This is a guest article by freelance writer and blogger Ness Garcia.
Writing for the web has its own set of rules; rules that do not necessarily apply to traditional forms of media such as print. That’s because the web is such a massive resource that offers too many options to readers. If you cannot capture and hold the attention of your website visitors, someone else will.
If you have just created a website and are just starting out with writing web content, here’s a breakdown of four of the most common pitfalls to avoid, and how you can make the most of your web content.
Making it about yourself/your company
No, your visitors aren’t on your website to check out your company profile, vision and mission statement. They do not visit your blog to read listen to your vacation tales or fantasies either; they are there for value. What’s in it for them? Are you furnishing them with information they could use?
Many company websites are culpable of making the whole thing to be about themselves, and in the wrong places – especially the homepage. In other words, they only talk about the company values, mission, vision, accreditation etc., and forget that the customer is actually visiting to find a solution to their problem.
If you are going to talk about your vision and mission on earth, don’t put that on the homepage. Because, let’s face it, the customer doesn’t care.
The homepage should be more like a sales page, telling customers how you can help them. Show them why, and how, you could offer the best solution to their problem. Talk to them, not about yourself.
Writing “techie” content
Technical jargon will never win the hearts of your readers. Unfortunately, some website owners are stuck on trying to sound smart at the expense of not being understood at all. They fill their pages and blog posts with techie terms in a bid to wow the audience with the amount of technical knowledge they possess.
Well unless you are writing exclusive for a highly technical audience, it is counterproductive to use too many technical terms or big words that the average reader will clearly struggle to understand. Write to be understood, not to impress.
The key here is to understand your audience. Because it’s almost always going to be about your audience.To be on the safe side, especially if you are a blogger, write in a language simple enough to be understood by a 5th grader, as recommended by the popular blogger, Neil Patel.
Using long sentences and paragraphs
Long, winding sentences will always make your content less appealing to read. Keep in mind that on the web, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your reader. And long sentences certainly won’t help your cause.
Likewise, long paragraphs are always going to be a major turn-off for your website visitors. Imagine encountering apage with several paragraphs each 10 or more lines… Would you try to read the content, or just give up from the onset? How about subjecting your customers to the same predicament?
Remember that attention spans on the web are far shorter; keep is simple, but also as short as it can get. Break your large paragraphs into smaller chunks. Your visitors will be more drawn to read, and you’ll be glad you did so.
Writing mainly for the search engines
One of the biggest bloopers by many web content writers has been to prioritize search engines over human readers. Over the past decade, search engines established themselves as the number one source of traffic for most websites. You can guess the damaging impact this had on website content. Virtually every other website owner was rushing to optimize their content using keywords, throwing (the need for) quality out the window.
Of course, you should still optimize your pages for Google, but don’t forget that you’re writing content targeted at human readers. Search engines have become a tad smarter, and it’s therefore a lot easier for them to separate really valuable content from spammy articles.
It’s a lot more difficult to trick search engines to give you favorable rankings. The only way for you is to produce high quality on a consistent basis. With the introduction of social signals as an SEO ranking factor, Google and Bing now have a more dependable way of analyzing whether your content is fit for human consumption.
So whilst you shouldn’t necessarily toss out all of your SEO writing practices, focus on producing quality, shareable content that will get you more traffic and fans.
Ness is a freelance writer who loves to contribute articles on various social media and technology blogs. She is also a regular writer at MakeAWebsite – a web hosting review site providing reviews on well-known hosting companies in the industry.