Writing Tips for Your Website
Now that your website is up and running, it's time to add
content. Fresh content will make your site interesting and
keep people (and search engine crawlers) coming back. In
order to achieve optimal web success, your site must be
informative, relevant and written the way that people read
the web. Here's a few tips to get you started.
Get to the point – FAST. Just ask internet usability
consultant Jakob Nielsen. People do not read the web, they
scan. It's not like print, where you can meander your way to
the point. Online, you have but a nanosecond to prove you're
legit. Nielsen says to use the "inverted pyramid method."
for web content. Tell the point first, get to the supporting
Find your inner voice. We want to hear you on your website,
not a text book or someone else. Get in touch with your
real-live human "voice." Hello? Is anyone there? Show us
your humanity so so we can relate to you. Do not publish
anything that you have not completely written researched or
re-worked. Posting text to your website that's meant for the
printed page is a no-no. People will not read it, and worse,
they'll make bad faces at you.
Use the least amount of words for what you have to say.
Listen, you're not going to impress us by using big
technical words. In fact, when you use words we do not
understand – I must say – you look stupid. Why? It's easier to
write a story with 3000 words than it is to write the same
story in 300. It takes more thought, more planning, more
time to extract away the excess. Therefore, the writer who
uses less words to convey to same message is clearly the
Write to a person, not a group. When you are writing web
content especially, write to a person. Pretend like that
person is sitting right in front of you and write
conversationally. When you write to a person, it draws the
reader in and makes you look more human. It's good for
connecting and bonding with your reader.
Do not talk down to your readers. Though it's true that most
of your readers will be reading at the 9th grade level, and
your content should be written accordingly, resist the urge
to talk down to your audience. Humble yourself. And
certainly do not try to appear more knowledgeable with shop
talk. If you do not know what your writing about, research it
more. Otherwise, your lack of knowledge will be transparent
even to a 9th grader.
Use small words with the least amount of syllables. This is
a basic web content promise. The fewer syllables that you
use, the less your web reader has to think to digest your
information. Try not to make your user think. Spoon feed the
information in the cleanest manner possible so they get your
meaning with the least amount of distractions. Do not say
"successfully" when "well" will do. As with every rule,
there are exceptions.
Do not underline to make a point. Underlined words are It is
a convention on the web that underlined words are links. It
is irritating to click an underlined word when you think it
is a link. Do everything possible to keep your visitors from
being irritated, and to keep yourself from looking – well
let's just say, from looking like you do not know. Do not
underline anything unless it is a link. Use bold to
accentuate your main points instead.
The tips above are by no means exhaustive. There are
gazillions of techniques and writing tricks that foster
online success. Wise is the web marketer who understands
that marketing marketing your business online is a process that can
always improve, just like direct sales. Get these guidelines
under your belt and you'll be a step closer to winning
clients, customers and respect online.