Today, we have something different from the usual SEO news for you.
I’m Neil and I take care of most of the content for Jackson Digital. I’ve worked with Ryan for years and I’ll be taking care of a few content-centered blog posts this month while Ryan is busy optimizing client sites.
Straight down to business, then…
If you’re a business owner looking to create web content for your business, I’ll highlight 10 ways to make things easier for yourself.
10 Tips for Creating Web Content That Converts
- Know your audience and write to them
- Be informal and personal: write like you’re talking to a friend
- Embrace white space: use short sentences and short paragraphs
- Break test up further with bulleted lists and sub-headers
- Keep it simple: write crisply and clearly
- Use the active voice as much as possible
- Every blog post should be as long as it needs to be
- Use tools like Grammarly, but only as a guide
- Always include a call-to-action
- Consider hiring a professional if you’re still out of your comfort zone
1) Know your audience
Before anything else, establish who you are writing for. To engage your audience, you need to know how they are.
Today, for example, I’m writing primarily for business owners looking to produce effective web content for their own site. My secondary audience might include other writers, SEOs, or business owners already producing content but looking to improve.
The trick here is to appeal to all these areas of your audience. Offer some advanced insight without alienating your core audience or complete beginners.
Knowing your audience is one thing, but ensuring that this audience finds you is what counts. Your blog posts need to be optimized for search engines while also appealing to your readership. This is a fine line to straddle. That said, if write primarily for humans with an eye on SEO, results will invariably be better than writing what you think Google wants with your audience in second place. Don’t let that happen.
2) Be informal and personal: write like you’re talking to a friend
Now, when you’re writing web content, you should aim to keep things as informal as possible.
Specifically, think about how you would tell a story to a friend. Try using this same approach when you’re writing.
Leave the formal and stilted prose for a letter of complaint to your bank. For web content, keep it casual.
3) Embrace white space: use short sentences and short paragraphs
Since 2016, more than 50% of web searches are performed on smart phones. It’s more important than ever before, then, to break up your content so it’s easily skimmable.
The first tool in your box is the use of short sentences.
Now, you need to mix things up here while following this general guideline. Don’t only use short sentences. Your prose will sound choppy. Just like this!
So, don’t be afraid to throw in a longer sentence like this one from time to time – aim for variety and rhythm, too.
Do the same with paragraph construction. This is not an academic essay you’re writing. Keep most of your paragraphs to just two or three lines. Again, use the same tactic as above to introduce the occasional longer chunk of text to break things up.
If you scan your finished blog post and you see plenty of white space, you’ve got this nailed. If you’re confronted by an unbroken wall of text… break it down into easily digestible chunks.
This is just one way in which you can make your blog posts easier to read. It’s time to smash things up further still…
4) Break text up further with bulleted lists and sub-headers
Sub-headers perform two crucial roles so make full use of them.
Firstly, headers help to further smash up your text so anyone scrolling on a phone won’t click away in frustration. Headers help readers in a hurry to navigate quickly through the text. Power readers can also get the gist of the article – like this one, for example – by scanning the headers.
Beyond this, headers also deliver on-page SEO benefits. Use hierarchical headers from H2 to H3 and H4 for a neatly-formatted blog post that’s also nicely optimized.
6) Use the active voice as much as possible
Engaging content uses the active voice rather than passive voice.
Think about these two phrases both describing the same circumstances:
- Products can easily be ordered on our website
- You can buy our products right here
Which sounds better to you?
The second one, right? Be direct. Make your prose active and engaging.
Now, they say size matters, but does this apply to blog posts?
7) Every blog post should be as long as it needs to be
Don’t get hung up over how long your blog post should be.
Far too many clients of mine will request a 2450 word article, purely because the competition have produced 2400 word articles.
Dominating search involves answering the queries of your audience more effectively than the opposition. The length of your blog post is only one small element of this bigger picture.
Why, then, do you always read about long-form web content performing so strongly? Well, it goes unsaid that a longer article on an involved subject has more chance of answering the question in depth than a quick 500-worder.
Write naturally without focusing on word count and you can’t go far wrong.
8) Use tools like Grammarly only as a guide
When you’re looking to make your writing as powerful as possible, tools like Grammarly can perform a valuable role.
Whether you’re a non-native speaker looking to drive out those niggling errors, or you’re a highly polished writer looking to give your work an extra edge, grammar and spelling tools like Grammarly are a useful bolt-on to your arsenal.
Don’t rely on these tools, though. Write naturally and run your work through Grammarly afterward.
Here’s the most important thing: choose whether or not to implement the suggestions thrown your way instead of instinctively clicking yes to every change.
9) Always include a call-to-action
Don’t think you’ll be insulting your readers by telling them what to do.
When you wrap up, instruct readers what to do next. Whether you’re pushing for a sale, requesting an email address, or asking readers to bookmark the page, always end with a call-to-action.
10) Consider hiring a professional if you’re still out of your comfort zone
Still not convinced you can do it yourself?
Don’t take the chance. You can find decent content writers for far less than you might imagine. When you’re looking for writers, you’ll find you typically get what you pay for, though. Shop purely based on the bottom line and you’re really unlikely to get the results you’re looking for.
Now, today I have deliberately done nothing beyond scratching the surface of writing web content that converts.
Don’t worry, though. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be continuing with this theme of producing solid content even if you’re not a writer. After all, the most ruthlessly efficient SEO campaign is functionally useless if you don’t have the right content in place.
Want to chat about SEO, content, or how to improve your web presence in an increasingly crowded space? Call us on 562-250-4200 or get in touch online.