How hard can it be to write good web content? Maybe you’ve written research papers; maybe you’ve even been published in a newspaper or magazine. Writing for the web has a different set of rules because web users don’t act like magazine readers.
Get to the point
A web user has a question and wants an answer. Now. Your website content should make the point quickly. Save the fluff for the sidebar or a “read more” link. Lose the corporate-speak and the buzz-words. Sites written in plain, simple language are easier to read and digest.
Make your page scannable
Magazine content gets read word by word. Web content gets scanned until something catches the visitor’s attention. Use the following elements in your website content:
- Short paragraphs
- bullet points
- numbered lists
- highlight important keywords
- use meaningful text for your links
Every word of your headline counts
Search engines look at your page titles and headings to decide if your web content matches what the user wants. That clever pun in your headline is lost on the search engine spiders. Every word counts; don’t waste your page headings on words like “Welcome.”
Make it relevant to them
In print publications we’re used to reading about other people. On the web it’s all about the reader. They don’t want to read about you; they want to know how you’ll help them solve their issue. How can your web content engage the reader? Here are just a few ideas:
- Include self-assessment tools
- white papers
- how-to articles.
Not only will you solve their problem, but they’ll start seeing you as the expert.
Jakob Nielsen’s Writing for the Web series has more information on how web content differs from content in other forms.