How to write content for websites?

Good content on websites

What is the difference between traditional writing and web copywriting and what does the human eye have to do with it? Find out how we read from paper and how we read from the screen. Learn about the 9 rules of text editing for websites and make sure readers come to you for more.

If you are editing a text to be published both on paper and online, you need to know that these texts should… differ significantly from each other. It has been known for a long time that an outstanding text does not have to guarantee success at all. In times when the Internet is everywhere, both the medium of the text and the habits of the contemporary reader are about “to be or not to be” of a given material.

To begin with, let’s focus on the main purpose of writing, that is…. reading. Jacob Nielsen – considered to be a world guru user experience – when asked how people read on the Internet, answered: “In general! So let’s look at the difference between reading from paper and reading on a monitor.

A person reading a book or a newspaper – let’s call it: a traditional reader – usually has a quiet moment, can try or lie down and while reading line by line, he or she enjoys the content. Not to mention the experience of “communing with paper”, for which many people will never “change” from book to tablet. The internet reader, on the other hand, let’s call him a web reader, is much less patient. And certainly never has time. Reading it is really scanning the text, with a glance at the highlighted fragments in the content I will write about in a moment.

Why can’t an ordinary contemporary reader like you or me, after reading 3 chapters of a book, read a single internet article in peace and quiet from beginning to end?

First of all, the perpetrator of this difference is… the human eye. In the case of a child, we are dealing with written and printed texts. Such reception of text is natural for us, because the human eye follows the text on paper more easily and quickly than the text in digital format. Reading on monitors, readers and all screens is much more tiring and ungrateful to the human eye. Reading on digital receivers is slower, also because of the many distractors present on websites – advertising banners, pop-up windows, aggressive graphics and colours, bright backgrounds, etc. – and it’s not easy to read on digital receivers.

Secondly, we have become accustomed to the fact that a lot of content on the Internet is worthless rubbish. We have even learned to recognize colors and icons, which should be immediately ignored. We instinctively avoid certain parts of websites that we associate with diffusers (e.g. advertisements). In this way we learned how to scan the content – after all, we had to somehow cope with this “information bomb”, which always attacks us after opening the website.

Thirdly, we still lack time. And for sure we don’t want to waste it on searching and reading materials which, after reading, turn out to be completely useless or incomprehensible to us.

So what can you – as a creator of texts for websites – do so that the web reader does not just find your article, but reads it in its entirety and finally states that he finally found what he was looking for?

Basic principles of creating content on websites

First of all, you should get to know and apply the basic principles of creating content for websites

Here are some of them:

1. Content is the most important. At present, the “content is king” principle, which dominates marketing and the Internet in general, says that only valuable texts have a chance of success. Provide the audience with interesting content, and they will come for more.

2. Attract attention with the header – it is the header and 2 – 3 first sentences that determine whether the text will be read. So don’t regret the time and creativity to create a headline for your text. You can formulate it e.g. as a question “How to do…”, “How to avoid…” or include digits that attract attention.

3. Follow the inverted pyramid rule – first of all present the most important things in the text. In the area of usability of websites, there is the concept of so-called immersion lines. This is all that we see on a website after entering it, without scrolling down. Above the immersion line there should be what is supposed to attract attention and encourage further reading.

4. Use conversational style – express yourself clearly, easily and as if you were talking live. The text should be a dialogue with the reader, so use it:

  • the active page (“I wrote” instead of “was written”);
  • questions that the reader can answer in spirit while reading;
  • writing for “you” – note that this significantly reduces the distance and makes reading easier.
5. Avoid difficult vocabulary – it’s clear that you have a lot of specialist knowledge about the subject you’re writing about, but the reader will be much more grateful if you present the subject in the simplest and most understandable way possible.

6. Remember to be correct – there is nothing worse than spelling mistakes or disjointed sentences. A sloppy, underdeveloped text is a bad testimony to its author.

7. Use the optimal width of the text – do not make the reader read long lines on the edges of the monitor, because it will get tired of it faster than the content will get interested in it.

8. Shorten – cross out any unnecessary divagations and adjectives that do not bring anything. Avoid pouring water. The web reader really only has a moment to review your text and see if it’s worth reading. Write about specifics.

9. Make it clear – reading long blocks of text on the web is tiring. Use the following interludes and visual elements to make it easier for the reader to read:

  • divide text into blocks and paragraphs;
  • use a friendly, simple font in the right size;
  • use rather dark font on a light background, avoid large colour contrasts;
  • use subtitles;
  • use bullet points and lists;
  • use bold and bold text (in moderation);
  • use digits (attract attention);
  • use interesting infographics, illustrations, handwritten inserts, etc.
Knowing the above rules of writing web content, you can easily edit user-friendly content on the website or adapt the already existing content to modern standards.

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