Okay, you are here on the site of a company that writes for the web, and you are browsing through their blogs, getting a feel of their writing style and quality. You scan through a couple of the articles but don’t read through them all… Even the ones you browse through. Because, let’s be honest, no one has the time to read a wall of text, especially while surfing the internet.
Whether you stumbled upon the site while searching for something else on Google or you were looking for a content writing company for their services, you would not sit and read through everything you came across online. Let’s stop and think about what you would read and what you wouldn’t. This would give us an idea about the sort of content you would need for your own website.
1) Wall of Text v/s Short paragraphs: To even the most battle-hardened veteran reader, looking at a block of words, which have no paragraph breaks, can seem quite depressing. Large blocks of text can seem tedious and boring, even though they might end up being a very interesting read.
On the other hand, when you see a page with small paragraphs, you are more inclined to go through it. The page seems less claustrophobic and more inviting. The friendly breaks seem to say to you, ‘Welcome, Brave Researcher! Come and partake of the Feast of Many Courses!’.
No matter how inane the article itself may be, just by being welcoming and easy on the eye, it can persuade you to stay *just* a little bit longer!
2) Lists v/s Essays: Alright, be honest and tell me, would you have stopped to read this article if it was titled “Writing for the Web: What every Content Writer Should Know”, instead of “Writing for the Web: 4 Points that a Web Content Writer Should Never Forget!”
The very fact that the heading mentions how many points this article is going to expound upon, makes it more tempting to read. You think to yourself, ‘How long can the writer go on if the title says 4 points?’ Just by breaking up my story into manageable bites, I have made you more likely to read it.
On the other hand, try imagining yourself following a long essay where the points, though well laid out, are all inside that depressing wall of text that we mentioned earlier. I know I would not want to read something like that!
3) To the Point v/s Long-winded arguments: What we forget while we write for the internet is that writing for the print media is very different from writing for the web. Especially in today’s times, when people are always in a hurry, one cannot stress the importance of getting to the point enough!
When I am surfing through the sea of articles available online, I read the first paragraph to see whether it sounds interesting enough to read, and whether it tells me about what I am about to read. A vague first paragraph (unless it is VERY intriguing) usually makes me think ‘I won’t miss much if I skip this’.
To be interesting enough to hold my attention, the points in the article should be clear, where each paragraph should contain a point and each point should build up to a conclusion that is already told to me in the first paragraph!
4) Simple Language v/s Verbose and Pretentious: Let us pretend that you have encountered a commentary written by an accomplished scribe who tries to enthral you with his prose and lexicology. At the same time, you also find an article that uses words that don’t send you running to dictionary.com thrice in each sentence. Which one would you read?
I know I would read the one which does not say ‘horripilation’ when it means ‘goose bumps’!
Using fancy words and high-brow language may be necessary in certain situations, but when writing for clients who want the masses to read their content, it makes better sense to write simpler articles that aim to hold the audience rather than show them how little they know!
Simplicity and quality are the keys to holding the attention of the audience, especially on the internet where there is always something more interesting to distract them. Keep this mantra in mind and you will find yourself with effective and productive web content!