Extensive research has demonstrated that people do not read online text the same as print. Instead of reading copy word-for-word, online users scan Web pages to find the main points. In order to get people to read your writing and respond to what you are trying to say, you need to learn how to write effectively for the Web. The following are some of the most common mistakes people make with Internet writing. Always be sure to observe best writing practices when creating new content for your site and avoid these common errors.
1. Writing Unclear Titles
Titles are the first thing users see, so it is absolutely vital that you make your point clear. At the same time, you also need to inspire viewers to continue reading the rest of the page. Start by including carefully selected keywords in your title. Keep the title fairly short and make sure that the subject of your writing is made quite clear.
2. Not Getting to the Point in the First Paragraph
Once you’ve hooked a reader with your title, you need to give them an overview of what they will find in the rest of your article. The first paragraph should outline your purpose and main points. Keep your readers interested by getting to your main point right away. Never make a reader have to dig through the page to figure out exactly what you are trying to say.
3. Long Blocks of Text
Writing for the Web require tailoring your writing approach to be more succinct and to the point. Long paragraphs can kill your copy; so strive to keep each section of text brief and to the point. If you do need to write a long segment of text, look for ways to break up the monotony. Bolded key phrases, highlighted main points, or the addition of numbered lists can help make your writing easier to read.
4. Overusing Keywords and Keyword Phrases
While keywords are important for earning high search rankings, abusing these targeted search terms can make your writing very difficult and tedious to read. Key terms and phrases should always be used naturally and conversationally. Avoid simply adding these words to every other sentence simply to increase your keyword density. Keep your Internet writing personable and free of mindless repetition.
5. Writing About Too Many Topics
Good Internet writing focuses on only one subject per article. If you are blogging, always be sure to keep each blog post centered on a single topic. Bloggers often move from subject to subject within a single post, which can hurt search ranking and irritate readers. Observe online writing best practices by keeping each article or blog post focused on a clearly chosen topic.
6. Grammar Mistakes
While Internet writing is often considered less formal than many other forms, grammar is still important. Grammatical mistakes can make your writing look amateurish or slipshod. Keep a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style at your desk as a regular reference, utilize the grammar-check tools provided by your word processing software, and always carefully proofread your work before posting it to the Web.
7. Rehashing the Same Old Ideas
A Google search on any topic will reveal thousands of results, many of which are simply revisions of the exact same ideas. Truly great Internet writing offers something unique instead of simply revising articles that have been featured on hundreds of others websites. Set your writing apart by providing your own unique ideas, insights, and research.
8. Not Utilizing Subheadings
When reading on the Web, people want to get an idea of what they will find before they begin reading. Subheadings allow you to quickly let readers know what the subsequent paragraphs will be about. Make subheading short but descriptive in order to motivate people to continue reading.
9. Failing to Provide Useful Information
Your Internet writing might be perfectly formatted for the Web, but it won’t mean a thing unless readers find your content useful and interesting. People use search engines and read online articles to learn more about topics they are interested in, look for solutions to problems, or generate ideas to help with life problems. Your Internet writing should address these need and interests. Consider who your readers are, what they are looking for, and how you can provide the information they need.
10. Not Linking to Related Content
Readers want to be able to quickly and easily find relevant content once they are finished reading a page. Offer useful links to related articles on your website, or link to outside supplemental sources. Good Internet writing involves giving your readers the information and links they need. By doing this, they will be far more likely to turn to your website in the future.