Part 9: Website Copy and Content

typewriter contentYou’ve probably heard this before, and if you haven’t, you will —

Content. Is. King.

The content on your site, and how you present it, are both extremely important to your readers and your SEO efforts.

To keep things simple, I’m going to save discussing topics like where and how to use keywords in your writing as well as the way you use HTML links within your content.

Instead, this post is going to exclusively be a website copy styling guide.

Writing for the Web

My very first website that I put any real time into creating content for was bad. It wasn’t a little bad, it was really bad.

I hadn’t really written anything since my time in college earning my 4-year degree. During those years, I had to write a lot as a Philosophy major. Writing informative content for a website blog shouldn’t be that hard then, right?

Wrong!

You cannot write for a blog the way you would write for a university thesis.

Writing for the web is a whole different animal, especially with the rise of mobile over the last few years.

Use a Title and Headings

book titles

There are plenty of titles here.

In the previous post, I talked about headings. And, I am talking about them here.

Why?

Because, headings are important.

A title gives a reader a big overview of what your page or post is about. But, headings give a reader more details. Better yet, these details are easily spotted while skimming.

Besides their direct influence on SEO, headings help keep readers on your website. While that’s also good for SEO, it’s good for your readers too as it allows them to quickly find he information they came to your page or post to read.

Write in Chunks, not Blocks

Remember, websites are not research papers. A giant wall of text is one of the fastest ways to turn a potential happy engaged reader into a disgruntled bounce.

There’s no reason to write long seven and eight sentence paragraphs. Keep them short; two or three sentence paragraphs look nice and are easy for readers to consume.

Short paragraphs also help you take advantage of white space. White space is all of the empty space in the body of your page or post.

Just like headings, these small two to three sentence paragraphs and use of white space make your content much easier for readers to consume.

Use Simple Sentences and Basic Words

quarter

Keep your twenty-five cent words for Stanford.

Another mistake I made on my first blog was wanting to show off all the cool smart person words I had learned in college. It was a terrible idea.

There’s no reason to make reading your content a miserable experience. 

Keeping sentences short and using regular words has the same effect that using short paragraphs does.

Instead of writing:

  • Over the vast many years of my rather well-seasoned existence in the only true frontier of our modern age I have discovered after numerous miscalculations that the length of my sentences directly effect the amount of said sentence that the general reader cares to consume.

Write:

  • It’s better to use short sentences than long ones.

Everything you write should be easily digestible.

Bigger Font is Better

This isn’t always an easy fix. But, if you are lucky enough to have chosen a WordPress theme that easily allows you to make the text on your blog bigger, then go for it.

For example, see how easy the text on this blog is easy to read?

Just like basic words, simple sentences, and short paragraphs, easy-to-read text helps keep people reading what you’ve taken lots of time to write.

Images are Your Friend

As I stated before, a blog is not a university thesis. It’s OK to use pictures. In fact, it’s better to use pictures than not to.

Images grab people’s attention. Even old newspapers figured this out.

They’re yet another way to keep readers on your site and not bouncing off to look for a different one.

Everything Else

The WordPress editor makes it easy to add even more styling elements to your text.

wordpress toolbar

Don’t be afraid to bold, italicize, or edit the color of important text.

And bullet points are great for:

  • listing facts
  • previewing content
  • summarizing content

And sometimes, to really get someone’s attention, you might want to strikethrough something. People love looking at something they think they’re not supposed to.

Putting it All Together

The two main concepts with writing website copy as opposed to university level content are:

  • make it visually appealing (images, large fonts, white space, etc.)
  • make it easy to read

It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

Keeping people on your site instead of jumping off never to return is both great for SEO and great for your brand.


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