Category Archives: Web content writing

Web Content – A Requirement of Successful Business – SAMIA ADNAN

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Are you thinking about promoting your business? In this era of competition, you need proper market and promotion of your business and for that you must have a website. Your website should be well designed and developed by a web design company that will make your website attractive for the visitors to keep coming to your website.

If you already have a business website, then make sure that has detailed information about your products and services. For this, you require a professional Content Writer who understands the importance of mentioning the details vividly. For attracting visitors to your website, your web content should be eye caching, rich and informative.The content should be written keeping in mind the requirements of the targeted users. The visitors should get the idea of your working process, your clients, business partners, affiliations, certifications and achievements of the company.

In order to get your website reach the top ranks on the Search Engines, you need high traffic of visitors to your website – which is only possible if your have a good Content Writer.You should hire an SEO expert and a Content writer to take your website to high ranks on all the popular Search Engines. Content writer will write SEO articles and comments for forums while the rest of the work for Search Engine Optimization will be done by the SEO expert.

Written by SAMIA ADNAN

Web Content Writer

Is Your Content Not Shared on Social Networks?

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Here is a useful information that I have recently read from Social Media Examiner, a famous website and thought to share it with your all.

Have a nice reading!

social media researchWhat if you could understand why your audience shares some information and not other? That would make your content stand out from the competition.

The Science of Sharing

30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month, including blog posts, links, news stories and photo albums.

Dan Zarrella has found that three things must happen to get your content shared.

First, people must be exposed to your content (be a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter). Second, they must be aware of your content (meaning they actually see it). Finally, they must be motivated by something in your content to share it.

Many articles have been written on how to increase your audience size and make people aware of your content, including these by Mari Smith and Denise Wakeman. This article will focus on the motivations for sharing.

The New York Times recently partnered with Latitude Research to unpack the psychology of sharing. Based on their study of 2500 participants (and some other recent research), here are  reasons why your customers aren’t sharing your content.

1: Your customers don’t trust you

Stated plainly, people won’t share your content if they don’t find you or your content to be trustworthy.

The 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer found that globally only 56% of people trust businesses to do what is right. However, in the US, the UK and Japan, that number fell significantly between 2010 and 2011.

EdelmanNotice the evolution in trust.
Key takeaway: To build trust,Guy Kawasakisays the first step is tobe trusting. The other recommendation is tolead honest and open public dialogueswhere you’re not afraid of negative statements.

2: Your customers don’t care about your brand

That hurts to hear, but customers have short memories. They wonder “what have you done for me lately?”

Your customers are looking for valuable information, great deals and a chance to meet other people who share their interests. As soon as you stop offering these things, your fans will go looking elsewhere.

They may not feel a commitment to your brand, but you can keep them interested in your content. The next couple of points offer some remedies you can implement immediately.

Key takeaway: Determine what your audience values from you and keep giving it to them. In fact, exceed their expectations.

3: Your posts are boring

“Don’t be boring,” says Grandma Mary, the alter-ego of Social Media Examiner’s Facebook community manager, Andrea Vahl. People are far more likely to share something they find intriguing or funny.

Look at the case of Volkswagen’s videos. Their Cannes-winning episode, The Force, a spoof on Star Wars, earned over 40 million views. None of their other videos, more traditional marketing content, came close to 1 million views. Of course, most of us would love a million views. But look at the relative difference in sharing power.

Key takeaway: People love to share humor. Get some of your creative staff tofind ways to bring humor and fun into some of your posts. See this post byJason Millerfor some ideas.

4: People care about causes more than brands

The New York Times found that people are more likely to share about something they are passionate about.

Let’s face it. People rarely wake up wondering what they can do for XYZ brand today. But they do dream of ways to help their favorite cause. Whether it’s ending poverty, supporting Greenpeace or advancing a local charity, many people give sacrificially to help things they care about.

creeNotice how CREE has taken a boring subject like lighting and made it a mission and revolution to change lighting in public places across America.

While not a cause in the humanitarian sense, this does get people excited about being part of something bigger than your brand or product.

Key takeaway: Show your human side. Let fans know what causes excite you and give them a chance to help you spread the word.

5: People share to build relationships with others

Research shows that people value relationships with other people, not necessarily with brands. They are definitely looking for community. Your brand might be able to create a platform for that community.

Here are two interesting factoids from The New York Times study:

  • 78% of respondents use links to stay connected to people they might not otherwise stay in touch with.
  • 73% of respondents said sharing content helps them find people with common interests.

Red Bull does a nice job of sharing content their fans might be willing to share with their friends.

red bullNotice how Red Bull asks a question and then encourage sharing.

Key takeaway: Evaluate your posts and ask why someone might share this content with their friends.

6: Customers are looking for validation

Some things haven’t changed since junior high. We are all trying to build credibility in the eyes of our friends. We want to be seen as experts in some area(s).

The way we do that online is through the content we share.

68% of The New York Times study participants said they share content as an advertisement for themselves. They want to give others a better sense of who they are.

Key takeaway: Share highly valuable content and links that will give your fans access to information that will enable them to look good in the eyes of their friends. Ask your fans what they would like to know.

7: People share to manage information

You’ve heard it said, “I’m just thinking out loud.” Today many people think out loud through social media.

In fact, 73% of the study participants said they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.

Additionally, 85% of respondents said that reading other people’s responses helps them understand and process information and events.

Social media scientist Dan Zarrella found the following words generate the most comments in his research.

most commented on wordsNotice how popular words like “giveaway” and “jobs” are.

Key takeaway: People who share your content may be using it to crystallize their thinking. Make sure to give them some new thought-provoking content and don’t forget to invite their comments.

8: You’ve misunderstood your audience

If you’ve been around marketing for very long, you understand the concept of a marketing persona. This idea has been around for at least 20 years and advocates understanding your customer profile by creating detailed pictures of your ideal customer(s).

The New York Times study found there are six sharing personas for online fans and I’ve listed a seventh based on my experience and our audience. Understanding who your customers are can help you identify common motivators:

  1. Altruists—Altruists share content out of a desire to be helpful and aspire to be seen as a reliable source of information. Preferred tools: Facebook and email.
  2. Careerists—Careerists are well-educated and seek to gain a reputation for bringing value to their networks. They prefer content that is more serious and professional in tone. Preferred tools: LinkedIn and email.
  3. Hipsters—Hipsters are younger sharers who have always lived in the “information age.” They use Twitter and Facebook to share cutting-edge and creative content. They share content to build their online identity. Preferred tools: Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Boomerangs—Boomerangs seek validation and thrive on the reaction of others to their content, even when it’s negative responses. Preferred tools: Facebook, email, Twitter and blogs, wherever people will engage them.
  5. Connectors—Connectors see content sharing as a means of staying connected to others and making plans. They are more relaxed in their sharing patterns. Preferred tools: Facebook and email.
  6. Selectives—Selectives are more thoughtful in what they share and with whom they share it. They personalize their sharing and expect responses to their content. Preferred tool: email.

Although this is not based on The NY Times research, I’d like to add a seventh persona to the list:

  1. Trendsetters—Trendsetters are thought leaders, marketers and business leaders who purposefully seek to stay abreast of breaking news and trends in their industry, sharing it quickly and aggressively. These people are typically seen as experts (or aspire to be seen as such). Preferred tools: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

A couple of observations: 1) notice how many of these personas prefer email; 2) notice that the platform significantly predicts the motivation pattern.

Key takeaway: Think through your content-sharing strategy for each platform, knowing whom you are likely to reach.

9: People are more personal with email

The study authors discovered that people have not abandoned email. In fact, participants share most frequently through email and consider it more private. Therefore they have higher expectations for responses through email.

Key takeaway: Don’t forget tointegrate your email strategies with social media. Jay Baer will be speaking about this atFacebook Success Summit 2011. He also wrotethis article.

Some final pointers

If you want a deeper understanding of the psychology of sharing, see this article by Dr. Rachna Jain.

One of the most overlooked rules in content creation is the rule of simplicity. Shorter posts (80 characters on Facebook) get shared 27% more frequently. Keep your writing style at a fifth grade or lower level of understanding.

Create a sense of urgency in your writing. Give people a reason to respond now. If they don’t act immediately, they probably never will.

Finally, remember that getting your content shared is just the first step. See this as part of longer-term strategy of building a loyal following.

SOURCE: Social Media Examiner

How to Get Started as a Web Content Writer

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Months ago I watched Salma Jafferi’s interview on CNBC Pakistan channel (program Ghar ka Kharch). There was too much to learn from her that i subscribed to wordpl emails. Here is one of her article in which she has discussed about getting started as a web content writer. I like the way Salma Jafferi explains things about writing in this article so thought to share with everyone!

To become a web content writer, you basically need two skills:

1. you must be a voracious reader/learner of articles on the web and

2. you must be able to adapt your writing style for the web and constantly practice it

Let’s take a closer look at these two requirements.

How You Read on the Web

The more you read on the web, the more you’ll realize that you, along with everyone else, follow a certain pattern. Your eyes stay in certain parts of the page longer, you tend to skim and scan content more than actually read every single word (as you may perhaps in print), you get intimidated/bored by long pages of unbroken text and you tend to click links that interest you and which may take you several pages away from the page you’re on.

These and other characteristics of reading on the web have been well researched and documented by web usability expert Jakob Nielsen.

I’m going to summarize some of the findings for you here:

  • Web readers typically scan the page in the rough shape of the letter “F”. That means our eyes travel down the length of the left column of the page and dart across the top right section (where the title usually is) and then skim and scan the rest of the content horizontally, perhaps staying a little longer at the sub-headings or pull out quotes breaking up the text.

  • Web readers like to click on interesting links. Links that appear spammy or clearly irrelevant are usually ignored.
  • Web readers like to read simple English. Since people accessing the web come from all walks of life with varying levels of comprehension, the average user is likely to stay and read if the writing is simple, free from jargon, not too lengthy and explains concepts and terms in a clear, simple way.
  • Web readers love lists! They love articles that contain top 10 lists and how-to material presented in numbered list or bullet form simply because it’s easy to quickly scan and consume it
  • Web readers will navigate away from your content if they don’t get the gist of it in the first line or the first paragraph (and sometimes from the title itself!)
  • Web readers generally read text on screen 25% slower than they would in print

So how can you use these characteristics to become a web writer? Simple; we’ll just take the results presented and apply them to our writing.

How to Write for the Web

1. Write a Catchy Title

Since you now know that web readers read the title first, you’ll want to ensure that your web content’s title is catchy, accurate, promising and enticing. Consider these titles: “How to Bake a Cake” vs “How to Bake a Cake in 10 Minutes” vs “How to Bake a Chocolate Malt Cake in 10 Minutes that Kids will Love” Notice how each subsequent title offers more reasons for you to click on it; more benefits, more promise of good information.

The point of your title is two-fold: to get readers to want to read the content that follows and to give search engines something to index your page by. Notice how I’ve used the words “content writing for the web”, “web content writer” etc. throughout this post and in the titles and sub-headings – that’s so that search engines can find these terms in my content and index it so that anyone looking for web content writers will find us more easily.

2. Start with the Conclusion

This might sound like the opposite of what you learned in English essay-writing classes in school, but a long windy opening paragraph will NOT make your content appealing on the web. If it’s not appealing, it won’t be read. And the whole purpose of web content is to be read.

You absolutely must get to the point of your content immediately and then proceed convincingly from there to make your case, give further examples, and make your points. In the web content writing world, this is called the “inverted pyramid” style of writing. Main idea first, details later.

3. Make your Text Visually Appealing

Nowhere is this point more important than on the web. Books without pictures will still be read, but a web page without a single graphic is an eye-sore. And visual appeal need not mean complicated images, but simply good use of white space around your text. That means you MUST break up your text into small paragraphs of 5-7 lines each, use bullets and lists to present linear information, and use images that help illustrate your content.

You can go a few steps further and use charts, tables, flowcharts, info-graphics and other visual data to make your content look appealing to the web reader.

Another way to make your content visually appealing is to add descriptive sub-headings (as I have done in this blog post) – these aid your reader in navigating your content and help you put in keywords for better search engine positioning in strategic locations.

4. Include Hyperlinks!

Outbound hyperlinks (links going to other sites on the Internet) give your readers the option to read more on the subject and shows that you are confident about your research skills and have linked out to quality content. Inbound links (links to other pages on your website) also show readers that you are an authority on your subject and have written more valuable and related information on it.

When linking it is important to use anchor text (like this) rather than naked URLs (like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_text). This serves a dual purpose: anchor text links are prettier to look at within the document and provide a better reading experience and they also help in optimizing your content for search engines since links are one of the criteria search engines use to determine the relevancy or otherwise of your content.

Interesting fact!: If you have any doubts about the importance of anchor text links for purposes of SEO here’s an astonishing fact for you: if you search Google for the phrase “click here” the first result to show up will be Download Adobe Reader. This simply means that the instructions to view a PDF file are often accompanied by a link to download the free Acrobat Reader and the anchor text used for that link is almost always “click here”.

Good quality and well-researched links give your readers a quality product and they will appreciate the fact that they can get all pertinent information from one complete document.

5. Use Simple Grade 7 English

I don’t know how many of you have heard of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test, but it’s a test built into MS Word that gauges the difficulty level of English you’ve written. A high score of 90-100 signifies that your text can be understood by the average 7th grader, and lower scores mean the text is understood by those with higher learning degrees.

For general web articles, you should aim to write for the typical 7th – 9th grader. Obviously this requirement will vary according to your client, their audience and the technical nature or otherwise of the topic.

In general, a good principle to follow is to assume a cursory knowledge of the subject matter and explain and elaborate for the layperson. For example, this post is written for people looking to get started with web content writing, so I’m assuming they already have some idea of what web writing is.

Also, it is extremely important in web content to write directly to your audience. Assume that you are talking and explaining to some one person and write the article as though for them. For example, here I’m assuming that I’m writing to Irum to answer her query. This means using first person (“I”) and second person (“you”) liberally in your content.

Finally, the purpose of most web writing is to encourage users to take certain action or to think in a certain way; for that reason the tone of your writing should be active, enthusiastic and encouraging. There is no room for passive sentences in writing for the web.

Re-Cap of Web Writing Essentials

So to quickly re-cap, here’s the essence of what a page written for the web should contain:

  1. Catchy title with keywords
  2. Starts off strong with the main idea of the article and proceeds convincingly from there
  3. Has visual appeal using sub-headings, lists, images, graphics and white space
  4. Contains both outbound and inbound hyperlinks with anchor text
  5. Is written in a natural, conversational style of writing with active voice

Once the above principles are applied see how an otherwise mundane piece of text comes alive on your web screen (this example taken from useit.com):

Writing for Print Writing for Web
Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions   that draw large crowds of people every year, without fail. In 1996, some of   the most popular places were Fort Robinson State Park (355,000 visitors),   Scotts Bluff National Monument (132,166), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park   & Museum (100,000), Carhenge (86,598), Stuhr Museum   of the Prairie Pioneer (60,002), and Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park   (28,446). In 1996, six of the most-visited places in Nebraska were:

  • Fort Robinson        State Park
  • Scotts Bluff National        Monument
  • Arbor Lodge State Historical        Park & Museum
  • Carhenge
  • Stuhr Museum of the Prairie        Pioneer
  • Buffalo Bill Ranch State        Historical Park

If you’ve mastered these, check out some advanced strategies for writing for the web.

Resources to Learn Web Content Writing

As we covered earlier, writing well is all about reading a lot and writing a lot. So here I’m going to suggest some blogs that you should check out to get started on that reading list. Pick one or two from this list that resonate with you and subscribe to them; there’s tons of great content in them to help you become a better web content writer!

Copyblogger: Copyblogger is one of the best places to start to learn how to write persuasively. Their tutorial on headline writing skills is one of the most comprehensive ones I’ve seen with some great examples. If you’re interested in specializing as a copywriter, their 10 Steps to Effective Copywriting is an awesome starting point.

Aliventures: Ali Luke is a writing coach and professional paid blogger. Check out her blog Aliventures for some great samples on how to write for the web.

AllFreelanceWriting: Jennifer Mattern and her AllFreelanceWriting team excel at all topics related to writing and entrepreneurship; their no-BS approach is a good guide for aspiring web writers.

FabFreelanceWriting: Angela Booth’s Fab Freelance Writing blog offers handy tips, resources and highly motivating articles to help you get started with writing for the web.

AboutFreelanceWriting: And finally Anne Wayman’s AboutFreelanceWriting is not only a great resource for learning to write but also a handy guide to finding the best paying jobs for freelance writers.

Finally, let me know in the comments section what your tips are for writing better web content. Would love to hear from you!