Many businesses in this day and age struggle to note the subtle difference between writing for the web and composing the standard materials they would normally disseminate to their clientele. This normally occurs for two reasons – the first is that business owners fail to recognise the importance of paying someone either in-house or externally to create genuinely engaging copy – as writing for the web is no easy task. Secondly – business owners may not be able to foresee the possible returns quality copy could bring to their business and thus may not even look at this as a business task or perhaps only attend to releasing digital materials occasionally which have only been drafted and published by themselves.

Let’s examine some of the areas you may look to improve for your own business – if you master writing for the web the improvements you could see to website traffic, customer retention and lead generation could be limitless!

In this article we will look at:

  • How writing for the web is uniquely different
  • Technical things you need to keep your mind on when writing for the web
  • Keywords and whether they still matter
  • Prioritising your message and not burying the lead!

Writing for the Web – how is it different?

When writing online content – not only do you have to engage your readers but your copy needs to be unique enough to drive them to your site in the first place! The most essential component of this is understanding the different between content marketing and copywriting – Sonia Simone of writes

“Content marketing is the creation of valuable content that a marketing purpose.”

For instance this could be a report, ebook or other publication which you give for free in exchange for customer contact details.

“Copywriting is designed to get the reader to take a specific action.”

This could be getting the reader to make a purchase, calling for more information or to send an email.

When you are writing for the web it is essential that you look to introduce as many copywriting techniques as you can to cause the reader to take some kind of action. Some of you might be thinking that customers might become disenfranchised with copy that is only designed to essentially make a ‘sale’ but the action you might want from the reader doesn’t need to be this extreme – perhaps you could invite them to read something else in a week’s time or redirect them to other relevant materials on your site – whatever the case maybe – writing for the web should both engage and instruct your customers next actions.

Technical Requirements when Writing for the Web

Writing for the Web requires you not only to generate copy which resonates with readers it must resonate with search engines as well! If Google and other search engines do not deem your copy to be relevant to what your readers are searching for – unless you have a large internal database of clients you may find that not many people will stumble across your hard work regardless of the amount of effort you put in! Michael Aagaard from notes the importance of “writing for humans and optimising for robots.” Although we need to be wary of our Google automated software reads our content according to Aagaard, the more natural the content the more likely it to be deemed to be ‘real’ material. In relation to the composition of the article – Aagaard recommends using related keywords, synonyms and grammatical variations.

“Google and other search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to match search results to the intentions of the person performing the search. Using synonyms, related keywords, and grammatical variations is an easy way to make your content more relevant – without stuffing the actual keyword into the copy.”

Thus when you are writing for the web it is extremely important to find the balance between natural, quality copy and over structuring your contributions to suit Google’s automatic search engine practices.

Keywords and Writing for the Web – do they matter?

Keywords are the technical term for the search queries which people enter into Google which may cause them to find one of the web pages or posts you have created. When you create your content it is important to have the knowledge about which keywords your readers are likely to search to arrive at what you have written. Some individuals question the amount of emphasis you should be placing on your keywords but as a standard recommendation we would say – make sure they are present throughout the body, in the title and in the description of the page (meta description)

Writing for the Web – never bury the lead!

When writing for the web it is so important to make sure your message is prioritised – with many writers letting it fall away towards the middle or end of what they have written – a phenomena Brad Shorr from Smashing Magazine refers to as ‘burying the lead.’

“Websites are a poor medium for subtlety. Visitors decide whether to stay on your website within a few seconds. If you can’t communicate why a page is important to them immediately, your conversion opportunities will vanish. “

To avoid this issue it is important to make your main message or main point stick out in bold or as a heading rather than embedding (placing it) somewhere inside the content. It is also helpful to place variants of the main messages in repeated places so that your customers understands your call to action.

Where to from here?

From this article we have learnt that

  1. When writing for the web you need to implement copywriting strategies to drive your readers to action whilst also engaging their interest
  2. You need to be familiar with the technical requirements when writing for the web – taking into account Google’s robotic search procedures but not at the expense of quality
  3. You need to incorporate keywords throughout the body and in the meta description
  4. Ensure that your main message is prioritised and reiterated throughout

Please get in touch with us by clicking here or leaving a comment below – should you need a hand to:

  1. Get a professional to help give you a head start on writing your materials using a copywriting style –
  2. Brief you on the technical requirements Google looks for when going over (crawling) your website
  3. Find out what keywords you need to be targeting in your industry and which ones your competitors are focusing on