Did you ever stop and think about why good website content matters?
Not only does top-notch content help you build a strong brand, but the better you can optimize your content for search engines, the more traffic you’ll end up getting.
But just what should you be paying attention to when writing content for your website?
Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Know your target audience
- Don’t neglect keyword research
- Understand what your competitors are doing
- Always remember the search intent
- Be attention-grabbing without being clickbait-y
- Keep your copy skimmable
- Use simple, everyday language
- Get personal with the reader
- Be informative
- Don’t hard-sell
- Build a backlink profile
- Always proofread
- Pay attention to visuals
- Encourage readers to take action
- Understand how SEO works
- Regularly update your content
1. Identify your target audience
How to write content for a website that grabs eyeballs usually comes down to understanding who you’re writing for.
The truth is that there’s an almost unlimited amount of web content out there. If you want your web writing to stand out, you need to address the right people in the right way.
Let’s say you’ve started a lifestyle blog and wrote a very helpful article about how to save money on car maintenance costs.
The thing is that if the majority of the people reading your blog only engage with your content when it’s all about food and travel, writing web content about cars is most likely going to result in little engagement and a high bounce rate for the blog post in question.
Use tools like Google Analytics to analyze the types of visitors who spend time on your website, and dig deeper into the demographics these visitors share. Ask questions like:
- Where are your website visitors from?
- What language do they speak?
- Which web pages do they mostly visit and how long for?
- What type of website content on your website gets the most views?
The better you know and understand your audience, the easier it will be to write content that will be exactly what your audience is looking for.
If you’re only setting up your website and haven’t got data to go by, start by creating user personas to get a feel for your ideal audience.
2. Brainstorm ideas and do keyword research
Modern content writing focuses on search engine optimization or SEO for short.
While we’ll dive deeper into SEO later, understanding the types of keywords to include in your content writing is the key to driving quality traffic to your website or blog.
Basically, keywords are the words that people write to Google when they are looking for something.
You should aim for so-called long-tail keywords, like ‘best sushi restaurants in Seattle’, rather than opting for a short-tail keyword phrase, like ‘sushi restaurants’.
Well, the chances are that a very generic short-tail keyword is going to be much higher to rank for, meaning that your web page and its quality content won’t reach any new site visitors.
3. Conduct competitor research on search engines
We’ll let you in on a secret: there’s no shame in copying with pride, as long as you’re not being a blatant copycat.
So don’t waste your time trying to re-invent the wheel when it comes to your website content – instead, get inspired by what your competitors are doing.
You should have a good idea of the market overall that you’re operating in, and who you’re up against. Maybe you’re an online fashion boutique with a couple of key competitors, or a food blogger wanting to claim the throne from the biggest culinary blog in your area.
Search engines like Google are a great place to start your research. Pay attention to things like:
- The kind of web content that’s used on a specific web page. Are the landing pages of your competition colorful and fun, or do they focus on dishing out the facts?
- The types of long-form content available. Is it mainstream to have a blog and dominate organic search?
- The overall tone of the website copy. Are the landing page headlines of your competitors’ websites provoking and aggressive, making sure potential customers stop in their tracks?
Pro tip – Look out for the shortcomings of your competitors on review websites. Do users complain about a poor customer service bot or a confusingly written FAQ page? Make sure to pay extra attention to these types of features, and do it better yourself.
4. Keep the site visitors’ search intent in mind
The best website content writing provides the reader with tangible and actionable information about the topic at hand.
This means that every piece of web content should answer a question that a visitor types into search engines.
This one’s one of those writing tips that not only help you stay on top of your SEO game, but that also make a lot of sense for the visitor.
In general, most search queries are either informational, navigational, or transactional.
For example, searching for a company or brand name in Google usually means that the user already knows about the company and its products, and is merely navigating through the internet to the brand’s landing page.
If a user, on the other hand, looks for the top tips on how to avoid sunburn, they’re making an informational query: they look for information on the best ways to protect themselves from the sun.
And when a user looks specifically to buy a product or service (often using search terms like ‘buy’, ‘deal’, and ‘sale’), or to complete some other action (like sign up for an email newsletter or setting up a sales call), the search intent is transactional.
So, while creating copy for your website, regularly remind yourself of your target user’s search intent – what kind of information are they trying to find?
Serve the answer to their questions straight away by using the ‘inverted pyramid’ method and start with the most important information at the top of your article.
5. Write copy with an attention-grabbing hook
The world of web content is highly competitive and volatile, meaning that if you don’t get the readers’ attention, someone else most certainly will.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your headlines are compelling and relevant to your blog post, without being misleading or sensational.
You could use data and relevant statistics to grab the reader’s attention and convince them to read on.
It’s also common to address the problem your article is going to be based around, and offer solutions. You don’t have to give it all away in your headline, though – for example, you could use a headline like this one:
“15 Unusual but Effective Ways to Sleep Better in the Summer”
You could also use data and statistics in your headline, or take things further and conduct your own, exclusive research on the given topic:
“Summer Sleep Study 2020: Let Science Show You How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep”
Think about all the times that a headline got you interested in clicking an article, and work backward.
6. Make sure your web content is skimmable
You’ve finished writing your very informative article – well done. But is it skimmable?
With so many things battling for your reader’s attention, help them out by making your web content easy to skim through.
Here are our favorite website content writing tips for maximum skimmability:
- Divide your content into sections. There’s a reason why most content editors give you various different headings and paragraph styles (H1, H2, H3, and so on) – they make your website content flow better and add structure to your web pages.
- Use bullet points or an ordered list. Opt for lists and bullet points over long paragraphs: they are much easier and faster to skim through.
- Keep your sentences short. A seasoned web content writer knows that the simpler and shorter your sentence structure is, the easier it is to go straight to the point. And avoid losing readers along the way.
Remember that over half of the people browsing are on a mobile device, so the more digestible you can make your content, the less likely you are to lose mobile traffic.
7. Simplify the word choices on your website pages
Content writers often assume that their readers are experts in their field and create web copy that resembles more a university paper than a blog post.
The best website content doesn’t hide behind complex jargon, analogies, or complicated metaphors. Instead, it gets its point across with simple, everyday words and easy grammar constructions.
This way, you won’t alienate any new readers who might stumble across your web pages through search engines.
You should also think about the bigger picture: while, say, English is one of the biggest languages on the globe, not everyone speaks it as their native language. Meaning that if you are, in turn, using expressions and phrases that are very specific to New York, for example, you could be confusing a lot of readers.
Consider using tools like the Hemginway Editor to check how difficult or easy your blog posts are to read.
Ideally, you want to be writing at an 8th-grade level when it comes to overall reading difficulty. At this level, you’ll be able to meet the needs of most non-native English readers, without ‘dumbing things down’ for the native speakers.
8. Get personal with your website visitors
Your content creation should always center around your readers – so why not get personal with them?
You’ll build a direct connection with your audience by addressing them in your web copy and using a friendly, active voice throughout your blog posts.
Compare these two sentences, for example:
“Web design becomes easy when using the right tools.”
“When you use the right tools (like Zyro), web design is easier than you realize.”
When writing content for your website, aim to have a conversation with your reader, rather than talking at them.
9. Be as informative as you can
In general, content writing is all about giving the reader as much relevant information they need.
That means that if a user is looking for the best overnight backpacks for an upcoming hike, your content shouldn’t gloss over the best backpacks and instead go into detail about the history of backpacks.
You want to highlight product or service features over benefits. In our backpack example, your page’s content should focus on explaining the different features of each backpack and why they are good for hiking especially.
It’s also important to make your content writing actionable. The human brain is easily distracted, so make sure your readers know exactly how they can take your words and ideas and use them in their daily lives.
Consider showing real-life examples as part of your content to ensure that the reader understands what you mean. They could be professionally done mockups, or simple screenshots – no matter what your budget, you’re fine as long as you’re crediting the source.
Or, think about adding a summarizing section at the bottom of each sub-section of your article helps the reader to gather their thoughts and understand the key takeaways from the topic at hand.
10. Avoid hard-selling in content writing
If this is one of the only content writing tips that you take away from this article, we have done our job.
By tooting your own horn you’ll only create content that’s uninteresting and too aggressive, resulting in readers leaving your page.
Most of your web content should be positioned at the top of your marketing funnel. Rather than scaring potential customers away, inform, guide, and engage them with your brand.
Your website content is also a wonderful place to dedicate to building trust with your customers. Tell your company’s story, show what’s going on behind the scenes, and celebrate the successes of your clients.
11. Link to other website content and web pages
As a content writer, you should be actively organizing your website content into a couple of main categories and creating internal links to similar content.
In the world of SEO, this is called content siloing. In essence, it helps you boost your search engine rankings and get your landing page and blog posts showing in the top search results.
Internal linking helps you retain your readers since you’re sending them to other blog posts on your website, rather than other websites altogether.
But linking to external websites isn’t always a bad thing, either. In fact, building a backlink profile for your own website helps the site visitors to navigate their problems in the most efficient way.
The chances are that you’re not an expert in every field or the owner of every statistic out there.
The best web writers make sure that their landing pages and articles are well researched and link to the relevant background information where needed.
12. Proofread your website’s content for any errors
Would you want to do business with an online store with landing pages full of grammatical errors and inaccuracies in their prices?
You’d most likely worry that the store is up to no good, close the tab and take your business elsewhere.
Consider hiring an editor to go through and correct all of the web content on your website before you start marketing it to the masses.
If you’re on a tight budget, you could consider asking a couple of friends to take an hour or two to lend you a hand.
13. Create compelling content with visual elements
Content writing alone isn’t going to be enough to drive traffic to your website and scale your business.
You’re going to need help in the form of multimedia content: think pictures, video content, graphs, infographics, and such.
After all, a picture does tell a thousand words, so why not add more layers to your content?
Not only will visual content help you to keep your readers engaged, but it also lends itself better for social media platforms.
Consider creating at least these types of visuals to support your overall marketing efforts:
- Featured images for blog posts. Your blog’s home page will look professional and inviting.
- Visuals for social media posts. Most social media platforms rely heavily on visual content, so make sure you’re creating images in the right sizes for different sites.
- Infographics. Including infographics into data-heavy articles makes them much easier for readers to digest (and skim) through.
14. Encourage web readers to take action
Your content writing should strive to convince the reader to take a desired action.
That could be to sign up for a newsletter, buy your product or service, set up a call with a sales representative, or order a catalog. These calls to action (CTA for short) messages should engage and support your overall web content on a landing page or in a blog post.
Most often, the web CTAs are found in buttons that link to elsewhere on a website or online store. An online store, for example, could highlight their upcoming sale with a banner and a CTA button “View collection” or “Buy now”.
The CTA should always reflect the overall message of a particular website section or page.
A landing page CTA of a consulting firm might focus more on encouraging visitors to view their portfolio and book a meeting with the team (think of CTAs along the lines of “Browse portfolio” or “Book now”).
On the other hand, an exit pop-up of an online store might be more likely to use a question-answer formula in its CTA, asking the user whether they’re sure they want to leave:
The position of your CTAs on your pages is almost as important as the words you’re using.
Use tools like heatmaps to analyze exactly where users are looking at when they are browsing through your website.
Once you have an idea of the hotspots on your pages that gain the most eyeballs, revamp your website’s design so that the most important information (including your CTA buttons) fills those sections.
Don’t be afraid to run A/B-tests on different page designs and CTA messages to find out which one converts your web traffic to paying customers the best.
15. Try SEO content writing
We’ve mentioned the importance of high-quality content for SEO success a couple of times already.
Basically, the better and more relevant your web content is to your niche, the faster you can expect to increase organic traffic to your website.
You want customers to type their query to search engines, find your website in the organic results, and make a purchase. This way, your return on investment (or ROI for short) stays high and you will get more money back for whatever you’re spending on your content marketing.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Optimize the meta description and meta title on all of your pages
- Include your focus keywords in the main parts of your blog posts, web pages, and articles
- Write content that’s error-free and high-quality
- Compress images and use white space in your web design for better page speed
- Add alt texts to all images on your website
- Optimize your copy for a human brain – don’t just write for machines and algorithms
- Add both internal and external links to all your blog posts
It’s also worth mentioning that for you to see the benefits of SEO, you have to be patient. Expect to be in the game for the long run, rather than sprinting directly to the finish line.
Read more about SEO:
- How to Drive Traffic to Your Website: 18 Clever Ways
- How to Speed Up a Website
- How to Optimize Images for the Web: All-in-One Guide
16. Update your web content frequently
As with all things online, web content gets outdated fast.
If you’re not careful, a web page that ranked on top of the search results a year ago could now be negatively influencing your overall SEO.
Visiting older web copy is also a great place to see your personal progress as a writer: you might realize that writing headlines comes much easier to you now than a year ago.
While there are ways of creating content that stays somewhat evergreen, regular blog post auditing ensures that you’re associating your brand with quality content.
Pay attention to things like:
- What competitors are doing. Maybe you wrote a listicle last year and included 10 examples like everyone else – it could be that the best-ranking articles now include over 20 examples.
- Links. Especially if you’re linking to external websites throughout your articles, regularly check that the links still work. Nothing hurts your SEO more than a lot of broken links on your website.
- Images. Updating the visuals in your blog posts can change the look and feel of the piece in an instant.
- Changed search intent. Sometimes, the search intent of a keyword or key phrase can change over time. Originally, it could be that you meant your article to be a how-to guide – but now readers might be looking for inspirational content, rather than in-depth instructions.
17. Tell stories
We’re driven by stories, so make sure your website content is always cohesive and tells stories to the reader.
You’re not writing a report or an essay – you’re trying to build a brand and communicate the values you stand by.
Think back to the best adverts, marketing campaigns, and websites you’ve visited. Pay attention to how they use their words to paint pictures of their products, services, and brand values.
There are plenty of different storytelling techniques that you can use to keep your audience reading. Just remember to keep your target audience in mind: you would tell the story of your business differently to business executives than you would to children.
Utilizing your website’s design in your storytelling efforts will also strengthen your message.
Look at how the Dutch egg company Crazy About Eggs uses the whole front page of their website to communicate with the reader.
With enough negative space, each section of the front page adds to the story and keeps the reader scrolling for more.
The brand launches straight into sharing the reasons why they are crazy about eggs and ties it in well with the key selling points of their products (you guessed it – free-range eggs).
The overall design, from the illustrations to accent colors and fonts all support the company’s overall message – consider creating a brand book or overarching brand guidelines to ensure your story stays the same no matter the channel.
18. Stay on top of the newest strategies and trends
Like everything else online, the world of content writing moves fast. And you need to move with it.
The better you know where the world of content writing is heading, the easier it will be to use the methods that are working best in converting users to sales.
You could also join local networking events and weekend workshops to hone your skills and meet like-minded people. Sitting down for a lunch with an industry veteran can shed light on techniques and insights that you didn’t even realize could work for your content strategy.
Getting in-depth feedback on your writing from an experienced editor can also help you realize which aspects of your writing could be improved.
19. Get creative with your word choices
While it’s important that your content is easy for anyone to read and understand, that doesn’t mean that it should sound boring or plain.
In order to create copy that keeps the readers in its grip, you should make dictionaries your best friends.
Look for synonyms for different words, or use online generators like Lose the Very to spice up your copy.
Use browser tools like Grammarly Premium to get real-time feedback and suggestions on your writing.
You can also bend the grammar rules a little bit, if you’re aiming to mimic spoken word – but do this within reason. Trying too hard to sound extra relatable can backfire on you, making your brand feel cringy and your overall message confusing.
20. Help readers to navigate
Here’s the thing: not everyone is going to find your content from the same place.
Someone might click on an ad when browsing Google or Facebook, while someone else might follow your Facebook page and saw your social media post.
Similarly, some readers might return to your blog every time you publish new content, while others have merely stumbled upon your listicle through Google.
So, remember to make it easy for your readers to navigate to other important and relevant pages on your website from your content.
Do this by adding breadcrumb navigation to your blog, or by making your menu sticky – this way, your menu will float at the top of the page while the user scrolls down the page.
You shouldn’t assume that everyone reading is familiar with your brand or your products or services, either. Perfect your pitch so that you’re able to communicate the main selling points of your brand in passing, naturally including your product in your content.
21. Tell your customers’ stories
Everyone raves about testimonials and how important they are for your brand – and there’s a reason for it.
Since over 90% of people read online reviews before making a purchase, other customers’ good words can take your brand far.
On top of including sections and pages for reviews and testimonials, consider highlighting and telling your clients’ success stories.
Call them up, talk with them, maybe invite them for coffee or lunch and find out how your product or service helped them succeed.
You’ll end up with uplifting web content that will help prove your brand’s worth to potential customers.
For example, here at Zyro, we believe that our customers’ success is our success. That’s why we’ve committed to sharing their stories and inspiring others to make their dreams a reality.
Pro tip – User testimonials can take many forms: while written web content works great for a blog, think about creating video content for social media platforms. If you run a podcast, dedicate an episode to your customers’ success stories. Just remember to get written permission to use your customers’ words in your own marketing.
Start writing great web content today
Knowing how to write content for a website is hardly rocket science –it just takes a little practice.
The truth is that you can get far with a little bit of SEO, actionable tips, and keeping in mind that you’re writing for human readers, not just algorithms.
At its best, content writing can help you scale your business, sell more, and support your social media marketing strategy.
So, what are you waiting for?