Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Writing for the Web

This week, I've had my head down preparing for a couple of speaking engagements next week and writing sales letters and web pages. And, with the holiday on Monday, I lost track of time and forgot to post on this blog!

It occurred to me while writing that some very different rules apply when you're writing for the web. In the long distant past I worked for a company who's main customer was the government. The language used in written communication was hard to understand and very formal and correct. My English teacher at school would have been proud of us!

Writing copy for this blog and for my website is almost like speaking a foreign language by comparison! Here are 5 ways that I've learned to make writing for the internet more effective:

There are 2 Kinds of Reader.
Some people just like to skim down the page and pick up the
important points without (or before) getting into the detail. To keep them reading, use sub-headings and bold font. Other people like the detail so give them plenty of interesting content to keep them reading.

The Heading is more important than the Content.
I know I just said to make the content
interesting! The heading has the crucial job of making you read further. Unless the heading pulls you in, even the best content in the world won't get read. There’s a great tool that will analyse your headlines at Advanced Marketing Institute.

Write as You Speak.
When you've been used to writing formal letters and reports, this can be a hard concept to get your head around. The best advice I was given when I started my first
newsletters about 5 years ago, was to write as if I was just having a conversation.

Write for Your Target Audience.
There's a lot of pressure, when writing copy for the
internet, to remember to include lots of keywords to rank well in the search engines. I agree, but not at the expense of turning off the people you hope will become clients! Google isn't going to buy from you.

Give Value in Your Content.
I'm often told that I give too much free stuff away! But the
truth is that there's so much excellent stuff out there - in the form of blogs, teleclasses, e-books, etc. and it's very often free. To keep people interested and coming back for more until they're in the right space to buy, you must give value in your content.

© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2008

What tips do you have when writing for the web? Please do let me know by leaving a comment.

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