Websites make us think of logos and colors. Designs and coding. But perhaps the most important elements of your site are the words you put on the page. Writing for an internet audience is very different from writing for your English teacher or professor. It’s even different from writing for the same demographics in print. In fact, writing website content is an art form of its very own. So here are a few content writing for websites tips to get you started!
Website Visitor Behavior
When considering tips for content writing, you must always first remember just how website visitors behave on your site. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the typical website visitor will only spend ten to twenty seconds on your website before he leaves. That short attention span means you have about five seconds to grab his attention and hold it.
Content Writing For Websites Tips
So what are the best ways to engage your reader in a short time? Here are a few content writing tips for website development to consider:
1. Always Write For Your Readers
Keywords are great. Search engines are important. But your content is written to be read, so write for those readers. Write with an authentic voice and make your material engaging and genuinely useful for the humans who are searching for it. You want readers to like what you say, not get disgusted by jargon and keyword stuffing.
2. Focus on Concise Content
Your reader is going to skim your content. They don’t want a weighty tome, so don’t write one. Create content that is clean and concise so that readers can quickly skim to find what they are looking for.
3. Use Proper Web Techniques
As mentioned, content should be skimmable and clean. Use formatting to make this happen naturally. Bulleted lists and clear headings are easy to follow and encourage visitors to skim, narrow down their focus, and find what they want quickly. Here are a few hints on how to achieve this effect:
- Use white space to separate short paragraphs.
- Keep paragraphs focused on a single topic.
- Link to additional information to avoid page clutter.
- Use short sentences.
- Use headings and subheadings for researched keywords.
- Use “you”.
- Include keywords naturally through the text.
4. Put the Conclusion First
We know readers don’t read websites, they skim. So put the most important part of your message first. Start with the big picture then expand on the details in the paragraphs and under subheadings that follow to provide more information for those willing to read on.
5. Choose a Dedicated Topic
Nobody likes meandering writing. If you’re writing on a topic, avoid wandering off into tangents or spending too much time on one example and neglect other key points of the original topic. Focus on your topic. Cover it cleanly and well. If you have more to say, consider creating additional articles as companion pieces to the original and link to them to preserve the integrity of the original document.
6. Always Check Conventions
Conventions are the meat and potatoes of your writing. Capitalization. Punctuation. Spelling. If your writing is full of typos and misspelled words, how will you convince your audience you are an expert in anything? Check your work and then recheck your work later for mistakes. Like your English teacher told you, writing is a process and there is always something to improve.
7. Create Authority Content
Presumably, if you are creating a website on a topic you know the topic well. Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re an expert on the subject by writing authoritatively. Create ‘authority content’ – that is, content that demonstrates the length and breadth of your expertise in any given subject. If you own a laundromat, speak learnedly about laundry best practices, how to fold sheets, and what detergents have proven best.
8. Skip the Filler and Fluff
A visitor arrives at your site hoping for information or entertainment. Your job is to give them what they want. They don’t want outdated information or meaningless platitudes that don’t amuse or teach them anything. Create valuable and relevant content – preferably something better than what they find elsewhere.
9. Keep an Active Voice
Keep your action active, not passive. Not sure on the difference between the two? Active voice means the subject is creating the action: You convert sales easily. Passive voice flips the action: Sales are easily converted by you. Active voice is more straightforward and thus, easier to parse.
10. Always Link to Sources
If you are using statistics and research as the basis of your material, let readers know where you got that information. Include links to the source material to lend you greater authenticity and enhance the authority of what you’re saying.
11. Add Images When Appropriate
Content includes not just the written paragraphs and headlines on your site, but the images as well. Humans are a highly visual species. It’s hardwired into our biology to respond to images. So use images! An infographic or a visual example will give your copy an extra punch.
Designing websites is fun, and writing the copy should be fun as well. Don’t let the words on your website become a stumbling block when it is so easy to create meaningful, engaging material by using these content writing for websites tips.
Do you have any insights or questions about these tips? Any experiences of your own you’d like to share regarding your content writing? Feel free to comment on this article!