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Solid Web Content Writing Tips

Posted by on 19th Dec 2010 | 12 comments

Even when you’ve been writing web content for a while it’s always a good idea to take a step back and read an article or two that will help you refresh the techniques that make for effective web copy. Even if you come to working on the Internet from another discipline like journalism or even business writing, there are a few things that are exclusive to Web content you need to keep in mind.

Attention Span

First of all you need to take into account studies have shown our collective attention span has become shorter over the years so that means that people in general can only process smaller bits of information. I’ve also read that the information age has made the whole  attention span issue worse by constantly distracting you and giving you all kinds of choices as to where you want to point your concentration.

So that means in the context of Web content that you want to write in shorter paragraphs and sentences. You should aim to have a concise and brief text as well that usually aims for half the words you would have used in the print medium. However, there are some rules that apply to Web content that are crossovers from the print way of doing things in general and journalism specifically.

Simple Word

For example when you are writing web content the simple word is the one you should always choose over the more elaborate model. Usually you will find that the simple word is the one that has a clear and concise meaning. You should also use the inverted pyramid style as another left over from the print journalism years because it allows readers to get to the information that’s most important quickly because you’re placing it at the top of the article.

There are several other factors that you need to take into account to make sure that you are holding reader’s attention and another one beyond style is credibility. It’s never a good idea when you are writing web content of any kind to make elaborate claims that you cannot back up. Wherever possible it’s even a good idea to include a URL or an actual link to the origin of the information.

You also need to supply your readers the information that you want them to have in bit sized chunks so that they find it useful. It’s an important consideration to keep in mind that people who are reading Web content on the Internet often suffer from overload of information. You want to be aware of the fact they often only scan articles or large portions of text so you can use bullet points and even bolding to direct their attention to where you want them to go.

While writing web content isn’t that much different than journalism in many different respects, it’s important for anyone who wants to make a career of this to be able to write in a conversational style so that the reader feels like they being made privy to information and not talked down to.


12 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Custom Logo Design on 20th Dec 2010

    really helpful tips!
    writing on web is becoming more and more challenging as gaining reader's attention and making them to focus is not very simple today..
    Content that is managed or optimized to gain reader's attention is the precious content and truly worthy…
    Thanks for sharing..

  • Posted by Andy on 20th Dec 2010

    K.I.S.S

    Keep It Short (&) Sweet
    Keep It Simple Stupid

    That's the long and short of web content! ;)
    My recent post World’s Oldest Facebook User is an iPad Fan

  • Posted by steven papas on 20th Dec 2010

    You are so right about using simple words in blog posts. Visitors want to read fast and understand at once what the author writes about. Simple, concise and clear.
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  • Posted by Iraqi Dinar on 20th Dec 2010

    Well I ought to say I was wandering here and there on internet, but being here is good destiny for me, thankfulness pal…

  • Posted by Iraqi Dinar on 20th Dec 2010

    Hi buddy, I want to show gratitude for writing such a good feature article, really will support me out in frequent ways…

  • Posted by London SEO on 21st Dec 2010

    writing on web is becoming more and more challenging as gaining reader's attention and making them to focus is not very simple today..
    Content that is managed or optimized to gain reader's attention is the precious content and truly worthy…

  • Posted by Bryan on 21st Dec 2010

    Great tips! Indeed, using simple words helps a lot to your readers because not everyone is perfect in english, you are not writing for a college thesis too. Thanks for the tips!

  • Posted by Steve on 21st Dec 2010

    Hello Rob, these are some great tips you mentioned in your article. I think I will have to keep my articles a bit more short and simple. Thanks for your advice.
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  • Posted by Janzell on 22nd Dec 2010

    Great Tips for newbie like me..

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  • Posted by Samuel Scott on 24th Dec 2010

    With all due respect, I must disagree — somewhat.

    On my journalism blog (www.samueljscott.com), the content that has been most successful in terms of traffic, social-media shares, and advertising revenue has almost always been the pieces that are longer (sometimes 2000+ words) and at a higher level of readability. (For reference, I'm a former Boston newspaper editor now in Israel who works as an SEO consultant.)

    The often-cited rule in blogging is that short and simply is better. However, that is not exactly true. The best rule is: Write for your audience. It just so happens that the majority of people — but not all — can be reached better through simpler posts. It depends on the person and topic. (I don't mean that to sound as condescending as it may come across.)

    On my blog, I cover issues including economics and the complexities of Middle East politics. There is no way that I could produce quality content in 500-word posts or something similar. The people who follow that blog know my background and are interested in those topics, so their expectations are higher. Now, if I were to write about Miley Cyrus in a blog geared towards teenage girls, the style and length of writing would be vastly different.

    In the end, it comes down to writing for your audience, and online marketers — just like traditional marketers — need to appeal to their demographic. Besides, long articles give people who are bored at their jobs something to read. :)
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  • Posted by Portusbhub on 4th Jan 2011

    Great article.I am trying to improve in my writing skills.
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  • Posted by takis koumas on 4th Mar 2011

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information Rob. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
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