As you probably already know, your website requires content (typically in the form of short-medium length articles) in order to function properly. Your content not only allows clients and potential clients to learn about your business, but it also helps SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Great content is vital to your website’s success, so Oceania Internet has developed a list of tips, hints and tricks to help you write great web content:
Tip 1: Be precise and concise
People on the web don’t read every single word, even every single sentence. You have to ensure that you are including information vital to them. Often your clients will scan your webpages for information that is directly relevant to them, they very rarely look at each word and each sentence when trying to find what they’re looking for.
Tip 2: Important information first, always
Use an ‘inverted pyramid structure’ when writing. Basically this means include the most important, vital information first (typically the who, what, when, where, how & why) and then progress down to the least important information. The people who visit your website are scanners, they don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect them, so don’t make them read it.
Tip 3: Use language that is easy to understand
Unless absolutely necessary, do not use words that are overly complicated or simply don’t need to be there. Obviously, industry specific words cannot always be substituted, but try and be as plain and simple as possible. Assume your reader has a high school level grasp on the English language – this tends to cover most demographics. Also keep in mind how you write – read it aloud, if it makes sense, keep it. If what you write doesn’t make sense when you read it aloud, get rid of it (or change it).
Tip 4: Don’t advertise in your articles
This is a mistake a lot of people make. Don’t simply use the same stuff you use in your advertising or marketing materials on your website. The people on it know what you do and will probably end up using your product/service if you give them enough information. They’re already there because of marketing, all they want know is the vital information. Please keep in mind this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include the all-important keywords, just don’t spam them and make your website look like one giant advertisement.
Tip 5: Keep it short, but not too short
You may be wondering how many words, paragraphs, etc. you need to include per page and while there isn’t a specific, universal rule, there are some things you can consider. 400 words is generally a good starting point when deciding how much to write. This isn’t a hard and fast rule though; at the bare minimum you should have 2 paragraphs of information (one paragraph typically contains 4-5 sentences), but no more than 5 (unless there’s a special reason, i.e. the document you are reading right now).
Tip 6: Use Images
Humans are visual – we love to see things, it often helps us understand what we are reading or hearing. Supplement your information with relevant imagery, so people know what you are talking about and now they can visualise it.
Tip 7: Edit your copy and then edit it again
There is no such thing as over-editing. Proofread your copy several times before taking a break. Come back to it later and edit it again. Get your colleagues or anyone else you can find to read your content and get their feedback. Very rarely is the first thing you write the best thing – so you need to make sure what you are putting online is up to scratch.
Tip 8: Spelling and Grammar
Yes, this is extremely important. Want to make your website and business seem sloppy and unprofessional? Don’t use spell-check! Your spelling and grammar need to be on point – typos, however small, can make your work look shoddy, which is the last thing you want.
Tip 9: A Thesaurus is great, but don’t overuse it
This ties in with Tip 3, the words you choose when writing have a big impact on the document’s useability. Don’t use words you don’t understand – because if you don’t understand them, your reader is unlikely to understand them either.
Tip 10: Avoid the “Wall of Text”
You’ve probably seen websites that look like a giant wall of text. It’s boring and it’ long. You need to avoid this. Break up your content with paragraphs and dot points; they are extremely useful for presenting important information directly to the user. Use headings, bolded words and titles and anything else you can think of to make finding the most important things easier.
These 10 tips are a great start to writing your content, but remember, these aren’t the 10 commandments, so feel free to break some here and there if you feel its absolutely necessary. However, if you take into account what you’ve read today, your content should look a lot better than other ‘copy’ you see on websites.
If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Oceania Internet Team. We hope this short guide will help you with writing your very own content.