How to Write Compelling Content for the Web
In this series, we’ll be exploring the process of writing compelling content for your website, from deciding what your content should be about, to promoting your content and making sure it’s read!
Remember that the majority of visitors will only spend an average of 15 seconds reading the content on your website. This means you have a very limited time to capture the interest of your reader and compel them to read on.
Whilst mastering the art of writing content might sound like a difficult task, there are actually many tips and tricks you can follow to ensure that you’re keeping your content relevant and interesting to your audience.
So, where do you begin? Well, before you even start creating your content, you should be considering some key points:
Who will be reading your content? Who do you want to engage with? It may help to actually visualise your target audience in order to help you keep your content relevant.
The voice you create in your writing can determine how people perceive you and your company. If you think of your website homepage as your shop window, then your voice would be how you converse with your customer once they’ve entered. Consider the tone of your writing – do you want to come across as instructive, friendly or professional?
What do you want people to take away from your content? What is the point of the content – are you promoting a new product? Or do you want people to find out more about your company? Once these key factors have been established, you’ll be in a much better position to start creating relevant and engaging content.
Putting Pen to Paper
Writing content isn’t always easy and can often be frustrating when you just can’t phrase what you want to say. To keep writers block at bay and allow your content to flow, it’s important to make sure you structure your copy. We all know that there should be an introduction and conclusion/summary, but by planning what points you’ll need to hit in each paragraph, you’ll ensure you keep each part of your copy relevant and to the point… with the overall aim to keep your reader’s attention for more than that 15 seconds!
When writing for a digital audience, your title and first sentence will be your greatest tools in hooking your reader and convincing them to read on, so make sure you spend some time on getting this right. It’s worth remembering that not only are people’s attention spans shorter when reading online, but their pace of reading is slower too. This is the reason why online articles are a lot more concise than ones you’ll find in print. Try and keep this in mind when planning your own article: aim to keep your line lengths compact, use shorter words and speak directly to the reader.
With the amount of articles, blogs and information available on the web, people will be quick to look elsewhere if the content they’re reading isn’t interesting or relevant to them. While keeping your audience’s attention may sound like a challenge, there are some useful tips to remember when creating your online content.
- Don’t be afraid to include images, videos and infographics throughout your content – these not only break up any lengthy text, but also will provide interesting visuals, which will help keep the user’s attention.
- Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long. Reading large paragraphs on the screen is often difficult and you can easily lose the attention of the reader – by writing in short, concise paragraphs, you’ll make your content much more accessible.
- Use headings, sub-headings, bullet points, quotes and bold text selectively to aid readability, whilst making the page more visually interesting. Internal hyperlinks are golden in web copy; not only do they provide more information on relevant topics and products (without you having to breakaway from your focus to explain), they also help to increase the time a user spends on your website by providing the opportunity to explore a different page of your site.
- Remember, your audience isn’t always reading your content on a desktop computer. With so many different devices to view content in, it’s worth keeping in mind that people are more likely to view your website on a mobile or tablet over desktop.
- Getting someone to proof your content is a must! When you’re familiar with what you’ve produced, it’s very easy to overlook any spelling or grammar mistakes – a fresh pair of eyes can often notice obvious mistakes in content, which will end up making your piece unprofessional and amateur. If you’re not able to recruit anyone to look over your work, try taking a break from it for a few hours… Once you return to your content, try either reading it slowly and out loud, printing it out on paper or changing the font whilst proofing – this way you’ll be more likely to pick up mistakes and ensure the content flows.
Practice really does make perfect! Unfortunately, like many things, there isn’t a magical shortcut to becoming the perfect copywriter – but by following these tips, you’ll be able to give yourself a good head start.
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