Writing Effective Content for Your Website

Website owners who offer a product or service have 5 seconds to capture the attention of site visitors. If you do not write effective website content to quickly communicate the benefits of what you do, your audience will bounce to the next website in their search results. This bounce rate is the opposite of stickiness. Is your website sticky? These tips on writing effective content for your website can certainly help.

Content needs to describe as much as possible about who, what, where, when, and why on every page with very specific key words and phrases to connect instantly with site visitors including search engines. Avoid technical terms in your website content writing that only those close to your industry understand.

Key word research is the best way to understand what people really put in the Google search box looking for your product or service. Guess when writing content for your website and your competition may have the edge capturing site visitor attention and converting them to buying customers.

Those key words should be inserted in website content in addition to each page title, description, key word list, and page headlines or subheadings, also. Including photographs or graphics will help convey the message beyond text, so a gallery or showcase can help quickly communicate website content details and create a more positive first impression.

When you use quality photographs to insert in pages, those pictures tell what 1000 words cannot. Your message when writing effective website content needs to be communicated based on real world website visitor behavior. People land anonymously on a website unlike visitors met face to face, so the decisions are different than walking into a brick and mortar business.

People instantly notice graphics and the overall professional look, and then scan headlines and perhaps a few words in the first sentence of website content in each paragraph. The majority will rarely read your text verbatim. Headlines, bullet lists, and graphics attract attention more than narrative, and that critical first impression is what will get them to stay and perhaps buy after they explore details later.

It’s important to touch a nerve in the first 5 seconds to convince people to stay on your website. All they care about learning from your website text content is “What’s in it for me if I buy here?”. Initially, site visitors don’t care about the details of features until they are convinced of the benefits, and that message needs to be presented in shorts bits that can be understood instantly.

The strategy for writing marketing material content for consumers is different on the internet, and similar to listening to a joke or reading a novel, people want to know the punchline or ending up front.

Rather than writing website text content that presents your introduction, features, and then benefits in that order like a regular marketing or sales pitch, writing for the web is more effective when you reveal the benefits and outcome first. This writing strategy for online marketing emphasizes the importance of catchy headlines that capture and hold interest quickly.

People will skip over paragraphs on your website that have more than 2-3 sentences, so write content and then edit to eliminate poetic or flowery speech and any unnecessary adjectives. By all means, do not exaggerate.

Keep in mind people go online for one thing: information. Website visitors rarely will buy on the first visit. Most will visit several websites searching for the right mix of content that best answers “What’s in it for me?”. Present benefits in the introduction, and you can still use the formula of introduction, features, and benefits to enhance your skills for writing effective website content.

Site owners who track visitor statistics probably notice the bounce rate mentioned earlier. The majority of visitors land on a page and leave immediately without fully exploring your site. Stating the benefits twice on each page will strengthen your marketing message. Maintaining a consistent message on every page can result in more business by writing effective content for your website.

Writing Your Novel – Always Keeping Time In Mind

There are many aspects to writing a novel that one has to keep in mind. One that rather obvious, but can be easy to forget about, is the simple concept of time. While you may inherently know where you are in the timeline of the story, are you sure the audience does?

A very common approach to writing a novel is to use a variety of storylines. You might have two or three that inevitably lead to a result that either creates a global ending or contributes to it in one way or another. The evil character might be weakened in the final climatic scene and one of your storylines can be about how that comes to be while another storyline gets your hero to the proverbial finishing line and so on.

The multiple storyline approach is a time tested one. That being said, it also introduces subtle problems. Switching between storylines can result in problems of time. While writing them, you may just assume that the storylines are taking place at the same time, but how does your reader know this? If the individual stories are taking place at different times, have you alerted your reader? If not, the story can quickly become an incoherent mess.

You need to use transition cues to avoid time problems. These cues are phrases or words that let the reader know you are making a transition to another time or storyline. You can make them witty, subtle or blatantly obvious. It doesn’t matter so long as the reader understands what is happening.

With timing cues, the best writers will use something very subtle. For the rest of us, going with something much more obvious is wise since we want to make sure the reader understands what is happening. The simplest choice is the header for each chapter. You can literally put the time and day in. For a novel that takes place over days or weeks, changes in the weather are a popular move. For epic tomes, changes in the seasons can be the ticket. The specific cue isn’t really the issue. The issue is making sure you include them!

You know the story being told better than anyone. That being said, make sure you don’t leave the reader behind in time when telling it.

Writing Is a Process

As I work with people at different stages of the writing process, I find that they’re often surprised that there IS a writing process. Most often, we imagine how a “real” writer works. He sits down at his lovely, mahogany desk and gets out his pad of paper or his antiquated typewriter. He flexes his fingers, and grabs his favorite fountain pen or starts typing on the keys. Suddenly, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters fly onto the paper. After some pre-determined time, Real Writer puts down his pen or takes his fingers off the keys, stretches, sighs a sigh of satisfaction, and gets up from the desk. He brushes his hands together – another successful day of writing done and pages of manuscript in the hopper.

Unh-unh.

That’s how we imagine it works, but it doesn’t. Writing is a process with at least three distinct parts.

• Prewriting: Organizing your thoughts. Spewing out details. Deciding what you want to write about. Determining your purpose, audience, message, tone. Questions.

• Writing: Taking all the fodder from the prewriting step and starting to create form from mass. This is where sentences, paragraphs, chapters start to materialize.

• Editing and revision: But wait! You’re not done yet! Editing and revision is the process of going back over what you’ve written and making it better. It’s not just pulling the weeds (the bad stuff) out of the garden. It might also be deciding to plant more strong, healthy flowers (the good stuff) in new places. Editing and revision isn’t all about making bad good. It’s also about taking what’s powerful and strengthening that.

The problem is usually that we try to do all three steps at once. I’m not talking about sitting down and prewriting, then writing, and then finally editing – in three separate, distinct chunks of time. No, usually people try to sit down and start writing the final draft right off the bat.

Why is this a problem?

First, it stunts the creative process. You’re trying to write full sentences and make them perfect instead of just getting the ideas down. Instead of playing with ideas and having fun with them, you bring out the editor right away.

And the minute you start editing, you shut off the creative side of your brain. You can’t create and edit at the same time. Creativity and editing use two different parts of your brain, and you can’t do them effectively together.

To effectively edit, you need more time between the draft and editing. If you go straight into editing mode after writing mode, you’re still lodged into the writing mindset. You’re reviewing the words you’ve written with the lenses you’ve just written through. Here’s an example: you’re telling your spouse about a conversation you just had with your mother. The conversation is fresh, and you’re replaying it in your head. You hear your mother’s voice, and you remember your responses. You’re still stuck in that conversation in your head as you try to recount it to your spouse. Because you’re intimately familiar with the conversation, you might forget that lovely spouse wasn’t anywhere in it and you might leave out a few details. But if you didn’t have a chance to tell your spouse about the conversation until two days later, you’d probably be thinking about what to relate from a viewpoint of what background do you need to give, and what additional details does your spouse need in order to get the full picture. You need that time in between writing and editing, too.

You need to be able to step back and see your writing as a single, whole piece, not as an extension of your mindset.