On your website, content is king. Here are some tips for writing web content so it works hard for your business.
The effort you put into writing web content correctly pays off in numerous ways, including:
- Increasing the chances of your site being found and ranked highly by search engines
- Driving traffic to your site
- Gaining repeat visits and lifting conversion rates
- Boosting the chances of other websites linking back to yours, which further improves search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Conveying your key messages
- Building your brand and winning customers
Write web content for search engines
Your primary aim is to write for your target audience, but in doing so you should also write to ensure search engines like Google will index your webpages and rank them highly.
It’s vital that you write engaging copy that contains relevant keywords (the words and phrases people type into a query box when seeking information). The judicious incorporation of keywords into your copy means search engines will assess your page as being relevant to those keywords and your chances of achieving a high search engine ranking will be enhanced.
The trick is determining which keywords to incorporate. Using your market knowledge together with keyword analytical tools you should be able to identify keywords that people commonly use in online searches relevant to your business.
Writing keyword-rich web content is an integral part of ensuring your website ranks well on search engines.
In addition to your body text, include your keywords in your navigation labels, page titles, header tags, alt descriptions (for images), image titles, anchor links and file names.
Tip: Don’t settle for single keywords, use several relevant words arranged into a specific phrase. For instance, rather than ‘fish’ use a phrase like ‘tropical fish home aquariums’. If your business is localised, include your area name in your keywords.
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Include a strong call to action
Each page of your website should encourage your reader to do something, whether it’s clicking through to another page, using an interactive tool, or signing up for your newsletter.
Your calls-to-action should offer compelling benefits. Write them using action verbs and commands that convey a sense of urgency, such as ‘Discover’, ‘Sign up’ and ‘Buy now’.
Tip: Use this as another opportunity to embed those keywords you identified earlier. For example, rather than saying ‘Sign up for our newsletter,’ your call to action might read ‘Sign up for our newsletter Keeping tropical fish in a home aquarium’.
Write for web-reading
People reading online tend to skim, quickly seeking out words and images of interest. To cater to this style of reading:
- Write short, punchy sentences
- Keep paragraphs brief and succinct. (Nothing discourages an online reader more than big blocks of text)
- Use subheadings so readers can easily zoom in on the most relevant text
- Using bulleted lists like this one can help make your copy easier to read
From a design perspective, make sure your copy has sufficient white space around it. Keep column widths narrow, and use images to add visual appeal.
Avoid long webpages that compel the reader to scroll down. The web is a linking medium, so you don’t need to write in a linear fashion as you would in print. If you’ve got a lot to say, break your copy into multiple pages and give the reader the option to read on by clicking on links.
Tip: Under no circumstances should you take printed material and upload it verbatim onto your website. This common practice might save time, but is counterproductive if the copy wasn’t written with web-reading in mind. If your printed material is useful, edit and adapt it for the web before uploading.
This is the first article in a two-part series, the second of which will covers more tips for writing web content including the importance of writing concisely and in plain English, and how to write meaningful page titles.
If you have any additional tips for writing web content, please share them below.