How to write great content for your website

in Content Marketing

Which websites do you visit regularly? What makes these websites interesting and attractive for you to keep returning? Content is always a major factor – information that is accessible, easy to read, informative and relevant to your interests. This didn’t happen accidentally, someone took the time to write and structure the content in a manner that is appealing to web readers. Having information that is interesting for an audience is only the starting point – delivering it in an appealing format that people actually want to read is the real key to attracting regular visitors who read your web content.

Content for the web has its own style and formatting to align with how people find, browse and read information on the Internet. Just because someone can write a good technical manual, or press release, or journal article, or short story, or for any other media; doesn’t mean they can write good web content. This is a mistake too many businesses make – using writers trained for a different medium or audience to write web content. These writers can certainly learn to write good web content, but the rules are different.

There are many opinions and continuing research about writing effective web content. Always consider the following methods for writing great web content:

  • Information on a web page should be visually appealing and inviting for the website visitor to pause and want to read the content.
  • The page must be scanable – studies show that most people scan a web page picking out bits of information. Some may pause to read the content if the scan grabs their attention; others may get the gist of the content from the quick scan.
  • Each page is about one topic. The beauty of the web is that you can interlink related topics on other pages without muddling multiple topics on one page.
  • Avoid a wall of words – no one wants to read a page of dense text.
  • Don’t add irrelevant graphics or other cutesy elements to make a page seemingly more attractive. It doesn’t compensate for poorly written content.
  • Make good use of white space to separate lines, paragraphs, sections, borders, etc. to make the page more appealing and the content easier to scan and read.
  • Use concise and visible sub-headings to define a paragraph or section content.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists to succinctly communicate key points. Web readers like lists.
  • Emphasize key words or points with bold text to facilitate scanning and highlighting the key points.
  • Use call-outs to highlight something of particular interest. There are various call-out styles such as in-line boxes, sidebars, quote boxes, etc. that work well.
  • Start with a succinct introduction that posits the conclusion and then expand to explanatory details. This is the opposite of most academic approaches for writing that start with a base assumption and gradually builds through the details to a conclusion.
  • Keep paragraphs short in easily consumed chunks around one thought.
  • Use easy to read, high school level vocabulary.
  • Use plain language – avoid marketese, technospeak, sales copy or other mumbo jumbo.
  • Grammar and spelling matter – always do a thorough spelling and grammar check. Readers will generally excuse a few minor mistakes that still slip through, but poor grammar and spelling is unprofessional and reflects negatively on your business.
  • Avoid humor – unless your business is about humor. You don’t know the personal tastes, cultural backgrounds, affiliations and perceptions of your readers. You can inadvertently offend a group of prospective buyers with humor.
  • Use an engaging conversational style of writing.

See the Why your website needs great content article for information about the 5 key qualities for structuring and producing great web content.

How to use this information to benefit your business

  • Review your website content – does it effectively communicate your information by using these web content methods?
  • Who writes your web content – are they writing your content specifically for the web?
  • Have you spoken with customers to find out how they like your web content?
  • Improving your web content can directly improve your website performance and business results.

Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™

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