Writing content for the web is unique. The audience has slightly different needs than the audience who has time to sit and read a magazine. Here are five things you should know when writing for the web.
1. People like lists
Lists are fun no matter what you’re discussing. You can write numbered lists, bulleted lists, and do/don’t lists. You can use the number of points in your title, so your readers know exactly how many tips you’re offering them. Lists also help your reader focus on what might help them. They can run down the list and see what they have tried and what is new. Lists make your content skimmable. That might sound like a bad thing because you would prefer your readers to read every word, but your real goal is to offer them something they’re seeking.
2. People are busy
You want to keep your content writing short because people are busy and don’t often have time to read 1,000-word pieces. If you can express your thoughts in fewer words, this is a great skill to have. You don’t need to ramble on and explain something in three different ways. Assume your readers are smart and will understand the first time. If you describe it well, they will. Higher word count should never be your goal unless a client has a word count preference. Your focus should always be getting information to your readers.
3. People want facts
If you’re writing a subject you’re knowledgeable about; you might not think you need to link to other articles and studies. You might not want to give your readers a reason to leave your content to read someone else’s. Linking to other sources can benefit you in a couple of ways. Your readers will learn that you are someone they can trust, which will result in them coming back to read more of your content. You may also find sources in other people’s work; having been introduced to your work, they might want to use it to provide more information to their readers.
4. People need help
When writing content, it’s important to remember you’re writing for your readers. Make sure you use the word “you” more than “we.” People are coming to you for help, so make sure that’s what you’re offering them. If you’re selling something, don’t act like that’s the only thing that will help them. Offer a variety of suggestions and end with what you have to offer. That will make your reader feel cared about instead of feeling like they are just another customer.
5. People are simple
When people search for things online, they don’t use fancy search terms. Someone looking for an affordable hotel won’t seek “economy” or “budget.” They will most likely use the word “cheap.” If you want people to find your content, it’s essential to write the way people talk. Drop the big, complicated words and replace them with everyday words. If you explain things in a complicated way, you are likely to lose readers.
Writing for the web is a skill that won’t go to waste. Whether you’re writing for your website or blog or for clients, your ability to write content will benefit everyone.