How to write compelling content

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Everyone’s idea of what makes good writing differs to some extent, but there are a few basic rules that you should follow when writing for the web, since this is where most ‘content’ will be found. The word content has only become common parlance in recent years, and rather than meaning a feeling of peacefulness, in this context Wikipedia defines it as:

the information and experience(s) directed towards an end-user or audience.[1] Content is “something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing or any of various arts”.

This term is inherently ambiguous, but it is appropriate for online writing in any case, in the sense that people now see articles, videos, audio, images and other types of digital media as ‘content’ for consumption. This means it needs to be snappy, interesting and attention-keeping.

Here are 10 tips to help you improve your web writing:

  1. Write clearly and concisely. If a word doesn’t add to the meaning and clarity of the piece, take it out.
  2. Edit and proof read. Much writing would be so much better if someone had taken it through an editing process.
  3. Imagine you are someone else reading it and you have no idea what you’re talking about. This is the level of articulation you need to achieve.
  4. Read a lot. If you’re going to write in a compelling way, you need to be familiar with good writing.
  5. Use the top-down news triangle – don’t leave your reader guessing until the end. The most interesting and important information should be at the beginning to encourage your reader to continue.
  6. Be aware of web reading habits – people tend to scan, they can easily navigate away from the page, it’s harder to read on a screen – all these things mean you need to keep the reader interested in every sentence.
  7. Use more interesting verbs and adjectives than the ones that habitually spring to mind: an online thesaurus can help.
  8. Use subheadings above each section of the piece to keep it easy to read and facilitate scanning.
  9. Keep one idea per paragraph to help the reader digest the information. It’s okay to have a paragraph that consists of only one sentence.
  10. Use contractions to improve the readability of the piece – it’s no time to be formal and stuffy when writing web content, save this for print media. This means ‘I’m’ instead of ‘I am’, and so on.

Did you like this? Read more tips on how to write a good article for the web.

Catherine

 

Catherine Julianne is a writer and digital communications professional obsessed with the field of personality systems theory. She also likes visual art, Eastern practices, adventures and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash

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