Did you know that, according to Copyblogger, 80% of people will read your web headlines, but only 20% of those people will stick around to read the rest of your content? To keep up with the ever-changing internet and the quick-scanning habits of people in the modern world, we need to adapt our web content to stay fresh. Becoming an influencer or going viral with a blog or piece of writing is key. Keeping up with millennials is of the utmost importance, because they are the ones out there crawling the web for useful information.
Here’s how to keep your web content crisp:
- Discussing trends and new ways to do things—this will keep you relevant in today’s society. People are constantly searching for new and different ways to accomplish their mundane tasks in the fastest, most efficient way. Tips and tricks are a good way to go with blogs, etc. many times.
- Original content—modern readers like original content. They aren’t into reading the same ol’ stuff over and over, pulled from old articles, blogs, and the like. A good headline also reels readers in fairly easily. Keeping them on your site is the trick. Headlines that roll off the tip of the tongue are fantastic, but also keep them clear and concise. Keep it catchy!
- Learn some basics on SEO—quality content and usability are important concepts to get a grasp on (if you haven’t already). Subheadings and short sentences and paragraphs are essential with today’s readers, too. An above average knowledge in social media is crucial, also. Knowing where to post and how to use SEO to your advantage is more in-depth than most think. You might use social media every day, but there is a method to SEO professionals’ madness.
- More about usability—the NN Group points to this definition of usability: “a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use; the word usability also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.” Usability is important because it keeps readers on your page/keeps them coming back for more.
- Use commonly utilized words and little jargon—use subheadings as a guide to keep readers following your content. Also, use words that everyone understands to keep a good amount of people coming back for more. Don’t bog your blog down with extra-complicated words that people will need to look up whilst reading, unless you’re writing for an ultra-specific audience, that is (as in a medical journal, for example). In addition, don’t use too much technical or old-world jargon. Ease-of-understanding is the best policy. A conversational style is the way to go with blogs.
- Write for scanners, not readers—when you’re reading online, you tend to skim, right? That’s true for most people who read through blogs, websites, newspapers, etc. online. We are scouring the internet for the information we need, and don’t care much about the rest of the text on the page, unless it’s all valuable. Know your audience, also. If you want to more about that, check out a previous blog I wrote where I expanded on this subject.
- Prioritize content—put the most important content first in blogs and other writing pieces online. If the user is an information-gatherer, as mentioned above, they want to see the most imperative information listed first. Then, they can move on (even if we don’t want them to, we’ve got to face the facts. Sometimes they do). Make a visual impression, also. Consider the design of your website, blog, etc. when writing. Utilize white space and use images to break up text when possible. The use of bullets helps to categorize information (as done in this article) in a list format, also.
- Edit, edit, edit—make sure you edit, or have someone else edit all of your content. Be sure to do this, or the grammarians will come out of the shadows, and appear as if out of nowhere! I know, for me, when I’m reading an article that has multiple spelling errors, I just stop reading and close the page. This may not be true for everyone, but some grammarians will slay you if they find huge amounts of errors in your blogs and the like. If you don’t know how to spell something, just look it up on Google or dictionary.com. This also applies to facts you may list in blogs, etc. Fact check or face the factoid police!
- Active voice is vital—don’t use a passive voice in any kind of writing materials. You want to have some oomph behind your words and you also want to be concise. Action-lead sentences have less words, also, which online readers crave.
- Use keywords to stay on top of Google searches—using words that will be easily found when searched for is absolutely necessary when writing for the web. You’ve got to keep Google crawling your articles! Also, intent matching is worth mentioning. This helps to expand on what the user is searching for (what their intent is), while splicing keywords in here and there, too. Write first, then sprinkle in some keywords for good measure.
Stay on track with these tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way to being a successful online writing extraordinaire! I’ll leave you with one last tip: make sure you don’t have any duplicated content. Google can, and will, penalize you for this, and then you’ll have to start all over. And, who wants that?
Chelsea Roeser is a Project Manager at JP Enterprises who also proofreads and copywrites. She lives in Mt. Washington with her German Shepherd mix and listens to Hall and Oates when she has free time. She also enjoys taking overlook pictures with her dog, going to Pittsburgh Penguins games, and skiing when she isn’t working.