Content Writing for the Web


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Content Writing for the Web

  1. 1. Content Writing for the Web By Shubham Singh
  2. 2. Why do people even read “Stuff” on the web? • • • • To buy something……anything To get a second or first opinion To entertain themselves To satisfy their curiosity
  3. 3. How do people read on the web? • The web is full of CRAP (Thanks to past SEO practices) – People have realized this and so have search engines – Key-word density, frequency etc., is no longer a priority – Content quality from a “Readers’” perspective is what matters now (Thanks to Google’s intelligent algorithms)
  4. 4. • Nobody ends up at the piece directly, they mostly find your content through Social Networks……through sharing! • Nobody cares how information/fact rich the piece is if they cant see it they wont read it. – People scan pages! – 3 to 5 seconds! • “Marketese” aka marketing language, turns readers off
  5. 5. Characteristics of Good Web Content • Scannable • Concise • Web readable layout
  7. 7. Scannability • People scan the main sections of a page – Determine what it’s about – Whether they want to stay longer. • They make decisions about the page in as little as 3 seconds. • If they decide to stay, they pay the most attention to the content in the top part of the screen.
  8. 8. Headings/Large Type Spaced Out Text Hypertext to relevant content Bullet Lists Bold or Highlighted text
  9. 9. Intro/Summary Caption
  10. 10. Topic Sentence and Controlling ideas • Topic sentence essentially tells what the rest of the paragraph is about. • All sentences after it have to give more information about the sentence •Prove it by offering facts about it •Describe it • Controlling ideas • shows the direction the paragraph will take
  11. 11. Concise • Inverted Pyramid style of writing • Avoid “Fluff”, “Puffery” or “Marketese” • Condense information:
  12. 12. Marketese • Solutions - Not the liquidy thing, I'm afraid. 'Solutions' is the buzz word rather egotistical. If you are the best in something, then you'll probably be ranked first in a poll of some sort. Link to the poll. Note the following two phrases which have used 'the best' in them have become very successful, however the vast majority of web pages probably wouldn't if they tried using them: 'Simply the best' and 'The best a man can get (Gillette)'. • The best... - Putting this anywhere on a webpage will make you seem • of consultants who have answers to problems you never even considered until their product existed. Rather than calling something a 'solution', explain what it actually does to solve a problem. Then you'll be writing about your selling point and not a vague catchall. New - This word is so common amongst the internet. It has a variety of • about being 'internationally recognised', 'world leading', 'world class' or 'a global success'. The sceptical out there will probably look at these statements with raised eyebrows. Just be warey of using such terms without just cause. For example, if the first time a person has discovered your brand is by a Google Ad, you should probably not be using 'internationally renowned' on your site - at least not without quantifying it (e.g. 'internationally renowned for expertise in putting holes in the middle of mints'). meanings, but the use that is completely unnecessary is sticking 'new' (normally with a yellow/red icon) next to any new pages or products. Use of a 'new' icon is a cop-out for better structured page sections which are designed to showcase new products. One phrase that also should be avoided: 'the newest ____ in town'. • Cool and Fun - These two words should only ever be used by young folk. They have no place on web pages in describing... anything. • • fantastic. These words are normally suffixed with 'opportunity'. Unless • Unique - I love and hate it. It solves many problems as a great catchall for selling something, but at the same time it has become more overused. Hence its place half-way up the list. • Revolutionary - Unless your product, service, or web page has either: caused a great change in thinking, a country-wide riot, or revolves regularly, this word is silly. Made up words - If you haven't worked it out by now, all the points above address the issue where words are used and the reader has to think twice about the genuine message. Making up words takes this to the next level where the reader has to think twice (or thrice) about the actual message (regardless of whether its genuine or not). Generic beef-up words: outstanding, amazing, incredible, you have a direct quote from someone describing your product or service as such, avoid self-declarations. Even then, don't use them except in explicit customer testimonials/quotes. Going global - I often come across pages which mention something • Unbeatable (price) - Normally followed quickly by 'terms and conditions apply'. State the price, perhaps you have a sale, but be honest and clear. Supermarkets often have price cuts after a previous two week hike, they increased the price, so now with their cut it has become unbeatable, but only because a fortnight ago the price went up. (So 10 and a half is) Sale - Closely associated with an unbeatable price. We've all seen the DFS/SFS/SCS sale. Some say they only have one a year, the only thing is that it's all year long. Only use it if it's a real sale, otherwise you'll just saturate your sale-conscious market and they'll become disinterested. Note: using point (4) with this is a big annoyance, e.g. 'biggest sale ever'.1
  13. 13. Web-readable Layout • About 65 characters per line • Fit in a single page if possible • Relevant graphics only – Captions are secondary • Hyperlinks must have a context/description – “Click here”, turns people off
  14. 14. Further Reading • • • •