According to a study done by Microsoft Research, you have only 10 seconds to convince the visitor to stick around long enough for a second look. The visual appearance of the web page, a catchy headline and (seemingly) valuable content are crucial to get that second chance. The visitor’s need for information and answers to its questions must be satisfied even in the first couple of rows. With a bit of effort, good content writing is within anyone’s reach. All you need are some basics skills and a lot of practicing. Here are a few guidelines on how to improve your writing.
Your Post Must Be Useful and Well Researched
The posts that will draw the most attention are the one who will respond to the reader’s need for information. Your text must be insightful, timely, urgent, personal, entertaining, and most of all backed up by data. Marketing should never be your primary goal, but gaining the reader’s trust. With that purpose, you must do your research about the topic. No one expects from you to know everything from home-improvement to fashion trends, but that is why we have Internet.
It Must Be Easy to Read
Went to creative writing? Forget everything you have learned. No web reader will take the time to think about what Shakespeare wanted to say with “What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet”? No, a web reader asks for clear, concise and immediate information. Clarity is the king who serves to your readers. The only vision you need to follow is the one that will please your clients. So forget all about the witty metaphor you had in mind and start typing.
You Must Still Keep Your Unique Voice
The fact that you should not pursue some kind of Kafka-like vision does not mean you have to write too generically. The content that sounds like it was copied from a Wikipedia page will not be interesting for readers. Instead, try to find your own style. Do that by first finding 5 or more content writers whose style is pleasing for you, read them often, try to study how they do it (how are they choosing the topic, writing the introduction, doing their research, etc.) and in the end try to write something similar, with a personal twist.
The Key Is in Keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the goal of your writing. So make sure you do thorough keyword research even before you start writing. You can use various keyword research tools, such as SEOsiteCheckup, Google Keyword Planner, etc. You can also improve your traffic by finding the keywords the site you are writing for is already ranking for, so you can focus on them and achieve some quick wins. To find the right keywords, you will have to know your audience.
Learn Some Basic IT Skills
After writing thousands of posts for dozens of different niches, you must feel a bit like a know-it-all. All of that will amount to nothing if you are not familiar with some basic IT skills, about designing and moderating websites, text editing, etc. Luckily, today you can easily master some course that will provide you with solid basic knowledge and a diploma. Having that set of skills in addition to your writing, will make you a lot more independent and a more valuable asset to clients and employers.
Good web writing is not alike to writing a book. Rather it is similar to a conversation with a friend where you will present and defend your opinion. Sooner you realize that you are not writing the next “Catcher in the Rye”, sooner you will become better at your job.