It’s happened to most of us. A question pops into your head and you turn to the Internet for the answer. Instead of finding it, you find page after page of repetitive, dull “content.” Dull content rephrases your question without actually answering it or it states the obvious without further information. Dull content leaves the reader frustrated.
Content writers know that dull or useless content can negatively impact a website or business, but it still happens. Whether you hire writers or are a writer, you need to remember that writing on the web needs to be informative and eye-catching to grab and keep a reader.
Rope ‘Em In
In web content writing, the title and first few sentences are the most important. If a reader or customer doesn’t see the point of the article within the first minute of scanning or reading it, you’ve just lost ’em. Every piece of content you post should pull in readers with these three things:
- Snazzy, prominently displayed title that makes a promise. If a reader doesn’t have an idea of what they’re looking at, they’ll click away. Make the title the first thing your customers see. In addition to being visible, the title should promise the reader something if she keeps on reading. An example of an engaging, promising title is “5 Ways to Write Great Content.”
- An informative introductory paragraph. State all the important information in the first three sentences. A reader needs the answer to a question and that answer is reflected in the first 50 or so words. The rest of the content can expand upon the initial answer. The introduction should make your reader want to click “after the jump” or scroll further down the page.
- An image. Words are important, but an image hooks in the reader and makes people want to stay on the page. Pick an image that fits in with what you’re writing about. One that illustrates a point is even better. If you’re writing a step by step tutorial, images demonstrating tricky steps are priceless.
Beware the Keyword
Good SEO writers know how to work keywords into content in a way that’s barely noticeable to readers. You want your content to be found on a search engine, but you don’t want a reader to turn away from it because you’ve awkwardly stuffed a keyword in where it doesn’t belong. Write a few sentences that use your keyword first, then fill in the content around those sentences.
Hit the Books
Dynamic, powerful content has some backbone to it. Don’t try to write something off of the top of your head that you have no experience in. You should know what you’re talking about. Even if you are an expert in a topic, spend some time reading up on current research before writing to add meat to what you’re saying.
Leave Them Talking
Content that makes an impact leaves your audience and customers talking at the end. It should also get them to act in some way or another. One easy way to get them talking is to end with a question. Ask your readers for personal experience stories relating to what they’ve just read. Give people a chance to comment on their experience completing the tutorial you’ve written. If you’re selling a physical object, ask people who’ve purchased it to send in pictures of it in use. The pictures will add visual content to your website and can inspire others to purchase the item, since they can see it in use.
Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.