Whether you are a law firm, a retail establishment or a service provider, writing content is important for your website. You may hire someone to write this content or do it yourself, but how do you know if it is really effective? The same rules that apply to writing effective SEO reports to clients also apply in writing blog posts, web page content and other items that are intended to be used for public consumption.
Here are some simple rules to make your writing better:
- Say what you mean. Assertive writing is more energetic than passive voice and gets your point across like you mean it! Avoid phrases like “I think,” “it might,” or “I feel” unless it is important to stress that what you are saying is only your opinion and not factual.
- Use active rather than passive voice. Active voice includes a subject and a verb, while passive voice makes the subject the object of the action. Instead of saying “The money was given” say “He gave the money.” You will be surprised how much more punch your writing has. Similarly, independent clauses are usually a better way to start a sentence than dependent clauses.
- Use the right point of view. Write with “I” as your subject if you want ownership of what you are saying. Third-person point of view is more appropriate for some types of writing such as articles published as press releases, but first-person is usually better for blogs.
- Know your audience. Who are you writing for? Be sure your language is geared to that audience. In most cases, simpler is better, even for the well-educated.
- Explain—but not too much. Give enough explanation that someone can understand what you are talking about, but not so much that it becomes numbing. A good way to judge this is to tell someone what you are writing about in a very simple way and then ask them to repeat it back. What are they missing in your first explanation?
- Use facts and figures sparingly. When you use figures, be sure they are relevant, cited to the proper source and are understandable. Do not use figures just to have them in your document.
- Make your work scanable. Most people do not have time to read long articles. Use bullet points to make your points clear and allow your readers to scan quickly.
Your writing can convey much more of your message if you make it worth reading!