Writing for the Web: A Crash Course in Content Creation
Your website is your digital storefront. It’s where potential customers will find you, browse around, and ultimately make a purchase decision. So among the vast sea of tips and tricks to optimize your website, how can you make the most of your time?
Strategic content creation can be the true X factor for your site’s success. Here are some pointers on getting the most bang for your buck when creating content:
The “write” length
Writing for the web is different than writing for print. Your site’s visitors prefer short blocks of text – think one or two sentence paragraphs. Forget about the “proper” five-sentence paragraphs you learned about in English class.
The ultimate goal is to get your site’s visitors to do something. Be clear and concise with your calls-to-action. Do you want people to sign up for a mailing list? Purchase your products? Just tell them what to do. For example: “Join our mailing list!” or “Call us: (555) 555-5555.”
Each page of your website should have one main call-to-action, or else the message that you’re trying to convey will get diluted.
- Cut to the chase! Use clear and concise writing
- Bring attention to keywords with bold or italics, but be selective
Set the tone
What’s your organization’s personality? Who’s your audience? Your site’s content should complement your brand’s identity and keep in mind the audience to whom you are writing. Here’s a good blog to get you on the right track with your brand’s voice.
Studies have shown that web audiences don’t read content word for word. In reality, they scan the page, searching for information from headlines, bullet points, and other visual cues.
Strategically planning out your site’s layout can make a big difference, particularly with your site’s “scannablity.” You want your site’s visitors to be able to scan through your content without hassle and find the specific content that they’re looking for.
Plan on taking advantage of these content layout strategies to make your site easier to scan:
Consider using headings to break up longer blocks of text. This aids your site’s “scannability.” Visitors should be able to infer what each section or block of text is about by reading headings (and subsequent subheadings, if necessary).
Bulleted lists help break the monotony of long bodies of text and improve comprehension of your content.
Images and videos enhance your site’s scannability by providing visual content cues. Often times, a picture is worth a thousand words. If an image or video helps to explain a concept that otherwise would have required a long block of text, by all means, use visual elements!
Studies have shown that the use of whitespace between paragraphs and within the left and right margins increased comprehension by almost 20%. Don’t be afraid to give your site’s text some breathing room.
Jim is a brick & mortar store owner. He has a spectacular-looking storefront that draws the attention of potential customers. Passers-by are intrigued by Jim’s business, but they’re often disappointed once they walk in the store.
Why? Because his store’s layout is confusing, shelves are cluttered, and signs are without direction.
Don’t be like Jim. Make sure that you take care of your digital storefront and invest in strategic content creation. It’s the proven way to capture visitors’ attention, improve reading comprehension, and drive results.
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