Want to write great Web content? Obviously, your answer is “yes.” No one sets out to write bad content. In this article we’ll look at five simple questions which will help you to improve your Web writing. Ask them, and answer them, and you’ll improve the quality of all the content you write.
Firstly however, let’s define “bad content”. Since the effect of all writing is subjective, for the purposes of this article we’ll say that bad content is material which doesn’t give the reader what he expects and needs.
Here are the questions.
1. What’s the Content’s Goal?
If you can’t answer this question, there’s no reason to create the content. All the content you write must either help you to achieve a goal, or help your website’s customers (your audience) to achieve a goal.
2. Who’s the Audience?
Write a brief description of your ideal reader/ customer. If you’re writing for a client, ask them to send you research they’ve done on their audience.
3. What Does the Audience Know?
Large sites segment their audience into various personas. They know that their website’s visitors will fall into several groups, with varying levels of experience, and with very different needs. Content is written specifically for each group.
If you’re writing for a smaller site, ask your client to send you his file of customer questions.
When you’re writing for your own site, develop at least one persona for your audience. (A “persona” is a thumbnail description of an individual, including his motivations and needs.)
Writing to a specific persona (or individual) automatically improves your Web content.
4. What Does the Audience Expect?
You’re writing the content to achieve a goal, so you must meet your audience’s expectations for that piece of content. Keep that in the back of your mind; then you’ll never make implicit promises on which you don’t deliver.
For example, if you’re writing content for a shopping site, you’ll need to give the site’s visitors sufficient relevant information to make a purchase.
5. How Will the Content Be Found?
On the Web, content is found in various ways, including direct linking (advertising), via social media, and via the search engines.
If you’re writing content which will be found via direct linking from a newsletter, or from an advertisement, you’ll write it differently from the style in which you’d write content which will be found via the search engines.
So there you have it the five questions which will help you to write highly effective Web content.
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