Online writing is a specific skill. Getting it right takes knowledge and practice. Of course, anything that makes your writing more engaging and entertaining offline generally should work well online. It’s just that there are some additional factors to bear in mind and some unique pointers that can help your web content be even better.
Don’t Waste My Time!
Long introductions are great for setting the scene and they can give depth to your writing. That said though, you don’t want to meander around the point of your post – especially online where attention spans are famously short. The sooner you start delivering on the promise of the title, the fewer people you’ll lose and the less ‘boring’ your writing will seem.
Break it Up
Remember those short attention spans? (If not, you may be a victim of a short attention span. I just mentioned this three sentences back!) Keep readers interested by breaking up your articles with headings, sub headings and bullet points. Don’t be afraid of white space. The right typeface also goes a long way in making content readable and understandable. This way people can quickly skim the text on your site and get an overview. They’ll then be able to quickly decide whether it’s for them or not.
Share Your Sources
One of my favorite statistics is that 68.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. (Think about that for a second. Yeah, that’s right…I made up that statistic.) Be credible by showing your work. Where did you get that statistic, fact or anecdote? If your aim is to develop trust and authority through your writing, then telling them where you got your information is a great way to get people on board – especially if you can link to studies, surveys or authority sites to back up your points. Google also likes it when you do this, so it’s very good for SEO. And it is good netiquette to link to sources.
You want to sound professional and authoritative, but you also want to make sure that your writing is easy to read has good flow. Don’t fill your writing with jargon that the average reader won’t understand.
While you are writing, imagine that you’re talking to a friend and write the way you would normally speak. You might need to be more or less colloquial (e.g., removing contractions or slang) than you would in conversation, but this is a good start. The best way to ensure that your content flows well and is easy to read is to read it out loud before hitting “publish.”
Make your writing inviting and readable, and you will naturally attract more readers and fans.