Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing web content that keeps readers reading.



Writing for the web is much different than writing fiction or non-fiction for a magazine, book, or just for you. To write effective web content, you must master the art of writing succinctly. Studies have shown that you have a little over 4 seconds to catch the attention of the reader. After that short a glance, they will move on unless you grab them.  

A page laden with long paragraphs will look like too much work to most readers. Keep your web content concise.  

When reading on the web, most people do not read long pieces word for word. They scan them to see if there is anything earth-shattering that they must read. That’s one of the reason keywords are so important. They pull in the reader’s attention and tell him/her what to expect from the web content. 

Here are some suggestions for writing web content that will catch the attention of readers:
1.      Make every word count. Wordiness in writing web content will send readers to the next website or blog. If ever there is a time to leave out those pesky, persistent, petulant adjectives, this is it. Adverbs should go by the wayside also when writing for the web.

2.      Make sure you pay attention to the keywords (these are the important nouns that define your topic) of your web content so that the search engines will glom onto what you’ve written and bring readers to it.

3.      In addition to making every word count, make your paragraphs count as well. Short paragraph are more inviting to readers. Keep them short and get to the point. 

4.      Use headings to your advantage. At times, in writing we use cute headings and sub-headings. In writing web content, your headings and subheadings might be the one part of the page that catches the eye of the reader. Each heading or sub-heading should tell the reader what’s in that paragraph or section of the article. Don’t substitute cute for informative.

5.      Use white space to your advantage. Make the piece easier for the reader by breaking up the reading with blank space. 

6.      Use lists and graphics to get your point across in a short-handed fashion while keeping the reader interested in your web content.

7.      Talk to the readers. A friendly, conversational tone will help readers stick with your web content. Web writing should be breezy as opposed to ponderous. Keep it light and the readers will thank you by taking more than the 4+ seconds to read the page.

What techniques do you use to keep readers on the page?

4 comments:

  1. I love reading your tips. I am really not sure if I have a system or not. Maybe people are just scanning mine I really have no idea. Maybe you can tell me. I do value your expert opinion. I would love to become better at this blogging thing. Thanks Lou. If you have any tips for me I would love to hear them.
    I always read your helpful articles but use Google reader to save GB's.I had to try three times to get that darn word verification right.
    B

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  2. Good tips! I like to try to always include pictures :-)

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  3. Nice tips! I will follow this for my feature writeup... thanks a lot

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