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7 Proven Guidelines to Write Better Web Content

Writers' options were limited to writing a book or writing articles for printed magazines and newspapers in the past. But the internet has broadened the opportunities for writers. The abundance of websites has one thing in common - they all need content. Besides writing for digital magazines and news sites, now they can write web copy, product descriptions, email newsletters, white papers, and so much more.

But what principles and guidelines should writers keep in mind when writing for the web?

1. Just as with any printed content, writers should ask themselves: 'Who am I writing for?' Writing for adults is different from writing for teens, and you will speak to women differently than to men. Other demographics to bear in mind are location, age, race, sex, education, and many other factors. 

2. Because of the vast amount of online content, people suffer from information overload. It means that you have seconds to grab their attention and should present your important content straight away before they lose interest and move on to something else. Only then should you supply any more supporting and in-depth information for those who want to know more.

3. Because of limited attention spans, people will often skim content instead of reading all of it. Ensure that you break up your content with headings, sub-headings, and shorter paragraphs to make it easy to get an overview of your post at a glance. Enticing headlines and titles will encourage your audience to read more.

4. As in all writing, please keep it simple. Use short sentences and simple words to express yourself clearly. Use nouns and strong verbs, and avoid filler words, adverbs, and adjectives. Aim for a seven to ninth-grade reading level, which you can check with a tool like the Hemingway Editor or ProWriting Aid.

5. Active voice improves clarity and helps to engage your audience since you speak to them directly. Your audience will relate to your content when you are specific and use authentic examples. The use of specifics will also provide you with the keywords in your content essential to SEO.

6. The best writers are original and avoid jargon and cliches. Remember that you are the expert, and your audience doesn't always know the terminology you use. Always explain new terminology in simple language, and provide explanations for abbreviations the first time you use it in your content.

7. The purpose of web content is to keep visitors on your site. Thus it is essential to create curiosity in your readers to want more information. You can do this by linking to another post with a more in-depth discussion of a specific concept or using a solid call-to-action to encourage them to contact you, subscribe to your newsletter, or purchase a book or course.

Although writing for the web is so different, it poses an exciting challenge to writers to learn to express themselves clearly and concisely. 'Less is more' is a common saying that applies when writing for the web. Try this practice exercise: Take a chapter from a favorite non-fiction book, and condense it to a shorter version suitable for a blog post, capturing only the essential information. Soon you will get the hang of it and write web content like a pro!



11 Golden Rules of Writing Content for Your Website

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt