Writing for websites has become a form of art in the last decade. It’s not as easy as sitting down and writing whatever’s on your mind and rolling with it, hoping someone will see the genius in you. We now have loads of factors to consider if we want our content to stand out and make an impact.
The internet is chock-full of websites (around 1.7 billion), but less than 20% of them are active. Only a small portion of sites get more than 50% of all the online traffic.
But it’s 2020, and the market is not only fluid – it’s growing! Just like always, people are trying to start new businesses, and having a presence on the internet is paramount. Chances are, most, if not all of those new businesses need content, and they don’t intend on writing thousands of words themselves or hiring in-house!
So, if you’re an aspiring writer who wants to have a go at writing for websites, you’ve come to the right place!
First, we’ll explain the importance of written content. After that, our detailed guide will explain all the steps you should take to become a successful content writer. We are trying to help you write compelling articles that will engage readers, boost the site’s ranks and rating, and make a name for your business or yourself in the world of digital marketing!
But I’m getting ahead of myself – why the hell does content matter, anyway?
Why Is Good Content Writing Important?
Having a wide array of products, a good marketing strategy, and a good-looking website will help your business get off the ground and get noticed in your niche – sure, all of these are important. However, written content can put you on the map for the whole world – and keep you there!
Is Content Writing an Effective Marketing Strategy?
There are still some in the business community who doubt the effectiveness of written content in boosting site ranks and conversion rates, but opinions can’t measure up to facts and stats. Written content is effective, plain and simple. Don’t wanna hear it from me? Check out these eye-opening stats by reputable sources:
- 10% of all blog posts on any given site compound their traffic, which means it steadily increases with organic searches. Source: HubSpot
- Websites that consider blogs to be key elements of their marketing strategy are 434% more likely to rank higher in search engines results. Source: TechClient
- Small businesses that use written content create 126% more leads on a month-by-month basis. Source: HubSpot
Writing for Websites: Doing it Right Matters!
Discover the Purpose of the Website
Before you start writing, you’ll need a client or a website to hire you.
Let’s set a hypothetical situation: you’ve pitched to a few clients and all of a sudden, one is interested and wants to work on his new website with you!
Breathe. Don’t panic. This is good – you’ve just made the first, and hardest step!
The first thing you should do is get more information on the website. What’s the website for? Is your client selling products? Maybe running an informational blog? Each of these variations needs a different approach, and your job as a writer will be to determine that approach before proceeding.
Research Your Audience
How do you know what your audience wants?
Simple – you need to research it, and then mould your tone accordingly.
By giving a specific and if possibly, unique voice to your brand, and by implementing the design and tone in line with that voice, you can give your clients exactly what they need to profit from your content.
Analyze the behavior of your demographic among the millions of internet users and customers and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do they want simple or complex, information-dense articles?
- Long or bite-sized?
- Formal or conversational? Slang-style, maybe?
- SEO-optimized or plain storytelling?
- Client accenting, promoting or anti-promoting?
- Soft-selling or hard-selling?
- What is the end goal of the content?
Knowing how people in certain businesses communicate is crucial. You want to align with some of them and incorporate some of their techniques and methods to consider the niche-specific language and approach you need to use. This makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for, and what better way is there than to show them familiar lingo?
The majority of users don’t want to read food-for-thought articles or blogs that would require them to put an effort to understand what you’re trying to say. They want bites. Something that is light and delicious to bite on, just nutritional enough, quickly digestible into an idea or an epiphany.
Who Are You Up Against?
Once you get acquainted with your target, it’s time to learn more about your competition. In any business on the planet, established players can be a goldmine of information.
You can use this information to tweak your approach. The reason some businesses perform better than others is not because of better products. Instead, their marketing strategies and update frequencies play a very big role, so when researching any pre-idolized marketing giants, ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes their content stand out? Why is it different from mine?
- What can I adapt from their content, to make my content better?
- What are they missing, that would be beneficial to my content work?
Innovation is key. Time and money are precious, and inventing something new in the world of content writing is nearly impossible. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t innovate! Take existing methods and styles and use them, but don’t forget to make them compatible, and then unique in some way. This will make your content stand out and attract visitors, which, if nurtured properly, will convert into full-time customers!
How Will Your Content Fit with Other Pages on the Website?
Your blog posts or articles aren’t a self-standing art piece – they’re more like a single piece of a giant puzzle, the big picture of your career.
However, when writing websites, you want to keep the puzzle uniform, and you can’t write every piece as a separate idea. All of them are continuations. This gives the website flow, and all of the content will blend in seamlessly, making the page more vibrant and fluid.
It feels like a rollercoaster ride, not a comfortable, spaced-out mansion – and it’s one of the best reasons to become a web content writer!
Not only that, it helps reduce clutter as well as the chance of creating content that will be marked as plagiarism by search engines. Articles and blog posts should be unique and interconnected, not variations on a theme, filled with fluff and synonyms.
Would you read an article or a blog post on a page that sounds just like a piece you read a few days or a week ago? Of course not.
Now you’re on the other side, and you don’t want to be that guy!
If you eventually end up going down this road, there’s a simple way to get back on track.
Just imagine how your content reads, not only in the eyes of the readers, but your clients too. Repetitive articles point to a lack of professionalism and straight-out laziness. There’s always something new to write about, something unknown to the client or the customer. This is where you, the writer, have to deliver and show that this brand is up-to-date with the development in the clients’ niche.
Old and outdated brands don’t do well on the market – and neither do brands who won’t quickly adapt to every new Google policy shift.
Add Non-copy Elements, Consider the Ones Already on the Site
Before you start writing, check out the layout of the page and see how your article looks.
Buttons, pictures, infographics, GIFs – these all play important parts in the reader experience. All of these little add-ons can be used to keep readers interested in your content, point out important information or stats, and direct them to sources where they can get additional information on the subject.
Color, toolbars, spacing – these elements are present on all website pages, and they should influence your writing style and language accordingly. For example, in cluttered sites, go for simpler language and shorter sentences, because the surrounding elements might overwhelm the reader.
Once you’re done researching, it’s time to start structuring and shaping your article.
This means setting all the macros on the document including the heading and subheading specifications, writing appropriate titles, and only then, once you have all the paragraphs figured out, you’ll be ready to spill some words onto your artist’s canvas.
Having correct information is important, but if its placement is inappropriate, you won’t leave much of an impression on the reader. There are tons of ways to format your articles, but only a handful of them will work in 2020, as the internet has grown quite picky!
The most popular one? The inverted pyramid.
Using the inverted pyramid means that you will place the most important information at the beginning, second-priority information right after that (depending on their customer profile), and other important bits lower in the article to lead them into your funnel.
This might sound counter-intuitive and counter-productive, but it’s actually very efficient. Here’s why:
- It helps separate valuable information from secondary details
- It encourages scrolling because it gives the reader a strong, clear basis of the knowledge about to come
- It’s suitable for both skimmers and avid fanatics, meaning it’s also easier to read by readers with ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia
Don’t trust us – trust scientists and experts who researched the efficiency of the inverted pyramid. We’ll let you judge the results yourself.
While this way of structuring comes with great benefits, it’s not suitable for all types of articles and blogs. It’s important for you to tailor your structure to the needs of your clients and your audience. If your gut is telling you to go with something softer, narrative-driven, roll with it. It’s your little work of art – treat it that way!
Proofreading & Editing
Once you put the last interpunction symbol at the end of your work, you may feel done, but now it’s time to start polishing. Getting the tone and point across is important, but it means nothing if your article is laden with typos and long, incoherent sentences.
The best content writers usually leave their articles on the side when they’re done, so they can go over them later on a clear head.
Don’t get ahead of yourself – this is not the final version either – but it is a first draft, and that’s something you can work with. So, when you finish writing, let the work sit and get other tasks done. After a few hours, take another look and read it with a fresh mind.
Make sentences shorter and more coherent, remove typos and unnecessary information, maybe even insert a joke or two if your client needs a tone on the lighter side of the spectrum. This way you can smooth out your work, make the text sleeker and fully compatible with the client’s vision, and enrich it until it sounds and flows beautifully. Just re-reading your work is great for keeping track of your development, as well as learning how to make better content in the future!
Remember: read, edit, rewrite,repeat – until you get a polished and well-flowing article, a single piece of work that flows seamlessly from start to finish. Articles that go through extensive editing processes are a million times better than first drafts!
Aside from bringing in website visitors through marketable and engaging content, you can also boost your numbers with SEO. That just means you’re making it easier for search engines to recommend your content, placing it on their first results pages so users can find them, as the most relevant source for the searched keyword.
Relevancy is power!
With good research and a semi-decent, even ratchet-strapped SEO strategy, you can get your page to rank higher! If clients want to rank on the first page, they’ll pay real professionals to create a SEO strategy, and probably implement it.
These SEO professionals are also your clients.
SEO ratings are much more than SERP rankings. A good SEO strategy also helps with:
- Better user experience and usability
- Better social-media outreach – users are more likely to share your content on social media
- Staying ahead of your competition – if you have better SEO, your content will rank higher than that of your competition, which means more users, more sales and more profit!
Keep the Content Fresh
Shelling out content is not enough – you need to keep it up to date. The world is moving at a frantic pace, with ideas, methods, and techniques changing on a monthly, and even weekly basis. This means that some of your content will need to be updated at some point in the future, probably very soon. Outdated content is boring and will significantly reduce user retention.
Imagine having a go-to site where you look for solutions and advice, and you see that their articles contain outdated methods and advice that don’t cover newer tech, updates, or tools. Would you keep going back? Of course not.
And it doesn’t take much – you just need to lag a few months behind your competition!
Add new stuff, revise statements, tune your tone, add new links – all these help keep your content fresh not just for the reader, but for SEO too. Just make sure to keep your core text, as well as your context.
Beating the Writing Game
Ever tried to find Waldo? Standing out in a big crowd is hard, but it’s far from impossible. Some brands are just more successful than others, and that depends on a large number of factors. We wish it were otherwise, but it’s simply not enough to just have a good product and place ads according to what you think is your target audience.
How do you beat the game? Easy.
Keep reading and improving yourself.
Practice, practice, practice!
Practice enough, and you might just end up as the go-to guy for the best possible content in the eyes of your client!