Whether you’re blogging for your new website or writing copy for your landing pages, writing for the Web is vastly different from other kinds of writing.
People who decide to either open their own website or online store usually try and create their own copy for it but fail to understand the reading habits of the Internet audience. This leads to either little or no traffic on the site or the ultimate collapse of the business.
If you have just purchased a domain name and a website for your new business, knowing how to reach your audience effectively and avoiding some of the most common errors when you’re writing for the Web can mean the difference between a successful online business and the frustration of failure.
Understanding Your Web Audience
Before you create your blog, Facebook Fan Page, or any kind of content for your website, understanding what people choose to read and what captures their attention online is vital.
Writing for the Web means mastering the art of telling people as much information as you need to in the fewest words possible. This is because people who read webpages and get their news from media and social pages are used to receiving information in a type of format that is brief and straightforward.
When you create your website, whether you are writing your first blog and introducing your product or creating your homepage, giving your readers an informative and factual presentation on your product or service is vital.
Avoid flowery or scholarly language; a lot of important-sounding words with vivid, figurative language aren’t likely to hook your reader. While that might be a great hook for people looking to read a good piece of fiction, it won’t have much of an effect on someone who wants to know about your product and why it’s the best choice for their needs.
Most of all: Make your point and move on. Your reader doesn’t have all day to spend reading your work. Keep it short so he can get through your whole post in one shot.
Formatting for a Better Presentation
When you’re writing for the web, think about what you like best about your favorite websites.
Are they easy to read?
Do they present information in a way that’s engaging and informative?
Does the formatting serve the site’s ultimate goal, whether it’s an online store or a news blog?
These are a few of the elements that help make a website successful—readability and a clean, professional look.
If you’re wondering why these are so important, consider that when the average reader visits a website for the first time, the content must capture their attention in the first ten to fifteen seconds. If your site is slow to load, the text is difficult to read, or the content is presented in one large block of text, your readers will immediately click away from your site and find similar information elsewhere.
In order to keep readers on your site and engaged with your material, your site should have an exciting, clean look. Keep your paragraphs short. Use bullet points to present the most important information or statistics; they’re one of the first things your reader will check out when deciding whether or not to read your writing.
Avoid Vague Ideas and Statements
If your website is selling a product or service, your readers are going to be looking for specific facts and information that will help them decide whether or not to buy from you.
Because their decision and your profits hinge on this, you will need to present them with information that shows them why they should choose to buy from you.
This is one of the biggest mistakes that first-time website owners make when they’re writing for the web.
Presenting your readers with vague ideas that make them guess at why your product is superior to your competitors isn’t going to convince them.
For example, if you’re setting up a website that sells organic dog food, telling your readers that most owners are looking for ways to feed their pets healthier food doesn’t sell your product to them.
Instead, give them a fact or statistic that you can then use to frame your product’s best feature, such as “In a recent poll, 85% of pet owners said that they worry about the ingredients in their pet’s food and are looking for a healthier alternative.” This information not only allows you to set up your own pitch, but – because it’s factual – your readers will know that you have done your research, and aren’t just saying what you think your readers want to hear.
Be Clever, but Don’t Isolate Your Reader
While clever writing has its place in hooking your readers, there is a fine line between being clever and isolating them with smug-sounding humor and a lot of acronyms that you assume they’ll understand.
In order to keep your readers in the narrative loop, don’t use acronyms without first spelling out what they stand for. While your audience is intelligent, making assumptions about what they know or do not know might cause confusion or offense, which will lose you a reader and a sale.
Your first job when writing for the Web is to inform and interest your readers in order to get them to try your product or service or to sign up for your page’s updates. Once you have them interested and well informed about your product, then you can engage in a bit of humor and cleverness.
Creating engaging and interesting content for your webpage or blog doesn’t have to be a chore. Understanding your audience, giving them clear and concise information, and then building a relationship with them through your writing are the most effective ways to both draw and keep readers.
Writing for the Web means writing as a means to reach out to those who are looking for the kinds of services and products you’re providing so that you can make the connection that will both satisfy them and earn you the profits you need to keep your online business up and running.
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