How to Write Successfully for the Web by thebest11


									How to Write Successfully for the Web

We at Sunsol understand that one of the most difficult things about developing
your new website is writing the copy. Visitors will come to your site to find out
about your company or organisation, or to get information about your area of
expertise, or even about your people.

Don’t be daunted by the task. Writing for the web is easier than you think, break
down your copy into bite sized chunks, and you will find the copy easier to write,
just as the visitor will find your site easy to read. Use small words. Use short
sentences. We hope this little guide will help you get you on your way.

Steps to Web Copy Success

   1. Make your article scan ready. A study by Jakob Nielson, publicised as
       the guru of web page usability by the New York Times, revealed that only
       16 per cent of his test users actually read the copy they found online; 79
       per cent of them simply scanned it. Your impatient web readers will want
       important information to jump out at them. Some practical ways to make
       your text scannable:

           o   headings
           o   sub-headings
           o   bulleted lists
           o   numbered lists
           o   easy steps

       For example, compelling headlines are considered an art. Are you drawn
       to our heading “How to write successfully for the web”?

   2. Keep it short. Get and keep the attention of web readers by delivering
       short messages. You put effort into gaining your web reader's attention;
       now make their click worthwhile with brief compelling copy in bite sizes.
       Start with the conclusion. Your readers may not make it to the end of your
       piece to get it. Web readers don't want to get bogged down in long blocks
       of text. So get to the point early and use the rest of your article to support
       that main point.

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3. Make your title sizzle. Dull titles will not capture your readers' interest.
   It will make your article fade into the sea of other boring articles listed in
   search engines these days. You have to create a title that will reach out
   and grab your reader by the collar. Make it short. Create interest. Include
   the main benefit or solution in your title.

4. Talk to your target audience. Your information is not usually for
   everyone. Avoid generalities. Choose a friend or family member that's
   interested in your topic. Write your article to them. Writing to a friend will
   make your copy personable and friendly. You won't come across as a fussy
   hen, do this, do this, don't do that. You will connect with your readers as a
   friend giving advice. Your article will do a better job of building credibility
   for you.

5. Add substance. Resist fluffing your articles. Include practical, valuable
   information in your copy. Everyone loses when you don't take the time to
   impart substance. It increases the reputation of the web being an
   unreliable source of knowledge. Additionally, lack of substance will block
   your road to profitable referrals. Do the research and/or draw from your
   knowledge and experience to illustrate. Your stories and real life examples
   will meet your reader's need for practical information and connect with
   their emotion. It's a known fact emotions will move people to action.
   Whether you desire them to act by signing up or making a purchase, add
   substance and improve your reader responses.

6. Make it web friendly. Create a more web professional look by using
   short sentences, and don’t forget paragraphs. Paragraphs should be used
   as much as possible, break up your message into bite sized chunks, and
   they give you a chance to add another eye-catching heading. Long
   stringed sentences look visually unprofessional. Make your introduction
   and summary short but do add one. Your web readers don't want just a
   list of boring facts and information. They want to connect with you by

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   reading your personable introduction and practical tips with a definite
   ending or summary. Remember, excited readers become enthusiastic
   buyers and enthusiastic buyers will refer your product or service to all
   their friends.

7. Don't spice the article with "optimized" keywords to flatter search
   engines - this how-to is about how to write successfully for the web, not
   search engines, after all. Search engines will be impressed by your content
   if it reads well and is to the point.

8. And my pet hate – don’t use ‘Welcome’ as the heading on your home
   page, not even in the body text. The web is a very public place and is not
   like inviting someone into your home, or even your office. Get straight to
   the point and be punchy, and make sure the first thing a visitor reads on
   your home page gives a good idea of what you do, and why they should
   be interested.

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Some Tips

  •   Long paragraphs are usually acceptable for print media; they are not for
      the web.
  •   You may use these guidelines for all kinds of web copy. The same
      elements (using keywords, making your article polished, adding
      substance, keeping it short and making your copy scannable) will improve
      the quality of your articles. Practice these simple principles and your copy
      will be useful.
  •   Keep the writing short, simple to the point.
  •   Print a hardcopy of your article and read it an hour later in a different
      setting. Ask someone else to review it, both online and in print.
  •   Use diagrams or photographs to help illustrate your points. Useful content
      can and should go beyond basic clip art to draw on the reader's
  •   Avoid the use of technical jargon except where necessary. If you must use
      it, include links or definitions for uncommon words or industry terms. Plain
      English is the key.

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