This is a guest post by Debbie Dragon. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Gone are the days of padding your Internet articles with hundreds of keywords hoping to find yourself in the top spots of Google’s search results. While keywords still play a role in search engine positioning, you can actually be penalized if your content seems to contain too many of them – not to mention how difficult it is for a person to read an article that contains the phrase “insurance NY” every 5 words!
Here are some tips for writing for web readers that will help you create informative and easy to read content.
1. The headline is the most important thing. You have about 6 seconds to attract attention from an Internet user before he clicks off your site and look somewhere else. This is about the same attention span of a two year old child, so you need a headline that is going to pull them in immediately, and capture their interest long enough to get them reading the rest.
2. Turn off the advertising and commercial stuff. While the objective of a website is often to make sales, a website visitor is looking for information. Provide content that educates and is interesting, and your site visitor will spend more time on your site. More time spent on your site means they are far more likely to click on other areas which generate income for you than if you create article after article of marketing jargon that people have no interest in reading.
3. Write at an 8th grade level. You don’t have to dumb-it-down, but keep your article easy to read and avoid complicated words and really long sentences. It’s not that you think your readers are unintelligent – you’re keeping it simple because of the attention span factor of your potential audience.
4. Think about how YOU use the web. What makes you stay on a website? What headlines and topics catch your eye and keep you reading until the end of the article? You’re a typical web user – analyze your own Internet activity to get ideas for creating content that will interest other typical Internet users. It’s like market research that doesn’t cost you anything to perform.
5. Write about popular topics. Writing about the topics you like is a good idea, but you should also try to compromise a bit and cover popular topics. If you are looking to get traffic you need to satisfy the readers. Examples include money, health, movies, technology and so on.
6. Get to the point. Even if the topic you’re writing on is worthy of a 400 page book, as a writer for the web, you need to keep it short and to the point. A blog post should rarely ever go over 1,500 words. Learn to select your words carefully and keep your articles as succinct as possible.
Debbie Dragon is a freelance writer who works for Trace Media – a New York SEO company specializing in getting websites up, and making sure they perform to their full potential.
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