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15 Essential Rules for Effective Web Writing

When it comes to writing content for an online audience, there are numerous challenges, barriers, and rules to consider.

Web Writing

Unfortunately, many people who work in this field make critical mistakes when creating content for the web. Whether you’re preparing to start your own blog, writing content for your website, or managing social media accounts, it’s essential to follow the 15 rules of web writing. These guidelines will help you produce interactive content that engages your audience and encourages them to return to your site.

In this article we will see:

Before writing:

1- Research Your Readers
2- Know Your Competitors

Don’t scare your readers:

3- Use Headings
4- Grab Your Reader’s Attention
5- Keep the Language Simple

Keep your readers interested:

6- Put the important information first
7- Be direct
8- Be brief

Consider all readers:

9- Write for screen readers
10- Tailor your writing to speed readers
11- Avoid using technical jargon

After writing:

12- Edit your writing carefully
13- Pay attention to the small details
14- Don’t neglect meta descriptions
15- Share the content on social media platforms

Let’s get started

First, Before You Start Writing

Preparing for your content is crucial, and here are some important rules to follow:

1- Research Your Readers

Before writing, understand your readers to capture their interest and meet their needs. Ask yourself why they come to your site and what they want. Then, write exactly what they need.

Remember, internet readers are fickle and impatient. Using inappropriate language or providing wrong information will drive them away. To keep them satisfied:

  • Tailor your writing to your audience, using appropriate language and references.
  • Keep asking questions to ensure your readers’ satisfaction.

2- Know Your Competitors

Once you understand your readers, get to know your competition to make your site stand out. Identify your top 10 competitors by conducting a Google search on your topics. Use tools like SEMrush to see which sites rank for specific keywords.

Study your competitors’ content – is it videos, blogs, news stories? How often do they post new content, and what is its quality?

Once you gather enough information, ask yourself: How do I provide better content? How do I get ahead of these competitors?

Second: Don’t Scare Your Readers

You may have heard the saying that internet readers are like predators! Yes, today’s readers are pursuing information like a lion pursuing its prey, but they don’t want to waste their time analyzing complex information. They are looking for simple information that is easy for them to digest and understand, just like the lion who chooses an easy prey that does not cost much effort to pursue. If the reader is not satisfied with what they read on a website, they will leave it in a few seconds. This is definitely not what you want to happen to your website. So, be sure to adhere to the following rules:

3- Use Headings

heading tags

The best way to put your reader at ease is to use headings, which provide a clear indication of what your page is about.

Headings help readers figure out what the page is about and then navigate to the section they want to know more about. They are like traffic lights that draw the reader’s attention and guide them to the right path to reach the information.

Not only that, headlines and subheadings make your page more attractive to visitors. Nothing terrifies an online reader more than large text without any clear divisions or landmarks!

Note: In addition to their benefit to readers, the use of headings is one of the most successful search engine optimization strategies, or what is known as SEO. It increases the chance of your page appearing in search results on search engines.

4- Grab Your Reader’s Attention

How do you attract the reader’s attention and make them continue reading the article instead of pressing the back button? Well, you need to provide an attractive piece of information at the beginning of the article!

We all love drama, controversial topics, mystery, or surprising facts, as they all attract us to know more. So, if you can start your content with a surprising fact, a puzzling question, or even an anecdote, you will increase the chance of grabbing your readers’ attention and motivating them to continue reading.

5- Keep the Language Simple

While your teachers used to encourage you to write deep, complex texts in your writing classes, writing for the web is a bit different. In fact, it is the opposite of what you were taught as a child.

Make sure to keep your language plain and simple so that even a 12-year-old can understand it! Yes, imagine you are writing for an audience of seventh-graders!

Using simple language does not mean that you lower the level of your content. On the contrary, the skill lies in presenting complex information in easy language that everyone can understand. Always remember that “simplicity” is the universal language of the web!

Third: Keep Your Readers

attention please

Capturing the attention of your readers is only half the battle. The real challenge is keeping them engaged and interested in your content. On average, readers only read about 20% of a web page, so it’s important to follow these rules of web writing to keep them hooked:

6- Put the important information first

Today, the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, so it’s crucial to make a strong first impression. Start with the most important information and keywords at the beginning of your article or paragraph to grab your readers’ attention right away.

7- Be direct

Building a connection with your readers can be tough, but using direct speech can help. Address your readers as “you” and talk about yourself and your company with “I” and “we.” This creates a personal touch that can keep readers engaged.

8- Be brief

When writing for the web, brevity is key. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and simple. Use no more than 25 words per sentence and limit paragraphs to three lines. To check if your writing is too long, use a readability tool.

Finally, adding images can be a great way to enhance your content and keep readers interested. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. Here are some tips for choosing the right images:

  • Use relevant images that appeal to your target audience.
  • You don’t need to spend a lot of time creating images – you can find high-quality images on free sites like Unsplash or paid sites like Adobe Stock.
  • Use images of people, as readers are more interested in pictures with faces.

Fourth: Do not neglect any of the readers

The Internet is available to everyone, so when you write for the web, make sure your writing is accessible to everyone. Adhere to the following rules for this to happen:

9- Write for screen readers

Screen Reader is a program that converts the contents of the screen (texts, images, links) into spoken words or any other form that those who cannot read can benefit from. It is therefore important that your writings are not only intended for traditional readers, but for all types of readers, whatever their abilities. The following tips will help you make your content relevant to everyone:

Organize your titles well: Headings are often used by screen readers to navigate between web pages. So make sure to use it well, start with H1, then H2, then H3, then return to H2 when moving to a new main point, and so on.

Be clear in the description of the photo: When you can’t see an image, you rely on its description or alt text to tell you what it is.
When you write content on the web, and add images, make sure to provide a sufficient description in the alt text field as it is an important step not only for your readers but for SEO as well.

Make links clearer: Instead of using sentences like: “click here”, “click here”, or similar when adding links to written content, think of a way to make it more visible.
Because the previous method does not give the reader any idea of which page he will go to. Use sentences such as: “Learn more about such-and-such.” Or “Visit the official website of such and such”…

Don’t use autoplay videos: Let’s say a screen reader is converting text on your site into spoken speech, and suddenly a video plays automatically, that would undoubtedly be distracting to the user, and useless. If you must have such videos, make sure you at least provide the option to stop them.

10- Tailor your writing to speed readers

speed readers

A painful but true fact: not all readers will have the time to read everything you write carefully from beginning to end, while sipping a cup of coffee!

The majority of Internet readers will browse your content while waiting for the bus, or on their way to work, and for short periods of time. They are looking for specific information and want to get it as soon as possible.

Instead of getting mad at them for treating your writing this way, make sure you give them a great user experience.

11- Avoid using technical jargon

Using too much technical jargon can make readers feel alienated and disengaged. While it may be necessary to use technical terms when writing for a specialized audience, it’s essential to explain these terms clearly and provide context. When using acronyms, be sure to spell out the full phrase at least once.

Other tips to improve readability and clarity are:

  • Use bold to highlight key points and important sentences.
  • Incorporate white space and spacing between paragraphs and images to make reading easier.
  • Use bullet points to break down information and make it more accessible to readers.
  • Utilize tables or text boxes to draw attention to critical information.

Fifth: Post-Writing Rules

You’re so close to becoming a professional web writer! There are only a few steps left. After you have written the content and adhered to the above rules, you should also follow some additional steps to ensure that you provide high-quality content.

12- Edit your writing carefully

After finishing writing, read through what you wrote carefully and read it again. Then take a break for a while and come back to it and read it a third time. Linguistic and grammatical errors, if they make it into the final version of the content, will negatively affect you and reduce your readers’ confidence in you. Don’t let your effort go to waste by ignoring this rule.

Don’t hesitate to show what you wrote to someone else to edit it for you, as they may notice errors that you did not.

13- Pay attention to the small details

Microcopy refers to all the small pieces of content that help users navigate the website, including alert messages or buttons that appear while browsing the site. These bits are just as important as the main content.

14- Don’t neglect meta descriptions

The description or meta description is the information about your page that appears in search results on Google or other search engines.

meta title and meta descriptions

Meta descriptions must be taken care of well, as they play an essential role in how well your site ranks in search results. They also influence the number of people who will choose to click on your site over other sites shown on the search results page. When you search for specific information using Google, you will see the results page that contains both the Meta Title and the Meta Description.

The Meta Title refers to the main title in blue, which takes you to the website when you click on it. The meta description is the small paragraph or description that appears under the title on the search results page.

15- Share the content on social media platforms

Social media platforms are a great place to share your writing with the world.

  • Share the content you write on all platforms.
  • Make sure to produce content for these platforms that is of high quality and compatible with your content.
  • Make your posts relevant to the content you present on your site. If you are writing content for cars, posting pictures and videos of cute cats is definitely not a good move!
  • Determine exactly what you want to achieve from social media platforms. Do you want to increase the number of followers? Or do you want to increase the percentage of visitors to your website? Determining your goal will help you choose the right publications.

We have reached the end of the article! I hope you found it useful to start your web content writing career. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

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