On the net, we’ve basically got three ways of communicating with people. We can use images, we can use sound or we can use text. Image and sound require a little commitment from both the viewer and the producer, relying on a decent connection and a quiet enough environment to enjoy the content. That leaves us with text – and boy, what a powerful medium text can be – if you word it right.
It’s the ‘wording it right’ part that a lot of site owners struggle with. Text works differently on the net compared to any traditional form. When you read a book, a magazine, a newspaper or a pamphlet, you follow conventions that our culture has followed for centuries. On the net, everything’s changed – meaning when you write for the web, you really must ‘write for the web’.
- People don’t read left-right, top-bottom on the net. This might sound strange to say, because of course right now you’re reading left to right, top to bottom. If you’ve ever come across eye-tracking studies though, you’ll know that when internet users first look at web pages, their eyes travel in frantic patterns, trying to find the most relevant information to them as quickly as possible (for more info on this read F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content by usability guru, Jakob Neilsen).
- People don’t have the time to concentrate when on the web. One thing marketers and SEO writers discovered early on is that people feel time-poor on the net. Even if they have an hour to spare, there is a pace to the net that means internet users read in short bursts.
- People are distracted. I’m betting that right now, if you’re a fairly savvy internet user, this is not the only tab you’ve got open. That’s okay, I understand – I’ve got multiple tabs open too. Everyone tends to do this, and they flit between tabs as they find what they want or compare sites.
Step two – making text sizzle
Understanding that text is different on the net doesn’t make it easier to write good web content. However, knowing the rules does help. The next part is finding an original angle.
This sounds hard and it is. There’s nothing new under the sun, they say. There are ways to source good ideas:
- Read industry blogs. Good blogs often get rehashed. The best use of them, though, is as sparking points.
- Tap the news for original information.
- Have a sense of humour. Some of the best content on the net has an originality brought about by humour.
Side note – you might ask, ‘Why be original?’ If you can cover a topic better than your competitors, you will look better in comparison. It’s getting that comparison that’s the hard part. There’s a lot of repeated copywriting on the net. When you want to grab attention, finding a fresh angle is your best chance.
Professional content – more than a ‘plan B’
Of course, if good writing resources aren’t at your disposal, your best move is going to be to source your content from a professional. Using professional copywriting services is a good idea if you don’t have a trained or experienced writer on board.
A lot of businesses try to avoid this, and it’s understandable. Investing in professional copywriting takes a chunk out of your budget. It’s an important chunk, though, as anyone who is familiar with SEO knows. Good content is becoming more and more important to online success. It’s just one of those things you have to take the time for or invest some marketing budget in if you want to survive. I can’t put it any more simply.