Top tips for writing for the web
Structure makes all the difference when it comes to making digital content engaging. Nobody wants to be hit with a giant wall of text.
- Use bullet points and subheadings to break up your content. Studies show (honestly, they do…) users don’t read everything on a page — this will make it a lot easier to navigate.
- Pull out quotes from case study content. Readers will always engage more with a human voice.
- Keep your main call to action prominent. All of your lovely content is meaningless if people can’t see how to get involved or donate to your cause.
Here’s an example from the Sport Relief 2016 website:
2. Act natural, man
If you want your users to engage with your content, you need to sound like a person rather than a robot.
- Address the reader directly, e.g. “We’ve come up with loads of handy tips to help get your fundraising off to a flying start!”
- Use personality to make your content interesting and unique.
- Don’t use jargon. Just because you and Susan from marketing know what GLSJBD means, it doesn’t mean your users will.
3. Quality over quantity
It’s not about how much content you’ve got, it’s about how you use it.
- Don’t just regurgitate content from other channels. Your website should offer users added value rather than becoming a dumping ground for old content you’ve used in advertising, press releases or on social media.
- Keep your messaging in line with your other channels. Although you want your brand to be personable, you should still maintain a consistent tone of voice.
- Keep it concise. If you don’t need to say it, don’t.
- Consider mobile users. Your site might look great on your desktop, but can users see everything they need to on mobile without scrolling for eternity?
- Avoid repeating the same words or phrases again and again and again and again and again and… you get it.
4. Get yourself out there
Search engine optimization (SEO) is improving the visibility of your site, or pages within your site, on search engines like Google. The higher your site ranks, the more likely users are to visit.
- Use keywords that are relevant to your content, but keep it realistic! Using relevant keywords high up in your pages (e.g. in the URLs, titles and introductions) will increase your ranking. However, Google will penalise you if you try to beat the system by cramming nonsensical words and phrases high up on the page.
- When adding images and media, always choose a relevant file name, and include alternative tags in the CMS (content management system). These are tags that describe the content of the image. These will also improve the accessibility of your site.
The alt tag for the image above could be: ‘Alesha Dixon showing off her Red Nose ahead of Red Nose Day 2017’
- Link to other relevant content within your site.
- Link to relevant content on other sites — if users are clicking on these links, it’ll show Google that you’re a trusted source and signpost to the most relevant content.
- Keep image and media file sizes as small as possible. While you want your site to look good, page load time can have a big effect on SEO. For a quick win, save images as JPEGs (which have a smaller file size) rather than PNGs or GIFs where possible.
- Frequently update your content. As well as being relevant, your content should also be timely.