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Web Content Writing: A Quick Tutorial

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.

We writers overcomplicate web content writing. How should I format my post? What are ways I can get more views? How can my page get onto page 1 of the search results?

Plus, entire businesses are built around producing web content, offering the latest in analytical tools and expert advice. It’s easy to be intimidated.

Add AI to the mix and you may find yourself twisted into knots about publishing a single post or tweet. You may think you cannot compete, particularly if you’re a part-timer or solopreneur.

But the basics of web content writing are simpler than you think. And I’m all about making content writing simple.

The truth is that web writing is accessible to anyone, which means you and me. With a bit of know-how and a little practice, you can pull in web readers from all over the globe. But first …

2 elements of successful #WebContentWriting with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #OnlineWriting

What is web content writing?

Web content is any kind of text that you read on a digital device — on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It’s different from print content in that users consume the web version on an electronic gadget rather than in a book or on a piece of paper.

Web content writing is the process of writing, editing, and publishing that content in a digital format, say our Hubspot friends. And I assume that you, like me, want to understand digital writing strategies so you share your web content with as many readers as you can.

Successful web content writing isn’t as complicated as we writers may fear. It boils down to just two elements.

  1. Quality content

The two elements of successful web content writing

1. Write quality content

“Quality content is content your audience needs and can’t get anywhere else,” says marketer Erika Heald. “It’s not ‘me-too’ content — it’s content you’ve created in response to having a thorough understanding of the challenges your community faces each day.”

Readers can get information anywhere. Why shouldn’t they get it from you? You don’t need to be an expert to provide useful information, but rather simply understand what a reader needs. You offer a unique voice — one that’s not replicable by another writer or by artificial intelligence, incidentally. You tell stories that relate to their problem. You pull out tidbits from research in a combination that is unique to you and that answers readers’ questions.

Quality content is different from expert content. (There’s plenty of expert content I’d rather not read.) It has a specific set of characteristics.

  • Quality content addresses a specific set of readers. Your target audience is a particular group of people who need information about your topic or niche.
  • Quality content points out a problem to that set of readers. It doesn’t merely fill a page with random thoughts or ideas. Instead, a solid piece of content addresses a question or issue that’s on your reader’s mind.
  • Quality content provides an answer or a solution to the problem. How-tos. Well-researched explanations. A unique approach to the problem or even one that is tried-and-true but is presented with clarity.
  • Quality content is easy to read. You don’t need to wade through highfalutin language or six-syllable words or a string of intangible concepts. When you read good content, you feel like you’re having a conversation with the writer.
  • Quality content is scannable. It’s not a simple cut-and-paste from print into bytes. Rather, web content writing is structured with plenty of subheads, white space, and bullet points. The format allows readers to sift through online information quickly and then go back and read it in detail if they find it useful.

These characteristics sound so simple. Yet you know for yourself, from surfing, that plenty of web content is confusing, muddled, or lacking value. For that reason, don’t get lulled into thinking everyone else is publishing online material that is clear, helpful, valuable information, directed specifically to a reader’s needs or questions, in an easy-to-read, scannable format.

They’re not. But you can.

2. Get views

Let’s say you write engaging, information-packed posts that address specific topics or issues for a certain set of readers. Your presentation is digestible and easy to skim.

Now, you face the second hurdle to success in web content writing. You want to get your content into readers’ hands (rather, onto their eyeballs from the screen.) You need views. And there are all sorts of tools to use to create your own unique traffic-building mix.

Get views with SEO

You want readers to find your page through an organic search — that is, by typing a term or phrase into a search bar. Help the process along when you optimize each page or post with one or two keywords (terms or phrases associated with a particular topic). Keywords help you match the language in your web content to the language that readers use when they search for you. When you choose and use appropriate keywords for your post, search engines will return your content with higher results. Then, more readers click on your link and you get more views.

Place keywords carefully in crucial places: in the title, the meta tag, the first paragraph of the page, in subheads, as part of alt text in images, and about once for every 300 words in your content. If learning SEO makes you nervous, check out LeAnn Fox’s easy introductory course to get started.

Get views with links

Visitors also find your web content through links — sometimes called “referrals.” Three kinds of links in your content give your content more views.

  • An inbound link is a link from another website to yours. Acquire inbound links by planting them in posts on topic-appropriate forums, comments on a blog where you include your site address, and link exchanges — even from your web address in your email signature.
  • An internal link from one page on your website to another page on your website means more views. Visitors stay on your site longer when a bit of clickable text leads them to another topic that interests them.
  • Outbound links point from your site to other websites. They’re sometimes called “external links.” Yet don’t be worried that outbound links will drive readers away and reduce the number of links to your site. Ultimately, good external links mean more views for you when you offer linkable content that readers want to share with their colleagues and friends, such as infographics and pins.

Get views with email

Your email list is a powerful tool in web content writing. Those who opt into your list are your biggest fans. They want to read your content. Make it easy for them to do so by sending a teaser of your new post or page in your email newsletter. They’ll click through to your site to read more. Which means more views.

Get views with social media

Plenty of other users are still out there beyond those who find you through SEO and organic search … links to and from your page … email views. You can capture the attention of new users with pithy social media text and attractive images. Doing so draws readers who are not yet your followers. Now they will be.

Create a social media posting schedule and stick to it. Use a scheduler like Hootsuite to post snippets of content on your social media sites and increase your views.

Web content writing in two buckets

Great content + views = success, according to the keyword research tool Wordtracker.

They’re right, even though it sounds too easy — just focus on two elements and Poof! You’ll have success as a web content writer.

Bottom line: it may take some time to acquire the skills you need to write quality content. And it may take some time to learn SEO, create backlinks, launch an email newsletter, and build a following on social media.

But don’t be confused or intimidated. All the variables associated with web content writing belong to just two buckets: quality content and links. You can acquire both with time and practice. Do that, and your web content writing will be a success.

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