There are few easy ways to make your website content better for your readers and for SEO. You don’t have to be a master at crafting eloquent phrases or learn a bunch of technical website stuff. They use the techniques I recommend in this post on the best websites, and it’s super simple to implement them.
Online vs Offline Writing
To understand why these tips work to improve your content, it’s important to recognize the differences between offline writing and online content. There are 3 key characteristics that will optimize your content for online reading.
People read online content on various devices—computers, tablets, and phones. Your website content and blog posts need to be easy to read on any device. If your website design is responsive, your content will automatically adapt to the type of device your reader is using.
Of the 4.66 billion active internet users in the world, a whopping 92.6% access online content from a mobile device. This is crucial information. If you don’t have a responsive website design, it’s time to update it ASAP!
Think about your own time online. Whether you’re just browsing or actively researching something specific, when’s the last time you read every single word on a page? It’s rare.
Online users skim.
Generally, today’s online readers are overwhelmed by large chunks of text. And with responsive content, a 4-line paragraph on a computer screen can become a 10-line paragraph on a mobile device. It’s important to keep that in mind.
When someone’s on a device that’s online, they’re always a split-second away from jumping to the next piece of content. Online content is so easily accessible and so plentiful. You have a ton of competition for the attention of your readers. Your challenge is to capture your reader’s attention so they don’t want to click away to the next thing.
7 Easy Ways to Write Better Website Content
There are a few easy ways to improve your website content and optimize it for an online audience. Fortunately, what you learned in school about “proper” writing doesn’t necessarily apply here!
Websites need a lot of white space so readers are not overwhelmed. It needs to be comfortable for the eyes. Here are a few simple ways to achieve white space.
1. Short paragraphs
Ideally, keep your paragraphs at no more than 3 lines of text—a literal single thought. Sometimes even a single sentence is enough for a blog paragraph.
Compare these two blog posts. Which one are you most likely to read?
2. Bullet points
Every blog post should include at least 1 bullet list. Whenever you realize you’re writing a list, turn it into bullet points instead of keeping it in paragraph form.
Notice how your eyes naturally prefer the bulleted list in the examples below? The list makes the paragraph clearer, more obvious, easier to read, and adds white space to the page so it’s not as overwhelming.
Every blog post should have at least one graphic. This is the “featured image” that’s displayed any time your post is shared on social media or in any other “preview” format, including on your own website.
Blog posts longer than 500 words should include extra graphics. Visual images throughout your content will draw eyes down the page and keep readers more engaged.
Notice how your eye naturally wants to scroll down to the bottom of the page when there are images capturing your attention.
This example shows a long post without any graphics. It’s a lot of text!
This example shows the same blog post, but with graphics interspersed throughout. It’s less overwhelming, and the colourful graphics draw your eyes down the page.
Style & Format
How you say what you say matters.
Part of your style will come from your brand voice. If your target audience is corporate professionals, you’ll probably use more formal language than if your target audience is teenagers. But in most cases, there are a few standard stylistic and formatting principles to adhere to.
4. Conversational tone
If you want your content to sound like it was written by a human, write the way you talk. Don’t make it complicated. If writing is a struggle for you, you may even want to record yourself just talking through your outline. You’ll probably be able to listen back and write what you said word-for-word in a lot of places.
Part of the conversational tone is talking to “you”. Write to the person, not about people.
“People struggle to deal with situations like these.”
This sounds like information about other people. Instead, engage your reader by making it about them.
“You might struggle to deal with situations like these.”
Henneke at Enchanting Marketing has an excellent explanation of How to Write Conversationally, complete with examples and 10 helpful tips.
Most of us use contractions when we talk, so we should use them when we write, too. Use “can’t” instead of “cannot”, “you’re” instead of “you are”, etc.
Which one sounds more natural?
“I am sure you are not going to believe this.”
“I’m sure you’re not going to believe this.”
6. Simplify industry jargon
One challenge of writing for your own business is that it’s really easy to slide into industry jargon. The terms you use to talk about your business are normal to you, but they might not be to your reader.
Be careful about using words or phrases that a visitor to your site might not fully understand without explanation. Better yet, don’t use industry jargon at all.
Don’t talk like a salesperson; talk like a neighbor.
- Define terms.
- Write the whole phrase for acronyms. (i.e. Search Engine Optimization vs SEO)
- Write for a 9th grade reading level.
7. Short sentences
Forget what you learned in school. It’s perfectly acceptable to use short sentences instead of long compound sentences. It’s okay to start a sentence with “And” or “But”. This is one way to keep those paragraphs short.
“We make jeans. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal our focus. No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything. No trying to conquer the whole world. We just do our best to conquer our bit of it. So each day we come in and make the best jeans we know how.”
I love it. It sounds human.
You Can Write Better Content for Your Website Easily
It’s easy to write content that’s better for your online audience. Keep in mind that it must be responsive, scannable, and competitive. Then implement these 7 easy tips:
- Keep paragraphs short
- Use bullet points for lists
- Add visually appealing graphics
- Write in a conversational tone
- Use contractions for more natural-sounding phrases
- Simplify industry jargon
- Keep sentences short
Still struggling to write website content for your audience? That’s what I’m here for. Let’s connect.