There’s nothing worse than finding web content that reads like a bad Word document. I can’t count the number of times I’ve upped and left a website because I was overwhelmed with columns of never-ending text, posts with absolutely no formatting and content that left me wondering:
“What the heck is this post actually about?”
If you have a high bounce rate but aren’t sure why, sit back and think if you’re making these 3 web writing mistakes when you’re blogging for your business:
1. Your Web Content Isn’t Tailored for Online Readers
This seems obvious, but surprisingly, many entrepreneurs and business owners who are DIY-ing their content marketing haven’t caught on. Your website isn’t an online brochure (in fact, your brochure shouldn’t even be written like a brochure but that’s another post for another day) and no one enjoys reading rambling chunks of text on a website. And when it comes to blogging, the logic is the same.
How People Read Online
Readers don’t read articles anymore, they scan.
In order to make your content more readable to the average online reader, leave lots of white space. Remember in grade school when you used to write essays with Times Roman 14 point just to write less words per page but still hit your 3 page mark?
Web writing is the opposite – white space is good and makes it less likely that your readers will bounce from your website once they land on your content. Also, paragraphs in the world of web writing are 3 sentences or less, which means you should easily hit the white space quota in any given blog post.
Subheadings, Bullets and Lists
If you haven’t noticed already, subheadings, bulleted items and lists are pretty much guaranteed in web content that’s well written.
Why? Because it makes content easily digestible for someone who’s scanning, not reading your article.
Most people are hardwired to process information visually – so when you include bullets, lists and break out chunks of copy in your blog post, you’re increasing the chances of getting the entire article read.
2. You’ve Completely Forgotten About Formatting
Formatting matters when it comes to web writing.
Got a really important idea you want readers to remember? Make sure you bold your text.
Just like you’d outline a project or lay out thoughts for your website, use a layout when it comes to your blog post – separate aspects of your content into different sections of the post to guide readers along your thought process.
Remember the rule of two spaces after a period in writing? Forget that too. When it comes to web writing, one space after a period is best practice.
3. You’re Not Getting Attention
Good web writing needs to get to the point, and quickly. If you don’t tell readers what to expect upfront, don’t expect them to stick around to the end of the article to find out.
But how do you grab a reader’s attention?
- Focus on the headline – no one will read your article if your headline is average.
- Concentrate on your first 100 words – outline what the reader is going to get from reading your article from the jump.
- Summarize at the beginning – the new writing format is an inverted pyramid, get to the point early on and save the fluff for the end.
- Get visual – your headline will entice a reader but so will your feature image. Don’t forget the importance of choosing a solid feature image for your blog post.
Sometimes, it’s not coming up with content that’s the problem, it’s getting your content read. If you want to improve your bounce rate, then remember to avoid the 3 biggest web writing mistakes listed above.
If you’ve already forgotten, here are some key takeaways:
- Readers don’t read anymore, they scan
- White space is good
- Use subheadings, bullets and lists
- Keep paragraphs short – 3 sentences or less
- Bold important ideas or points
- Only use 1 period after sentences
- Plan your content by using an outline – we’ll notice if you don’t
- Headline = VERY IMPORTANT
- First paragraph = VERY IMPORTANT
- Summarize at the beginning – new writing format is inverted pyramid
- Get visual or be ignored
What other web writing mistakes have you seen that aren’t listed here? Let me know in the comments below.