Here are 10 valuable tips, all about writing for the web, written by the President of WriterAccess, Byron White. They focus on the essentials for writing tips and articles on the web that engage readers and keep them coming back. We've learned that quality content is powerful. Done right, it can build your brand, drive traffic to your website and turn browsers into believers. Here's your first tip: If you don't have time to create great content—hire the professionals at WriterAccess ;-)
Know your audience!
It's important for writers to know WHO they are writing for in order to connect with the readers. This way, the readers get the most out of the information you're providing. For example, if you're writing about the tax industry, your tone should be professional and business-like. The readers are likely to be business professionals, entrepreneurs and individual tax filers looking for ease and simplicity in filing their taxes. Avoid slang terms and abbreviations. Taxes are a complex issue, and people want clear and concise information.
Lost and Found
Do you want people to find your content on the web? Want your articles, tips and information to come up in the search engines? Then use your keywords! Keyword density is only one part of the equation. Proper usage of keywords and keyword phrases in your tips will help the search engines find your tips and articles and leverage you in the search engines. If you're writing content on yoga positions for pregnant women, focus on that aspect only. Then ask yourself the following question: what do readers want to know from this? Your answer is probably: prenatal yoga positions, proper yoga pregnancy, pregnant exercises, etc. When you have your answer, you have your keyword(s). Use them wisely.
Get to the point..
Give your readers the information they need in simple, concise and understandable words. Think about Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Lincoln convinced a divided nation to embrace equality in one of the most memorable speeches in history, and he did it in only 271 words.
Short Attention Span
Web readers have limited attention spans and want information immediately and efficiently. Keep your content easy to read and scan by using bullet points, and/or numerical lists to highlight key points in your tips. Readers will come back to you for more information if they can easily find what they want the first time around. Even better, the search engines will promote you for providing content that is appealing to readers.
Kill the Copy Cat
Do not copy content, or at least be sure to give credit where credit is due. Hey, we all need help once in a while and look to other experts to provide us with information. But just as it's important to provide the reader with quality information, it's equally as important to recognize our sources. If you're using information from another website or expert, a simple, “according to…” will suffice. Copying another person's work is plagiarism, and can not only result in being blacklisted from the search engines, but will downgrade your integrity as a writer and an expert.
Many tips you write will source other places, departments, manuals or guidelines. You can use acronyms, but make sure you define the acronym for the reader. For example, if you're writing a tip or article about workplace safety and you site OSHA regulations, make sure you define OSHA at its first use: Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Tips on Tips
Tips are short bursts of information that everyone and anyone can use, so make your tips useful for all your readers. One easy way to do this is to turn a user's question into a tip. If a reader wants to know the best way to clean dirty dishes, start your tip by addressing the question: “Want to know the best way to clean dirty dishes? Start by soaking your dishes…” By reformatting the question and making it into a tip, you're helping all your readers, not just one.
Writer Cramp Cure
Need inspiration for your writing project? Find out what other people want to know by researching the highly searched keywords in your topic. Use tools like Inventory Overture, Wordtracker and Good Keywords to find the highly searched keywords and phrases for a particular topic. Then, use those keywords as a starting point for your next brainstorm on how to add a unique value proposition and really connect with readers.
Love the Links
Links in your content on the web are important, and add value to the curious reader. But avoid over-linking in your content. If you're going to link to other websites, make sure to link keywords, as opposed to “click here” or “get more information.” You'll help build the link popularity of the site you're pointing to, and in return build your own credibility as a reliable source.
Read, re-read, and then re-read your tips again. Check for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes and incomplete sentences. Sound silly? It's been documented that readers are more likely to remember the mistakes you made in your story, than the actual point of the story you're telling. Make sure the only thing your readers take away from your content is important information that makes their life better.