9 steps on how to write engaging website content

white plaque with words printed in black and plant unfocused in foreground

If you want to write website content that engages your readers, forget everything you learned in school about writing essays. Writing for websites is a whole different game.

Why is it important to make your website content engaging?

Unlike 10 years ago, businesses need to do everything they can to stand out from the online competition. You can’t go browsing the internet without being bombarded with information from all sides.

Imagine walking down a street lined with a hundred different vendors and they all want to sell their wares.

What do they do? They shout and scream, trying to drown out the competition. A 100 different voices clamouring for your attention.

Sounds painful, doesn’t it?

But that’s exactly what happens online. Every website is a vendor on that street wanting to sell you something. And if you are one of those vendors, you want to close that sale, don’t you?

That’s what engaging content writing can do for you. Among other benefits, it helps to build trust with your audience, and it also demonstrates that you’re an authority in your field. You need all the competitive edge you can get, and engaging website content is one of them.

So, let’s go through some website content writing guidelines to help you craft truly powerful content for your site.

mandy projects writer working on laptop writing website content

1. Keyword and SEO research

Before you start writing anything for your website, it’s important to do some keyword research and search engine optimisation (SEO) research upfront.

Think of it as preparing for a journey. You know where you’re going and there are many routes to arrive at your destination. But you probably don’t want to take the longest route that goes for miles before getting to the point. Ideally, you’d want the path that hits all the stops you want.

That’s what keyword and SEO research will do for you. Even this post came into existence after researching the elements that made website content enticing.

Doing this will help you identify the best keywords to target and ensure that your content is optimised for search engines. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your competition, as they may be using similar keywords or strategies.

By doing some research before you start writing, you can be sure that your content will be more visible and more likely to attract readers. At the end of the day, that should be the main objective.

2. Think about your audience

This is one of those guidelines that seems obvious and yet, often, can get forgotten in the middle of everything:

  • Who are you writing for?
  • What are their needs and interests?
  • What kind of tone will resonate with them?

Answering these questions can help you create content that is more effective and engaging.

For example, let’s say you’re writing an article about gardening for a general interest website. If you know that your audience is mostly beginners, you’ll want to focus on simple tips and tricks that they can easily follow. On the other hand, if you’re writing for experienced gardeners, you can go into more detail and include more advanced information.

Keep your audience in mind throughout the writing process to ensure that your content is relevant and useful to them.

3. Structure your content using the “inverted pyramid” model

The inverted pyramid model is a popular structure for web content writing.

In this model, the most important information is placed at the top of the article, and gradually trickles and narrows down to the non-essential important information at the bottom.

This model has its origins in one of the oldest media technologies — the telegraph, a mid-19th century device that allowed information to be transmitted by coded signal over long distances over wire or radio wave. Since you could only communicate information in limited quantities, news outlets would convey the vital information first before getting to the less important parts.

Although technologies have evolved since then, the inverted pyramid model still remains in use. It has its criticisms but it’s also extremely useful when writing web content for audiences with increasingly diminishing attention spans. Why?

  1. It ensures that readers will see the most important information even if they don’t read the entire article.
  2. It helps to keep readers engaged by providing new information as they scroll down the page.
  3. It makes it easier for writers to plan and organise their articles.

By starting with the most important information, you can ensure that your articles are concise and focused.

As a result, the inverted pyramid model is a helpful tool for anyone who wants to write effective web content.

4. Active, not passive

Passive voice tends to get a bad rap. But there’s a reason why using the active voice makes your writing stronger. Your text becomes stronger and livelier.

Look at this simple example:

Passive: “A mistake was made.”
Active: “We made a mistake.”

The active sentence reads so much better, doesn’t it?

That’s probably because the active voice mimics the cadence of every day speech. So, when you read text written in the active voice, it sounds like the writer is talking to you.

That doesn’t mean you have to use the active voice for every sentence. You can mix it up. There are also some good reasons for using the passive voice, especially for companies. But be sure to use the active voice where it’s very important.

Which leads to our next point…

5. Write simply

Let’s face it: when you’re reading something on the web, you’re likely not in the mood for a literary masterpiece. You just want to find what you’re looking for as soon as possible with minimal fuss.

That’s why it’s important to write simply and clearly when creating web content. Avoid big words, long sentences, and complicated concepts.

Instead, use short, straightforward language that your audience can understand with ease. By writing in a clear and concise manner, you’ll make it more likely that your readers will stick around until the end of your article or website.

And that’s what we all want, right? An engaged audience that actually receives the message we’re trying to communicate.

6. Make it scannable so readers can skim

If you’ve reached this far into the article, we’d like to thank you and also hope it’s because the text is easy to skim through and read.

Reading text on a screen isn’t the same as reading text printed on a page. Your eye is likelier to skip through most of the information and pick out the important bits. If it’s buried under a wall of text, you audience is simply going to move to the next website.

A study published in 2008 found that visitors spend less than four seconds on 25% of a website or online document. That was even before the pervasive rise of smartphones dominating our lives, which means it’s probably even less now.

But you don’t need a paper to confirm what you already know: Most people don’t want to spend too much time on a website.

That means that if you want people to actually read what you write, you need to make it easy for them to scan your content and find the information they’re looking for:

  • Use short paragraphs and sentences. Breaking up your text makes it much easier to scan.
  • Use headlines, subheadings, and bullet points to highlight the most important information.
  • Use visuals like images and videos to break up the text and add interest.

7. Use good backlinks

When it comes to web content, backlinks are important for a number of reasons:

  • They help to improve your search engine ranking. Search engines look at backlinks as a way to gauge the quality and authority of your site. The more backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank.
  • They can help to increase traffic to your site. If someone clicks on a backlink and is taken to your site, there’s a good chance they’ll stay awhile and explore what you have to offer.
  • They act as a testimonial for your site. If other sites are linking to your content, it means they trust and value what you have to say.

This is an often-underused technique to make your website more engaging. But when it works, it works.

8. Use calls-to-action (CTAs)

Ultimately, what engaging web content boils down to is prompting a response from the visitor.

It could be to sign-up or subscribe to your site or services. Or it could be to purchase what you’re selling.

The whole objective is to increase conversions.

That’s why you need to put a clear call-to-action (CTA) that prompts an immediate response. Else, it would be like writing a great story but omitting the conclusion.

In other words, a wasted effort.

By providing readers with a clear and concise path to taking the next step, you can guide them through the buyer’s journey and ultimately boost your bottom line. In addition, CTAs can also help to improve your website’s overall usability.

CTAs are a simple but extremely efficient way to increase leads and sales. So, think about what you want to sell on your website and place your CTA in a prominent place for your visitors to find.

9. Check your work before publishing

You’ve written your web content, you’ve got the template designed, and you’ve added your CTA.

Now, it’s time for perhaps the most important step: check for errors.

Always ― ALWAYS ― check your work for errors before you publish your website.

You can be a first-rate expert in your field or a skilled writer, but you still need to check your work for errors.

Check, not just for typos or punctuation errors. Not just to verify the authority of your content.

Preview your content as it will appear to your audience before you put it out there. This will help you to catch any layout or spacing problems ahead of release.

It might seem trivial but even a small mistake can reflect poorly on your business and give readers the impression that you’re careless or inexperienced.

Also, it will erode trust in your brand and increase a visitor’s resistance to acting on your CTA, which is the exact opposite of what you are aiming to do.

So, before you hit “publish”, check your work thoroughly. Proofread it. Spellcheck it.

You’ve only got one opportunity to make a memorable impression. Make it count from the first moment.

What have we learned?

First and foremost, web content writing is all about delivering value to your readers. That means giving them the information they need in a clear and concise way.

It also means making sure that your site’s overall tone is one that your customers will appreciate.

Finally, always be on the lookout for ways to improve your content writing skills so you can provide even more value to your audience.

By following these writing guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to writing compelling website content.

At Mandy Projects, we provide excellent content writing services to craft, structure, and optimise your site to get you noticed, whether you’re an established brand or just starting out.

Contact us today and you’ll get all the help you need to create great website content that will keep people coming back for more!

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