Writing for the Web: The Art and the Science

writing-for-the-web

Ask anyone who has been writing for the web for some time and they’ll tell you – it’s an art unto itself. Like prose and poetry and technical writing and journalism, writing for the web has its own unique style, and to some extent, its own set of rules.

If you want to make your business blog posts interesting, relevant, searchable – and easily consumed – there a few key things to keep in mind the next time you open your WordPress dashboard.

DON’T Write Huge Blocks of Text

Readers and customers may be interested in what you have to say, but if they click through to your latest blog post and are faced with a 1000-word block of text they’re going to feel like they don’t have the time to consume all that information.

The fact is, no matter how riveting your content is your audience has limited time – so you need to capture their attention straight away and make your copy easy to skim so they can get what they need and move onto the next thing on their list.

DO Make Use of Subheadings

Subheadings are your friend. They break your content up into easily digestible chunks, while also signaling to your readers what each section of content is about. This is especially important for skim-readers, because it will allow them to quickly and easily find the information that’s most relevant to them.

DO Break Your Copy Up into Paragraphs

Breaking your copy up into paragraphs is another effective way to make your content more skimmable, and more attractive to readers. There are no hard and fast rules regarding how long a paragraph should be, so trust your instincts. If you’re moving onto a new idea or topic, or you simply feel like you’ve come to a natural pause in the ‘conversation’ you’re creating with your readers, that’s the ideal time to hit your return key and begin anew.

DO Optimize Your Copy for Keywords

Don’t know a thing about SEO? No worries. Search engine optimization is simply the practice of signaling to search engines what your blog posts are about so they can properly rank them in search results. Think about the information or solution you’re offering readers, and consider what they might search for to find that information. For example, if you’re running a home décor business and your latest blog post is about helping people choose the right paint colors, your intended readers might be searching terms such as “how to choose paint colors” or “choosing home paint colors”.

Keeping your content tightly focused and incorporating relevant keywords can help signal to search engines exactly what your content is about, and make it easier for prospects to find the information they’re looking for.

DON’T Keyword Stuff

That being said, don’t be tempted to stuff your blog posts with keywords, or write your content focusing primarily on a high keyword density. Not only will your content be ugly, off-putting to readers and less useful, but it can actually negatively impact SEO efforts.

Nowadays, search engine place higher authority on posts that are relevant and written for people (not algorithms), which means posts that incorporate a huge number of keywords – but little useful information – are less likely to rank well. Focus on your audience first, and incorporate a few highly targeted keywords second.

DO ‘Write How You Talk’

One of the best ways to write your content for people, capture your audience’s interest and write well for the web is to write how you talk. Stayed tuned – we’ll be covering the art of this in-depth in next week’s post.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

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