10 Top Tips for Writing Web Content

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    As an SEO specialist and professional web content writer, friends (both real and virtual) often ask me for tips on producing effective and engaging web copy. Although I’m obviously happy to provide copywriting services myself, I think it’s important to educate others and facilitate their own creativity if they’d rather produce their own content.

    With that in mind, here are my top tips for writing web content.

    Bringing out the writer in you


    Research well
    – if you’re creating web content for your own site, then you should know your subject pretty well. However, if you’re writing about something new or helping somebody else out, you need to know the product or service well enough to be able to write convincingly. Never go into writing blind, it will be totally transparent to your readers and will lose you respect and authority.

    Know your audience – in a similar way to the first tip, there’s no point in writing something unless you know who you’re writing it for. While some topics will have wide appeal, you may have a particular target market you’re aiming towards. What’s the demographic? What approach will make them most receptive? What tone should you adopt?

    Tone of voice - leading on from the previous tip, setting the tone is essential. Choosing a ‘business voice’ is part of your overall brand, and all of your copy over any marketing materials should be consistent and written with the same tone. This will help to give your business a clear identity – so think carefully about what you want to sound like. Consider qualities such as professionalism, friendliness, authoritativeness and anything else that will put a ‘personality stamp’ on your web content and marketing copy.

    Introduce a character – to help with the above, it can be helpful to take on a character while you’re writing. Writing is a little like being an actor – you have to get into the role and write your content from a reader’s perspective. Are you someone they’d identify with? Are you selling your product/service/story in the best way? Once you’ve found a character, you can use this when you write to get into the correct mindset – find your role and play it well!

    Write for them, not you – I’ve already mentioned writing your web content from a user’s perspective, but it deserves its own dedicated tip. You may be amazing at what you do, or your product may be the most innovative of its kind on the market; by all means, do mention these points, but beware – your website needs to read as if it’s been created for the benefit of the visitor, not just as a platform for bigging yourself up! Arrogance is a turn off and self-congratulation gets embarrassing after a while; what your readers really want to know is how your service or product is going to benefit them and how it’s going to improve their life/save them money/make them happier/ increase their health/build their knowledge.

    A fresh perspective – are you working in a saturated industry, competing against thousands of other sites? If so, research the competition and ask yourself how you can do it differently. You need to stand out from the competition, for the right reasons, so try and identify what others might be missing. What additional selling points can you think of? What are your USPs? How can you approach the subject in a fresh and more interesting way?

    Feel the rhythm – no, I’m not suggesting you write poetry, but writing can have a beat and a rhythm. Once you’ve written your content, read it out loud. This will help you to see if any sentences are too long, and also give you the opportunity to see how it flows. If you’re gasping for breath halfway through a sentence, you need to revise your phrasing and punctuation. If anything sounds clunky or clumsy, edit it. Some subtle rhyming and alliteration can be adopted as long as it’s used with caution, but be careful not to let it end up reading like a children’s book – unless that’s the audience you’re writing for. What you’re looking for is writing that has a nice tone and ‘lift’ – if your phrasing ends on a really negative tone or a word grates, find a substitution and see if it works better. The thesaurus can be your friend here, but don’t go crazy using words that aren’t generally used in common speech, or you risk alienating your readers.

    Second opinion – if you’re not a confident writer, ask someone you trust for a second opinion. Remember that you’re trying to create a good impression, so if you don’t know anyone who has first class grammar skills, it may also be worth getting a professional to cast their eye over your work. You may not want to invest in a professional web content writer, but the smaller outlay of using a proofreader could be well worth it.

    SEO - I couldn’t really put together a blog about writing web content without mentioning one of my favourite things now could I?! Unless you’re writing for a niche industry, you really should optimise your site for the search engines. I’ll put together a post soon to share some tips on SEO.

    Break it up – if you’ve got lots of content on your site, don’t just ramble on in one big chunk of prose; use headings to break it up into sections and guide your reader through different elements so they can easily find the information they want. Bullet point are also a great tool to group together key points or benefits.

    Hopefully these tips will help you to write your web copy – I’m going to stop at 10, but I’m sure there will be a part 2 to follow in the future! As a web content writer with a real passion for the power of words, I’m always happy to offer advice, so if you need a little help, feel free to contact me.

One Response to 10 Top Tips for Writing Web Content

  1. Lee says:

    Great Article AWS, thanks

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