“To err is human…all people make mistakes…”
“To err is human…all people make mistakes…”
Alexander Pope realized this in the 18th century itself– maybe in other sense.
But, this applies to today’s web content writers too.
And even experienced ones are no exception.
Crafting fresh content is not that simple. It is tough. Mistakes are easy to occur.
The focus should be on avoiding these mistakes and making the story persuasive.
If you have ever imagined being a successful blogger or copywriter, do look into the following points:
- Think what you are comfortable in writing about.
- Research about your topic.
- Collect information.
- Structure the information within the text before you begin to write.
- Entertain readers by providing what they are looking for.
Experienced writers are familiar with the process of drafting, editing and redrafting the text before producing a final copy. As a newbie, you need to weigh up how good you are in explaining your ideas and communicating with readers.
The trick to create a persuasive web copy is to make short, crisp, and informative sentences.
Short sentences let readers dive deeper and feel good while reading. Clear meaning inspires them to slow down, and complete information makes them more productive.
Following are 9 quick tips to hone your web content writing skills.
Ready to read?
Understand reader’s behavior
Website visitors behave like wild animals. Source.
They hunt for information or products to buy in the world cyberspace – just like a hungry leopard ferrets out for his next meal in the forest.
When a leopard sniffs a scent trail, he is quick to decide. Does the scent trail help the leopard lead to a good meal? Will it be an easy catch?
While scurrying around the web, visitors have the same temperament – the level of talent. They behave like a leopard and decide quickly whether your site is useful or not.
So, picture your visitors/readers before anything else.
Discover what information they are looking for.
Make sure your content is offering them that information. If it does, readers will find your content meaningful.
Learn to get your message across
Put the most important message first.
Inspiring readers to read next sentences becomes a lot easier when you give them the most weightage information in the beginning.
How will you figure out the most important information?
Let me explain,
The most important information is simply a statement of what you do or what you can do for your customers. Ask yourself: What is the topic of your chapter? What do you want readers to know?
Journalists call this way of writing the inverted pyramid style.
In newspaper articles, you find the most newsworthy information first – details and other information later on. Even if you only read the first paragraph of a newspaper story, you easily understand the big picture.
Website content accepts the same writing style.
Avoid overwriting & long sentences
On the web, it’s common to stumble across overwrite, which is the downside of a compelling web story. Overly-wordy content buzzes on and on and using them is too easy. But understanding them is far too complicated.
This splits readers’ interests and prompts them to flip-out the web-pages.
“When I look at a web page it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory.” Steve Krug.
Better, stop overwriting and skip long sentences. To do this, follow the given instructions.
- Cut short the number of words
- Keep your web content as simple as possible
- Avoid repeating the same ideas and sentences
- Stop writing different sentences that hit the same meaning
- Don’t explain a point in 40 words that could be said in 20.
Research has revealed that only 16% of people read web pages word-for-word. Most of them only scan.
Short sentences are gospel truths when it comes to clear, concise writing…CopyBlogger.
Craft a seductive piece
When you write, you write for readers. You want them to read your content. You should know, “People will not read your story until or unless you make it interesting and meaningful.”
Therefore, focus on drafting seductive pieces.
To draft such a web copy, use lesser elements, write comprehensive and concise statements.
- Choose every word that shines brightly.
- Create sentences that sparkle the meaning clearly.
- Make sure your content is grammatically correct.
- Stop spelling errors. Scrub off the dirt scrap sections.
- Let the communication flow with power.
Also, concentrate on the action in every sentence so readers get hooked and read your first paragraph. Here “action” doesn’t mean thriller-type action. No fight. No run. No shoot. Action means subtle.
Try using action verbs rather than non-action verbs.
Action verbs are dynamic. They describe what’s happening rather than what simply is.
Almost every sentence should include an action verb. These verbs are used to describe an action that is performed.
These verbs are:
- to soothe, to tap
- to read, to fall asleep
- to sing, to drive
- to stop, to stare
- to give attention, to cry
- to create, to watch, to listen
Action verbs make perfect, simple and progressive tenses.
Here is a short video to understand action and non-action verbs.
Non-action verbs describe a state, desire, possession, emotions, and opinion. These verbs are:
- to believe, to love
- to prefer, to seem
- to need, to want, to feel,
- to be, to remember, to see
- to hear, to belong, to own, etc.
Using too many non-action phrases slows down the pace of your story. Readers may feel bored. Don’t skip the space.
To inspire your readers straight into the action, focus on the work of your story by paying attention to your verbs.
On an average, human mind takes 15 to 20 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction. If you get distracted in the middle, you are losing quality. It is a sign something isn’t working.
So, skip writing sentences that distract readers. This is not a feature of a persuasive writing piece.
To make your story distraction-free,
Choose a subject you love. Find information about it. Once you know well, describe the subject in 100 words or fewer. Add lots of twists and turns to make it informative. Shoot for 50 words. Then 10 words.
Before giving a final touch,
- Step back a little while writing
- Review your content through eyes of readers
- Read each sentence loudly
- Dig out where you are wrong.
This is a powerful way to become your own writing coach and keep readers captivated.
Performing this exercise helps you check where you stumble, where you feel like skipping, or fail to get the message and where to distract and lose focus.
Find a new topic, and repeat.
You never tend to read long and complex sentences, right?
Why then do you want readers to tussle in getting the message? It’s barely possible that readers hang on to every word you write.
Nobody likes complex words.
Monosyllabic words speak longer than the polysyllabic ones.
Web readers scan pages for carewords. When they see these words, they click, they act…………… Gerry McGovern
Here is an example to understand this point,
When you book hotels, you don’t search for a cost-effective accommodation in Los Angeles, or a low-fare hotel in LA.
Instead, you type in Google cheap hotel, cheap accommodation or cheap hotel in LA.
Familiar and simple are the words people are looking for. Even Google’s Keyword Tool shows that ‘cheap’ is mostly used.
Don’t over complicate things
A complex story makes you sound small-minded. And polysyllabic words create complexity. Avoid them. You are not here to show your vocabulary power.
Let readers taste the ingredients of your stuff. They are reading either to learn something or entertain themselves. Let them have it.
Decorate sentences with the ornament of wide vocabulary. The level of vocabulary you are using depends on who you’re writing to.
If your readers are 10th standard students, keep sentences as easy and straightforward as possible so they can understand it easily.
You might sound smart by using complicated words, but you’ll lose readers.
- Chop long sentences in two.
- Cut difficult words. Skip unnecessary words.
- Use short paragraph –four sentences max.
- Replace sentences and make the meaning accurate.
- Avoid needles repetition and the passive tense.
Stay free and relaxed
You are not in a battleground.
Writing is a peaceful job. Be free and relax. Don’t let time and your mind clash.
In most of the cases, you may spend hours, sitting with your laptop. You may stare blankly at the screen, trying hard to come up with just one word that fits your ideas.
This may happen to anyone.
In such a situation, take a break. Watch your favorite TV serial. Go out and socialize, or just listen to your lovely song.
If you try to push yourself, you can accomplish nothing. You will likely extend your failure to write instead.
So, take a break and come back a few hours later with a fresh perspective and you will do just fine.
If your web copy is reader-friendly and informative, it’s much easier to stand out on the web. Clear message and information create persuasive web content.
With these nine simple tricks and tips, you can craft a compelling story and keep readers engaged – which is the goal of the story.