How To Write For The Web

You’ve been told you need a website. You’ve been told this blogging thing is where 21st century business is at. The question becomes, do you know how to write for the web?

It’s different than all those print brochures you may be used to, because with the web, readers’ attention spans are even shorter.

  • You have to draw people in.
  • You need to quickly give them the information they’re looking for.
  • You need to keep them invested through the call to action.

In order to get a better idea of what happens here, think about the way you browse the web for a second. If you’re in the market for something, you may devote a few minutes to search. Then you get hundreds, sometimes thousands of results back. You look for the first one that really means something.

What is it that helps you through the content?

  • It helps when the language is conversational and inviting. That way you get an insight into what it may be like to do business with this company.
  • It helps when the headlines and subheads draw you in with strong promise. Content needs to be broken down more with subheads, lists and shorter paragraphs in order to more quickly convey important information.
  • It helps to know exactly what the business wants you to do, right? Sometimes they want you to give them a call, or maybe download their eBook. Well, you need contact numbers or links in easy to find places. You need to know what they intend for you to do. It’s that simple.

A lot of businesses fall into the trap of thinking that any long content will automatically fail on the web, and that’s not true. There are lots of great bloggers out there, publishing posts 2,000 words at a time. Their secret? It has to be good.

That’s all. Even in the short attention span theater, when you have an idea that readers want to invest in, the length of the piece doesn’t matter. If Internet marketing is your thing, take a look at Neil Patel over at Quicksprout. If news features are more your thing, there’s an entire website and app devoted to the best in-depth writing, Longform.

The desire is there for long, in-depth, captivating content.

Journalists have focused for a long time on short, punchy sentences and paragraphs, to move readers through their work. That style is more important than ever on the web. Try reading your work out loud. If you don’t know where to stop and breathe, your sentences are probably too long.

Try shortening your paragraphs to 3 or 4 lines. It allows your readers to make progress a little more quickly.

With the web, it’s also more important than ever to stay on topic. The water is murkier the further you meander from your stated goal. Feel free to be informal, personal and conversational, but too many side stories will result in quick exits. It’s all a fine line.

What has worked for you in the past?

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