Writing for the web is the same as any other type of writing, except that it’s different. That is, web readers expect the same quality of writing as print readers do, but they want it presented differently.
Your customers and potential customers approach the Internet like an information buffet. They skim... they scan... if they find a website that appeals to them, they sample the content. If they like it, they stay. If they don’t find what they’re looking for... click! They're off to sample another.
The best way to attract customers and keep them coming back for seconds and thirds is to serve up website content that is satisfying and visually appealing.
Whet your reader's appetite with a headline that gives them a reason to stay on your website. A good headline catches attention and tells the reader what they will gain by reading further: "Ten Tips for Closing More Sales". "Packaging That Inspires. Packaging That Sells". "Write Better Web Site Copy".
The Main Course
Apply the fundamental rules of good writing. Craft and edit your website content to ensure that your writing is:
- Purposeful, compelling and clear
- Lean and active
- Free of spelling, grammar and usage errors
Unlike print readers, who almost always read columns or pages in sequence, web readers skip from page to page and site to site. Accommodate your readers by summarizing early and often. Include your main points in the first paragraph of your site and the first paragraph of each page, so that visitors find relevant information anywhere on your site.
Serve bite-sized pieces. Organizing your website content into small clusters of information makes it easy for site visitors to digest information quickly. Lists, bullet points and side bars are useful for highlighting key points and maintaining visual flow on a website.
Some website content is difficult to divide into small sections. Use intra-site links to direct readers to other pages of your site for deeper exploration of select topics.
Although web readers generally prefer content that is divided into short pages, it is more important that your page divisions make sense. Don't truncate your presentation of Internet marketing strategies just to make it fit on one page. Web readers are more concerned with ROI than word count. If your website content is relevant and well-written, you don't need to worry about page length.
Entice your readers with special offers, informative newsletters, or up-to-the-minute industry news. Make it deliciously easy for them to subscribe or contact you directly.
Providing links to other relevant, non-competitive websites such as professional organizations and educational institutes reminds website visitors that you are a valuable resource.
Lastly, always sample your own work. Use as many browsers and platforms as you can to check your website pages after uploading. No matter how good your website content is, if customers can't read it - it's spoiled!
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Copyright © 2006 by Dennis and Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.