Is there a difference between “regular” content writing and writing for a website? Yes. Even though both are considered part of a strategic marketing plan, how you write copy for a website is unlike producing other content for blog posts, articles, white papers, and more. If your goal is to add web writer to your resume, read on.
Top 3 Ways Webpage Writing is Different
You’re probably a fabulous content writer, crafting engaging stories that draw readers in while establishing the brand you’re writing for as the top solution to a reader’s problem. So it stands to reason you’ll be great at web page content too, right? Not so fast – web pages are more difficult than they look.
- They require a different level of clarity than other content. While natural language tends to be repetitive and filled with unnecessary words, the writing for a web page must be clear and concise, making its pitch to keep someone on the page in under three seconds.
- There’s no room for your “vision” as a writer. The client’s vision is all that matters and if she or he wants the metaphors scrapped, you have to find another way to make your point. Suggestions are usually welcomed, but it’s important to remember who, in the final writing showdown, is the boss.
- Web writers don’t do it for the acclaim. Appreciation and gratitude are always welcome, but writing web page content that helps a brand grow should focus more on relevancy, not making an impression.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that to be an effective web writer, you need to unlearn some creative writing techniques you’ve honed over the years.
Writing Tips for Web Writer Beginners
A company or brand has one goal in mind for their website: that it acts as an ambassador that draws people in, keeps them there, and convinces them to take an action that is mutually satisfying.
There are tips that apply equally to “other” content writing and web pages. Here are a few key ones that greatly matter for website content.
- Start with keyword research for SEO. Organic traffic is the lifeblood of a website. The most successful websites are the ones whose writers take the time to do their keyword research. And while most of those keywords may never end up on the page, knowing what people search for lets you write content that contains phrases the search engines use to rank website pages.
- People debate about one to two sentence graphs in blog posts, but that mostly comes down to a matter of taste. Many experts agree, though, that the content on website pages should be written for scanability and short attention spans. That means shorter paragraphs of three lines or less. Don’t worry if an idea seems “incomplete;” pick up the thought in the next paragraph.
- Some might argue this applies to all content writing, but for website pages it’s particularly important: keep the reading level low. Content written at a third-grade reading level is 36% more likely to engage a reader. That doesn’t mean “dumbing down” the writing. Unless the product or service you’re writing about is an extremely technical one, just make it easier for readers by choosing simpler words and cutting down complex sentences.
The Bottom Line
Rising to a top-level web writer takes discipline and solid writing skills, both of which are easily within your reach. Learn how to optimize the page for SEO, keep the reader’s attention span top of mind, and practice, practice, practice. You’ll soon be writing persuasive web page copy that’s short, sweet, and successful!