Articles: Writing Tips for Your Website
Now that your website is up and running, it's time to add
content. Fresh content will make your site interesting and
keep people (and search engine crawlers) coming back. In order
to achieve optimal web success, your site must be informative,
relevant and written the way that people read the web. Here's
a few tips to get you started.
Get to the point FAST. Just ask internet usability consultant
Jakob Nielsen. People don't read the web, they scan. It's
not like print, where you can meander your way to the point.
Online, you have but a nanosecond to prove you're legit. Nielsen
says to use the "inverted pyramid method.? for web content.
Tell the point first, get to the supporting info afterwards.
Find your inner voice. We want to hear you on your website,
not a text book or someone else. Get in touch with your real-live
human "voice." Hello? Is anybody there? Show us your humanity
so we can relate to you. Don't publish anything that you haven't
completely written researched or re-worked. Posting text to
your website that's meant for the printed page is a no-no.
People won't read it, and worse, they'll make bad faces at
Use the least amount of words for what you have to say. Listen,
you're not going to impress us by using big technical words.
In fact, when you use words we don't understand--I must say--you
look stupid. Why? It's easier to write a story with 3000 words
than it is to write the same story in 300. It takes more thought,
more planning, more time to extract away the excess. Therefore,
the writer who uses less words to convey to same message is
clearly the winner.
Write to a person, not a group. When you are writing web content
especially, write to a person. Pretend like that person is
sitting right in front of you and write conversationally.
When you write to a person, it draws the reader in and makes
you look more human. It's good for connecting and bonding
with your reader.
Don't talk down to your readers. Though it's true that most
of your readers will be reading at the 9th grade level, and
your content should be written accordingly, resist the urge
to talk down to your audience. Humble yourself. And certainly
don't try to appear more knowledgeable with shop talk. If
you don't know what your writing about, research it more.
Otherwise, your lack of knowledge will be transparent even
to a 9th grader.
Use small words with the least amount of syllables. This is
a basic web content premise. The fewer syllables that you
use, the less your web reader has to think to digest your
information. Try not to make your user think. Spoon feed the
information in the cleanest manner possible so they get your
meaning with the least amount of distractions. Don't say "successfully"
when "well" will do. As with every rule, there are exceptions.
Do not underline to make a point. Underlined words are It
is a convention on the web that underlined words are links.
It is irritating to click an underlined word when you think
it is a link. Do everything possible to keep your visitors
from being irritated, and to keep yourself from looking--well
let's just say, from looking like you don't know. Don't underline
anything unless it is a link. Use bold to accentuate your
main points instead.
The tips above are by no means exhaustive. There are gazillions
of techniques and writing tricks that foster online success.
Wise is the web marketer who understands that marketing your
business online is a process that can always improve, just
like direct sales. Get these guidelines under your belt and
you�ll be a step closer to winning clients, customers and
respect online. About the Author Jennifer Ryan