Writing web content & SEO – ‘How readers differ’

Posted on February 28, 2011 in Training, Writing for the web

Tips and Techniques for writing web content and writing SEO text, and how it differs from writing for print… below I share some ideas, spelt out as the Six C’s:

I have also written other web writing blogs on these topics:

1. Curiosity

Web users are driven by particular needs and desires. So, when planning and writing your web copy, think what do they want, rather than what you have to say… they really don’t care when you were set up – unless it is more than 30-40 years ago.

Write web content for your users’ needs, not to flatter yourself!

2. Context

Computers sit within today’s hectic lifestyles, which means people have little time, and want the information quickly. They are also global: some users may not be able to read English well, and many not understand your jargon. And can be viewed by competitors as well as clients.

People visiting websites just want to ‘Grab and Go.’  Write web content with this in mind. 

3. Capability

It is physically harder to read a computer screen than a page of text – because of the lower resolution, less contrast, and the glare on the screen. As a result people read about 25% slower, their appetite is less, and patience shorter. 100% read the headlines, 60% read down the page, but only 10% read to the end.

Write web copy that is 50% shorter than print.

4. Competition

People are foraging for information on the web, looking for whatever best answers their needs. Your web pages compete with millions of others for users’ attention and needs. And users will expect sites to be readily accessible, and regularly updated.

Keep your website updated,  posting new material.

5. Content

As a result of all the above, 80% of readers scan web pages and only read 20%-30% of the words. Their reading pattern is ‘F’ shaped, ie they are most likely to read the top few lines, they scan the left margin looking for relevant words etc., and read the sentences where something catches their eye.

Make your web content headings and opening lines really eye-catching.

6. Choice

Nor do people read linearly, as in a book. They arrive at a web site with a set goal in mind, and ruthlessly browse around, cherry picking information from different web sites. They prefer clear writing and dislike pushy advertising.

People’s attitude to e-newsletters is even more ruthless … but more about that another time.

Just some tips on writing good web content … but remember to also look at my other blogs on writing web content.

Not just a Copywriter - Also a Writing Trainer.
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