Before you can start writing your content it’s important you understand how people behave online. Web users can be impatient and are driven by a need. They’re searching for a piece of information or a product to purchase/service. When a visitor lands on a site, they will make a quick decision on whether that site will lead to the end goal and how much effort will be required to get to it.
Does a website offer what they’re looking for? And can they find it easily? Web users decide very quickly whether a site is useful or not. If it looks too complicated or difficult to find what they’re looking for, they’ll move on to another website.
Two important barriers to overcome when writing content:
1) The physical barrier. It’s harder to read text on a screen than it is to read on paper. The additional effort required from the eye and brain means people read up to 25% slower.
2) The behavioural barrier. When viewing a website, users are more inclined to skim read looking for headings, hyperlinks, numerals and keywords. The best way to describe this behaviour is impatient or restless.
Writing content tips
- Speak with authority. Show the user you know your subject by offering snippets of your professional knowledge but be careful not to use technical jargon that may confuse your visitor or is unnecessary.
- Write for the user not yourself. Don’t write about how amazing and successful your company is. Instead tell users how your products/services will improve their lives, save them money or increase their knowledge.
- Address the user directly. Write as if you were talking to the user over a cup of coffee by including words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’. It adds a sense of ownership too.
- Include client testimonials. Increase your credibility use testimonials from real customers to support your content.
- Highlight unique selling points. Make a point of mentioning anything about your company that makes you stand out from your competitors.
- Include call to actions. A call to action is a funnel through your website that leads a user to YOUR desired goal e.g. contact you directly, making a purchase, etc.
- Break up large amounts of text. Use short paragraphs & sentences. Keeping them short makes it much easier to read large amounts of text. Use of headings and sub-headings, which are a great way to break up content for skim readers. Use bullet pointed lists Include bullet pointed lists where appropriate for skim readers and to reduce wordiness.
- Remove unnecessary words. Read through your content and cut any unnecessary words. Once you’ve finished, read through it again… there are definitely more you can remove.
- Start each page with a conclusion. This writing style is known as an inverted pyramid. By starting with a summary your giving the user the ability to quickly decide whether to keep reading.
- Use active verbs. Give the user an instruction by using verbs at the beginning of key headings, links and sentences e.g. ‘buy now’, ‘find out more’, ‘learn more’, ‘contact us’ etc. Writing great content, is a huge part of a successful site.