Web Content Writing 101
One of the simplest marketing tricks in the book is to take a good hard look at your web content writing. Strategically turn up the volume on it from 0 to 60 and your web article writing has the power to zoom you to the top of the leader board - A.K.A. top of the search engines.
Awesome web content is the magic which converts your browsers and your lurkers in to buyers. It’s the sign-posting which sends them your way. It’s fodder for your social media campaigns (which in turn is good for getting backlinks to your content over time).
It’s one thing knowing the importance of web content writing. It’s another knowing how to really make it sing. That’s what this guide is all about: this is your web content writing 101. Let’s make your content the loudest sweetest song on the block.
Before we get in to the nitty gritty about how to write web content, let’s take a more strategic look at what you’ve got. This is a really important place to start because you can quickly make some improvements without too much effort.
Start with the website content you’ve got
The easiest way to do this is to let your most annoying English and grammar pedant who actually knows your business loose on your website. Get them to scour everything. Give them free rein to correct spelling, punctuation, typos, syntax – the lot. They’ll love it. However, make sure they know a thing or two about web writing because a degree thesis this is not.
You’re going to learn an important lesson going forward here. There are reasons why length matters when it comes to web content writing. Much of which comes down to how fabulous your competitor is. There is an argument that you need good meaty content, especially if your competitor has it.
However, what you don’t need is reams of error ridden waffle. You must always prioritise quality. Yes, go long if you can still keep it top notch. If you can’t, aim for short and sweet.
Break it up
Which nicely leads us on to our next point: web article writing is not like magazine article writing. In fact, it’s really quite different in terms of style and format.
In website content you need lots of breaks and white space. That means paragraphs need to be short and imagery is your friend. Bullet points, text boxes, and lists all help you out.
Always use a call to action
Web readers like to know what they should do next. So where’s your call to action? It should stand out and wow your reader. Do you want them to contact you? Then tell them how.
Sprinkle in some SEO
Next, still with your old content, spread the love with some SEO keywords. Work out what a particular article is aiming at and then tailor it accordingly. See our plain English guide to SEO if you’d like some real pointers you can work with.
Right, now you’ve got your old content singing a little louder, it’s time to focus on strategy going forward.
Let us just shout an important message at you in terms of content writing:
Why have we highlighted this? Because it is your key to web article writing success. You are what makes your business a success, and it’s your knowledge and USP that needs to be harnessed in your content writing – even if you get us in on the action by ordering your web content.
Use your expert knowledge in web content writing
We need to stress this because it’s important for web post writing for a number of different reasons:
· It’s what attracts your audience: they will come to you because they know you know more than they do, and hopefully more than anyone else.
· It builds trust with your audience: they come to know that you’re the authority they can go to.
· It feeds the SEO gods: Google places higher importance on sites which represent good authority.
· It’s the easiest stuff to focus on: This is your territory. You have the hints and tips. People will learn to see you as the authority and come to you as a resource, which ultimately leads to loyalty behind your sales.
Using your expert knowledge should form the platform from which you build your website content, extending like superpower tendrils in to your blog.
Now, at the risk of doing ourselves out of an order, this also has the benefit that you may well be able to have a stab at it yourself. Once you realise that no one, including the most super-duper copywriter who eats research for breakfast, can match you for knowledge, you realise you have a powerful tool.
So, if you think you’re up for it and have the time, don’t feel daunted. Give it a go, you may surprise yourself. DIY content writing isn’t do or die; you can suck it and see.
But how do you write for the web?
Yes, there’s a snag. There always is. Whilst you’re the expert on what you do, a digital copywriter is a pro when it comes to online content writing and knowing their SEO from their ABC. Get one who’s ace at research too and WOW.
This is where reading will really help you out. Have a good old read of our blog which will give you lots of web writing advice, such as SEO Content Marketing 101 and How to Rank Highly on Google. Much like the best novelists are prolific novel readers, the best SEO writers absorb blog posts like sponges.
There’s also a great deal to be said for trial and error. Chances are it’ll take you heaps of time for little return to start with. Once you find your feet, you’ll find it quicker and more successful.
Yes, yes, yes. But I don’t want to do my own copywriting
Fair dos. We wouldn’t be in business if everyone could or would do their own content writing. We’re certainly not complaining if you simply want to order some fabulous web content and be done with it. It’s easy and cost-effective. Indeed it’s often the solution, freeing you up to do what you do best.
However, there is some truth that awesome content is better than your best employee.
You say what?!
Yes, hear me out here. Chances are that you know that your best employees are your business. They are pure gold.
However, research shows that trust in a company's content is an incredible three times more important than trust in the company’s employees.
That’s hard reading, but just shows you the value you need to be placing on your web content writing – especially if you’re going to attempt doing it yourself. The research went on to show that 97% of consumers have found that poor content has negatively affected how much they trust the brand.
So what are some of the markers of web article writing? The good news is that you don’t need to do it all. Gradually increase the elements you’re including in your web writing and it’ll improve and gain traction over time.
Know a thing or two about keywords
It may be old school, but the single biggest difference between writing your university dissertation and web writing is keywords. It’s a good idea to get a good handle on how to get some keyword research done, and then how to use them appropriately.
We’ve written quite a lot about this, but you may find this post on keywords particularly useful.
Our super-quick tips are: avoid keyword stuffing and use long-tail keywords. Are we talking another language? Read the article linked to above and all will make sense.
Know that authority counts for a LOT
Yep, back to you being the expert. Google loves the authority factor so much it even factors in their nifty little acronym EAT.
So whilst you (or your content writer’s research) are your authority, you’re likely going to draw on others to back that up. When you do, link it. Like the research study we linked to above, you need to put in hyperlinks to reputable sources.
Don’t panic about sending your traffic elsewhere – when you upload your post, make sure you select to open it in a different window. But Google will lap it up. You may even get a nice little backlink yourself out of it in due course.
Think of something you remember reading. Why do you remember it? I’d bet my last buck that it’s because it made you feel something. You have to trigger some sort of emotional response in your writing. That could be a sense of novelty, humour, validation, or even discomfort. But it must invoke something. What’s more, get them to care.
Add this to a ‘take-away’ (hopefully sign-posted by the call-to-action) and Bob’s your uncle.
Keep things moving
Unfortunately, your web reader has the attention span of a gnat. And that’s being kind.
Writing about content writing, we haven’t got much choice but to go for the meaty stuff – unsurprisingly given that writers love writing. If your industry is less populated with copious amounts of drivel then stay sharp and punchy. If you do have to go long like we do, make sure you keep things hopping from point to point like a kid on a trampoline.
Keep things direct, avoid meandering, and keep your website articles like the Flash. If you know a thing or two about English construction, we’re also talking about using the active voice here. Avoid the passive voice like the plague.
This is also your chance to use your thesaurus with abandon. You need to swap out ‘big’ for ‘staggering’, for example. Web content writing is the place to let onomatopoeia go crazy.
It’s all about building engagement.
Focus most attention on the firsts
With every micro-second that goes past you’re losing readers. This means that from the first word to the first sentence, to the first paragraph, you need to front load your effort and care. You need to hook the reader and keep leading them on. For further advice on how to do this take a sneak peek at our post about bucket brigades.
Your reader has come to your site to get something. They came here in response to some search or other. So from the beginning you need to demonstrate that you are meeting that search query and giving them something more to keep going.
This is really important. Fail at the firsts and meeting your audience’s needs and they can, and will, go elsewhere. Use story-telling and imagery but definitely make your reader desperate to carry on.
Research and then check it
Yes you’re the expert, but make sure your facts are correct. However, this point also extends to what you don’t know about web writing, or indeed the English language. Not sure if it’s ‘do’s and don’t’s’ or ‘dos and don’ts’? For goodness sake, check!
Grammarly can really help you out here.
Also, view your competitor as a super useful tool, not something to be scared of. They provide insight in to what you need to do and why. To understand how and why you should match your competitor’s content, see here.
Appeal to the lowest common denominator
Ok, we know it feels good to write “the orbit of the spectral mass around the azure-chartreuse planet” but please stick to “the moon moves around the earth”. This is web writing not high-brow literature.
You need to be accessible to your audience. For example, if your audience is all medics and you throw in medical terms, then great. However, if you’re offering medical info to the general public then you need to stick to simpler terms or explain things thoroughly.
Remember the important rule: you are writing for your audience NOT you.
Never stop when it comes to content marketing
The reality is that with content marketing there’s no finish line. We’ve shown you where the starting line is but unkindly, this race never ends. You need to continue with a strategic approach to regular web articles. You then also need to go back and refine and improve what you’ve already done.
However, whilst it’s a never-ending business, it’s incredibly more powerful the longer you commit to it. Content gains traction over time. Suddenly a post languishing unloved, springs to life and becomes an injection of interest in your business.
For this reason, it’s unsurprising that many will want to get an awesome copywriting service on hand. Feeding the content marketing beast isn’t for the faint hearted. It takes diligence, skill and a willingness to keep going.
Want to take a shortcut? Order your content and article writing in our content shop.
Chrissie Brown eats, sleeps and breathes content writing. Working for the biggest multinationals through to the tiniest start-up, she’s performs pure alchemy with content writing.