I make a stable income creating web content. Every time I sit down at my computer and start writing I know I will get paid. As my expectations have changed, my income has grown. Learning how to write for the web has been empowering.
Here are some tips that may save you time, if you want to create online content that sales.
1. Consider Your Reader
When I first started out, writing for the web I was having all sorts of problems. I was trying to write so everyone would hear my voice. When I realized that web writing was not about “me”, it was about my reader, everything changed.
Forget all your preconceived notions. Let go of your ego. Your target audience is the “screen-ager.” They consume large amounts of web content and are not looking for your lofty wisdom or your extended views and advice. They skip ahead, click away and move on if you don’t grab them fast.
Web content needs to be more visual to capture this readers’ short attention span. You need to focus on the area, that they will immediately scan. This is a triangle starting on the left side of your article and two to 3 paragraphs down, across to the right and two to three paragraphs up and to the left.
2. Consider the Search Engines (Keywords)
The phrase “search engine optimization” intimidated me. For a long time I struggled to make my words interesting so the search engines would find me. Finally I researched the phrase. I was surprised to learn that SEO is about simplifying, not complicating, the writing process on the web.
Studies have shown that you need to grab the “screen-age” reader the minute their eyes hit the screen. Your headline is important. They see it first. Don’t try to be cute. Try to be clear.
I remember when my Mom told me to “use your words”. She was right. Use your keywords wisely.
Both your reader and the search engines should find the keywords instantly. Don’t disappoint them.
3. Tighten Up Your Writing
Always start with a quick outline. You need to put emphasis on the main points. I discovered that outlines speed up my writing and clear up any potential writer’s block before it starts. Most importantly, your outline will help you break out the subtitles (main points) of your content.
Always use highlighted subtitles. This works for search engines and for the reader. The subtitles will usually fall into the range of the “screen-agers” triangle.
Single idea sentences and paragraphs work on the web. Make your writing clear, focused and direct.
4. You Are Your Own Editor
I was upset when a client recommended, I run my work through a plagiarism tool. I knew it was 100% my own. Nevertheless, I grudgingly cut and pasted my article into “Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker”. It was a revelation when 2 phrases popped up “not unique”.
There are billions of words on the internet. It’s harder than you think to stay original. Cite your sources and run your work through an on-line plagiarism tool to avoid confusion and duplication.
As a writer, my finished product should be as close to error free as possible. You should always thoroughly proof, and spell-check your work.
You are the writer and the editor (in most cases). Use the tools of your trade to create content of value.
“Power-Writing for eLearning Professionals: 6 Secrets to Great Web Content” by Karla Gutierrez http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/341195/Power-writing-for-eLearning-Professionals-6-Secrets-to-Great-Web-Content