What Is a Web Content Writer?
Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
Meet Wanda. She’s a web content writer. In fact, there are several Wandas you need to know.
- Wanda #1 is a freelance writer who provides online content for a variety of clients.
- Wanda #2 works as a staff writer to produce her company’s online content.
- Wanda #3 owns and operates a couple of her own niche websites, for which she provides regular online content
You see, some Wandas work for themselves, whether it’s part-time as a side hustle or full-time as a freelancer. And some Wandas are employed full-time as part of a company’s marketing or creative team.
But who employs Wanda is not what distinguishes her as a web content writer. Instead, Wanda’s skills stand out because she focuses on content for a particular media: the web.
And as you learn what Wanda does, maybe you’ll want to become a web content writer, too.
What does a web content writer actually do?
Wanda specializes in online writing. That includes content for websites, of course, but also all kinds of pages that can be accessed by a web browser, like blogs, landing pages, social media …
What a web content writer writes
Web content falls into two big-picture buckets. A web content writer can be proficient in both or may choose to specialize.
1. Marketing content: content that sells products and services.
2. Informational content: content that educates or informs the reader, such as news aggregate sites, research, or personal blogs.
Both kinds of web content appears in all kinds of formats, whether it’s marketing content or informational content. Wanda is called upon to write …
- Web pages
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Landing pages
What skills does a web content writer need?
Wanda has acquired at least seven kinds of writing skills:
- Microcontent skills: short, pithy writing (for headlines, subheads, social media posts)
- Storytelling skills: the ability to write a compelling illustration
- Newswriting skills: the ability to weave together facts, statistics, and studies in a direct way
- Copywriting skills: writing to persuade a reader to click, sign up, engage, or act in some way
- Reader-centered writing skills: writing to make the reader feel good, inspired, or encouraged
- Lifestyle writing skills: writing that connects your product or your information with everyday life
- SEO writing skills: writing that uses appropriate keywords to return strong search engine results.
A web content writer's priorities
As she writes content, Wanda has three writing priorities:
- Write scannable content. A recent Nielsen study revealed that 79% of online users scan content. Just 16% read online content word for word. That means a web content writer must know how to write skimmable pages with short paragraphs, bullet points, headlines, and subheads — and include a page’s keywords.
- Write content that’s relevant to a specific reader. Increasingly, web users search for specific, longtail keywords and terms. That means a web content writer must understand a page’s target reader and write in a way that’s accessible to that reader. But Wanda also understands what her reader is searching for online. She creates pages and posts that meet the needs of those readers. To do so, Wanda becomes a student of her particular reader and what the reader is looking for online so she can …
- Write searchable content. A web content writer has at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) — that is, how to find and use keywords so that pages appear on search results. Some Wandas specialize in the SEO process. They take a deep dive into analytics and search engine results comparisons and are called SEO content writers.
How do I become a web content writer?
Unlike nursing or public school teaching or engineering or a host of other jobs, freelance content writing doesn’t require certification. You can learn to write content on your own. If you’re starting from scratch, the basic journey to becoming a web content writer looks like this:
- Write daily
- Read a book a week
- Take a writing class that teaches you a specific skill
- Choose a niche or two
- Read sites, blogs, and posts in your niches
- Ask a mentor for a critique
- Start your own blog or website and post weekly
- Build your portfolio with other projects
- Create and implement a prospecting strategy
Taking courses (#3) shortens your learning curve. (I recommend AWAI’s 6-Figure Copywriting course and Lee Ann Fox’s SEO course, for starters). Reading everything (#2) you can get your hands on is helpful, too.
Wanted: web content writers
Every minute 175 new websites are created. So says web guru Siteefy. And every day, 252,000 new websites are launched.
Someone needs to write the content for all those sites. Why not you? Success as a web content writer can be learned. And there are never enough good web content writers. You know this from surfing online. You’ve read weak web content and mediocre web content and good web content.
You can become a writer who produces the good stuff. It’s a question of learning a few skills, working hard at your craft, and persisting to get better so you can get work.
Just ask Wanda. She stuck with it. And now, she’s making a living at writing web content. You can, too.
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