14 Apr How to Write Engaging Content for the Web
What’s the best way to increase organic traffic to your website? Regularly posting informative, engaging and timely content. That’s it! It seems easy enough, but it’s a huge struggle for nonprofits, who are already on a shoe-string budget, to pay for a writer to churn out new content. In fact, it’s hard for everyone. About 28% of companies say they don’t have a large enough marketing budget.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay a writer to keep your content fresh. A regularly updated blog will do the trick. Anyone on your team, even a volunteer, who has some writing chops can learn how to write blog posts for your site.
Choosing a Title
When you sit down to write a new blog post, you must consider your audience. What are they interested in? What do they NEED to know? What will benefit them in this exact moment? If you choose a topic that addresses all three questions, you will get results. However, your blog topic is not the most important thing–your title is.
A click-worthy title is accurate and thought provoking. It makes people want to know more. Keep it short (no more than 10 to 12 words) and direct. Sprinkle in a few keywords for SEO, but stay true to your topic. And don’t give everything away in the title! The key is to entice readers to want more.
Researching Your Topic
The research phase is, for many, the most enjoyable part of writing. It’s here that you will broaden your mind and learn all the intriguing details and statistics associated with your topic.
Start with a general online search to read up on the topic, but don’t stop there. Jot down several ideas that you want to include in your article or, better yet, create an outline. Then, fill in your thoughts and answer your questions with information gleaned from credible sources. Credible sources include information published by government and educational institutions, research articles published in journals, information published by experts in the field, articles from reputable news agencies and pieces included in academic databases.
Setting Your Tone
Blog posts do not usually contain formal or stuffy language. Rather, they are conversational, friendly and easy to follow. They’re meant to be entertaining and informational. Keep this in mind when setting your tone or voice. Do not overwhelm your readers. Instead, give them digestible information presented in concise language.
Organize Your Content
Your readers have more information at their fingertips than ever before and much less time to absorb it. What’s more, many readers get their information on mobile devices, which are clunky and not designed for reading large tomes. For these reasons, web content is organized for optimal readability and scannability.
Break the body of your article up into multiple subheadings that explain what the reader will get out of each section. Your reader should be able to read the title and subheadings and come away with a clear understanding of what the post is trying to convey. As for the information included under each subheading, keep it short. Use multiple short paragraphs, and avoid wordiness. Answer the question posed by the subheading and no more.
Proofread and Run Copyscape
After you finish writing your article, it’s time to clean it up. Run spell and grammar check in your document and take a few minutes to proofread your article for errors. Hint: reading aloud will help you spot errors faster than reading silently because it makes you slow down and really see what’s on the page, not what you intended to write. If in doubt, have someone else read it for you.
Next, run Copyscape. You should do this for every piece you want to publish! Copyscape scans the text of your article and searches for duplicate content online. You do not want duplicate content. Why? Google does not want to show a bunch of duplicate content to readers, so it shows them only one result, which is most often the original source. This means that a blog with duplicate content will get very little organic traffic.
Examples of Good Copy and Bad Copy
What makes copy good and bad? Let’s break it down:
- Good copy gets to the point and answers a question.
- Bad copy meanders around the topic and contains lots of fluff.
- Good copy is easy to read, even entertaining.
- Bad copy flows poorly and frustrates readers.
- Good copy has no spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Bad copy is riddled with typos, spelling errors, syntax issues and poor grammar.
The key to writing for the web is to choose a click-worthy title and deliver on the title with well-organized, concise and scannable content. After you publish the piece, you simply rinse and repeat. Publish a new post two to four times per week to get the best results from your blogging efforts.
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