Content Optimization | Why Content Writing Needs A Little Less Einstein And A Little More Oprah
Content Optimization | Writing for your website is different from the offline writing you do for other marketing materials. We tend to scan content on the web looking for the information we’re after, as opposed to reading word-for-word. Writing content can be a challenge – especially if you’re not used to doing a lot of writing. To write well for the web, you need to understand what today’s Internet users want and expect.
Users want web content that is easy to skim and scan, written in a style that is direct, concise and factual, and focused around their needs, not yours. As a result of this, there are certain guidelines you should make sure to follow when writing for your website. Content writing is actually the number one cause of delay for launching a new website, so use the following tips to help streamline your content writing process.
Write for USA Today readers, not the New York Times | Content Optimization
It’s not an indicator of how smart your visitors are – it’s a fact that the Internet is international, and any website you put up is going to be viewed by people with all levels of knowledge of English language. If you write to a lower level audience, you’ll be sure to keep people interested, because they can more readily understand the content. Also, remember that reading from computer screens is tiring for the eyes, and about 25% slower than reading from printed matter. As such, the easier the style of writing, the easier it is for website visitors to absorb your words of wisdom.
Write content, not fluff | Content Optimization
Resist the temptation to write in “marketing-speak”. Even if you’re trying to get your readers to take a specific action, they are less likely to do so if your website content feels like fluff. Each chunk of content you create should be an ingredient in a big picture recipe. In other words, your micro message must map to your company’s macro message. It’s vital to have a brand story, and it’s vital that each chapter you write supports it.
Keep your pages short and to the point | Content Optimization
If you want your web content to be user friendly, you have to make it digestible. That means breaking it into small chunks, usually with one main idea in a paragraph. It’s also a good idea to make the article scannable by adding a subheading for each main idea. If you assign just one idea to each paragraph, website visitors can easily scan through each paragraph, get the general gist of what the paragraph is about, and then move on to the next paragraph without fear that they’ll be skipping over important information, because they will already roughly know what the paragraph is about.
Focus on your readers, not on search engines | Content Optimization
SEO is important to get readers, but if your writing is obviously geared towards search engines you will quickly lose readers. When you write for a keyword phrase, you need to use it enough times, so that it’s recognized as the topic, but not so much that your readers notice. Want to make it look like English is your fourth language? Stuff keywords into your copy, and make sure they’re awkward or grammatically incorrect. The SEO keywords you incorporate into your web content should sound natural, not like spam.
Use descriptive headlines and sub-headings | Content Optimization
When it comes to headlines, you should make it clear that this blog post can’t be missed. Make a promise. Tantalize. Tease. Touch a nerve. And know this one-liner is likely to be the one and only line that gets served via search and shared. Make it a showstopper and party starter. In addition to headings, breaking up text with descriptive sub-headings allows site visitors to easily see what each section of the page is about. The main headline on the page provides a brief overall view of what the page is about, and the opening paragraph gives a brief conclusion of the page.
Create the right tone, look and feel | Content Optimization
Ideally, you want the same person to write all of your website content. When you create web pages, aim for a unified tone, look and feel throughout your website. Aim for the right tone to suit your target audience and your subject matter. Keep the tone of your website unrelentingly positive. Color, images and the tone of your conversation with users all help to create a psychological impact on them, and help you communicate a subtle message about who you are.