A few quick tips can make all of the difference in the world when you’re trying to learn how to write for the web successfully. Changing the way your content looks, sounds and feels to your audience can take any average piece of writing and make it a fine-tuned force for whatever you’re looking to achieve.
Whether you want to increase your page-views, find more prospects for your business or anything else, you can put these writing for the web tips to use immediately to produce results.
Changing the Way Your Content Looks and Feels
In Yahoo’s Online Style Guide, a section is devoted to shaping your text for online reading. Have you ever clicked on a link and visited a webpage that looked as if it was nothing but a block of dense, black text? If you’re like most other people, you promptly clicked on the back button and found something else to peruse instead.
Shaping your content and the way it looks, and therefore feels, to your audience is extremely important. This is true in all forms of writing, but is particularly useful while writing for the web.
Keep your paragraphs short, and separate chunks of text with subtitles and headings, and bullet point and numbered lists. This makes your material very approachable, and you won’t scare off any visitors before they even see what you have to say.
Capturing and Keeping your Audience’s Attention
Yahoo’s Style Guide also preaches Getting to the Point. When you’re writing for the web, you have just three seconds or less to capture your audience’s attention. That means you have to open strong, and pull people in immediately.
It also means that you have to keep people engaged, and let them know what your content is offering. Those subtitles, headings and other shaping tips mentioned above come in handy here again as readers will skim your material looking for the focal points. If it looks like you will provide what they’re interested in, then they’ll take a few minutes to dive in a bit deeper.
Highlight your main points using these tactics, and you’ll be advertising your material as being worthy of your reader’s interest. Additionally, aim to keep your sentences short, sweet and crisp, allowing your content to flow smoothly from one point to the next.
Getting Found in the Search Engines
A crucial aspect of being successful writing for the web is using search engine optimization to get your content found in the search engines. This can seem daunting for those who don’t know where to begin with SEO, but large strides can be taken very quickly.
Yahoo’s SEO Basics guide offers some handy tips for getting started with SEO as you’re writing for the web. To get started for yourself, simply follow these steps and you’ll give yourself a fighting chance of appearing on that valuable front page of a search engine’s results:
1. Brainstorm phrases related to your topic that an Internet user would logically use to search for your topic. For example, “writing for the web tips” might be a phrase related to this article that someone might search for.
2. Include that phrase and similar phrases throughout your content, including them in the titles, subheads and paragraphs.
3. For websites where you have full control of the publishing process, also use these phrases in the page’s META tags, in image “ALT” tags, and in other strategic places.
4. Don’t forget to write valuable, unique and engaging content, aimed first at satisfying your readers, and second for getting found in the search engines. Quality content will encourage people to take a look, and even to link to your article, while still ensuring you hold value to the search engines as well.
5. Don’t use too many keywords when you’re trying to include keywords in your content. Too many keywords in your content makes it seem like all keywords, without any content that doesn’t have keywords. See?