More tips for writing killer web content
To be effective, website copy needs to be engaging. In this article I’ll help you with writing web content in a way that really pulls readers in.
Use meaningful headings and page titles
Think of your website like a newspaper. You only have a few seconds to capture attention, so your headlines need to be snappy but meaningful. Your headings should signal at a glance exactly what the webpage or blog post is about.
Search engines pay special attention to page title headings, so make sure they contain your targeted keywords for that webpage. Your content management system will allow you to tag your headings. Use the H1 tag for the headlines, and for subheadings choose H2, H3 and so on in hierarchical order.
For blog posts, write headings that appeal to the two main human motivations: fear of loss and desire for gain. To do this, write all your headings and body copy so they answer the one question all readers scanning webpages have in their minds: ‘What’s in it for me?’
We humans are an impatient lot, and the web has made us even more so. People reading online sit with one hand wrapped around their mouse, trigger finger poised over the button, ready to click away the millisecond they come across any content that doesn’t meet their needs.
You need to make your points quickly and succinctly, so don’t beat around the bush. Write like a reporter by using the ‘inverted triangle’ approach, which means putting your key information (who, what, how, where and why) upfront.
"People reading online sit with one hand wrapped around their mouse, trigger finger poised over the button, ready to click away the millisecond they come across any content that doesn’t meet their needs."
Supporting information then follows in descending order of importance. Not only does this ensure your main points get read, it also means they’re likely be ‘above the fold’; that is, they appear on screen without the reader having to scroll down.
Stick to your point
When you wander off topic, the theme of your page becomes diluted, which has an adverse impact on both your search engine optimisation and the attention span of your reader.
Want more articles like this? Check out the content marketing section.
Include useful information
If your website has only 8-10 pages of content, you aren’t giving people a strong enough reason to visit. Content and lots of it is the key to building sticky traffic.
Take a look at Amazon. They don’t just push products; the site is crammed full of meaningful and interesting content including pages and pages of reviews, videos, previews and song samples.
By providing helpful web content, your website communicates that your business is a trustworthy source of balanced information and that you’re committed to helping your customers.
Having plenty of content also helps optimise your site for search engines. Google and other search engines are ravenous for content and their spiders are forever seeking out new and relevant content to index. By having a lot of web content built around a particular keyword, you’ll improve your chances of achieving higher rankings in searches using that keyword.
Broaden your scope
Don’t just settle for the standard ‘About us’, ‘Our services’ and ‘Contact us’ pages. Look deeply into your business and your market and identify what more you can share.
If you’re struggling to work out what kind of web content you should be generating, conduct research, ask your staff, ask your customers, check your competitors and do an inventory of your offline material. After all of that, you should have plenty of ideas to choose from!
Content management is not a set-and-forget exercise. You need to add new content and update existing material regularly. A good way to do this is to run a blog and write a new keyword-rich post 3-5 times a week.
Write in plain English
You’ll get your message across much more quickly and effectively if you write using plain, straightforward words and expressions. So avoid buzzwords, jargon, corporate-speak and other forms of gobbledygook.
Barack Obama is a good example to follow. He communicates well because he uses words his audience can readily understand. His words are engaging and meaningful. He knows his goal is to deliver a message, not to impress his listeners with flowery language.
This is the second article in a two-part series. The previous article includes tips for making your copy easy to read on the web and optimising it for search engines.
Has tweaking your web content had an impact on your site traffic or conversions? Please share your experiences below.