Writing for the Web 101
Writing for the web is different than writing in any other format. People read, perceive and retain information differently on the web than they do on paper, billboards, signage and other physical places. In addition, people read different kinds of web content differently.
Below we give you several different types of web content along with a major DO and a major DON'T for each. Contact us to find out how we can help your web and print content work as hard as possible.
Blogs can function as online diaries, personal journals, news articles, organizational updates or even as a primary website. Blogs can function on their own, or within the context of another website (like this blog does). Websites like The Huffington Post, are basically a collection of blogs from different writers. But what all blogs have in common is that when people come to them, they expect to read something slightly more in-depth than a headline, a photograph or a quote. They may also expect the writer to give their opinion or to write more personally than a journalist writing a newspaper article.
- DO: Write cleanly and succintly, but give all relevant information. Use pictures, links and other forms of media to keep readers entertained. Give your opinion when necessary, but don't alienate your readers.
- DON'T: Ramble on and on for pages. People are willing to give blogs more time and attention than a Facebook status, but don't take advantage of their attention.
2. Web Site Content
This is content that sits on a page on your website. Maybe it's the content on your "about us" page or a service or product page. Regardless of what the page is about, most readers give a web page seven seconds or less before deciding whether to move on. Internet users have a much shorter attention span for web pages than they do for blogs and articles.
- DO: Keep web page content to two scrolls or less per page. When additional information is needed, add "read more" links or push the content on to other pages. Use bullet points, paragraphs and bold words to break content up into readable, digestible chunks.
- DON'T: put information that is only important to your organization or business on your website. In-depth information about your history, background, personal story, all your past clients, etc are generally not as important to your website visitors as they are to you. If you want to elaborate on these ideas, perhaps a corporate blog is the place to do so.
3. Social Media Posts
Facebook or Google+ posts can be as long as you want them to be whereas Twitter keeps you reigned in to 140 characters. Despite being able to opine to your hearts desire on some platforms, know that most people scrolling through their feed are not going to click the "read more" link to expand your post.
- DO: Keep posts succint and to-the-point. Have your post link to relevant information and upload your own picture and change the link description when necessary. Facebook allows you to edit all this information now. One to two posts a day is generally adequate for most businesses. You can also use the scheduling feature to line up posts for several days or weeks in advance.
- DON'T: Update several times a day. If you clog your followers' feeds up with unimportant information, they will block or unlike you. Keep posts succinct and don't post irrelevant pictures, links, quizzes, games, memes or anything else.
These are just a few of the online communication tools you may be using to reach out to your customers, clients or supporters. Keep in mind that each one should be approached differently and used for different purposes.
If you need help getting your online communication mediums in order, contact us for monthly services or consulting options.