When writing online content there are a few challenges in making your blog or website popular and interesting. This piece will look at some of the ways to write great online content including relevancy, style and SEO.
Whatever you are writing about, whether it is music, politics or sport or you are targeting businesses and customers, your content must be relevant to that area. For example, let us imagine that you have set up a new business and you are targeting customers. You need to know who your customers are (you cannot have ‘everyone’ as category, you need to target groups and areas), what do they want from whatever you are selling, when are they online, who your competitors are and how they are likely to want to interact with you (for example, will they like to see offers on Facebook or Twitter?) By doing all this research not only will you make your product better and targeted to your customers but when writing the content to your website you will be able to sell your USP better if you know your customers and the market. This means that the online content must be relevant to the area which you wish to write about and promote. By having knowledge of your subject area you can make it appropriate to the needs of the viewer.
Following on from making your content relevant, you must also make it accurate. Statistics used, sources, even accusations made need to be backed up. If for example, you are writing a political blog you cannot simply make accusations without stating where the information came from. Of course opinions are key to politics but if you want to write about why 65% of people are against the death penalty and why they are wrong, your statistic must come from a credible source and your arguments would be boosted by those who have made similar ones. Furthermore, where possible provide links to relevant websites for your audience to be able to access these sources quickly. Maybe this is not something people would prioritise in terms of writing great content but having relevant and accurate content is vital to becoming credible to your viewers and gaining their trust and loyalty.
No one likes to read something which is bland and boring. The style in which content is written can make a difference to how attracted views are to it. If your content is funny or witty and well written (always have someone proof-read it) people will be encouraged to return to your website. Style must also be relevant to the purpose that your website wishes to serve, for example a fashion blog will have a different tone to it than a website selling cheeses. Look at successful websites in the area you are aiming your content at and look at how the content is written to suit the audience. Of course you can also look at bad examples of this to learn what not to do! Avoid anything that looks to heavy and bulky. Online content is different to printed content in that people usually like to be able to scan what they are reading. Avoiding too many long and complicated words and sentences and over-use of confusing jargon will also do wonders in increasing traffic to your website.
You can write amazing content on a beautifully designed website but if no one can search for you online your efforts are in vain. Although the new Penguin 2.0 is suspicious of a website that is loaded with too many keywords, it is important to make sure that your website still has your keywords including in your Meta Description and in your title tag. Establishing links with other credible websites will be also be essential to moving your website further up the Google search list. However, avoid too much focus on SEO because if words used are too geared towards this the value of the content can be lost.
The Actual Content
The key to writing great content is… writing great content! This sounds incredibly simple but many things must be considered when looking at the way in which you go about writing your content. One of the first elements to consider is the titles on your website. Whether you want a funny or eye-catching title make sure it is written in a way that grabs the attention of your desired audience. A short, snappy and informative title is the best style, for example “Six Ways in Which Social Media Can Boost Your Business.” The best content is also informative but easy to read. As mentioned in the style section, viewers will be turned off if the writing of the content is too bulky, bland and boring. The best writing style is one which engages the reader and sounds like it speaks to them. Clear and simple language with examples to illustrate points works well to grab the attention and retention of the audience. Breaking up paragraphs also makes the content more digestible. Another way to appeal to a variety of readers is to write your main points at the start of the piece and then go into more and more detail as then people can stop reading when they reach the level of detail they were looking for. Avoid trying to make pieces longer by adding ‘waffle’ to your text. Make sure all paragraphs are relevant to what you are trying to say.
Writing good content for a website takes time and needs to be adjusted until it meets the above criteria. It is difficult to strike a balance between writing good content whilst still aiming for SEO. However, if the content is reliable, accurate, written in a good style, aims for SEO and explains the topic at hand simply and clearly to the audience. However, a good website will be able to work all this into its content if it knows its audience and market well and appeals to them in the way it presents itself.
Chanel Cullen is an experienced SEO consultant for top London based firm Assisted Reputation. She is also an avid blogger and social media user.