Writing Content for the Web - Basics

When I’ve coached customers on building their own content for websites or blogs, there is a very straight forward approach I take. It works with beginner writers who are just trying for the first time, or experienced product experts who are just getting into web writing.

  • 1 topic per page
  • 3-5 headers per topic
  • 1-2 paragraphs per header
  • 3-5 sentences per paragraph
  • 12-16 words per sentence
  • 30-50% keyword density per sentence

[Keyword density is the amount of words in the sentence that would matter towards search engine rankings. More information about keyword density in the Writing for Search Engines article]

Topic

This is a very high level item, it may be a product, service or major business category that can stand on it’s own. Take a look at a vehicle manufacturer if you want a good example. Most have an individual section for each vehicle type, and individual page for each model and then sub pages for accessories and so forth. 

You’re Creating an Expectation!

If you’re Ford and you land on the F-150 page, you expect it to be just about that vehicle. Use the same logic when building your content.

You Do Not - Want to have multiple topics on one page because it confuses the reader and it weaken search engine ranking power. If I write web content and ad copy, I want those to be separate because my customer is looking for one thing in specific. If they are looking for web content writing, I want one concise place where I go through the method. This elevates relevancy for search engines and better engages with my customer.

Headers

Depending on the topic, I generally try to find three to five major points that matter to the customer. These might be major advantages, services, guarantees, or other headings that will grab attention.

The test for this is to ask a customer, ‘how do you make a decision?’. If it’s price, features or anything that they use to help make a selection, those are very often going to be your headers.

Write your headers in a way that speaks to their purpose, but still attracts attention. 

Content

I wrote a longer article on writing good web content [here] that goes into more detail, but ultimately, this is the supporting material that reinforces your headers. Think of it like evidence to a statement you made with your headers.

People are more likely to skim content online then read it thoroughly, so you need to get across the most important information as quickly as possible.

  • Skip Fluff. Write more content then necessary and edit it down to something tighter.
  • Research. Look into what matters most to your reader and what words matter to search engines.
  • Next Steps. Provide links that direct the reader onto the next point whether that is more information, contact page, purchase, etc.

I hope these small tips will help people produce better content for their websites, it was a good foundation for me helping my customers around Edmonton.