Writing and publishing articles isn’t something that comes natural to many business owners, but it’s a necessary ingredient for successful search engine traffic. Some business owners outsource writing to freelancers, while others take the time to research and write for themselves.
Writing for the web differs from traditional writing formats. It varies depending on your audience and your goals, since internet readers are not as patient as they are when reading a novel. They want content to be short, readable, and get to the point quickly.
Here are some “best practices” for writing content to be read online.
Keep It Short
Many of us (including myself) tend to over-explain things. This is especially problematic in written form. Think about of how your visitors find and read your content. Think about of how you read website content.
Your blog posts are likely read on phones or tablets within a limited time frame. Do you bring your device into the bathroom? Do you check your phone while waiting for traffic lights to turn green? How about while riding on public transit?
The key is not necessarily to keep your articles short, but rather keep your sentences short and to the point. It’s also good web reading etiquette to keep your paragraphs short and use only 2-4 sentences in each if possible.
“Do team-building activities and events during the workday, not after hours.”
Make It Scannable
Keeping written content concise is a constant battle. One easy way to do this is to break up articles into sections using Headings. Not only does this help ensure sure articles stay on topic, but it also helps readers to easily scan an article to get an overview of the content.
This helps readers quickly decide if they want to invest more time in reading your article, and it quickly provides the exact information they’re looking to consume.
Omit Unnecessary Words
When I started learning about web writing, I was including a lot of unnecessary words and cliché phrases. It’s still a struggle, and I edit my content constantly to avoid unnecessary words as much as I can.
Again, it’s about keeping sentences simple and to the point. You’re not writing a novel with descriptive character traits. You’re likely sharing information that is factual and deserves a simple description rather than convoluted explanations.
If you’re not sure what kind of clichés I’m talking about, here’s a list of 681 of them to avoid.
Use a Definitive Call-to-Action
Most blog posts are written for a very specific purpose. The goal may be to motivate your readers to opt-in to your email list, to buy a product, or some other form of lead generation.
In many content management systems, you’re able to display your call-to-actions on the left or right of your content. The problem is those are static and sometimes not directly related to the subject of your article.
Make sure to include these call-to-action links or forms within your content to ensure you give your readers an opportunity to take some kind of action. Not sure what calls-to-action you should be including? Get in touch, and we’ll help you figure it out.
See what I did there?
Make It Shareable
The web is a social place. So if your readers find your content valuable, they will be inclined to share it. Make it easy for them to do so.
Allowing easy sharing comes in many forms, but the simplest method is to make your social sharing options visible. This can be done using any one of the thousands of social sharing plugins available for WordPress.
If you’d like to learn more about writing and formatting content for easier web consumption, check out these links with additional information and resources.