Writing web content can be a difficult task for business owners and I’ve seen many a savvy business owner that has struggled their way through it. But don’t despair, you, as the business owner, is best equipped to write your own content! Below I’ve detailed a few guidelines about what works online.
Make your web text scannable
Web readers are lazy. Unlike other forms of content, web users will not “read” your page. They scan the page for highlights that are interesting. Keep paragraphs short and sweet. Nothing will turn away a user quicker than long unbroken blocks of text.
Break up your content with descriptive, keyword rich titles.
Think about the way people read. They often “jump” between sections, reading only the first line of a paragraph. Titles provide jumping points (or anchors for those particularly lacking attention) for web readers, holding them to the page. Use bold and italic when relevant to provide secondary jumping points or anchors.
Images can also serve the same purpose. Break up text and support your text with visually compelling images.
Not only good for scanning, titles are also important for search engines as they can be highlighted (in the code) and show search engines that this is a relevant keyword on the page. This will help your page rank for particular keywords.
8 seconds. That’s the average attention span of a web user. (Source). Do you know what the average attention span of a goldfish is? 9 seconds. Keep that in mind.
Web readers are like wild animals hunting for that one bit of content they need. Don’t try to be clever or creative. Get them the info they want before they lose interest and head back to google.
The Voice: Be professional AND human.
Avoid the temptation to add too much marketing jargon. People don’t want to feel like they are being sold something. In this day and age, we are constantly being hit with ads from every direction. Don’t add to the clamor. Find a way to present your company clearly and confidently, without losing your humanity. I’m a firm believe that people respond better when they can see the man behind the curtain.
Use the inverted pyramid style
This is also called front-loading the paragraph. Add the conclusion first followed by the how and why and other lesser points. This allows users with shorter attention spans to still digest the relevant content and helps with scanning.
This entire article could be summed up in one phrase: simplify, simplify, simplify! Don’t try to wow and amaze your readers. Start with the basics and tweak as necessary. Just like any marketing plan (and your website is a big part of your marketing), you may need to modify the plan as you go. Hope this gets you started!