The game has definitely changed when it comes to writing for the web. With a few best practices in your small business toolkit, you can create great web content your audience will love.
Writing for the web is not a skill everyone is born with, but as a small business owner, you darn sure better learn. The phrase “content is king,” is plastered all over the Internet. In fact, the phrase was originally used as the title of an article written by Bill Gates in 1996. More than 15 years ago, Gates expected web content to be a big Internet money maker. Wow, did he predict the future!
Today, content marketing drives the e-commerce world and has turned many start-up businesses into overnight success stories. But before you run out and grab your laptop, use these four basic rules of engagement when writing for the web.
1. Think Quality First
I like this word so much that I’m going to repeat it several times – quality, quality, quality. At the very least, when writing for the web, it’s important to ensure your content has no spelling or grammatical errors. Oh and by the way, checking spelling and grammar goes far beyond using an automated spellchecker tool.
Some may call me “old school,” but I still print my documents, pull out the red pen and read all content line-by-line with my proofreading ruler. After that, I pass it along to someone else for a second look. You only have one opportunity to make a good impression online. Unfortunately, even if you have a compelling topic of discussion, many readers will be unable to move past spelling typos.
2. Engage Your Audience
With all of the clutter on the Internet today, it can be quite difficult to find great content. How would you define quality content? I’d say it engages your audience and keeps them wanting to hear more from you. Words are powerful and great content can persuade readers to take action – buy, download, call, etc.
3. Clearly State Your Purpose
No one likes someone who straddles the fence. When writing for the web, take a position and build your brand. If you’re writing a blog for fun – write for fun. If you’re blogging to sell your products or services, write content that focuses on the information your audience wants.
Warning: Don’t use your blog to force sell your products and services. This is a great way to turn off readers. Instead share useful information and build your company’s reputation as a knowledge resource.
4. Stay Fresh
Your website content is just how you want it. You posted a few blogs two months ago. So what’s next? Well, if you’re waiting for the phone to start ringing with customers, you may need to rethink your web content strategy. Many entrepreneurs believe that once your website content is up and you send out a few tweets and blogs you’re done. However, creating online content is an ongoing activity that must be done frequently and consistently to make any real impact.
You should try to blog several times a week. Not only will this keep visitors returning to your site, but it will also build your Google rankings, which gives higher authority to sites with fresh content.
What’s The Word: Becoming a master at writing for the web will not happen overnight. It takes practice and focus.
Looking for more tips on developing quality web content? Request our FREE Writing for the Web Guide.