Freelance technical writing is a style of writing that produces content that is concise and effective and usually focuses on explaining a process, providing instruction, or answering a question. These writers are very capable of producing content that consumers can use both in brick and mortar shops and online venues. Need a manual about a product? Then a technical writer is the person to create that manual. Technical writers are highly skilled at producing quality, concise information.
If we focus on the online world and the relevance that technical writers can have on a website, then the conversation must include search engines, quality ratings, and user experience. Quality ratings are a measurement of the quality of search results. The goal of quality ratings is to elevate the best content relevant to the search. To accomplish this, search engines rank sites and/or pages. One of the factors that search engines use to assess quality is user-experience. They look at all of the things that users like about sites in general and then rank sites accordingly. Things within a website that affect user ratings are clutter, poor design, quality of content, and bounce rate. Bounce rate is a measurement of users who visit the site but then leave without viewing other pages that the site might offer. This is where a technical writer can help build on both user experience and quality rating.
Let’s look at some projects that technical writers can help create that will impact both user experience and quality rating.
Brochures: A library of brochures that are downloadable and printable provide key knowledge to consumers about a specific product or service. The library also helps to extend user experience. A site that has a library of brochures allows the user to spend more time on your site than sites that do not have such a resource. How-to guides, directions, and FAQs are all examples of information that a user might search for on the Internet. A single brochure may not do much to help with quality-rating, but a library of brochures would be considered a significant resource to users. This project also provides the mega opportunity of building brand through keyword use.
FAQ: A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section on a website adds to the quality rating. It also provides user experience because it becomes a resource for users to find answers to questions that they might have about a product, a return policy, warranty information, etc. This is slightly different from a brochure about a product. A FAQ section is generally broader than a brochure because a brochure is very detailed about a single topic.
Both of these projects benefit from the skills of a technical writer because the process needs to be concise, and effective in the message that they create. The purpose is to add content that the reader will value. Should the entire site be written in a technical style? There is a place within websites for many different styles of writing, but when it comes to concise informative information, that job usually belongs to a technical writer. Think about your own site and ask, “How can a technical writer help to create content my customers can use?”
David S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.