it easier to touch them on an emotional level and make them realize that a real person is behind your content.
You can use first person if you’re creating a website from your personal perspective and everything you write is accurate and honest as a personal reflection. For instance, you probably don’t want to mislead your readers by writing first-person reviews of products that you have never used. It’s better to go with second person and link out to your resources to show where you obtained your ideas about the product. On the other hand, first-person reviews for products that you have used are quite powerful because readers know that they are receiving honest feedback from an expert.
1. Get Your Words Out!
The great thing about writing is that perfection is not necessary. If you feel anxious about writing content for a website or your own blog, start by writing that summary of the main concept you want to share. Then give yourself permission to simply write until you’ve exhausted all your ideas. You can then separate your work into sections, add subtitles, and rework each section until you have a masterpiece that states exactly what is on your mind.