How to Write Effectively for the Web
Yona GidalevitzMay 12th, 20154 minute read
Yona is Codal’s Technical Writer. At Codal, he is responsible for content strategy, documentation, blogging, and editing. He works closely with Codal’s UX, development, marketing, and administrative teams to produce all manner of written content. In his free time, Yona is an avid guitarist, cook, and traveler.
If you have tried writing for the web, you know how daunting it can be to produce original content. Not only are writers competing for the attention of their audience, but they are likely under pressure to produce new content at a regular pace.
As such, the Internet is ripe with redundant, arbitrary articles, written for the sake of generating content rather than to address a particular need for it. It is important to understand that the content you create has essential considerations that must be met, otherwise it will not produce value for your web site or organization.
In order to help you keep your content strategy in line with your goals, here are some questions to ask yourself before publishing your content:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the specific set of guidelines which, when followed, allow writers to optimize their content for the most hits on Google. The SEO landscape has evolved over the years, however the basic principle remains the same: if your content does not make use of SEO standards, you will be missing out on a significant number of views. Some concepts to keep in mind:
- High quality content that generates "buzz" is more important than keyword injection
- Optimize your content for mobile SEO
- Short-phrases generate more hits than complex descriptions
Check out Google's SEO starter guide for more information on SEO.
Is your content original, relevant and compelling? Is it insightful and providing original research, analysis, or reporting?
Does the article provide value or distinguish itself above other content it might be shown against in search results? The primary consideration here is whether or not your content addresses a question or topic that has already been widely addressed on the internet. Your work will have a better chance of reaching its audience if it stands out from the rest of the pack.
Does your content address its target audience? Is it optimized for sharing across social media channels?
If the answer to either of these questions is "No," then you should not be posting your content yet. Social media presence has become an integral part of successfully pushing content to users. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become incredibly powerful tools for the sharing of information. As such, optimizing your content for the social media sphere can have a significant effect on its traction, and the traction gained by your website.
Does your content contain misleading or deceptive information?
Unless this is your intent, do not publish any content which may not be fully true. Even if you think it is accurate, check your content again before posting it to the web. Posting misleading or deceptive information can ruin your reputation as a reliable source of information. In order to retain your readership, it is important to maintain a sense of trust between you and your readers.
How much quality control has been done? Make sure there are no factual, stylistic or spelling errors present.
This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind: if there are any detectable errors in your content, your readers will notice. There is no excuse for misspelling words or making factually incorrect statements in the digital age, and your readers will not be quick to forget.