Being a writer can be many things; fun, exciting, exhilarating and even frustrating. Yes, writing can be very frustrating at times. For instance, after hours of research and pounding the keyboard to produce what you feel should be a very interesting article, you could then find just a smattering of people read it. Worse still, it’s turned down altogether.
There are a thousand and one possible reasons why your articles don’t turn out right. It could be that you didn’t get enough information before putting pen to paper; you’re writing about a topic no one is interested in, or you were simply not in the right mood. Whatever the reason, all that can be water under the bridge – once you have some sort of writing guide.
The following writing tips will help you write content that people will want to read.
1. Be a reader: The importance of reading in relation to writing cannot be overemphasised. Renowned writers and authors all agree that reading plays a vital role in helping people become better writers. Bestselling author Stephen King summed it up perfectly when he said that if you don’t have time to read, it means you will neither have the time nor the tools needed to write.If you don’t have time to read, it means you will neither have the time nor the tools needed to write. Click To Tweet
When it comes to writing content for the internet, this means reading everything you can find about the subject on which you’re writing. There are several advantages to conducting comprehensive research before starting an article. For instance, you’ll gain useful insight into what others think about the topic in question and this will help you avoid the trap of writing repetitive content.
2. Use power headings: Headings or titles are the most important element of your whole article. Almost every reader will first glance at your heading to find out if your material is worth reading. It doesn’t matter how important or relevant your content is, if you’re unable to communicate this properly with the right heading, the chances are very few people will bother reading your complete post.
There are many formulas on the internet for writing catchy headings; however, don’t deceive people into clicking a title when it doesn’t reflect what is contained in your content. Titles like these are called clickbait and might work on social media, but would negatively affect your online reputation eventually.
3. Communicate better with visuals: It has been proven that 76% of people between the ages of 16 and 29 read more for pleasure. This makes it imperative that you craft your content in such a way that people enjoy every line of it, from top to bottom. The easiest way to achieve this is by making use of visual content in your article. It is generally agreed that a picture is worth more than a thousand words, so it’s therefore safe to assume that a video is worth a lot more.
Visual content is a powerful driver of web traffic, which is why people spend a lot of time on social media, sharing and viewing images and videos. Make sure that your article contains only relevant visual content; this means pictures and videos that would help your readers better understand your content.
4. Make your content readable: Today, more and more readers are consuming content via mobile devices than desktop PCs. Part of being a good writer involves accommodating readers, regardless of device. A blogging platform like WordPress makes it easier for your content to be readable across multiple devices.
In most cases, all you’ll need is to install a responsive theme on your website, which can handle any compatibility issues. However, this only works if you’re using a self-hosted blog. Fortunately, these days you can get domain names for less than it costs a couple years ago. Thanks to the competitive industry and affordable web hosting providers that can be found all around you.
5. Get straight to the point: That the attention span of readers is dropping has been a recurring topic on the internet for years. This means that you have a very short time to catch your reader’s interest and sustain it. Many writers have a style of writing that involves too much fluff and flowery language.
While this may work for some people, if you plan on attracting and keeping readers, you have to make sure you get to the crux of your message as soon as possible. A brief introduction to give your readers an idea of your message is okay, but it makes more sense to hit the ground running.
6. Get your source right: One very important element of any article is the authority articles you link to. This shows your readers that you did your homework and provides them with materials that help them better understand what you’re saying. However, it will negatively affect your online reputation if readers click on those links, only to find that they don’t contain the information they expect.
For instance, if your article is talking about modern SEO techniques and a link opens up to an article about finance, it shows that you didn’t do your research properly and can affect how people perceive you in the industry. Remember, accuracy breeds trust and helps drive your reputation as a credible writer.
7. Convert scanners into readers: One study demonstrated that roughly 79% of visitors skim an article rather than read it, which can significantly raise your bounce rate. The best way to avoid this is to structure your article in such a way that readers have no choice but to read the entire thing. This is because the right structure will eventually make your article more interesting and engaging. This involves using breaks to segment your posts, using bullets and lists to highlight areas of interest, and using catchy subtitles to make readers follow-up on succeeding paragraphs. Don’t forget to add helpful links that they can click on to gain more insight into what you’re writing about.
8. Proofread, edit, and proofread: One of the mistakes writers make is that they believe they have everything down to a T; they fail to proofread. You have hundreds of opportunities to make a mistake when writing one article and a quick glance through at the end will not reveal all of them.
It’s therefore a good idea to spend a few minutes proofreading your article, before posting or sending it in. Reading out loud to yourself will help you identify errors easily and quickly. Once you’ve corrected the errors in your work, have another quick glance through to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
This post was written by Jame Cummings. James is a senior manager with experience in managing multiple simultaneous digital projects. He runs a UK writing company (www.dailyposts.co.uk), with staff across the globe.