It’s been said time and time again: consistent content creation is key for engaging with your audience online. To keep readers coming back, you must go beyond delivering useful information. Delivering that content in a unique and engaging way is almost as important as the content itself.
Here are a few dos and don’ts to help your website’s content stand out.
Start With Your Most Important Information
An inviting lead will draw most readers in, but the bulk of your content should soon follow. If someone clicked on your article, they are most likely interested in the topic implied by your title. Making your readers sift through irrelevant information could lead to frustration on their end. The remainder of your article should be relevant and engaging, but very few people will read on if the beginning is subpar.
Avoid Cliches and Overused Phrases
The grass is always greener on the other side and everyone wants things that won’t break the bank. However, there are more creative ways of getting those points across. Cut these unnecessary words and phrases that don’t add value to your content.
Facts, figures and statistics can add value to your content. However, your audience might become skeptical of your content’s legitimacy if no sources are cited when you make a claim like, “44% of writers and authors are self-employed.” This doesn’t mean going back to your college days with a full MLA-style list of citations. Linking the most relevant words in a sentence to the source you received the information will tell your audience where the information came from.
Use Short Paragraphs
If all your information is clustered into one large chunk, it will be hard for your readers to find the information they’re looking for. Your paragraphs shouldn’t have more than 5-8 sentences. It also helps to use subheadings and bullet points when applicable. Even someone scanning or skimming your article will still get the gist of your main points.
Edit. Edit. Edit.
Very few people can write a perfect piece of content in their first draft. However, editing can be a grueling process. If you’ve spent multiple hours writing the same piece of content, you might need to take a break and come back with fresh eyes. Either let someone else read the content to offer their advice or work on another project and return later.
Luckily, you have resources to help with the editing process. One of my favorites is the Grammarly app. Grammarly can identify misuse of words, spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Another great resource is HemingwayApp.com. Named after the famous writer who said, “write drunk, edit sober,” this tool helps you increase the readability of your content. It is especially helpful if you have trouble with wordiness, excessive use of passive voice, or writing concise sentences.
Anyone can improve their writing skills with practice and consistency. You just need to put in the effort.