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Writing for the Web - A No B.S. Blueprint for Effective Web Site Writing

Aug 17, 2007
To master writing for the web, one must possess the following to some degree:

1) Knowledge of the subject matter or topic being discussed. Everybody knows that anybody can put information online so why should people listen to you? Studies show that people tend to pay more attention to web copywriting that conveys authority so ensure that you have a good grasp of what you are talking about as most people can smell a fake a mile away.

However, do not pepper your copy with words that require the reader to reach for the dictionary. The most effective type of writing for the web is one that is conversational. If your business is geared towards providing corporate products and services, then by all means use corporate speak (common business language). But if your target market is the average online buyer, then your web site writing should use more informal words and even colloquialisms (i.e., words or expressions not normally used in formal speech or writing).

2) A crystal-clear objective. (What is the exact purpose of your web copy? What do you want your site visitors to do?) Many so-called web content writing professionals suffer from the ambiguity disease. In many a writer's desire to address everything that a site visitor may want from a site, the web copy (and thus its message or purpose) becomes diluted. In the end, the site visitor is not properly prompted to do what you want him or her to do.

So before you start writing for the web, ask yourself what it is exactly that you want readers to do after reading your web copy. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter, download a product or purchase something from your site today? Whatever the goal, stay focused on it and make sure your web content writing works to achieve that sole purpose.

3) And last, but not the least, you must have an in-depth understanding of the psyche of online readers. You have heard it often enough, online readers are just not the same as an offline audience. You need to sustain their attention better and you need to call into their "inner self" to compel them to do what you want them to do.

Ok, so how exactly do you do this? Well, read on!

Writing for the Web - Top 5 Fool-Proof "Visual Aids" to Better Web Site Writing

Online readers or site visitors have a very short attention span. In fact, as much as you ensure that your web content writing is perfect(i.e., grammatically correct and logically presented), you must understand and accept one thing - online readers do not really read web copy. They scan. So here's a quick guide to practical web writing.

1) Use "Move Me" Headlines. The headline is probably the most important aspect of writing for the web. It should immediately convey what the copy is all about in an exciting, intriguing and "can't wait to read this article" way!

2) Use compelling subheadlines. This will not only break your web copy to make it visually appealing, it also helps site readers scan your copy more effectively. However, don't just put a subheadline for the sake of having one. Come up with stimulating subheadlines to keep readers interested.

3) Use short paragraphs. Long paragraphs mean "uh-oh, this requires some time to read and think about, better skip it," while short paragraphs mean "this will only take a minute, let me go through this now."

4) Use emphasis. Bold face, italicized type and underlining all help to guide readers in scanning your web content. However, do not overdo this. Remember that emphasis tags aim to do just that - emphasize. Too many words or phrases in bold, italics or underline will only create "visual noise" and minimize the effect you wanted to achieve in the first place.

5) List them down! When writing for the web, see to it that you have something to itemize and put these in a numbered or bulleted list. Lists help you present information in short, bite-size pieces.

Further, they help the reader grasp the information you are presenting better. Many say that writing for the web is an art form. And you know what? It is. Web site writing is not just about presenting information and asking potentials to be clients. It is about presenting information in a visually effective and mind-compelling way that simply convinces potentials to be clients.
About the Author
Sharon Vaz is Webexplosion Limited's Web Strategist for Design & Optimization. She specializes in web site makeovers with an emphasis on building visually appealing and well optimized web sites. Increase your website's conversion rate by 35%, with Headline Creator Pro at http://www.headlinecreatorpro.net, the copywriting software that can generate 100 killer headlines in just 17 seconds!
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