14 tips for writing for the web
Today's web surfers live in a multitasking world. Often content is consumed on-the-go. Some may snack on content in between meetings, while others digest it as they’re watching Netflix. When it comes to writing for the web, we asked 14 business professionals for their top tips.
"To improve your web writing and nurture engagement, what's one tip to follow when writing for the web?"
Here is what they had to say.
- Use Headings and Subheadings
When you are writing for the web, you want it to be easy to read and scan. Oftentimes, people are reading website content from phones or tablets, which have smaller screens than desktop computers. By using headings or subheads to break up the content, it makes it easier for your customers to find the information they are looking for. This makes your content even more valuable to them!
Jennifer Klemmetson, Klemmetson Communications
- Direct Your Audience With Sign-Post Navigation
When people land on our website, we don't just want them to read about how we can transform their homes, we want them to get the process started. Using clear links and calls-to-action throughout our content helps unsure readers to understand where to navigate to next. Without them, the customer journey is more likely to remain incomplete.
Alisha Taylor, Alisha Taylor Interiors
- Be Authentic and Honest With Your Audience
Prospective clients are more likely to respond to content that feels genuine. You'd be surprised how often authenticity sells better than showmanship. Rather than making flashy promises, be informative, empathetic, and set realistic expectations. In the battle for hearts and minds, your honesty can make the difference.
Court Will, Will & Will
- Address FAQs in Your Content
No matter how much information about products or services you have on your site, people are always going to have lingering questions. In fact, it might even be unanswered questions from elsewhere that have led customers to you! This is why it is important to have a FAQ section, with your answers to commonly asked questions. You can be helpful to your audience, whilst proving you know what you're talking about, and keeping visitors on your pages longer.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
- Add a Personal Touch
After blogging and engaging readers for seven years, I can tell you how to improve your online writing. It's simple! Write as you speak. For instance, use "you" like you are having a conversation. In contrast, avoid showing off your "stellar" vocabulary. It’s all about applying the personal touch and sounding relatable. It helps to make sure your content is easy to read and understand by everyone too. Of course, you need to get readers to your site to engage. So, use keyword research to ensure there is interest in your content. With a blend of keyword research and a personal touch that uses a conversational tone, you can get online readership and engage your site visitors. Before you know it, your content will speak to more people and your mailing list will grow.
Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging
- Incorporate Relevant Keywords, Naturally
If you want to show up higher in search results, your content should incorporate relevant keywords wherever and whenever possible. But, there's no need to overdo it. Be intentional. Simply write the content you want to share, making it as informative as possible. If you are truly knowledgeable about the topic, you'll figure out how to use the right keywords to maximize your ranking potential - but in a way, that’s reader-friendly for your audience.
Eric Blumenthal, Zoe Print
- Avoid Using Highfalutin Jargon
The primary purpose of writing for the web is to ensure that your users fully understand the message you want to relay. Using highfalutin words or highly technical language can affect their comprehension of the topic you wish to discuss, which can cause loss of interest and decrease website viewership. To prevent this from happening, you need to practice using simple words and relatable phrases consistently. Your readers will find your content engaging if your message is clear and concise. You have to note that some of them are busy people who don’t have the luxury of looking up challenging words in the dictionary. You better keep your content easy to understand and convey your message in ways everyone can relate to.
Jake Smith, Absolute Reg
- Optimize Web Content With On-page Seo
Optimize your web content with on-page SEO so users will continue viewing and interacting with it and keep coming back for more activity rather than bounce from your website. That’s aside from helping earn organic traffic and improving a website’s ranking on the search engine results page.
Use relevant keywords naturally and strategically across the content and with your URL. Keep your title tags between 45 to 55 characters, carry the same overall message of your content, and, as much as possible, include your brand name. Writing short but compelling meta descriptions that summarize your web page content is also essential. This way, you can effectively describe your site to readers and catch their attention.
Michelle Ebbin, JettProof
Did you know that by optimizing your website for SEO, it also benefits digital accessibility - meaning people with disabilities are better able to access your online content too?
- Include Eye-catching Images Where Possible
We believe in the beauty of our jewelry pieces, so we aren't afraid to show off our handiwork! At every opportunity, you should also use imagery to catch the eye and spark the imagination of your customers. It helps to give people an idea about what they can buy from you, and helps to aid understanding of written content. The right images can be a very powerful tool to nurture engagement.
Nataly Vanunu, Boho Magic
- Add a Platform for Discussions
Writing in such a way that will drive traffic to your website and prompt more readers is great. To encourage discussions, add a comment feature on your site so that readers can give their input. That way, your readers will have a platform to ask questions, and they’ll be able to learn from fellow readers too.
Alex Buchnev, Paddling Space
- Leverage Writing Assistant Tools Online
Leverage writing assistant tools online to ensure the quality of your web writing. These tools allow you to assess your writing skills in real-time, which you slowly develop and incorporate into your outputs without entirely relying on their assistance in the future. These platforms also allow you to set the tone, delivery, clarity, and engagement that is extremely handy with different writing styles.
Arthur Iinuma, ISBX
- Use Active Voice for Web Writing
Keep the subject at the beginning of the sentence and share your thoughts as simple as possible, conversationally. This way, your ideas will be easier to read and understand. Likewise, active voice in web writing provides a feeling of authority and effectively suggests a call to action. It creates momentum that helps keep readers engaged all throughout your content. In this sentence, for instance, which one is more compelling and seamless: “Learn more about our products by calling us at XXX-XXX?” or “Call us at XXX-XXX to learn more about our products.”? Obviously, an active voice exudes control, conveys authority, and reads smoothly.
Abe Breuer, VIP To Go
- Address the Needs of Your Customers
By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. And then, narrowing those results using audience research will help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges - and help them to understand how you can provide a solution.
Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth
- Prepare Questions Ahead of Time to Hit Checkmarks
When writing content, it’s important to remember the key factor - your content needs to be helpful and answer the questions that feel personalized to your audience. Your content should address their pain points, and provide a comprehensive answer with clear next steps for your readers to follow through on. To help, here’s a list to keep handy for all your content creation to ensure you hit the nail on the head every time.
Who am I writing this post for?
What is the purpose of my post?
What are the pain points/problems this page will aim to address?
Does my content cover all related aspects for a topic comprehensively?
What is the next action I want my audience to take after reading the content?
Daniel Kamen, Serial Scaling
When it comes to writing for the web, simple, short and clear content is best. That's where thinking about readability comes in.
Readability is all about how easy or difficult it is to read something. Factors that affect readability include sentence length, sentence structure, the average syllables per word, and more.