Writing for the Web – Little Known Tips and Tricks
As the amount of web content exponentially increases, how can you ensure your web content gets noticed? There are general rules for creating web content that most people follow. But only following these tried and true rules leads to a large portion of web content that all looks the same.
How can you make your web content stand out, get consumed, and have users eager for more? You must turn to the lesser-known tips and tricks of designing web content.
Start with the understanding that most people behave the same way when using the web. Your user’s attention span is short, about 3-5 seconds. Create web content with the understanding that your user is scanning.
If your user does not find the information for which they are seeking within seconds, they will move on. So, is your web content scannable? What are you doing to make it easier to scan?
This is the first little-known trick of web content writing. Make your content easy to scan. Use headings, subheadings, bold, italic, or whatever you need to get across main points to your user in a quick glance. Your rich, detailed content comes second to this.
Web content is a unique kind of content and consumption. Your presentation of content is actually more important than the content itself.
This is little-known tip number 2 of web writing: focus on your presentation. Have you heard of the F-pattern? This is the presentation layout that has been researched to have the greatest user consumption.
Spend plenty of time on the visual hierarchy of your content presentation. What is it you want your user to do? Do you want them to click something, learn, perform a task? Your presentation should be built from the answer to this question.
You could have the best writing in the world, but if your presentation is not ideal, your content will likely not be consumed. The web is a different environment; it relies on presentation and user experience.
Use visuals in the form of infographics, pictures, and videos to break up text. This creates visual hierarchy and it also motivates your user to scroll and continue consuming all of your content.
Assist Your User
Web content is expected to be concise, digestible, and easy to scan. You must assist your user in consuming your content.
Funnel your information into informative headings and subheadings. Make your paragraphs short–about 3-4 sentences. And ensure that your language is simple.
The web is not the place for wordy, unique, and witty writing. Rather, informative writing that is easily consumed is best received.
More specific tips on web content writing include:
• Keeping sentence length to a maximum of 12 words
• Deleting unnecessary words
• Avoiding jargon
• Avoiding passive tense
• Avoiding repetition
• Trying to touch on too many topics at once
So, where should you focus your energy in order to create successful web content? Focus on your keywords, creating informative headlines, and making your content is scannable. All of your content (copy and visuals) should focus on a single theme or thesis. If it isn’t relevant to the thesis, remove it from your content. Once you have created your web content, try it out on real users. Take their critiques and learn from how they interact with and consume your content.