Writing for the web differs from other types of writing like books or magazines or newspapers. Internet readers are typically searching for information and they want it fast. You mission, should you choose to accept it, is to provide all the information they need, in a concise, orderly manner, and make it easy for them to find and read it. Here are six tips for writing for web readers. This tape will self destruct in five, four, three, two…
Craft an attention grabbing article title
You already know you only have a few seconds to grab their attention so don’t play games with your title. Let them know what information you’re going to provide in your article and let them know they’ll benefit by reading it. And use your keyword in your title so the search engines understand, too.
Tell, Don’t Sell
When you look at your analytics you’ll see that most of your visitors come to your blog looking for information – not a sales pitch. If you give them that information they’ll stick around. If they need more information they’ll look for it. And eventually, if the find all their answers on your blog, and if they still want to buy that product, they’ll find your link on your blog. But you can’t push your visitors into buying no matter how hard you try. And if you think I’m wrong, just look at your own online buying habits. When’s the last time you fell for one of those hokey sales pitches?
Write at an 8th grade level
The average person searching for information on the Internet reads at an 8th grade level. Don’t “talk” to your readers like they’re children, but don’t alienate them by showing off your extensive vocabulary of 14-letter words, either. Of course, if you’re blogging about nuclear physics or rocket science then it’s safe to use all the big words you can.
Do your keyword research
Searchers use keywords to find information and the search engines use those keywords to find your blog. So it only makes sense that you should make sure you use keywords in your titles and articles. I know. This seems like a no-brainer. But lots of new bloggers just don’t make that connection. If you want people to read your blog then you have to make it easy for them to find it. The best way to do that is use your keywords.
Get to the point
Your readers don’t care what you had for breakfast. They’re looking for information. They’re also looking for specific information so those long rambling blog posts you write to show off your expertise are a big waste of time – for you and your reader. Choose one keyword, answer one question, write one blog post. Wash, rinse and repeat. Your reader wants to find one single answer to his question as soon as he hits your page.
Format for easy reading
Web readers don’t read every single word, they only scan the page. Limit your paragraphs to three or four sentences and use images, headings and sub-headings to break up sections of text. Leave plenty of white space so readers can easily skim the page and pick up only the key points they’re looking for. Trust me. If they find what they’re looking for they’ll go back and read the article again. But if they don’t they’re not going to waste the time.