New research shows that sharing does not mean reading and there is no room to mistake what people have clicked on for what they have read. An average visitor spends about 15 seconds on a webpage, so if you are still reading let us tell you why.
The secret lies in the content of the website and understanding the readers who are willing to spend more than the average 15 secs on this webpage. Some of the writing tips are always pertinent regardless of the content of your website and will definitely help you beat the glum stats.
Rules of Captivating Audiences with Your Web Content
1. The inverted pyramid model
When it comes to the attention span of the web readers, they can give infants tough competition. The first 2 seconds they spend on a website decide if your site has all the information they are looking for. So structure the content like an upside-down pyramid. Fill the topmost regions with useful and important messages and then get down to the specifics as you go down the content. The more important information should get the first priority and the lesser relevant ones go way down at the bottom.
2. Active or Passive
Sometimes we face this dilemma, whether to use active voice, “The man pressed the elevator button” or to write, “The elevator button was pressed”? Using the active form of verbs gives the illusion of direct conversation with the reader. This helps in creating better directed, reader-friendly sentences which invite more people to read on.
3. Avoid generalizing
Here’s an example- Instead of just saying, “Yellow Minion Soft-toy,” take a few extra steps, go on to describe how the texture is. What is the dimension of the toy? Is it kid friendly? Is the material used hypo-allergenic? Is it wash-friendly? Giving the idea of knowing the product to the buyer helps in boosting sales.
Avoiding all general descriptions and including specific descriptions about whatever projects you are writing about also helps with your websites SEO and provide your customers the confidence they need to purchase the products.
4. Remember the lazy ones
Remember to write for lazy people because the active ones are out there somewhere in the field or the road.
- Use short, simple sentences.
- Simple punctuation.
- Use familiar words which do not bring forth the need of a dictionary every two seconds.
- Skip repetition of similar words and concepts just for the sake of length of content.
- Try to address your readers directly (use “you” as much as possible).
5. Chuck the jargons
Using LOL and USP is a different thing but going to the extent of using IIRC, YMMV and IANAL on a regular basis in your content may be off putting for your readers. Unless you are writing for a niche website you expect your readers and followers to be common people who are trying to read an article.
This is especially important if you are writing for a technology based blog or website. Although your content revolves around technology and gadgets, you will have readers who are trying to understand specific products and using complicated terms might stagger their understanding. Always remember the crowd you write for and not your co-workers.
This is a very important key which manipulates people to spend more time on your website. If your text is neat, laid out in distinct points with sub-heads and section, with help pictures or infographs it invites more people to read your posts. Cramped texts with too less white space without any pictures actually scare people off, especially if they are looking for specific info or if they are researching content.
So in short, keep your text scannable and put important keywords occasionally which may catch the attention of your readers.
7. What would a search engine do?
Start thinking like a search engine; it is most likely to draw readers from different walks of life through social bookmarking or general Googling. For showing up high on any SERP you must make sure that you make your web content search engine friendly. Start thinking like your audience; what are the keywords from your article that they will most likely search for? Include more of those words into your headings and subs. Read up a little on keyword searches and SEO friendly attributes before sitting down to write.
8. Research mode: Always On
A professional content writer should always have the researcher in him activated. There is no idle time. You shouldn’t just research while writing, keep jotting down points, URLs of informative websites and articles which boost your thoughts. The more resources you have the richer is your content. This is bound to keep your readers hooked till the end. Going through a well concocted article with dozens of grammatical error simply takes away the impact of the article. The use of flamboyant language is not recommended; instead pay more attention to sentence construction, simplicity and meaning of the message you are trying to convey.
9. DON’T try to be clever
There is no space for circumventing information you do not know. As a web content writer you are expected to research and develop unique content which need not be overtly creative but will have substance, enough to captivate the hungry readers who are always looking for more and more info. Readers want websites to be self-explanatory; no one wants hidden essence in the content or abstractionism. Always regard your readers as hungry 12-year olds who are scrounging for info to satiate their hunger. You copy should be obvious, simple and yet interesting.
10. Arriving somewhere, but not here
A webpage is not like a book in many ways; for example- a reader starts reading from the prologue of a book, but a reader can arrive anywhere on your webpage. (To find out the most likely places, check out Google Analytics options).
- Make your webpage/content easy to scan for keywords.
- People should not be at loss, they should know what they are reading about wherever they arrive.
- A call action on each page to direct next location.