The quality of a website is mostly determined by what the visitors think of it, so learning how to write great content it a must!
Would you finish reading a really long article if it was boring? Or, would you bookmark, subscribe to newsletters or tell your friends about a website that offers absolutely no value to you, the reader? I’m guessing the answer is no. No one likes to waste their time since there are so many other quality resources you can choose from.
Why is content important
There are many types of websites out there, with different types of content. Photographs and videos also add value to a website, especially if it’s aimed at photography lovers and video junkies! Still, written content adds the most value and since this very article is about how to write great stuff, let’s just stick to the point.
Written content is important for 2 reasons:
1 – search engines know how to scan your website from head to toe and determine whether it deserves to be rewarded with good rankings or if the website should be ‘punished’. Sent to a corner with no food for months! In other words, you won’t be seen in Google’s first search results if you don’t offer quality.
2 – visitors will immediately know if your website will benefit them or not. Write great content, get more visitors. Write boring content, readers will leave in search for a better website. That’s bad news for you, good news for your competition.
How to write great content
I’ve been active on blogs, forums and other websites since 2007. My writing was a lot different back then, but of course standards were different as well. Okay, it’s a lie! My writing was horrible and I had no idea standards even existed.
Thank goodness for books, courses, other inspirational entrepreneurs and, of course, the many free resources that can help anyone transition from amateur to professional.
Great content should be interesting, it should keep your readers glued to the screen and make them want to come back for more! So, what’s the secret?
The secret to writing great articles for your website is making the effort to transform a general idea into something valuable.
Here are a few guidelines that can help anyone get on the right track and start creating quality content.
What do you want to write about? Pick one topic.
You should always stick to 1 main idea. Your readers landed on your website because they want to read about the “thing” you say your article is about. Don’t confuse them by jumping from one topic to another.
Concentrate on your main idea. Don’t risk losing your readers by making them think your content is ‘too much’ to read. If you truly want to cover more topics, simply write more articles.
RESEARCH AND PLANNING
Always research your chosen topic thoroughly. Writing great content without planning is not possible.
See what others are saying about your chosen topic. Do a quick google search and start reading other writers’ opinions.
Are they covering everything there is about the topic? Maybe you can write about the things others missed! Maybe you disagree with someone’s take on the subject and could write a great article explaining your personal take on the matter.
First impressions always count and your title is the first thing a potential reader will see.
Make a title interesting – people will want to read more! Make a title generic and boring, people will yawn and move on.
You’ve managed to find a great title and caught the readers’ attention. The very next thing they’ll read is your very first paragraph! So, make it a great one.
I put a lot of thought into the first paragraph of this very article. The fact that you’re reading these lines makes me think “WooHoo! My scheme worked! I got you hooked!”.
Just kidding, I’m actually really glad you enjoy reading this. I hope it’ll help you in the future!
THE REST OF THE ARTICLE
Be original. Be unique. Offer quality.
Offer anything less and you’ll lose your credibility as a writer.
If you want to convert your visitors into returning fans, into potential clients or into people who will share your content with others, you have to prove you know your stuff and you deserve their attention.
Don’t EVER copy content or other people’s ideas (cannot stress this enough). First of all, search engines won’t like that and they’ll punish you for it. Second, readers will catch on and be disappointed. Write everything in your own words, using your own tone.
Don’t treat your visitors like they’re stupid. Research keyword phrases and use them, but don’t repeat keywords every 2 lines. Content has to be easy to read. Show enthusiasm, but don’t overdo it. This isn’t the 90’s anymore, people can tell when you’re being fake. And annoying.
HEADINGS / SUBTITLES
Make your content easy to read by adding subtitles. Like this list, don’t all these headings make the article easier to read?
Subtitles are also a great way to introduce your readers to the next important idea discussed in your text. A great article should not tire out the reader. Big, long chunks of text are boring!
IMAGES AND VIDEOS
Writing great content is all about the words. But, as mentioned above, you should keep your readers interested!
Use a suggestive image to accompany your title. Especially if you promote yourself on social media!
You could add videos in your article, if they’re relevant! Think about recipe websites, aren’t recipes more interesting if they come with a video?
Endings are just as important as the beginnings.
Abruptly ending a great article is never a good idea. It’s like going to a movie, loving it from the very beginning, you can’t wait to see what happens next and then… the ending ruins it all. What will you remember? The great parts or the fact that it had a horrible ending?
Don’t underestimate the closing of a great article. Here are some ideas:
– sum up your main ideas in a phrase, drawing a conclusion;
– ask your readers a question, show your visitors you care about their opinion;
– keep readers interested by announcing a second article, related to your chosen topic.
REVISIT STEPS 3-8
Now that you’ve finished writing your article, is your title a perfect fit? Is your first paragraph catchy and interesting? How about the main content, did you write a great article or a mediocre one?
Always revisit everything and edit. Read your article carefully and think, is it easy to read? Are you repeating certain words too many times? Have you made any spelling or grammar mistakes?
Revisit everything, from beginning to end, and edit anything that doesn’t sound or look good. Great content doesn’t need to be perfect! But it does need to offer great quality.
Don’t limit yourself to writing one great article. Practice makes perfect!
Great writers write something everyday. Whether it’s a personal blog post, a paid article or just ‘doodling with words’, it’s important you exercise your writing skill.
Learning how to write great content isn’t difficult at all. It’s also worth the effort, if you want to help your website rank better. Slowly but surely, the checklist above will become part of your routine whenever you sit down and write.
What else would you add? Do you have a personal checklist to help you write great content?