A bank page is daunting at the best of times. When it comes to writing content, trying to understand how to effectively consolidate notes in a clear, inviting, and authoritative way can take some getting used to. Having original and interesting content is a great way to stand out from your competitors. A study from Chartbeat has discovered that 55% of visitors to a website spend 15 seconds or less on any given page (1). In order to hold the attention of a visitor your content must stand out from the rest. Writing original and captivating content shows that you have a thorough understanding of your field, as well as a passion for your business. If you can provide authoritative and straightforward content that is topical for your consumers, you will see the benefits when it comes to traffic on your site.
Writing original content is a proven strategy for improving web traffic and leads. Google and other search engines reward original content with more exposure. They also penalise duplicated content, so plagiarising won’t get you anywhere. Put simply: unique content will improve your site’s search engine rankings.
Below we will discuss the major components of writing content for a website, as well as how to use keyword research, and search engine optimisation (SEO) to get the most out of your content.
- Know Your Audience
- Get to Know The Competition
- Be Accurate
- Keyword Research
- Writing Techniques
- Inverted Pyramid
- Show Don’t Tell
- Concise Language
- Set the Tone
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Using Your Primary Keyword
- Link Building
Know your audience
Knowing who you are trying to reach with your content is essential when you begin to consider writing content. Useful questions to ask yourself before you start is:
- Who is my main audience?
- What is their level of expertise?
- How will they read my content? On a laptop, or a mobile device?
- Will there be a peripheral audience who will influence the main audience?
These questions come into play in different ways depending on who you are trying to reach. For example, your main audience might be new clients, and your peripheral audience might be existing clients. In this instance your main audience is much larger than your peripheral as it contains anyone who could use your products or services in the future. This content would need to be informative for the main audience as well as interesting for the peripheral. Is there a topic available to you that might fit both of these criteria? Knowing what information both groups would find useful is the goal. If you are writing for consumers that are already experts in their field you will use more technical language than if you are writing for the general consumer.
Understanding how audiences will read your content is also essential. People generally find content from search engine results, other websites, or through social media. If they are more likely to be reading your content on a portable device like a phone, ensure it is easy to understand by using simple language and sentence structure. If your piece is more likely to be read on a laptop in a work environment, you have the liberty of a more in-depth exploration.
A good way to start researching your audience is by looking at the actions they take on your website using your analytics program. You can also look for shared traits among your frequent customers.
Get to Know the Competition
Getting to know your competition will also help you to get to know your potential audience. Knowing what content your competitors are producing will influence what you choose to write about. If you have an article idea and after some research you realise that there are already hundreds of articles on that topic, you may want to reconsider your approach. Having a thorough understanding of the output of competitors will yield important insights about what actions you should be taking.
When visiting a competitors website keep in mind that your audience is also visiting that site. Find out what they might be reading there and see if you can take an original stance on it on your site. Researching competitors websites will help you to understand content trends in your industry. It will help you to stay relevant, or better yet, predict what the new big trend or tactic will be. Competitor’s website data like traffic, backlinks, and keywords can be a reference point for you when analysing your own data. This research is necessary in order to have excellent content, and a thorough understanding of the function of content writing in your industry.
The key to writing original content is to answer the reader’s questions better than your competitors. Having valuable information that you can share with the reader in a clear and helpful manner is a great way to invite repeat visits. It is vital that this information is accurate. When you are a website content writer you are normally writing on behalf of a company or an organisation. If you write content that contains misinformation it can seriously damage the reputation of the organisation who published it, as well as your personal reputation. Any blog posts or articles published by an organisation or business is a reflection on their business practices. If there is problematic information in the pieces that they publish, it will inevitably influence how audiences view their business. As a result of this, it is vital that any statistic that is reference can be verified. Linking directly to the source is the best way to accomplish this. Having a transparent means of verifying your information will build authority for your website, and trust with your audience.
Here are some things to consider when you are thinking about accuracy and integrity on your site:
- Consider the source of your statistic. Is it from a trustworthy link? If you are linking to another website from your site ensure that it is an authoritative website that your readers will trust.
- When in doubt, provide more links. The more information in your content that has been proven by external sources, the more informative and authoritative your piece becomes.
- The more external links you provide, the more a search engine like Google will know about your content. Helping the search engine to accurately categorise your content will result in more precise rankings for your website.
A keyword is the main search term that you would like search engines to affiliate with your page. Keyword research is the process of choosing words and phrases in order to rank higher on search engine result pages. Keyword research and content marketing are the cornerstone of digital marketing strategies. Increasing traffic on your website starts with people searching keywords that you have linked to your content. Your keyword research will dictate the output of your content strategy as you begin to uncover the best ways to reach your audience.
Before you begin to write your content you should identify the keywords that will be included in the text. There are a number of online tools to help you to identify keywords, for example Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, and Ubersuggest. Many of the tools available are free and will save you a significant amount of time when researching. Once you have identified your keywords, you should search for other pages using the same keywords. An easy way to accomplish this is to Google your chosen primary keyword and look through the results. When you scan through these pages, take note of the length of the content, how the information is formatted, and the topic that the keyword is linked to. Your content strategy should be based off of what you find. Any articles, blogs, or page content should include the keywords that you have isolated as important. Be mindful not to clutter your text with too many keywords, and make sure to include variations of words and phrases.
Once these keywords have been successfully incorporated into your content, examining your analytics is essential. Google Analytics is a helpful tool for identifying which keywords will drive visitors to your website. Reviewing your analytics data on a weekly basis allows you to measure the effect of your keywords and to make changes if necessary.
Knowing how to write content for a website is a skill. You may not get it right the first time but with practice it will soon start to become second nature. Always begin with an outline of your article or blog. This will be in the form of notes, a list of resources, data gathered by your organisation, or interviews. As we have previously discussed, make sure you have the correct audience in mind. This content should be created with the intention of encouraging your audience towards taking an action on your site.
The next step is to start your first draft of copy. A key strategy to keep in mind is the inverted pyramid technique. This is when you provide the most important information at the beginning of an article which then tapers off to the least important information at the end. As researched by the Nielsen Norman research group, this is the best style of writing for online audiences (2). They describe this style as going from the “need to know” to the “nice to know”.
Show Don’t Tell
If you are discussing products or services ensure that you highlight the benefits that these will have to the reader. Instead of listing the features of a product, show the reader how that good or service will effect their lives. Instead of describing the services your company provides, describe what those services will allow the user to achieve. By explaining how a good or service will change the situation of the user, you will gently encourage them to take an action on your site.
Using clear and concise language is imperative. Using confusing language will discourage the reader from continuing reading. Do not include any unnecessary information, only include what the reader needs to know. Make sure to use language that they will understand: cut out complex jargon. Using short sentences will make sure your content is scannable. 80% of readers will read your headlines but only 20% will read the full content (3). Using bullet points will also help readers to find the important points in your content.
Set the Tone
The tone of your content is important. It is better to directly address the reader by using the same language as them. If you are speaking to experts use technical language, if you are not, use simple terms, etc. Personal pronouns like “you” and “your” and inclusive pronouns like “us” and “we” are examples of persuasive language. These can be used to make the reader feel at ease and included. In order to set your desired tone, it is permissible to make some small grammatical errors for the sake of maintaining a natural flow. You do not have to follow academic grammar rules but make sure that the content maintains a professional tone. Breaking grammatical rules is only permissible if it adds clarity.
Search Engine Optimisation
Knowing how to write content for a website includes understanding how to follow the best practices for search engine optimisation (SEO). Even if you have written the perfect piece of original literature, it won’t reach its intended audience without SEO. This requires knowing your audience well and anticipating what they will search on Google. Including these terms in your content, headlines, or sub-headings will ensure that your content ranks higher on search engines and as a result is read by more people. Following SEO best practices will help your page to rank for your primary keyword.
Using Your Primary Keyword
Once your content is written, read over it to check whether the primary keyword has been included throughout the text. It is important that it is incorporated naturally. If a search engine thinks that your page has too many instances of the same word or phrase it will negatively impact your search engine ranking.
Including your keyword in the main body of the text is essential but it is also necessary to include it in the following structural elements: the title of the page, one of the subheadings, the meta description of the page, and any image alt tags.
Include links to other pages on your website in your content. This tells the search engine that your content has authority and value. It also helps visitors to navigate your website.
By following these steps you will improve your search engine ranking as well as attract increased numbers of readers and visitors to your site. Writing content for your website should be an important part of your digital marketing strategy. Understanding who your audience is and what keywords drive their searches is essential to successful content writing. Use the online tools available to you where possible, to make the most of your time and resources. Writing content about topics in your field can also inspire you to learn more about your competitors, and better your overall business strategy. Content writing is about connecting with your audience. If you have done your research thoroughly, your customer satisfaction and brand loyalty should increase.