Writing Quality Web Content: A Simple Guide
The single most important part of your website is the content, so it makes sense that you want it to be of the highest quality. Whether you started your website to make money or just for fun, your goal should ultimately be the same: help or inform your reader. While I could write entire essays on the topic of writing good content, I want to keep this short and sweet. In this guide I will teach you some of the fundamentals for writing quality web content.
Rule #1: Were You Even Listening?
First and foremost you have to make sure what your writing is informative and helpful. Nobody wants to read spam and writing spammy content is one of the easiest ways to end up with an abandoned website.
Do your research. See what people are talking about and asking about on the topic you’re getting ready to write about. Are you writing on a product? Check out the Amazon questions section or check out related forums and see what people are asking. Then, answer those questions. The key is to listen and answer.
If someone took the time to type it into a forum or Amazon questions, you can bet they tried Google first and didn’t find what they were looking for.
Rule #2: Who Is Your Audience Anyway?
Building off of rule #1, it is important to know exactly who you are speaking to. Different demographics speak in different ways. While conducting the research from #1 take note of how people are speaking to one another. Is it very formal? Somewhat informal? Reminiscent of the back corner of the bar by the pool tables?
All of these questions are important to consider as you want to be relatable to your readers. I’m not saying be fake. I’m saying to mold your tone around the tone your audience speaks in.. So yeah, maybe be a little fake if you are speaking to an audience that’s nothing like you. However, I do hope that’s not the case.
You shouldn’t pick a website subject, or choose a niche, solely because of profitability (that’s the only reason I could think of for building a website that targets users you know nothing about and are nothing like). Write about what you love, what you are passionate about, and this rule should come naturally.
Rule #3: KISS, but with a twist
Most of us have probably heard the acronym KISS, or Keep It Simple Stupid. This rule does actually apply to writing quality web content as most people aren’t online looking to read a thesis.
Keep you sentences short and your paragraphs shorter. I’m not. Saying. You should. Write. Like this. Rather you should write naturally. Make sure your content is conversational and has a similar flow and cadence to how you speak.
Believe it or not there is an actual science to sentence structure’s and lengths for optimal readability, and it’s called the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula. You can read more about the Flesch formula: here.
You probably cuold have guessed the “twist” by now, as I’m not that clever. Keep It Short Stupid, is what I was getting at. I know, I know. Ridicule me for it in the comments, it’s fine. I can take it. Regardless, the acronym is referring to sentences and paragraphs, NOT your overall content length. You want your posts to be long and informative, but easy to digest. So give your long, drawn out content a Kiss, but with a twist.
Rule #4: Pass the Heading Test
This one I believe is the most simple of all the rules. The heading test refers to your content’s “scannability”. Many people simply scan through articles when they are online. For this reason you want to make sure your content is easy to scan?
How do you do this, you might ask?
Well, I just told you. First, rule #3 is relevant here as well. Next, make sure your headings are relevant. Someone should be able to land on your page or post, scan only the title and headings and know exactly what was talked about in your post. And yes, I know I am breaking that rule on this post. Again, feel free to call my a hypocrite in the comments. I love you, too.
Rule #5: Ugh.. Keywords
I was hesitant to even include keywords on this list because they are so misunderstood and misused. The days of “keyword density” have long been over (thank god). Once you have found the keywords you want to target using what you feel is the best keyword research tool, the next step is much simpler.
Your target keyword only needs to be in 6 places:
- The URL
- The meta title and meta description
- The paget title
- The first paragraph or first 100 words of your content
- In 1 of Your headings (I said ONE, not ALL!)
Anything beyond those 4 places is just gravy. Make sure you work your keyword in in a conversational way that makes sense. If you find a great keyword that has high search volume, low competition but doesn’t make any damn sense grammatically, you did not find a great keyword.
I’ll deal with this rant later in another post.
Now Start Writing Quality Web Content! Or.. At least.. Better content.. Please.
Well that’s it, sorta. Those are my top 5 rules for writing quality web content. To be honest I will probably think of a few more and add them to this post. What are your rules for crafting your website’s posts? Do you disagree with any of the one’s I just mentioned? Have I lost all of your respect? Let me know what you’re thinking down in the comments below. I’ll get back to ya… probably.