Writing for the Web: Tips for Small Business | Advanced Digital Marketing Blog, Ireland

8 Steps to Successful Writing for the Web: Tips for Small Business

Aisling Brennan, 14-Mar-2016

You know that your website content is important for both your online visibility and lead generation, yet only 20% of what you write will ever be read!

So what can you do to make your content more inviting and engaging to exceed that (rather disheartening) benchmark engagement rate?

Below are some best practices on writing for the Web:

  1. Eye-catching headline
    The headline needs to be enticing, eye-catching and ideally within 70 characters (so that's it's not truncated on Google SERPs).

    Writing a headline that captures your readers' attention is critical for success. Lists are a popular way of standing out so consider including a number in the headline to make it pop more. For example, see:
    Use strong adjectives and verbs (i.e. "Smart", "Ultimate", "Failure", "Advance", "Grow") but don't forget the 5Ws: Who, What, Where, When. By including these you're articulating to the reader the kind of information you intend to provide.
  2. Concise Content
    Readers have very short attention spans and tend to skim articles for the keywords they want so avoid jargon or pompous words. Every article should have a beginning, middle and end. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Keep your sentences short. Eliminate unnecessary information – if a sentence doesn't move the story forward, cut it. Help readers scan your page quickly: Make the first two words in each paragraph count. Use bold text or pull quotes to accent key information.

    Remember you're writing for many screen sizes so the content should be easy to digest on either desktop, mobile, or tablet devices.

  3. Tone
    Online readers expect a personal, upbeat tone. Avoid bureaucratic language and jargon as it'll put off them off. Write in the active voice instead of passive voice. Avoid adverbs where possible.
  4. Bulleted Lists
    Readers LOVE ordered lists and bullets as they're perfect for skimming, so use liberally.
  5. Punctuation
    Use full stops, commas, colons and dashes to divide the words into smaller digestible chunks. Remember your spelling. No typos please.
  6. Text & Fonts
    - Avoid serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read onscreen.
    - Keep your typeface clear and legible.
    - Use bold text to highlight important keywords and sentences.
    - Italics can also be used to emphasize a point, but don't overdo it as Italics are more difficult to read and can strain the eye.
    - Capital letters can also be used for EMPHASIS.
    - Inverted colour schemes (i.e. white font on black background) can be difficult to read onscreen so use sparingly.
  7. Use Graphics Strategically
    Use relevant and appealing imagery, charts and graphs to accompany your content as they'll attract readers and help break up lengthy content into digestible chunks. Remember the old idiom that...
  8. Help Readers (& Search Engines) Find Your Content
    Organise your content so that it's easy to navigate. Use links to articles on your site and to other relevant sites. Pepper your content (including the title, description, header) with relevant keywords, and provide alternative text descriptions for your images. Check out SEO 101 for more tips and advice on how to improve your organic search engine rankings

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Content Marketing for Small Business

Content Marketing for Small Business

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