Posts Tagged engaging web content

Writing engaging web content

To attract users and search engines to your website, you need to write content that engages and excites. Posting valuable content and updating it regularly will help you earn credibility and trust with your audience, and encourages enquiries and responses from them.

The bottom line is… people will visit your website and purchase your products/services if you have good content. Content is ‘king’, and needs to be:

  • relevant to their needs
  • interesting
  • engaging
  • dynamic or changing regularly
  • easy and fast to read, view and navigate
  • informative and
  • calls them to action.

Yet the majority of websites fail in this regard.  Why?  Because writing good web content is difficult. It’s easy to ramble on about how great you are and to load your website full of jargon that your customers don’t understand, but writing copy that is interesting, engaging and calls people to action is much harder.

Here’s just a few tips for writing good web copy…

Avoid clutter and stay focused
By keeping your design free of clutter, you will make it easier for visitors to know what’s important. Steer clear of excessive advertisements or images that don’t add value. What’s left is the real content, which needs to be focused on communicating the messages you want your visitors to receive. By focusing or a few key topics you have a better chance of maintaining their attention.

Reinvent your writing style – get active
While it’s important to be informative, there’s no need to be boring when conveying information. Don’t simply state the facts, generate interest with active verbs like ‘drive’, ‘soar’, ‘infuse’, ‘create’ and so on. And ditch the passive voice which dulls down your writing and makes it dry. Instead, identify the active voice (‘you’) and write to your audience – i.e. ‘Product x makes it easy for you to…’.

Paint a picture
Help readers experience what you’re saying. You can achieve this by using sensory words and good descriptors that help them feel, taste, touch, hear and see what you’re talking about. By writing this way you can also incorporate keywords and phrases easily into the descriptive text.

Show and tell
Sometimes words aren’t enough and to engage readers, you need to show them. Don’t just tell them about your product features and benefits; show them, with images and video about how to install/use your product. Include testimonials.

Be specific
Don’t be vague – it leads to ambiguity and confusion. Avoid words like ‘it’, ‘that’, ‘we’ etc and replace them with meaningful words instead. By repeating the proper name of the thing you’re talking about (whether it’s your brand or product) you’re reinforcing these names with your audience and helping search engines better understand what your page is about, thus improving your search engine optimisation.

Avoid jargon
Because you know what you mean, you tend to generalise and use jargon when writing about your company, products and/or services. Although it makes sense to you, your content may be lost on someone less familiar with your business.

Brand your interaction
Everything you do is part of your marketing, so the way you write needs to be consistent with and reinforce your brand image and reputation.

Keep in mind that your website is never ‘finished’ and that good writing requires continuous revision. When you think you’re done, set it aside and come back to it in a few days with ‘fresh eyes’. And as always, get someone who’s a complete novice to review your content and point out anything that’s unclear or needs improvement before you publish.

References:
B. Clay and S. Esparza 2011, ‘Write Exciting and Engaging Web Content for Better SEO Results’, viewed 25 April 2011.
Vandelay Design 2008, ‘5 Steps to a More Engaging Website’, viewed 25 April 2011.
M. Dorian 2011, ‘How to Create Engaging Web Content that Captivates your Audience’, viewed 25 April 2011.

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