How to Write Effectively for the Web
You may think everyone reads the same. Well, they don’t. There’s a huge difference in offline and online readers. Offline readers tend to take more time, read through paragraphs to get to the meat of an article. Online readers are a bit more quick. They like their information now and often don’t take the time to read through a long piece of content. This means you should write differently for the web than you would elsewhere. Here is how to write effectively for the web.
Write direct and catchy headlines.
With so much social sharing going on, your headline is important. No, scratch that. It’s extremely important. It’s the first glimpse people will get of your post. It can be the determining factor that decides whether or not people click to read or bypass your post entirely. Write headlines are the clear, direct but also a little catchy.
Make your content scan-able.
Write online content for readers that scan, not read completely. Write short paragraphs that have just one main point each. Use bullet points:
- headers and subheaders
- bold and italics
Make each main point stand out so that anyone, especially those who merely scan, will know what you’re writing about. Include relevant (and eye-catching!) images in your post to appeal to the more visual readers as well.
Understand your audience.
While the general rules apply for all online readers, it’s important to know your specific audience. Each niche will have a certain readership; some will want longer, thorough posts while others may prefer their information in short spurts. Learn about your audience and what they like to read, and write online content specifically for them.
Engage your audience.
Online content is more engaging when it’s written in a conversational way. Write online content as though you are talking to your audience. But, there is one caveat to this rule. It comes back to knowing your audience. If your audience is strictly professional, you will want to keep your posts more professional and straightforward. However, if they are a more casual, easy-going bunch, feel free to write with a much more laid back tone.
Online content needs to be suited for an online reader. Quick, fast-paced and sometimes a little impatient, online readers tend to like their content in easily digestible pieces. Write interest-grabbing headlines, use scan-able writing and write online content for your personal audience.