Recently I’ve been asked about writing on the web. Who are the experts? What are they doing? Have things changed?
From what I have read and know, writing for the web has changed. Not in the fact that if you write simple and clear, use space and short sentences for scanning, create original work, etc… but more around the search engines algorithms. Google (recent Panda and Penguin updates) and Bing are going after spam and they are watching out for things that don’t look natural. You know, the Black Hat SEO tricks that may cause you to write in weird ways like keyword stuffing.
As Matt Cutts says in a interview with Karon of Marketing Words, “As I’ve always said, ‘Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.‘ It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
BTW, Matt did an interview with Stone Temple on what makes a quality site. You should take the time and quickly read through it.
When it comes to writing on the web, follow some simple rules – more in depth explanations are on Copyblogger but I love this list of their Brilliant Writing Tips.
- Have something to say…means original content.
- Be specific.
- Choose simple words.
- Write in short sentences.
- Use active voice.
- Keep paragraphs short. Think of how hard it is to read dense text on a mobile device.
- Eliminate fluff words
- Don’t ramble.
- Don’t be redundant or repeat yourself.
- Don’t over write.
Don’t forget the headlines. They are so important. Here’s some info on Headlines: 8 words or less and how they work on the well.
If you are looking for topics to write on, use what you know. And look for trends on Google Trends or in your field of study. What’s trending now? You can even use Twitter if you want.
One of my favorites for finding out what to write about is answering the questions people send me in email. That’s exactly how this post came into being.
Writing on the web isn’t hard – it’s more about getting as much original content up on the web about your program, school, dept, etc… as necessary.
If you are stumped on web writing, I’m sure our Mike Roe (our copywriter) can help you out. He always helps me.
What do you think? Do you think it’s hard to write for the web?