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awesome subheaders

Your Essential Guide to Creating Killer Subheaders for Web Content

This post was updated in January 2019.

You spend hours perfecting your web content.

You create a headline that’s unique, urgent, and ultra-specific.

Like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, you carefully craft your content with gentle but passionate effort.

When you’re done, your blog is flawless.

In fact, it’s beautiful.

It answers your audience’s needs, questions, and problems. It’s entertaining. There’s nothing like it online.

So why are people still clicking the back button like it’ll save their lives?

The answer is you may be doing something wrong that hugely affects your blog’s readability – and that is writing dull subheaders. 🤨

Your Essential Guide to Creating Killer Subheaders for Web Content – Table of Contents

Why Amazing Content Isn’t Enough to Prevent Your Readers from Running

How Subheaders Can Attract More Readers to Your Blog

10 Mistakes That Weaken Subheaders for Web Content

Five Easy Steps to Compelling Subheaders for Web Content

Are Your Subheaders Good Enough to Reduce Your Bounce Rate?

You can call your web content the best one you've made so far. But why is your bounce rate still high? You might have missed polishing your subheaders! 💎 Read this essential guide to creating killer subheaders by @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Why Amazing Content Isn’t Enough to Prevent your Readers from Running

The web isn’t your local library.

And people don’t go online to ponder upon beautifully written sentences.

For instance, imagine yourself clicking a website and seeing a huge block of text like this.

Source: Amazon

Jeet Thayil’s novel is a deep, thought-provoking work. However, it requires a quiet corner and hours of time to read and ponder on.

Online, it’s not about reading for pleasure. It’s about finding a solution to a problem in the shortest time possible. So no matter how helpful your content is, people won’t read it if you present it in a long block of text.

This is why amazing content isn’t enough to keep readers from bouncing. You need amazing content and an amazing way to present it.

The solution? Divide your text into sections with attention-grabbing subheaders.

An amazing web content allows people to find the solution to a problem in the shortest time possible. 🙋 They don't have the time to scan through a huge wall of text! 😣 So it's important to use subheaders. Click To Tweet

How Subheaders Can Attract More Readers to Your Blog

Here’s the cool part.

Subheaders can do more for you than just prevent your readers from running when they see long blocks of text on your page.

In fact, they can get you even more readers!

This is because of how Google’s web crawlers work.

Users search for information, products, and help on Google using chosen keywords. What crawlers do is come up with relevant sites that have the content these users are looking for.

On your part, it’ll help when you add relevant keywords to your content. But did you know that where you put these keywords is as important as which keywords you use?

That’s right. Google crawlers pay extra attention to website headings and subheadings. When you plant your keywords in them, you improve your SEO ranking considerably.

The result? More people finding your blog and reading it!

Besides making your content more readable, subheaders can bring more readers to your site 🏃🏿 - especially if you've added the right, relevant keywords. Click To Tweet

10 Mistakes That Weaken Subheaders for Web Content

While your first instinct might be to cut up your content and slap on any keyword-rich subheader you can think of above each section, don’t do that.

Why?

Your subheaders are the glue that will compel people to read your whole post.

Think of them as your mini headlines. While your curiosity-piquing headline sucked people into your blog, it’s the job of your subheadings to suck people into every section of your blog.

Subheadings have the power to compel your readers to keep reading until the end of your post.

That is if they’re done right.

But a ton of things could go wrong with your subheadings. Here are 10 of them.

1. Forgetting Your Blog’s Promise

Readers come to your blog because your headline promised them something.

For instance, take a look at this headline from Healthline.

Readers click on this headline because it promises them something specific: They’ll get relief from a toothache without visiting a dentist.

Now, see the subheadings listed below? Each one of them is in line with the blog’s promise.

Imagine what would happen if you wrote a subheading like The History of Toothaches. You got it. Readers won’t go that far on your blog.

2. Turning Subheadings into Content Spoilers

Subheadings can be tricky.

You want to keep them in line with your blog’s main promise.

BUT you don’t want them to give too much away.

Look at this example:

When readers see this subheading, they won’t need to read the content you write under it. They already know everything it’ll say.

Now, what about this subheading?

This subheading still delivers on the promise of your blog. However, it’s just a sneak peek that encourages readers to get into your content. When they continue reading, they learn that the secret ingredient for outstanding subheadings is uniqueness.

3. Being Too Dry

Putting emotion into your writing always works. Why? Because readers come to your blog with their own complex feelings.

For instance, think of a small business owner who’s going bankrupt. What emotion is he feeling? Maybe it’s fear, hopelessness, or desperation. When he goes online and finds your blog, he takes these emotions with him.

What you need to do with your subheadings is to offer alternative emotions. For instance, “The Unexpected Lifeline That Saved My Doomed Business” is full of hope, courage, and optimism. These emotions will keep your businessman reading until the end of your post.

If you want to test your subheadings for emotion, try AMI Institute’s Free Headline Analyzer.

4. Overdoing Creativity

Creativity is good, but not all the time.

Look at the title of chapter three in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.

Source: Amazon

This line is taken from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. What does the chapter title say about the chapter itself? To answer that, it’ll take hours of pondering and even debate.

Now, if your goal is to win an award for literary fiction, you should go ahead and be as deeply creative as you can. But for your blog? An overly creative and confusing subheading will have readers running.

5. Confusing Subheaders with Labels

When you think of subheadings as mere “labels” for new sections of content, you turn them dry and yawn-inducing.

For instance, let’s say you’re writing a section on your blog about how to craft amazing content. You can craft the subheading into a boring label such as “How to Craft Amazing Content.”

Or you can inject a drop of life and intrigue into it. For example, you can make it “10 Hacks for Amazing Content Most Writers Don’t Know.”

6. Missing Out on the Guidance Your Subheaders Can Give

Your subheadings are powerful guides that will help you create better content.

Imagine you’re writing a blog dealing with how to write online content. You prepare your outline, including a number of subheadings.

Now, let’s reuse the two examples of subheadings for web content in the previous point. If your subheader reads “How to Craft Amazing Content,” you’ll do some research and come up with a few tips. The result? A generic piece that only scratches the surface of your topic.

But what if you choose “10 Hacks for Amazing Content Most Writers Don’t Know”? You can’t settle for generic. You need to dive deeper and find unique, uncommon writing secrets most people don’t know.

See where subheaders can lead you? Great subheaders will always result in great content.

7. Not Being Relatable

When you write subheadings for web content, make sure they resonate with relevant questions in your readers’ minds.

For instance, take a look at this subheading.

This subheading works because almost all human beings ask this question at some point. It’s relatable and what’s more, it’s interesting. You want to know why the question is really three questions.

8. Creating a Weak Subheading for Conclusion

After you’ve come up with powerful subheadings for your piece, you might be tempted to slack off with your subheading for the conclusion. Don’t do this.

Your concluding subheading precedes the summary of your blog. Get it right, and readers will leave your site feeling satisfied.

Here’s an example from our own blog Why We Introduced Header Formatting in Word in our Writing Team as a New Standard.

The subheading for the conclusion shouldn’t be a last-minute label for the final part of your blog. It’s a title for one of the most important parts of your blog: your conclusion.

9. Leaving Out SEO

As mentioned earlier, planting killer keywords into your subheadings will help you rank better on Google.

Here’s how to do it for more success:

  • Use your focus keyword in your first subheading.
  • Use synonymous keywords in the following subheadings.
  • Use variations of your keywords if your grammar sounds awkward.

Here’s an example of subheaders that optimize the keyword “tone of voice.”

Source: The Write Blog

10. Limiting Yourself

So, how many subheaders should you use within your content?

The answer: the sky’s the limit! More subheaders in your content means content that’s easier to read. For example, check out this blog: Your Guide to Subheaders in Content: What to Do with H1s, H2s, and H3s. When you do, you’ll see that it has 14 subheaders!

Are your subheaders too dry? confusing? or missing a keyword? 😕 Know the rest of the common subheader mistakes and how to avoid them in this guide by @JuliaEMcCoy 🗂️ Click To Tweet

Five Easy Steps to Compelling Subheaders for Web Content

Here’s a simple exercise you can do every time you need to write subheaders for web content.

  • Step one: Open the blog you wrote. Go through it casually and take note of the subheaders you used.
  • Step two: Go over the blog again. This time, separate each subheader and the following text from the rest of the blog.
  • Step three: Study the text under the subheader carefully. What’s its big idea? What’s the main purpose of the section?
  • Step four: Imagine that section of text was a stand-alone article. If so, what would you title it?
  • Step five: Craft your subheading as carefully as if it were a headline. Study it to make sure you haven’t made any of the 10 mistakes mentioned above. Are you merely using it as a label? Giving away too much information? Confusing readers? If your answer is no to all 10, you’ve come up with a killer subheader.

Are Your Subheaders Good Enough to Reduce Your Bounce Rate?

When readers land on your blog, you have around eight seconds to capture their attention. In such a short span of time, how do you convince them to read everything you’ve written?

You got it. The magic starts with subheaders that work like headlines to pull readers into every single section of your blog.

And when you have subheaders for web content that are unique, targeted to solve problems, curiosity-piquing, and promising? Your bounce rate will decrease.

Want to get content that’s supercharged with killer subheadings? Visit our content shop to learn more.

what grade level to write online content in

Successful Web Content: What Reading Levels Should You Aim for?

Are you speaking to your readers on their level, or are you going over (or under) their heads?

Without understanding what grade level to write online content in for different target audiences, your words will not have the hoped-for impact.

Instead, your readers will get bored, confused, annoyed, or all three – exactly what you don’t want to happen.

what grade level to write online content in

What’s the Most Common Reading Level for Adults?

Before we dive into what reading levels to write your online content in, we need to establish a base of knowledge.

First off, what is the reading level of an average adult?

While adult reading levels vary, it’s helpful to know the average – especially if you don’t know your own audience’s level yet.

According to a rigorous literacy study, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) published by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average prose adult literacy level is basic to intermediate.

  • In 2003, 29% of American adults tested at a basic level.
  • Another 44% of adults tested at an intermediate level.

When you have “prose literacy,” you have the skills and knowledge you need to comprehend, use, and search information from continuous texts (e.g. novels, textbooks, papers, essays, and other long works).

  • Having basic prose literacy means a person has the skills to perform simple literary activities. For example, they can read and understand short texts and simple documents and locate easy-to-find information to solve simple problems.
  • Having intermediate prose literacy means a person can perform literary activities that are moderately challenging. They have higher-level reading and analysis skills and can sift through denser texts to find meaning and solve problems.

So, what are the equivalent reading grade levels?

Let’s begin with one startling fact: 50% of American adults are unable to read a book written at an 8th-grade level. (That’s not to say they can’t read it, period. They can probably read some words and some sentences, but the larger ideas and themes won’t connect. That’s because the continuum of reading comprehension will be interrupted and fragmented.)

When we compare prose literacy levels with a system like the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Levels, they match up how you’d expect:

Most adults fall in the “average” range, which spans from 6th to 12th-grade reading levels. In other words, most adults can read books like Harry Potter or Jurassic Park and understand them without any problems.

So, if you haven’t figured out your audience’s average reading level, a good base to start from with your content is indeed on the lower end of average – about an 8th-grade reading level.

Improving your content's readability is beyond writing what works for the majority. Here's @JuliaEMcCoy's guide on how you can find the right grade level to write your online content in. ✍ Click To Tweet

How to Know What Grade Level to Write Online Content in for Maximum Readability

So, now you know the average reading grade level for most adults. But, what about YOUR audience?

Your brand audience may have a reading level on par with most adults, or it could differ a lot. Here’s how to know what grade level to write online content in for YOUR specific set of readers.

1. Match Your Content to Your Audience

Before you do anything else, get to know your audience. You have to find out who these people are to know the best reading level to write in FOR them. Find out details like:

  • Their level of education
  • Their profession and job description
  • Their interests and hobbies

Matching your content to your audience is essential for your words to make an impact.

  • Dumb it down too much, and you risk insulting their intelligence or boring them.
  • Make it too high-brow or intellectual/formal, and you risk losing them from confusion or incomprehension.

No matter the audience you’re writing for, hitting the right balance is tricky. However, the better you know them, the better off you’ll be.

2. Use Your Audience’s Vocabulary

Vocabulary and word choice are two big factors that determine reading grade level.

For example, does your audience prefer well-worded content? Or do they need it simple and clear?

It’s the difference between using words like “elementary” vs. “basic,” or “intellectual” vs. “smart” in your content.

Another thing: Will your audience understand your use of technical industry terms, or do you need to simplify those words for general understanding?

E.g., if you run a marketing agency for small businesses, you wouldn’t want to use marketing jargon in your content – that’s your expertise, not your clients’. If you DO need to use specialized terms like “brand awareness” or “marketing segments,” for example, you’d need to define or explain them.

The best way forward here is to always use your audience’s vocabulary:

  • Research what they say and how they say it – this is easily done by analyzing at their social media profiles, posts, and comments.
  • You can also check Quora and Answer the Public for how they word questions about your topic area.

3. Remember You’re Writing for the Web

No matter who makes up your target audience, you must always remember you’re writing content for the web.

People read and interact with electronic text differently than they do with printed text. This table from Writing Cooperative shows what I mean:

  • With printed text, the average reader will read from top to bottom. There’s no skipping around.
  • With online text, the average reader will read it piece-meal or skip around. They’ll scroll until something catches their eye or skim the headings of a content piece rather than read it through 100%.

A study from Sumo backs this up. They discovered the average online reader will only read about 20% of your blog or article.

This is a frustrating reality of online writing, but not all hope is lost. There are actions you can take to encourage your readers to read ALL of your words on a page.

How do you know the right reading grade level for your audience? First of all, get to know your audience and speak like them, but make sure your content is well formatted to be easy to read on the web. 👩‍💻 Read more tips on this post. Click To Tweet

How to Improve the Readability of Your Content

These tips are especially helpful if you are unintentionally writing at a level way too high (read: too academic or too formal) for your audience. They’re also good if you need to improve your online writing skills and learn tactics to engage internet readers better.

1. Write Shorter Sentences

Contrary to what you might think, using shorter sentences will not dumb down your content. Instead, it will make it more readable.

Sentences that drag on… and on… and on… are harder to read on a screen. They tend to make your mind wander and your eyes hurt because there aren’t any pauses. Hence, your eyes play hopscotch on the page rather than continuing in a linear fashion.

An easy way to do it: Look for the coordinating conjunctions in your sentences – and, but, for, nor, and so – because these tend to join two independent thoughts together. Delete them and add a period.

E.g., “She knew it was going to be a rainy day, but she didn’t want to bring an umbrella.”

Remove the conjunction, add a period. The sentence becomes “She knew it was going to be a rainy day. She didn’t want to bring an umbrella.”

No meaning is lost, and the sentence isn’t dumbed down. It’s just shorter!

2. Use Less-Complex Versions of Common Words

If you’re writing for an average reader, skip the words that over-complicate your ideas.

One major example: “Utilize” vs. “use.”

They mean the EXACT same thing, but one is simpler and clearer.

Look at the difference:

“She wanted to utilize her knowledge.”

“She wanted to use her knowledge.”

See what I mean?

3. Make Paragraphs Shorter

Another great way to increase the readability of your online content is to shorten your paragraphs.

Shorter paragraphs naturally keep your eyes moving down, line by line. Whether it’s due to our natural curiosity or some other factor, it works.

For example, use one-line paragraphs to pull your readers’ eyes down the page. These are called “bucket brigades” (Brian Dean explains them really well in his SEO copywriting article).

  • Use one-line paragraphs and bucket brigades in your intro to grab attention.
  • Use them to emphasize important points, facts, or ideas in the body of your piece, too.
  • For example, after some longer paragraphs that are explain-y, use some bucket brigades to break up the rhythm of the piece and keep your reader interested.

4. Include Lots of Headings

Headings are a godsend for online writing.

  • They break up the text into orderly, logical chunks.
  • They make the text easy to scan and find the information you want.
  • They help readers make sense of the text.

As a general rule, add a heading whenever you introduce a new facet or branch of your topic. Use them liberally versus sparingly, especially if your piece is long.

Don’t forget to tag your headings appropriately and make them stand out from the body text. In WordPress, there’s a dropdown menu that lets you apply headings to text, including formatting:

Some other heading tips:

  • H1 should only be used once – for your headline/title.
  • H2s are for major subtopics within your content piece.
  • H3s break down facets of your subtopic(s).
  • H4s further help break down points inside your H3s.

Image: BloggingWizard

5. Use the Tools at Your Disposal

Tons of tools exist on the web that can help refine the readability of your online text. My favorites:

  • Hemingway Editor has a built-in readability score. It also shows where you’re being unnecessarily wordy – a giant help for cutting down sentences and improving clarity.
  • Readable works similarly but scores your text against several readability algorithms so you get a bunch of different scores, plus a grade from Readable’s proprietary scoring system. It also points out the hard-to-read text so you can refine it.
  • Microsoft Word has a reading score tool built in. To use it, just go to Review >> Spelling & Grammar. Go through the spell-check. When it’s finished, the final screen will display lots of extra information about your text, including the various readability scores.

6. Get Feedback

Nothing beats the human eye when you’re trying to assess the readability of a text.

To that end, enlist an editor, proofreader, or a trusted friend to read your content for clarity and readability. Ask them to specifically judge the clarity of your content and how easy it is to read.

Use this as your last check before hitting “publish.” Keep your editor’s comments in mind for the future and use them to further hone your writing.

How do you improve the readability of your content? 👨‍💻 Write shorter sentences, use simpler, commonly used words, write shorter paragraphs, add lots of headings, use readability tools, and get feedback. - @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet

For What Grade Level Should You Write Online Content? It Depends

The average adult reads at an 8th-grade level, but that doesn’t mean you should write to that level.

Your audience will be the last word on the reading level you aim to hit.

Do thorough research to get to know them, then write accordingly. Don’t forget to infuse your content with best practices for online writing and reading on screens.

Once you write to your audience in a way that’s totally tailored to them, your content will start making the impact you’ve been hoping for. Here’s to better content that moves people in ways you never imagined! 🥂

storytelling

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Blending Storytelling In Web Content

What do you and Tolkien have in common?

While it might be tempting to answer, “nothing,” I’d encourage you to look a little deeper.

Sure, Tolkien invented magical lands and languages and creatures few of us could concoct in our wildest dreams, but there’s still a similarity. That similarity links you and me, and all of us who work in the written word, to Tolkien, Rowling, Nabokov, and Chekov. What is it?

The similarity is a love of stories and a fondness for telling them.

Today, too many people sell “marketing” or “commercial” writing off as a pursuit devoid of creativity. They see it as nothing more than some empty pitches and a hard-sell. Lucky for them, and for us, those people are wrong.

As someone who has spent all my life creating and consuming stories, I can tell you that storytelling is central to great brand writing and that only companies who nail it right off the bat succeed with their customers down the road.

Today, we’re going to talk about storytelling: what it is, why it matters, and how you can blend it into your web content. Read on.

storytelling in web content

What is Storytelling?

No matter who you are, where you came from, or what you studied in school, you’ve probably had the experience of hearing a story that knocked your socks off.

Think about that story for a moment.

How about the opening lines of Star Wars (one of my all-time favorite cinema classics)?

star wars

Maybe you were enamored by the opening lines of Kafka’s Metamorphosis:

“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”

Or Nabokov’s Lolita:

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee.Ta.”

Maybe it was the opening line of The Hobbit that made you sit up straight in your chair, suck in your breath, and clutch the book a little tighter at the sheer joy of the story to come:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

While each of these stories came from a different part of the world, different culture, and a different time, each has one thing in common: they grab you, and they won’t let go.

This is storytelling, in all its richness and beauty.

Why Stories Matter

Storytelling in copywriting is the perfect way to engage readers and claim their attention. To understand how to tell great stories, though, it’s essential first to figure out why they matter so much.

Stories are integral to human society. Stories are and have always been, a part of life. Since the excellent way ancient beings painted petroglyphs on the walls of caves, to the day when Rowling sat down to write the first few lines of her Harry Potter series, not much has changed. Stories are meant to entertain and delight, to help people pass the time and uncover deeper meaning in life.

Today, the methods by which people tell stories has changed, but the importance they hold in society hasn’t. As such, marketers who understand how important telling stories is can succeed capturing something rare and extraordinary that allows them to reach the next level of connection and emotion with their readers.

The Connection Between Copywriting and Storytelling

You don’t think copywriting and storytelling go hand in hand? It might be time to think again.

What do you think you’re doing when you write up that long product description or your latest press release? Sure, you’re providing customers with the facts, but you’re also telling a story. It might not be something from the Brothers Grimm, but it’s a story nonetheless. And this story helps delight your readers and assist them to make a connection with the product, good, or service you’re writing about.

When you tell the story the right way, you have the potential to make a new connection with your readers and help them remember you the way you want them to remember you. This is a rare opportunity afforded to only the best and bravest marketers.

How To Incorporate Storytelling In Your Web Content: 5 Epic Tips

Even if you fancy yourself more an inbound expert than a mythologist, it’s still possible to create unforgettable stories. Here are five epic rules for incorporating storytelling into your online content, starting now:

1. Keep it Relevant and Interesting

A great story teller knows who is going to read it, and tailors its voice accordingly. The same needs to go for your online writing. Relevant stories perform better with their audiences, and help perpetuate that feeling of enchantment and mystery.

Luckily for you, staying relevant doesn’t have to mean getting boring. To keep your story relevant and exciting, find ways to tie it back to your target audience consistently. As you write, ask yourself if they would appreciate, connect to, or identify with the topic of your story. If so, keep going. If not, reevaluate. The more relevant you can keep your tale, the better it will perform with your readers.

2. Do the Opposite of What GRRM Did

George R. R. Martin is known for his lengthy descriptions of banquets and the gigantic nature of his A Song of Ice and Fire novels. He is also known for taking eons to publish his books. They are amazing, there’s no doubt about it.

But if there’s one thing online creators should learn from George, it’s what not to do – and here’s why.

If you want to succeed at storytelling online, do the opposite of what George did. Instead of going into painstaking detail so extensive you lose the online reader, who has 8 seconds to keep their attention on one topic, take a large-picture approach and ensure that what you’re writing is useful and exciting, first and foremost.

Don’t write extremely long stories and don’t take forever publishing your content. While there’s some evidence to suggest that long-form content performs better online than short-form content, this isn’t a good reason to string your content along just because you can.

Remember: there’s a difference between long-form and overstuffed. Today’s successful online content needs to be more than just long: it also needs to be helpful and exciting. With this in mind, avoid cramming your content full of junk just to extend its word count or make it seem more extensive.

3. Read, Read, Read, Then Write

As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” Reading is paramount for crafting great stories. You will not be able to come up with something witty and intriguing if all you do is look at Facebook every day.

Note that when I say read, I mean things both inside and outside of copywriting. While it’s smart to read your industry papers, publications, and journals, you should also venture outside your industry into the great novels, stories, and poetry of the world. While it might seem like there’s nothing to be learned here, these storytellers can give you a master class in how to construct and deliver appealing content to the masses.

To put this another way, when you read things that will inspire your writing, you give yourself the competitive edge in a very competitive industry. Try checking out Orson Scott Card’s Ender series or Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

If science fiction and fantasy aren’t your jam, try Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, Lemony Snicket, Fyodor Dostoevsky, or Charles Bukowski. No matter who or what you love to read, reading more and writing more will both help you flex and build your storytelling muscles, and enjoy more compelling stories in no time.

Remember: you don’t have to tie yourself into a particular genre or brand, either: just find an author you love to read and go with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re hooked on presidential biographies or fantasy novels, just as long as you’re reading.

4. Treat Your Brand Like an Epic Tale

Think about fairy tales for a moment: they’re some of the most archetypal stories out there.

snow white story

Each of them has a few things in common: a separation, initiation, and return, and a series of characters that typically includes some assortment of a wise old sage, a young hero, an animal assistant, and a villain. While stories like The Little Mermaid and Bluebeard may seem very different, they share some key ingredients that make them work.

If you want to incorporate storytelling into your web content, one of the first things you’ll need to learn to do is to take a hint from these epics: treat your brand as a story for the ages, and it will become one.

When you look at it this way, your brand launch wasn’t just a launch: it was a great quest for a distant goal. Your founders aren’t just founders, they’re adventurers paving new roads. The problem you’re seeking to solve isn’t just an annoyance: it’s a foundational villain you’re out to destroy.

The more you can incorporate the storytelling structure into your content, the more successful you’ll be both in the long- and short-term.

While this doesn’t mean you need to use fantastical language or create fantastical demons to star in your product descriptions, it does mean that incorporating the structure of storytelling into your daily life can help you master the art of online copy.

5. Craft a Narrative Arc

For the stories in your online copy to be as compelling as possible, they need to follow a narrative arc that takes them from the introduction to the conflict to resolution. Not only does this keep the reader interested: it also serves to structure your story and makes it more recognizable as a story than as marketing copy.

Keep the narrative arc in mind as you write your stories, since this will provide the foundation and roadmap they need to become truly unforgettable.

If you’re having a difficult time finding the narrative arc in your story, consider having someone else read it for you. The second set of eyes will be helpful to identify storytelling structure and help you improve it accordingly.

Happy Storytelling to You!

You’ve read the tips for interweaving stories with your web content, and now it’s time to get to work integrating the age-old practice of storytelling into your daily writing and life.

Need an example of a brand that does storytelling well?

Look no further than Starbucks!

siren

starbucks

The coffee chain released a story about their siren logo and how it came to be within their brand. Are you surprised they pulled it from literature? Or that people loved its inception story so much?

Telling a story about your brand and how it came to be is a great way to garner more interest in your company, as well as establish a personal connection with customers. When you master it accordingly, your readers and your brand both stand to benefit far beyond your wildest dreams.

What’s more, telling a story is one of the only ways to hone your writing, improve your brand, and make your products, goods, and services unforgettable to your customers.

Need expert writers to help you craft high-quality stories starting today? Visit our Content Shop today to get started.

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web content

How to Make People Want to Read Your Web Content: 5 Formatting Tips

Want to get people to read your web content?

Buckle up and settle in. It’s harder than you may think.

Good content that people want to read isn’t just well-written. It’s also:

  • Organized
  • Concise
  • Scannable

In other words, it’s easy on the eyes. You don’t have to do much work to make sense of it.

But, why is this important?

It’s simple: People read differently on the web than they do anywhere else. “Anywhere else” includes papers, books, magazines, and other printed matter. Whatever the physical medium, people do not read them the same way they read a web page.

If you’re not optimizing your web content for the way people read on the web, you’ll be turning them away more often than inciting them to dive deeper.

Want people to get the most out of your content? You need to fan the flames of their interest, not douse them in freezing cold water.

Why Do People Read Web Content Differently?

Why do people read differently on the web than they do for printed matter?

We could surmise that people don’t feel like they have time to read every page they encounter word-by-word. The web is so large, and there’s so much information to sift through, something’s got to give.

Think about how many pages you click through daily. If you have no idea, check out your browser history for yesterday. How many websites did you visit?

If you’re like me, the list is most likely a mile long. There’s no way I would have digested all that information unless I scanned it.

Deep reading is not conducive to web browsing.

web content

What Does Research Say About Reading on the Web?

Research backs up the fact that people don’t read web content like they do books.

In fact, the Nielsen/Norman Group found this was true 79% of the time in an eye-tracking study they did. They measured over 300 people’s eye movements as they browsed hundreds of websites. They came to an overwhelming conclusion:

People do not read on the web. They scan.

Slate came to a similar conclusion when they tracked how far people scrolled down their web pages before leaving. Even if people do stick around long enough to scan the page, they don’t stay for long.

About 50% of users stopped scanning at the halfway mark in a Slate article before they clicked away from the page. Across the web, people stopped at about the 60% mark.

Here’s Slate’s conclusion:

“Few people are making it to the end, and a surprisingly large number aren’t giving articles any chance at all.”

Another Nielsen study found that to be true. According to the research, people only have time to read (or choose to read) about 28% of any given web page.

If this isn’t discouraging for web content creators, I don’t know what is.

If we can’t get people to read our content, how do we make any impact at all?

There’s Hope: You Can Get People to Scan and Scroll Your Web Content

Yes, you can improve your chances that people will scan your content, read at least some of it, and scroll all the way to the end.

On the internet, where attention spans are shorter than a blip, that’s a huge deal.

Some of these tips to achieve these goals may be obvious, but some may be surprising. Here are five ways to make people more likely to skim, scan, and read.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn the five strategies to get people to scan and scroll your web content via @ExpWriters!” quote=”Learn the five strategies to get people to scan and scroll your web content via @ExpWriters!”]

1. Organize Your Content Well

Well-organized content is scannable content. It’s a cinch to read, plus, you can easily find ideas within the text. Some examples of good organization:

  • Bulleted lists
  • Numbered lists
  • Headings and sub-headings
  • Short paragraphs with one main idea in each
  • Meaningful links

These all have one thing in common. They’re all ways to break up your content so it’s scannable. Readers latch on to these text markers – all of them are alerts that say, “Hey, this is important. Pay attention.”

And, luckily, most readers do!

So, what does the opposite look like? This leads us to my next point:

2. Don’t Build Walls of Text!

You can find content with zero organization most often in that infamous “wall of text.” You know what I’m talking about.

It’s hard to scan and will make people want to punch their computer – never a good scenario.

Because they can’t punch their computers, instead, they’ll leave your website without a backward glance.

3. Make Your Organization Logical

A page that’s organized is great, but if that organization isn’t logical, you’re still not helping your readers.

What does logical organization look like?

It means ideas are grouped together. One paragraph, one idea. One bulleted list, one main idea. Here’s a fantastic example:

Note that all items in each list go together. On one hand, there’s the list of ingredients. On the other, there are the instructions. These groupings make sense. They’re logical.

Here’s an illogical example:

Note the formatting. Some of the items have punctuation; others don’t. Some are one-word long; others are sentence-length.

Also, note the information itself. All the items in this list relate to ice cream, but they don’t all belong there. A bulleted list needs to have the same type of “thing” next to each bullet.

Don’t make these errors. Instead…

4. Format Your Bulleted Lists Well

Good organization helps your readers immensely. It also makes them want to linger on your page.

When your page is easy-as-pie to scan, your readers can glom-on to important information. They’ll grab the hook and get caught on your line.

Here are some main keys for strongly organized lists in your content:

  • Don’t mix sentence fragments with full sentences in your lists. Use phrases exclusively, or only use sentences with periods – not both.
  • If you find yourself typing out long lists with commas in paragraphs, consider breaking up that information into a bulleted list.
  • Try to use the same sentence structure and type in your lists for each bullet. For instance, don’t mix statements with questions.
  • Don’t overuse bullets or lists. Employ them when it makes sense, especially when they clarify your ideas.

In short, to make sense, use common sense. Try your best to enlighten your readers, not confuse them. Break up your content, organize it, and do it logically.

5. Use SEO Strategies

SEO is how you make your website usable and readable for both search engines and humans.

This optimization double-whammy is exactly how you should go about boosting your content for a better user experience.

SEO tenets, like the use of keywords, headers, meaningful links, and more, contribute to readability.

Plus, according to Yoast, readable text ranks. On the other hand, text that’s hard to read will not rank. Think stilted sentences, strange wording, or unorganized blocks of text.

Bottom line: Search engines loathe walls of text in web content. You should, too.

Get Read More Widely: Format Your Web Content the Right Way

Unfortunately, most internet users don’t do any deep reading on the web.

That blog post you spent hours composing? It may not get skimmed past the third paragraph. Even more people will bounce before they ever read the first line.

These are not good reasons to get discouraged and quit, though. Instead, take them as motivation to format your web content so it’s ultra-readable.

This means a logical organization with zero text walls. It means using bulleted or numbered lists to break up chunks of information. It means being smart about including meaningful headings and links.

Image via Spyre Studios

Don’t forget the SEO! This is the perfect way to optimize for both search engines and people. Implement basic SEO tenants and you’ll find that organization is inherent to its success.

To sum it all up, pay attention to what you’re saying, but don’t neglect how you’re saying It, either. The way your words appear on the web can dramatically affect how people consume your content.

To feed the most people, make it easy to digest. Make it readable.

If your content is suffering from lack of structure and organization, call on Express Writers to help. We produce web content that’s simple to read and well-written.

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investing in web copy

How Investing In Web Copy Can Make You Money

Are you one of those people who really think that the success story of their business is going to write itself? We hate to break it to you, but without a solid growth plan based on effective, personalized online marketing strategies you will probably wander in the dark for a very long period of time.

Content plays a very important part in this process and can guarantee your smooth evolution and considerable profitability and popularity increases on time and on a budget. Great content is one of those things that just seem too good to be true, and yet they are: it is affordable, even if you rely on professional web writing services, effective and offers you the chance to make a name for yourself in your field of activity, sell better and faster than ever before, bury you main competitors 6 feet under the ground, diversify your clientele, improve brand awareness and enhance your online presence.

The Era of the Content Beast: Feed It Regularly!

The most recent infographic launched by Express Writers tells us that we live in the era of the content beast. To keep the beast on your side, you have to feed it regularly. This means that you have to publish and update quality content as often as possible.

Doesn’t this sound like a fun challenge? Truth be told, fantastic, reader-oriented content won’t bring you your coffee in the morning, but will pretty much take care of the rest. So what’s stopping you from putting your awesome writing skills to the test? We will let you in on a little secret: investing in web content can make you money.

Money makes the world go round and great content will rock your entire universe, turning you into a well-known, influential, highly competitive player in your sector. Contrary to popular belief, first-class content doesn’t have to burn deep holes in your pockets. Obviously, there are two categories of copy: bad copy that makes you pinch pennies and good copy that gets you where you want to be and lets you sit on a pot of gold, according to Forbes.

Does Your Web Copy Help You Make or Waste Your Resources?

These days, Google gives you everything you could ever need to create stellar, search engine-friendly and user-friendly content. From essential SEO tools to cost-free guidelines enabling you to optimize your content the easy way, Google bends over backwards to give you the key to perfecting your web copy. Since all these amazing resources are widely available, not using them would be like finding the gold fish and throwing it back in the water.

Why Your Copy Could Be Throwing Money Out the Window

Before we go any further, try to provide an honest answer to this question: does your web copy make you earn or lose money? If your current promotion strategies haven’t taken you very far, chances are that your content stinks. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you could address this pressing problem. First of all, you have to identify the cause. Your web copy writing could be impacted by multiple issues, including the 2 concerns listed below.

You’re Not Getting Enough Traffic. OK, so you write headlines better than David Ogilvy, understand your audience and create content based on the elementary needs and demands of your audience. You play by the book, and still you don’t get enough traffic. This probably means that you don’t make the most of 3 key elements that could save your business and help you pursue your most ambitious goals.

A Verified, Personalized Content Strategy: According to Forbes, a content strategy represents the solid foundation of any marketing campaign that you may want to launch. To evaluate you current content strategy in an objective manner, you should ask yourself a few important questions: Am I creating and delivering web copy on a regular basis? Are both my content and my website properly optimized for search engines and tailored to the real necessities of my reader? Do I expand on interesting topics that can actually convert my readers into fans, followers and devoted buyers? Am I on the shortest path to SEO success or did my outdated, unverified, ineffective pre-Panda and pre-Penguin optimization tactics made me get lost in a labyrinth of unpaid bills and ever-growing expenses?

White Hat Link Building Strategies: Inbound links work to your advantage, letting Google know that you are a high-quality, popular, trustworthy source of information. If other respectable sources link to you, this basically means that they vouch for you. Guest blogging, getting listed in local directories and creating link-worthy content pieces are three excellent methods to build credibility and trust, according to AudienceBloom.com.

Social Media: Some of the most popular social networking websites give you the opportunity to profit from free or extremely affordable promotion strategies that support your current content distribution tactics. Social media can amplify your web copy marketing strategy and act as a powerful brand builder.

You’re Not Selling. Isn’t it extremely frustrating when you do as you are told and somehow your sustained efforts never get rewarded? We hear you. You have always crafted killer web copy which is 100% original, optimized for search engines and complying with all the rules and guidelines introduced by Google. You make the most of the very best marketing strategies and you are still very far from improving conversion rates. Your story doesn’t have a happy ending: your readers are not buying. There are a few possible scenarios that you should factor in:

You Are Not Launching the Right Bait: perhaps the web content that you have been creating so far is not actually targeting your ideal customers. Before crafting web copy, you have to define and analyze your audience, to be able to come up with inspiring, compelling articles and blog posts.

Your Content Is Not Stimulating Your Readers to Take Action: a content piece that does not include a powerful call to action is as useful as a bathing suit at the North Pole.

Your Website Looks Tacky and Isn’t Mobile-Friendly: your web copy may not be the one and only culprit for your lack of success. Did you really expect to witness improved conversion rates without updating your website? Since more and more clients are mobile, standard websites are so 2013. To boost your profit margins and restore your competitive edge, make sure your website undergoes an extreme makeover. Play your cards right by relying on responsive web design. Otherwise, you may lose money, and we’re not talking pocket change. According to eMarketer, almost ¼ the entire global population will use a smartphone in 2014. Can you really afford to ignore the ever-growing needs and demands of an ever-growing audience? We didn’t think so.

How to Address a Bad Copy Alert

Bad web copy can be a real nightmare, especially when your end goal is to make a lot of money fast. Guess what: bad content is just like a car without gas. You can push it a few miles and sweat your heart out if you’re really perseverant, but it won’t take you very far. To address this problem, you just need to follow a few basic steps:

  • Make sure your current content is properly optimized for search engines
  • Rely on both on-page and off-page optimization strategies to witness rapid results
  • Ditch black hat SEO strategies that could get into trouble (duplicate content, paid links, hidden text and keyword stuffing)
  • Write with your readers in mind
  • Use Google Trends to discover new exciting topics that could raise the interest of your readers
  • Take a peek at what your competitors are doing and see if you could actually embrace a similar approach
  • Write compelling posts that include strategically placed call to actions that are difficult to ignore

How Good Copy Fills Your Pockets

Good web copy can pay for all the things that you need and crave for. That’s right: instead of making you break the bank, awe-inspiring content actually gives you the opportunity to attain your most ambitious goals while scoring a big profit. You may ask: how is this possible? It’s not magic and it’s definitely not rocket science. Here are 5 of the most important ways in which first-class content can become your personal wish-granting genie in a bottle.

Good Copy Puts Your Products in a Different Light. Let us tell you this much: perfection is 100% attainable, especially when it comes to web writing. If you can write stellar content you’ll do it; otherwise you’ll find an excuse. There is no justification for low-quality content. Great web copy gives you the chance to individualize your products and separate them from their counterparts launched by a sea of competitors. Great content pieces bring out the best in your merchandise, accentuate its unique features and its benefits and make it seem more appealing in the eyes of a larger segment of buyers.

Good Copy Turns “Average” into “Remarkable”. OK, so your detergent can wipe the tiniest, most stubborn stain off the face of the earth in a matter of a few seconds. But what you may not know is that dozens of other manufacturers brag about the same thing. Flawless web copy focused on the uniqueness of your brand allows you to exceed their efforts and compel more people to put your product on their shopping list.

Good Copy Sells Your Stuff Faster and Better Than Anything Else. Good copy sells faster and better than an employee working on commission. Why? The answer is simple: it resonates with your audience. It creates a compelling story that surrounds your products and your brand and makes them recognizable. Copywriters have that special something (a mix of creativity, empathy, passion for in-depth research and their own way with words) that enables them to create effective copy.

And by effective, what we actually mean is that client-oriented copy is a solid moneymaking machine. Copywriters know how to explore and exploit the secret desires of a large audience. Just analyze Louis Vuitton’s most recent spring campaign. At a first glance, you will probably be shocked: what could be the connection between South Africa, luxurious, insanely expensive handbags and wild animals? Actually, the creative minds behind the Louis Vuitton campaign got everything right. Associating iconic, high-end handbags with exotic destinations and a stress-free lifestyle based on the carpe diem principles was an excellent idea and represented the foundation of a very successful advertising strategy.

Good Copy Brings and Keeps You in the Public Eye. Good copy makes you invincible. The success of your company comes to an end only when people stop talking about your brand and your product. Excellent web content pieces give you the certainty that this worst case scenario could never become a part of your reality. It’s actually a pretty fair exchange: you give readers unlimited access to info that could simplify their daily life or make it more enjoyable, while they spread the word about your business and offer you the chance to expand your client database.

Good Copy Brings You on Page 1 in Google. Yes, we are fully aware of the fact that obsessing with rankings is not healthy or productive. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard to bring your website on page 1 in search engine results. A better ranking will increase your online visibility, making it easier for your clients to find you. Great web copy reflecting an ideal keyword density and an optimal number of inbound links will help you improve your website’s current Google ranking. At the end of the day, you have to keep in mind that you write for people, not for machines.

Keep things interesting, cultivate the interest of your readers and stimulate their feedback, conduct extensive research to spot changes that could affect your rankings, get to know your audience, learn even more about your products and services and their list of benefits and stitch all these pieces together to solve the puzzle. Good web copy is not a gift from above; it is an extremely valuable end product that requires time and effort, but eventually leads to much-appreciated monetary advantages.

You can’t put a price on perfection, but we can tell you this much: premium web copy is an excellent long-term investment, taking into consideration the tremendous success that you’ll have with Google and SERP rankings and also the increased number of buyers. Whatever you do, don’t forget that great content is the element that creates and feeds the powerful love story between marketing and sales.

 

 

location-specific content

How to Write Location-Specific Web Content

Do you own a local business? Do you want to market it more effectively? Are you confused about how to rank well for your physical location? If so, you’re not alone! There are currently more than 23 million small businesses in the country, many of which have a brick-and-mortar location! And these small businesses are more impactful than you might imagine: they account for 54% of all sales in the U.S. economy and have created more than 8 million jobs since 1990.

To put this another way: small businesses are powerful, and they deserve a marketing approach that understands that. This is where location-specific marketing comes in. By strengthening the presence of a company in a local environment, location-specific marketing makes it easier for brands to earn local customers and become household names.

When you learn to write location-specific web pages for your company, everyone wins.

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can ensure you’re creating valuable content for your local business – content that takes all your hard work, dedication, and commitment into consideration. Read on.

Why Local Web Content Matters: Understanding the Big Picture

It’s no secret that Google’s algorithms are getting smarter each year. As such, local business owners can’t afford to stay stuck in the stone age when it comes to their web content. Instead, you need plenty of “tricks” in your content creation arsenal. If you’re still not convinced that location-specific pages are that important, here are some local content stats to consider:

  • More than 63% of smartphone users frequently use apps that require the input of the user’s physical location. This means that tailoring your content to be geo-specific can help them find you.
  • More than 50% of people who visit Google Maps will select one of the top three SERP results. This is a major perk for the companies that manage to rank in those spots.
  • In 2011, more than 60% of marketers reported that geo-targeted ads offered a stronger ROI than the alternatives. That number has only grown since then, thanks in large part to the mobile revolution.
  • Hyper-local search engine marketing is cheaper and more efficient than broader approaches.

Within the last ten years, the role of website content has grown incredibly. The world’s best-known search engines have realized that if they want online users to find the results they want, and the results that will be more relevant to them, they’ve got to start prioritizing local results, especially now that everyone and their brother has a smartphone.

The Goal of Creating Location-Specific Web Pages

Local content serves dozens of purposes. On the one hand, it educates your users, on the other, it provides a serious SEO boost. Here are the top things you can look forward to when you start investing heavily in your location-specific content strategy:

  • More qualified site visitors
  • More inbound links to your website
  • Higher levels of social shares
  • More brand awareness
  • More sales!

Possibly the best thing about location-specific web content is that it can do several things at once and that these goals aren’t mutually exclusive. A great local content campaign will serve all these purposes and more, which will help you improve your company from the inside out.

Ranking for Local Search in the Modern Day

Ten years ago, getting your website to rank at the top of the SERPs was pretty simple. All you needed to do was stuff your pages with keywords, and “presto!” Your website was automatically the top result. If a budget wedding planner in Los Angeles wanted to be among the high-ranking sites, all they needed to do was stuff the term “budget wedding planner Los Angeles” into the body copy and headlines a few times.

Seem simple enough? Get this: the phrase didn’t even have to be contextually relevant. Nope. In fact, creating grammatically incorrect, fluffy, empty content was all the rage in the late 90’s, and it didn’t hurt your image one bit.

Something pretty much like this:

Today, however, that trend has reversed. It’s 2017, and search engines and users are smarter and more discerning than they’ve ever been. This means that things like relevant content and good keyword research are essential in today’s world. While it’s true that users search for more local content than they have in the past, they’re not just looking for crappy fluff that doesn’t do anything but clog up their devices. Instead, they’re looking for contextually relevant, helpful, value-dense material that will lead them to great local establishments. And it’s your job to deliver it!

How to Create Location-Specific Content: 10 Steps

So you want to create location specific content, but you don’t know how. Hold onto your hats, though, because you’re about to learn! Here are ten professional steps to follow:

1. Stay Unique

Just because you’re creating location-specific web pages doesn’t mean you get to go and be boring. Exactly the opposite, in fact! Location-specific web pages should be unique, especially if you’re targeting various locations. For example, say you’re a computer repair company with locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Even though the company behind those three places is the same, they geographies are so different that they’re virtually entire separate entities, and it’s critical to treat them as such. If all you do is swap out your geo-keyword (“computer repair in Los Angeles” for “Computer repair in New York,” for example), your readers are going to catch on, and you’re going to lose leads. Instead, you’ll need to create unique content for each page. For best results, aim to develop material that takes the individual factors of each location into account.

2. Focus On Web Pages, Rather Than Blogs

We’ve all seen blogs trying hard to squeeze themselves into local SERPs. These blogs typically have titles such as the following:

  • How to Select a Good Budget Wedding Planner in Los Angeles
  • Why a Budget Wedding Planner Los Angeles Can Help You
  • 10 Reasons to Hire a Budget Wedding Planner Los Angeles

While it may seem like a smart way to boost your SEO, focusing on local blogs isn’t as efficient as focusing on location-specific web pages. Your webpage is the best tool to describe the product or the services that you provide, while blog content is meant to provide your target audience with updates, entertainment, and news.

With this in mind, you’d be better off creating content like the following:

  • Webpage: Budget Wedding Planner in Los Angeles Services
  • Blog Post: How to Have your Dream Wedding on a Shoestring Budget

3. Use H1, H2, and H3 Tags

Within your webpage, it is always smart to ensure that the hierarchy of information is evident by using header tags. H1 tags should be employed for the main header, H2 tags for subheaders, and H3 tags for bullet points and similar content. By using these headers and including your target keyword or phrase throughout, you can ensure that readers and search engines understand the point of your page and know where to turn for the information they need.

If you have a business in one region and you want to publish different service webpages, ensure that your homepage offers adequate geographical information about your various branches. If you have branches of your business in several locations, or you simply want to target smaller areas within the primary site, it is alright to make use of locally optimized pages for each one. Search engine users who live in major cities will find this valuable since they’re often searching for location- and city-specific content.

4. Optimize Your SEO Title & Meta Descriptions

Your SEO strategy doesn’t stop with your header tags: you’ll also need to extend it out to your SEO title and meta descriptions. For best results, include your location-specific target keyword and phrase in these various titles, but don’t overdo it. Just once should be enough to achieve the impression you’re going for.

5. Include Your Company’s Phone Number and Email Address (& Keep it Consistent)

Every page on your website should contain your business’ local telephone number and street addresses (do not use images; use crawlable written texts instead!) This is a great signal for search engines, and it helps your local searchers find the information they need at the speed of light.

6. Use Maps

To make your location more discoverable, embed a Google map on your website. This provides value to your target market and offers information about your geographical location for search engines and crawlers. Remember to provide a map with the address of your business’ main location or branch office. To ensure your map is mobile-friendly, test it from a mobile platform before you push it live.

7. Use Longtail Keywords

If you’re new to longtail keywords, they might not make a whole lot of sense to you. They’re lower-volume than more popular keywords and render fewer monthly searches. That said, however, the leads they do render are higher-quality and more purchase-ready.

With this in mind, use longtail keywords throughout your location-specific web pages. Tools like KWFinder (or Express Writers’ quality keyword research services) can help you identify ideal local keywords

8. Reference What Makes the Location Unique

The heart and soul of location-specific content is, of course, the location, and you’ll do your readers and the search engines a favor when you reference it like you live and work there.

If you live in Chicago, use The Bean in your content. If you live in New York, pick out some landmarks and talk about them in your geographical material. Not only will readers develop an understanding for you and how your content relates to a place, but they’ll also be more willing to interact with what they see as a reliable local brand.

9. Be Subtle and Natural

If you run a bagel shop in NYC, readers shouldn’t see “bagel shop in NYC” every other sentence. Instead, you want to be subtle, natural, and relevant. Think about using your location to help the reader, rather than to knock them unconscious. The more natural and organic you can be with your local keyword inclusion, the more likely customers will be to see your brand more like a friendly, approachable local company and less like a “marketer.”

10. Keep It Fresh

Anytime your business moves, changes phone numbers or adds a new location, your content should follow suit. Keeping your location-specific web pages fresh and accurate is the best way to ensure people keep finding your online material.

Learning to Write Location-Specific Web Pages, the Easy Way

If you’re like most marketers, location-specific web pages probably scare you a bit – and that’s okay. While they’re some of the most critical pieces of content on a page, they’re also some of the least understood, and lots of people aren’t sure how to approach them. Fortunately, these ten tips can help you learn to create helpful, relevant, approachable location-specific web content your readers will love.

Need location-specific web content crafted by the pros? Contact Express Writers to begin working with our team of skilled and experienced writers today!

content in 2014

Content Generation: 10 Must-Read Tips for a Better Web

Anyone who has ever published a website is automatically familiar with the term “Content is King”. Lots of time, money, and effort goes into reaching top ranking on well known search engines such as Google, MSN, Bing and Yahoo!. But many of the people that invest in an attempt to get high page ranking on search engines give little thought to the chief elements needed in creating the foundation: content that is reader-friendly.

New Year’s Mantra: Content Is for People, Not for Search Engines

It is very important to understand that the content you write should be first and foremost for people, and not for search engines. Once readers value your blog or website content, they will definitely keep coming back for more and even share your content with others. If you follow the content generation tips below, you will not have a problem writing reader-friendly content. The cherry on the pie is when search engines begin to rank your website or blog high because your content is well-written and reader-friendly.

If you invest the time to read a lot of articles on the internet about content creation, you will notice that it is nearly impossible to find an article that really hammers on the importance of writing for readers and not search engines. With the popularity of this trend, one will be compelled to ask “Are bloggers and web content writers totally ignoring readers and focusing all their attention on search engine spiders?

Hmm… it would be untrue to say that most bloggers and semi-professional website writers genuinely create content with the sole aim of educating their target readers. Most writers simply create content that will rank high in search engine results, period. Professional copywriters focus on 3 things before writing ridiculously effective content pieces. Professional writers have mastered the art of writing articles that will please both readers and search engine bots.

Must-follow Tips for Better Webpages in 2014

1. Generate Content on What You Specialize In. There is no doubt that this is the most important thing for any writer to take into consideration. When you have in-depth knowledge on a subject, it provides you with the tools and inspiration to write compelling articles that will keep readers coming back to your web page for more. Specialization also gives you great confidence and helps you provide details about the topic you are covering. You are most likely to include facts and insights when writing a very familiar topic that may have not been covered by other writers who have written on the same subject. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing writers connect with your thoughts and nodding their head in agreement while reading what you have written. Have you ever read an article where you felt like the writer is actually in your home and understands what you are going through? Yes, that is the power of a compelling content – it connects with the reader.

When you write on topics that you are most familiar with, it really sets you apart from the crowd. Visitors to your website will, in time, love your content and will definitely keep coming back for more. There is no Google algorithm change that will EVER affect this particular content generation tip – and you can take that to the bank!

Search Engine Optimization Hint: Highly informative and well-detailed content are known to rank high on Google search results.

2. Group Major Parts of Content into Sub-headings. One of the content writing tactics to avoid includes using poor formatting. When you categorize your content into subheadings, this will help you structure your content better, and make it reader-friendly. People like to read articles that are structured and flow well.  You should consider which headings need to be placed higher and which headings should follow. Even if an article is five thousand words long, if it is well structured, readers will keep reading from the top to the bottom.

Search Engine Optimization Hint: When your article is well-structured, it will be a lot easier for you to create crisp, compelling title tags and headings for better SEO ranking.

3. Stay Focused on the Chosen Subject – Don’t Stray! There are times when you want to write about a subject matter, but you find yourself going on and on about another topic that is closely related to the main topic you are writing about. It is important to stay focused on the key topic of the article. You need to understand that the attention span of an average web user is short, and they do not have the time to waste on reading irrelevant content. Readers want to read well-written content on their enquiries. Concise and crisp articles are inviting to readers. Web pages and articles that lack focus seldom get repeat visitors and often NEVER get shared, tagged or pinned. Creating content that sticks to the subject matter is a great writing practice that every writer should stick to.

Search Engine Optimization Hint: Having content that gets repeat visitors will help boost your search engine ranking with search engines, especially almighty Google.

4. Create Opinionated and Detailed Content. It is very easy to use your personal experience when you write on a subject matter that you specialize in. Providing your honest opinion wherever possible will come easily to you. People love to read an expert’s personal experiences and also want to know their honest opinions. Once they know that they can count on getting your personal contribution on the topic of their liking, there is a high possibility that they will bookmark your blog or website, share your content with others and keep coming back for more.

Search Engine Optimization Hint: Having more visitors to your blog or website means having higher search engine ranking.

5. Include an Introductory and Conclusion Paragraph… Always. It is important that you follow a simple, yet important and expected writing style. Include an introductory and concluding paragraph wherever possible within your blog posts or articles. Yes, it is a standard practice, and yes, readers expect it. When you include introduction and conclusion paragraphs in your blog posts or articles, it provides readers with a much better web experience.

Search Engine Optimization Hint:  Well-written, structured blogs and web pages get higher rankings in search engines.

6. Do Not Forget to Give Vivid and Suitable Examples Wherever Possible. When you give examples, it helps readers visualize things better. Mental pictures help create a connection between readers and the content – this is why we all love fiction writers like George RR Martin or Stephen King. Fiction writers have a way of helping us escape into the world of the characters they created. They make us love, hate, adore, sympathize, criticize and understand their characters by simply using the power of words. In order to keep the interest levels of your readers high, include examples where possible.

Search Engine Optimization Hint: Though examples may not be important to search engines currently, with the ever changing algorithm, top search engines will evaluate blogs and websites for examples…in the future.

7. Give Professional Hints and Tips. If you are creating content on technical subjects, then it is important to offer helpful hints and tips wherever possible. When you are writing walk-through guides, tutorials or how-to articles, it is important to provide valuable hints and tips. Heidi Cohen is one professional who knows how to give valuable professional tips in her write-ups.

8. Make Use of Your Own Voice or Style – Do Not Be a Copycat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading web pages or blog posts written by other writers in your niche, but it is vital that you create your own unique style and content. Create content using your own words. It is super easy to find copied content on the internet. The copyright laws for both online and offline writers are still the same – you should NEVER violate any copyright laws! Besides, your readers will begin to expect your unique writing style over time when they visit your blog page or website. Creating and presenting content in your own unique style is of utmost importance. No guide to creating content is complete without a heavy emphasis of “be original”. 

Search Engine Optimization Hint: You will never have to worry about getting marked down for having duplicate content. Google hates duplicate content and would not hesitate to slam the hammer down hard on bloggers or website owners who think it is cute to steal other people’s content and pass it off as their own.

9. Give the Credit Back to Original Sources. Do you plan to use images or texts from another website or blog? Then you will need to provide credit back to the original source, or simply provide a link back to the source. When it comes to building a trusted brand on the internet, it is important that you do not get accused of stealing another person’s intellectual property. When you give credit to the original source, you are simply showing your ethics and intentions to others. Your readers will appreciate you for declaring the origin of an image or texts that is not yours, instead of passing them off as yours. If you choose to the look the other direction and claim someone else’s intellectual property as yours, when the truth comes out, it may ruin your reputation beyond repair.

Search Engine Optimization Hint: Search engines value credit backs and will grade you higher.

10. Use Images. Images play a vital role in creating better website content. Most people perceive online based content to be more graphical than regular books. Many online users want to see interesting images on your blog or website. If given a choice, most people would prefer to read blogs or web pages with images. You can take advantage of this by adding images on your blog or web page. Make sure you add the right titles and image alt tags for every image you use for your content – doing this will help in accessing your site, helping readers with special needs and search engines.

Search Engine Optimizing Hint: Providing the right image size, description and title will assist you in driving more traffic to your site through image searches as well.

Creating Content for the Web

By simply following the aforementioned content creation and search engine optimization hints, you can help improve the experience of visitors to your blog or website and also help you get high ranks in search engine results. In addition to this, following the aforementioned web writing tips will ensure the general improvement of the web. There is an art and science to creating quality content, every writer has their own way of creating compelling content. This post has explained the scientific aspect of creating quality content.

Let’s face it, not everyone is born with the gift of stringing words together in a way that will excite, convince, implore and motivate readers to take action. This is where professional writers come in. Professional writers know how to get into the psyche of readers and get them to take action. Professional writers know how to create content that will arrest the attention of target audiences and will rank high in search results.

An SEO copywriter does more than get a few keywords, sit in front of his or her computer and start typing away. They do some research, and know how to craft words that will strike a chord in readers. There is no point churning out articles that will not motivate readers to take action.  The job of a professional writer is to use the right words that will motivate readers and make them feel a connection to your brand.

How you ever wondered why some words in books you read a long time ago still linger in your memory? You still remember some of the lines said by major and minor characters. You remember these books because you connected with words and the characters in the story.

A professional writer works hard to create content that does the same thing – connects with readers.

website content writing service

7 Key Factors That Make Up An Exceptional Website Content Writing Service

Your site is nothing more than a pointless parking space for your logo and brand, if you don’t have good web content on it.

But there is a lot more to good content than offering up useful information.

Today’s internet reader becomes bored easily, so you have to offer up something fresh, creative and engaging every time — that is, if you want the reader to come back for more.

Enter the secret:

Talented website writers from a website content writing service, that can create expert copy for your niche and brand.

Let’s face it. Not every business owner is a good writer. Or handy with SEO. Or a conversion expert.

And let’s face it: a real copywriter, an expert website content writer, actually is all that.

Your investment will come back tenfold.

Let’s explore the key qualities a top online writing service will have.

website content writing

Hire A Website Content Writing Service to Serve Up the Right Content

So how do you nail awesome content each time?

We’ve compiled seven key tips that exceptional website content writers will utilize in creating great content.

Keep your content flowing and producing this year by hiring the right web writing service.

1. They get to the point & skip the fluff

Like we said, today’s reader wants you to get to the point and keep it as concise as possible. Don’t ramble on and on or go off on an irrelevant tangent — that’s just poor content marketing altogether.

Your web content should have an introduction that clearly tells the reader what he or she will gain by reading on. Then, your content must deliver on what you’ve promised. Use as many words as it takes to bring your point across and eliminate any unnecessary fluff just to reach a particular word count.

A knowledgeable web creator will know this.

2. Lists are loved & put to use

List formats are awesome! List-based sites, according to Grammarly.com, get tons of page views. Why? Because everything is grouped in neat little points and it’s easier for a reader to digest.

The title also clearly states what the reader is gaining by reading your web content. For example, if you title your content “Top 10 Copywriting Tips” the reader knows he’s going to get ten copywriting tips if he reads further.

3. They are headline gurus

Headlines can make or break your content. If you have a drab, uninteresting headline no one is going to click and read more. Think of a headline as an invitation to a web content party. The party is your content and your headline is what encourages people to join in on the fun.

So how do you write a catchy headline? According to an article by Social Media Today, a good headline is one that:

  • Is clear and tells the reader exactly what she’s gaining by reading your article;
  • Makes a promise to the reader;
  • Tantalizes, teases and even hits a nerve — compelling the reader to go forward;
  • Is a one-liner that is easy to share and understand.

4. They don’t make it just about you

Your web content shouldn’t be about you, ever. People don’t want to read about you, they want to know how you can help them. An expert website content writing service will know just how to tactfully do this.

Don’t expect many conversions if you boast about your product, service and how it all benefits you. Instead, turn it around and make it all about the reader. Tell the reader exactly what benefits they’ll receive by reading your content or buying your products. The word “you” should be throughout your content so that the reader feels as though you’re talking directly to them.

5. They’ll break up that wall of text

A wall of text turns readers away instantly. After all, if you walked up to a big wall would you want to climb it or walk around it? Reading web content online is the same thing. No one wants to sift through a wall of text — they want it broken down so they can easily climb over it, or, even better, walk through it.

Shorten up your paragraphs — quit being epic. Use short, concise sentences.

Put powerful statements, call-to-actions, and other important notations in their own paragraph, on their own line for maximum impact and visibility.

Just like we’re doing here.

6. They’ll infuse personality into your content

If you’re a dull dud, it’s time to add a spark of personality to your web content.

Be personable, talk to your readers as if you’re talking to a friend, and be true to your brand.

Are you a youthful brand? Think of your target customer and how they would relate to a person talking to them.

If you’re targeting older individuals, you will want to keep it professional, but still friendly. If you’re targeting the 21 and younger crowd you better toss in a few slang terms, add some fun to it, and be social.

The tone you use in your content, according to Search Engine Watch, should suit your brand’s personality and your target customer’s personality. Obviously, if you’re selling legal services you should sound professional and avoid slang, but you can still be friendly in the process, right?

7. They’ll offer expert insights

People want web content they can trust. There’s too much content out there that doesn’t showcase authority or a company’s expertise in the industry. Make sure your website content writing service offers expert advice. Ask for a few “how-to’s” or guides that are in-depth and teach the reader something.

Conclusion: Get Your Best Website Content Writing Service Yet 

The more effort you put into your web content, the more your content can do for you.

If you want to increase your conversion rates or get more social media recognition, consider your content first.

By following even a handful of these tips here you can give your content a much-needed face lift and make your content work for you.

We are a high-quality, proven website content writing service. Get high-level web copy from Express Writers today!

social media content tips

3 Awesome Web Content Tips That Will Help You Boost Your Brand on Facebook

Social media platforms represent dynamic environments in the world of web content tips which more than 56% of all living, breathing individuals connect socially.

In this context, it goes without saying that giant, extremely popular social networking websites are a fertile ground for clever web content strategies, developed and implemented by most companies to grow their online presence, maximize their ROI, enhance conversion rates and increase brand awareness.

Studies indicate that 1.2 billion people have a Facebook account and spend approximately 700 billion minutes on this platform on a monthly basis, exposing themselves to countless marketing messages. Would you like to boost the popularity of your online business on Facebook?

Follow these simple web content tips to gather tons of likes from an increased number of visitors.

#1 Distribute various types of insightful web content to prevent boredom

Posting 2 or 3 photos on a daily basis with a flat comment won’t draw more visitors to your Facebook page. In this case, diversity is the key to success. Distribute various types of web content to discover exactly what makes your targeted audience tick. Count on:

1)     Funny, entertaining videos: Do you know what has gone viral these days in your line of work? Don’t be afraid to post videos which are not directly related to your brand, but still manage to entertain, inform and educate your segment of potential buyers. For instance, viral videos about fun, adrenaline-filled activities will always be a gold mine for a well-known, popular energy drink.

2)     Inspirational blog posts: Do you want to create buzz around an event, a new product or a recently launched service? Write an engaging blog post and promote it on Facebook.

3)     Press releases: Are you getting ready to launch a new product? Are you eager to announce a few recent updates and/or major improvements? Share the exciting news with your friends by posting informative, well-written press releases.

4)     Photos: Try to find great pictures which are relevant to your business. Here’s an extra tip: post snapshots of your employees and clients photographed while testing your products. Your motivated staff members and satisfied customers are the best brand evangelists one could ever hope for!

#2 Less is sometimes more on Facebook

Recent studies indicate the fact that most people choose to unfriend their acquaintances simply because they are constantly bombarded with tons of useless information, game invitations and other forms of dull web content. One post a day would be more than enough, though many brands choose to break this rule and end up spamming their followers. A wrong posting strategy is correlated with a low engagement rate, so try to stay active and relevant at the same time without annoying your virtual friends with countless Facebook posts on a daily basis.

#3 In the end, it’s not about you

Social media content strategies are very tricky: the end goal is to bring your brand under the spotlight and persuade your audience into doing something, but without actually leaving the impression that the whole (digital) world revolves around your company and your line of products. Remember the fact that all your followers are self-centered and consider their needs a top priority. Give them tips, useful pieces of advice, recommendations, helpful information, how-to articles, valuable tutorials and they’ll land on your Facebook page regularly, constantly asking for more. Don’t forget to end your posts with a (pertinent) question addressed to your fans to encourage their feedback.

It’s always virtually impossible to reach your destination when you don’t know which way to go. If you’re looking for amazing web content and a suitable social media marketing strategy tailored to your objectives, requirements and expectations count on professional content writing services and start turning dreams into accomplishments today.