By now, most people realize that “content is king” – a phrase used to highlight that good copy (compelling stories, helpful information and strong topics, organized well) is what makes websites and social media truly succeed. But while the phrase may be easy to master, the skill of writing well for digital content takes some hard work.
Part of our business at ALINE is helping clients craft good content for their websites and social media platforms. And while we appreciate the work, we know that many clients prefer to write their own web content and blogs, either for the sake of budget, for the expertise they bring to the topic, or because they enjoy writing. So we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help anyone write better digital content.
4 Tips to Write Good Web Content
- Write to and for your audience.
This seems pretty basic, but you should write the content that your audience wants to read. (If you’re not sure who your audience is, first review our blog on defining your target audience). If your audience is comprised of fellow technical experts, you can use all the jargon that your industry knows and understands, which will help you relate to fellow industry insiders. But if your audience is more general, you’ll want to avoid jargon and assume that most readers don’t know the specific vocabulary of your industry. Additionally, if your audience is mainly young, or women, or outdoor enthusiasts, knowing this should direct the type of copy you write to engage them.
- Write how people read online.
The copy you’re writing is going to be read on a variety of screens – from large desktops to tiny phones. And the users of these screens will be scanning the content while commuting, working, or maybe even using the restroom. So you need to write in a way that keeps things simple and easy to scan.
- use clear headings to label key paragraphs
- use bullets or numbers to cleanly organize lists
- avoid long sentences and long paragraphs
- consider adding brief summaries to the beginning or end of longer stories
- Write for search engine bots.
Yes, we all hope that the content we spend so much time researching, writing and uploading will be carefully read by an admiring fan base. But in reality, many of your pages won’t ever be read fully. The main reason you’re working to add good content to your website is to flood your site with regularly updated and relevant keywords and phrases that Google will find and rank highly (this is known as organic search engine optimization, or organic SEO). This means you need to take the time to identify the keywords people will (or should) use to find your site, and then incorporate these keywords into your copy. The trick here is that you need to find the balance between sprinkling in a few keywords versus cramming sentences full of awkward, forced phrases. (We've compiled more info about SEO tools here).
- Be precise and correct, and always proofread.
You are a professional organization, but people will start to assume you are amateurs if you have regular typos, spelling or grammar errors. Have a grammar-savvy person proof everything before it goes online, and that person should not be the same person who wrote the copy. Proofread not just to find errors, but also to find ways to say things simpler and more to the point. As mentioned in #2, if you can distill three long paragraphs into a series of bullet points, do so.
There you go! Four simple tips and you’re ready to write pages of content! Right? If that makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Writing is a skill and an art, and it’s not for everyone. If writing is not your bailiwick, remember that content creation is a task that can be rather simply hired out to freelancers or vendor companies so that you can focus more on what you do well (like run a company). If ALINE can help with your content creation, feel free to drop us a line.