I’ve read so many great articles and to be honest, can’t compete with @copyblogger when it comes to giving great copy insights.
Having said that, I’ve made these as a note to self, a 101 guide for new writers to the web. Let me know your thoughts or comment below. Would it work for your team?
Try to think in terms of keywords (maybe brainstorm 5-10 before you start writing) but you don’t want to force yourself to use synonyms just to get all of them in there. You don’t want to ruin the flow of the article, just to cover every keyword, but you do want to have thought out what the keywords were.
Use the Journalists pyramid or News Style to create your work.
The most important facts should come first, and expand as you scroll down. The idea being that if the article goes over the word limit, the least important parts can be removed. You can always end with a summary or conclusion. But remember that readers may not get that far, if the content becomes too hard or boring to read before they get there.
Optimum page length for search engines is 400-600 words. – Take up the challenge. (I’ve only just made it with this post!)
- Your opening sentence is key, as it sets the tone for the article. It must be hard hitting, including as many of your keywords as possible.
- Paragraphs should vary in length throughout the article from 2 to 6 sentences. It makes the page easier to read. – remember to try and fit your key words in once or twice each in subsequent paragraphs.
- Sentences should average, 12 to 15 words for readability, especially if you’re a highly technical company – as per Economist/NY times.
- Use active voice customer-focused messaging, rather than internal terms and acronyms.
- Try to use subsections and headers – it really breaks the content into readable chunks.
- In most articles you can focus on a “call to action”. Pose a question or express a view to encourage reader interaction.
- Bullets and lists can be used to great effect, making complex items easier to read.
- Highlight key words or phrases with bold or italics – you could even try and block quote a key line from the author.
You want to add a few links but you don’t want to pile a huge number at the top of the page, or you risk losing the reader (they’ll click off and get away from you).
Use descriptive text to link from, like this link to bulleting content by @copyblogger. I’ve given it a good SEO friendly title that you can see on mouse over as well (Copyblogger article on various bulleting and listing techniques).
Links should reflect their actual content (so no more – click here, more info etc). Here are some possible linking options if you’re stuck:
- A relevant press release or article
- Related services
- A Glossary reference
- Relevant laws
- Twitter posts or a hashtag search
- Your Facebook or LinkedIn groups / profile
If you use an image, include an appropriate descriptive title (alt text) for it.
When you’ve finished, read the page out loud. This is to see if you can actually say that sentence in one breath, as readers’ minds lose track otherwise.
How is the call to action looking? Do you need my help?
Let me know your thoughts!