Writing for the web is not as easy as it looks. Successful and talented writers don’t always make it unless they have a solid fan base or a follower count. This is because online platforms work differently and people also elicit different responses when using the web.
Algorithms drive the creation of blog posts and other types of content. News feeds or site design comes in second. No matter how well written your content is, no one will notice it. Thus, it’s essential to package your content neatly and make it as appealing as possible.
Tips for Writing for Web
Sometimes, even a digital marketing agency can’t get web writing right. If you want to increase eyeballs on what you wrote and published, you can read on to find out how to become an effective writer.
Grab attention with headlines
Quincy Larson says writers are in a constant battle with indifference because people have a habit of aimlessly scrolling their news feed. He states two weapons needed to fight the battle: headings and an image.
You might say they have no relevance in writing, but they are essential in publishing for the web. Before a user can reach your content, the first thing they see on their news feeds are these two elements. The headline and image help them judge your content and decide whether its worth their time or not.
You become an effective writer when you write compelling headlines. Buzzfeed, for instance, uses hyperbole and fear-of missing-out themes on their headlines. It’s different on Medium. The type of audience you have helps you determine how you craft and refine your headline.
Start telling your story
Larson also advises building momentum using a strong lead. As reading requires effort than browsing photo galleries, it’s best to make the most out of your reader’s experience. Don’t waste the audience’s time dizzying them with a boring intro or unnecessary updates.
Go straight to your point. When you do, make sure readers get something out of your writing. What’s the point of beginning your text with strong points only to end your writing without substance?
Give the impression that you know and understand your topic. You can do this by supporting your arguments with data. Thoroughly research the topic and add link sources to your points.
Another way to showcase credibility is by being brutally honest. Always convey the truth even if it harms your brand. Also, be consistent in your writing. Constantly changing your writing style and brand identity confuse readers and might make them give up on your brand altogether.
Write what you know
Developing exceptional writing skills is hard. Fortunately, you can still improve and develop yourself thru practice. But if you need to write about something within a short time, it’s best to write what you know.
According to Larson, writer’s block happens when a writer who doesn’t have enough knowledge on an assigned topic writes about it. To combat writer’s block, he advises to go out and explore. Do research and immerse yourself in different fields do your brain can come up with words to describe different experiences.
Aim for the sixth-grade level of writing
Remember, your readers come from different backgrounds. Some of them might have a college education while others don’t. Most of all, your readers might be non-native English speakers. It can be difficult for them to read college-level English on screen.
Thus, you must aim for a sixth-grade level of writing. You can check if your the level of your writing using editing tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor. These tools also check your work if it follows grammar and punctuation rules.
Use short paragraphs
Limit your sentences to four sentences per paragraph. Begin with the central idea and use the rest of your sentences to elaborate your thoughts. When writing sentences, make them as short as possible. It makes your text easier to read and scan.
Work with familiar words
Internet readers don’t read. They scan. They look for familiar words in the text instead of scientific, special or fancy words. The words are called carewords. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find what users are looking for so you can effectively provide the information they want or need.
On that note, avoid jargons. You should also skip the passive tense and refrain from repetition.
Minimize use of punctuation
You only have on goal when writing for the web. It’s to make reading a breeze. One thing that hampers the reading experience is punctuation. Thus, you must minimize your use of punctuation. Leave them out of your text is necessary if you want readers to stay and finish the whole thing.
It’s a turn-off to find a colon or a semi-colon in the middle of a paragraph. It’s best to use a period like average people do.
Begin sentences with “however”
Web Designer Depot shares that established writers use “however” when challenging concepts. It’s a highly effective word that helps you patch up ideas from previous sentences. It also takes off the pressure of crafting a new paragraph to argue your thought. Most of all, it allows you to omit “and” and “but” when beginning a sentence.
Always spell check
Even the best and the most celebrated writers commit mistakes when writing. That is why you must take the time to check your work before you publish or submit to a website. Don’t expect people to trust your brand or product if errors are all over the place. Exercise care especially if you are selling or offering something to your audience.
Use an editor or have your work reviewed by a trusted colleague. They are likely to spot your errors and writing lapses better than you would.
These are only some of the tips to improve how you write for the web. You can read as many tips as you want and take all the information you need to improve your writing. However, not having practice will not give you the skills you need to become a successful writer or content maker. You need as much practice as you can get to hone your skills and provide value to your readers.