Creating effective content requires an understanding of your audience’s expectations, which makes it one of the major pillars of online marketing. How to make your words matter is also a frequent topic of conversation with our clients. We always design our websites around the content it provides, and these few basic tips and tricks will allow the most value possible for your word count.
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How to Craft Compelling Content for an Online Audience
When creating content for your website, it’s important to remember that you’re writing for a broad audience. That means keeping industry specific jargon to a minimum, and being sure to define terms that may be unfamiliar to the average reader. How you organize your content also plays a major role in its accessibility for your audience.
- There’s always another distraction waiting in the next browser tab, so you don’t want to waste any time getting to the good stuff. Set the reader’s expectations with your opening paragraph, then get right to the details.
- For blog posts, shorter (500-800 words) is the way to go. If you’re covering a major topic, turn it into a series of posts, or create a whitepaper to explore every detail without worrying about word count.
- Many of your readers will be browsing on smartphones or tablets, so you’ll want to format your content to look great on any device. Whitespace, which is simply space on the page without any text, makes it easier for readers to scan.
- Online readers love lists, so using bullet-points or numbered lists (like I’m doing right now) is one of the keys to formatting content. As a bonus, lists are also an easy way to create whitespace.
- Do your best to use familiar language, and strike a conversational tone. Conversational doesn’t have to mean informal, but you want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to relate.
Organizing Your Content with an Understanding of Web Writing Standards
The biggest difference in writing for an online audience is that most readers are scanning, rather than reading every word. They may be looking for a specific piece of information, or just wish to form a first impression before making the commitment to read every detail. So in addition to giving your content an appealing look, formatting your content based on the latest standards has serious practical value.
- Use subheadings, like I’ve done above, so readers can lock right in on the information they came to see.
- Keeping it short doesn’t just apply to the length of full posts. You’ll also want to break your content into bite-sized chunks (hooray for lists, once again!) to keep the attention of your readers.
- Putting it all together, you want the reader to be able to land on your content, scan right away for relevant subheadings, and zoom in to the list that answers their question. Of course, your opening paragraph will still be there to set the tone for people who prefer to read things in order.
- Looking to add some life to the page? Including images is a great way to break up text, and increase the chances that your content is shared on social media.
- You want visitors to keep browsing from one piece of content to the next, and internal links, which are simply links to other content or pages on your site, will help you do that. Just make sure that the links you choose are relevant to the content topic, and that linked text is formatted to stand out from the rest of the text on the page.
The standards of content creation and formatting don’t just make life easier for your readers. Having that solid framework in place also simplifies the process of creating content, and allows you to maintain consistent quality. There’s still plenty of room for creativity within that framework, but you can’t go wrong by getting the fundamentals right.
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