Besides design elements, writing strong content for Web sites is imperative in drawing in your audience and keeping them there… on your site, that is. Have you ever come across a Web site that is well done in terms of color scheme and layout, only to be severely disappointed in what you are reading? I know I have (I won’t name any names)… but as soon as I got somewhat deep into the content, I got frustrated and clicked off the site. Not good if you’re the business owner.
With the rising popularity of blogs, the way one writes has become increasingly important. Since blogs are often used as a form of promotion, the content needs to be direct, but still engaging. People prefer to read shorter pieces according to author Jakob Nielsen. “People tend to be ruthless in abandoning long-winded sites; they mainly want to skim highlights” (Nielsen 2007). The same goes for print newspapers; why do you think reporters and editors spend so much time perfecting headlines and leads? The majority of readers don’t even get past the first few paragraphs of a news story.
Content also needs to be unique; apparently, “the more original content on a page, the more highly it is regarded by search engines. If any portion of a website contains materials that are seen elsewhere, the owner can expect the subsequent penalty” (templatesfactory.net n.d.). I was unaware of this fact before coming across this article, but if your Web site is an original, it ranks higher in search returns. Very interesting!
Another article I came across regarding writing for the Web noted that everything on the Internet is linked (hence the name), and this is what makes writing for this type of advertising different than print. “Writing for print results in content that is disconnected. When we write for the Web we must think carefully about the links between content, about how we connect the dots. In a network such as the Web, the links can be as important as what is linked to” (McGovern 2004). Consider the BIG picture when writing smart and sassy content for the Web – if you were the audience, where would you like to go next? It’s nearly comparable to those books they used to publish with alternate endings – the ones where the reader is able to make several choices throughout the story for different outcomes. Consider all options, and make sure your writing is intelligent, and be clever and to the point!