Whether you graduated with an English degree or if you are a seasoned marketing professional who hasn't written for a long time, there might come a time in your career where you'll have to write something for the web. It could be website copy, a blog post or a news article.
Writing for the web isn't like writing for other mediums. There is a whole set different factors you have to consider when writing copy for the Internet. So what tips and tricks can you use to make sure that more people see your content as opposed to your competitors? Let's take a look at 10 actionable ideas you can leverage while drafting your copy:
1. Use Keywords
In order to organically improve your SEO rankings, it's imperative that you figure out which keywords or phrases to optimize. If you're asked to write about the recent Facebook changes in a blog post, consider phrases like "what's new on Facebook" and "new Facebook features." Make sure that those phrases are mentioned a few times in the article: once in a subhead or headline, in the URL, and in the meta description as well.
You can find keywords that will work for you copy using Google's Keyword Tool, Ubersuggest and Google Trends.
2. Use Trigger Words
You've got to assume that since you're writing about something related to Facebook, you're certainly not alone. So in order to differentiate yourself from a sea of other related articles, you've got to grab the attention of your readers. One way to do that is by using trigger words – words that will encourage people to click on a link. Try to craft an attention-grabbing headline in order to make sure people are interested in what you're posting.
3. Metaphors Are Your Friend
People enjoy reading things that are cleverly written and help them easily understand a topic. By using metaphors, anecdotes and other comparisons, you set yourself apart from the blogs against which you're competing. You prove to your audience that you're a writer or company worth following.
4. Vary Your Sentence Structure
Writing for the Web is different than writing a senior thesis. Never forget that. Feel free to mix up your sentence structure, writing both short and normal length sentences.
It's not hard. In fact, it's quite easy. You want your readers to be able to digest your content with ease, and sentence structure is one way to do that. Give it a try.
5. Develop Your Own Voice
Don't be afraid of saying precisely what it is you want to say. Be your own writer and write in your own voice. That's another way to set yourself apart from the multitude of other posts on the same topic. The stronger and more original your voice, the more likely you are to build up a following.
6. Write Concisely
If you can say something in two sentences, say it in two sentences. In today's fast-paced, digital world, time is of the essence. People browsing the Web don't have the time to sit down for an hour and read a post; they want to finish it in a few minutes-or even less.
7. Use Subheadings And Bullets
Similar to the use of whitespace in a book, consider using subheadings, bullets, lists and other techniques in order to break up the text and make it easily digestible. Nobody wants to read a block of text that isn't even broken into paragraphs. Break things up so that they are easy on the eyes and so the text is navigable.
8. Link To Appropriate Sources
You might be a genius, but you're not the only one. Odds are you'll be taking a deep dive into the Web in order to glean as much as you can on the topic you'll be writing about. So why not insert a couple of links to appropriate articles that you feel will be of great resource to your readers? After all, you want your readers to feel as though you are delivering content to them that is of value-and that includes sending them to other corners of the Web that are not your own. It's a way to establish true thought leadership.
9. Include Calls To Action
When your piece is done, why not include a call to action at the bottom to encourage your readers to comment with their thoughts or even follow the suggestion in the article to buy a product. Oftentimes, engaging conversations at the bottom of an article can boost your traffic. If people get committed to a discussion, your page views and unique visitors will correspondingly increase.
10. Don't Forget Pictures
Recent research shows that 90 percent of information sent to the brain is visual and 40 percent of people respond better to images than text. On Facebook, photos, generate the most shares, likes and comments. So be sure to insert photos or other media into your articles.
Got any more tips as to how to improve your digital writing? Let us know in the comments below!
Alicia is an Online PR Specialist for WebpageFX. She enjoys helping her clients boost conversions through business development. When not at work, you can find Alicia cooking up a storm in her apple-red kitchen or blogging at MarCom Land.