The 14 Do’s and Don’ts of Writing for the Web

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a person writing on a notebook

Content marketing works wonders for your brand – when it’s done correctly. A great strategy can propel your company to the forefront of search engines, as well as people’s minds, but you’ll need to employ the right tactics in order to reap the rewards.

From blog posts to emails, whitepapers to professional news articles, every kind of successful content meets certain quality standards. Today, we want to share some tips that will help you meet these standards and appeal to the pickiest of search engine robots – and customers.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the 14 top dos and don’ts of effective web content.

1. DO – Write New Blog Articles Regularly

impact of monthly blog post

Image Source: Marketing Insider Group

Our first big recommendation is to be consistent with your content production. According to Marketing Insider Group, publishing blog articles between two to four times a week is the best way to reap the highest traffic and conversion rates. Now, that’s a lot of content. Two to four per month will suffice.

If you’re only producing content when you specifically need it, or you’re posting in short bursts without any real schedule, you’re probably not seeing the best results.

Running out of ideas for your upcoming content needs? Try using a tool like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. Finding important, highly relevant keywords for your brand will give you some ideas when it comes to blog topics and content marketing strategies.

Another recommendation is to listen to what your audience is telling you they want. What kinds of posts are currently doing well? What kinds of questions do they ask? What confuses them?

The more you can serve your audience’s needs with regular content, the more effective your overall strategy will be.

2. DON’T – Skimp on Thorough Research

Exploratory Research

Image Source: QuestionPro

This might seem like a no-brainer, but seriously, do not skip the research process. With long-form content dominating and people upping their standards for online content, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re backing up your stuff with evidence, statistics, and true facts.

Before you even start writing your content, you should have plenty of research prepared. As a content creator, it’s your responsibility to:

  • Stop the spread of misinformation.
  • Build a reputation based on facts and trust.
  • Avoid publishing false claims.

Remember: not all sources are equally reputable. You’ll want to pull quite a bit from “primary research” sources, including things like first-hand interviews, polls, co-workers, etc. You can also look for some “secondary research” from reputable studies, data collections, etc. A great piece of web copy combines both to create a credible, educational resource for readers.

3. DO – Turn to Long-Form Web Content

longform content length by industry

Image Source: WordStream

The next tip is to stop producing short 300-word blog posts (just for the sake of publishing something). Surface-level content like that just doesn’t give modern readers what they really want. In today’s world, you’re better off creating long-form content that is at least a thousand words.

In fact, blog posts with around 2,500 words tend to rank best online. That means if you want the best possible results, you’ll need to dive deeply into the topics you cover. Start by:

  • Conducting research on every post.
  • Going beyond surface-level understandings.
  • Including helpful website links.
  • Answering questions in FAQ sections.
  • Thoroughly explaining every new topic you introduce.

Long-form content doesn’t just engage customers – it keeps them on your page, and that in itself is worth its weight in gold. You want an audience that lingers and comes back for more content, not users that click on and click off right away, never to return.

4. DON’T – Rely on Heavy, Long Paragraphs

The modern reader has a short attention span – usually less than eight seconds. That means you have very little time to grab their attention and get them hooked on your content.

The goal is to write for people who skim for information quickly. They prefer articles and posts that are easy to digest, but that is heavy in value.

Break up your content with smaller paragraphs and subsections. Clearly identify headlines, and pay attention to how you’re bolding, italicizing, and structuring your post to make readability simple.

5. DO – Rewrite and Optimize Service Page Content

Don’t get so wrapped up in your blog and social media posts that you forget to think about the content on your pages. Many businesses make the mistake of leaving outdated, ineffective service pages to gather dust.

At least every two years or so, if not annually, you’ll want to take a look at your service pages to ensure:

  • You’re using the right keywords.
  • The contact information is still correct.
  • The page reflects what users actually want.

If you haven’t taken a long, hard look at your service pages in a while, now’s the time to give them a bit of a facelift.

6. DON’T – Oversell Your Products or Services

Misrepresenting your products or services in your content is a surefire way to land your brand in hot water. Content doesn’t give you a platform for bragging, but instead, a chance to educate and engage readers.

If you’re hyping up your offerings too much, you may find that:

  • Consumers engage less with you on your social media profiles.
  • People are seeing your products/services, but they aren’t buying.
  • You’re receiving negative reviews and comments frequently.

Nobody likes a brand that overpromises and under-delivers. As you craft your content going forward, make sure that you’re properly representing who you are, what you do, and what you offer consumers.

Be descriptive but honest. Better yet, back up any claims of being the “best” or “top” with real evidence. People love to see a brand that touts customer testimonials, statistics, and believable information to back up their promotional points.

7. DO – Develop and Optimize NEW Service Pages

We don’t just want you to look at your current pages – we want you to add new ones to enhance your website rankings.

If there are big keywords out there that you aren’t ranking highly for, consider developing and optimizing a service page specifically to target those phrases. At Foxxr, we often help clients create web pages based on specific new offers or locations.

ahrefs keyword explorer

When developing new service pages, try to pick one primary keyword to guide your strategy. Then, find secondary words or phrases to increase the page’s relevancy and appeal. A strategic approach to your keyword usage, especially in H1s and subheadings, will improve your chances of success after indexing.

8. DON’T – Forget Website Design Features

format your text like a pro

Image Source: SlidesCarnival

You want your content to be laid out in a manner that makes skimming easy. At the same time, you should present all of your content in an aesthetically pleasing manner. People like to look at neat, pretty things on the web – no matter what topic they might be researching.

Start by organizing your content with the proper headings. Then, move into other design elements such as:

  • Fonts
  • Line spacing
  • Alignment
  • Casing
  • Bolding
  • Italics

At the end of the day, your page’s layout should enhance the content, not distract from it. We’re all about creative designs and fun colors, but at the same time, your main focus should be your content’s quality.

9. DO – Plan Your Web Content Using a Silo

content silo structure

This is an interesting tip and one that the average Joe might not think about.

A content silo is a grouping of related content based on topics or themes. Think about when you visit a library. How do you find the exact resource you need? Typically, you can start by browsing a section of grouped books or items that all fall under the same category.

Just like a library organizational system helps you find things quickly, a content silo helps online users find answers without a hassle. Perhaps even more importantly, organizing your website in hierarchical groupings and subcategories makes it easy for search engines to crawl your website.

A silo structure usually begins with the website’s homepage, then moves on to the silo pages, support articles, blogs, and other subcategories. All of these pages can be linked through quality backlinks, which gives another significant boost to your SEO rankings and overall organization.

For more information, check out this helpful guide on content silos from our team at Foxxr.

10. DON’T – Plagiarize

This one is pretty basic, but still, we need to talk about it: do NOT, under any circumstances, steal content from other creators.

Although we’d love to just tell you that stealing is wrong, there’s more to it than that. Plagiarism is arguably the fastest way to destroy your brand’s credibility. Additionally, Google’s not a fan of copycats and duplicate content – it ranks websites that plagiarize way down there in the search engine results.

In recent years, all search engines have come down hard on duplicate and copied content. Don’t take the risk – cite everything when you need to, and create totally original content whenever possible.

11. DO – Understand Your Buyer’s Journey

Buyers Journey

Source: HubSpot

Next, don’t forget to incorporate your buyer’s journey into the way you produce content. Every buyer out there goes through a series of steps before making a final purchase. Typically, these include:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase

If you truly want to meet as many users’ needs as possible, you should focus on creating content that fits into each of those stages.

When you write for customers in the awareness stage, you’re encouraging them to learn about an opportunity, service, or product. This is when you target consumers who are researching something or looking for a solution. The goal is to essentially say, “Hey! We’ve got the answers you need!”

During the consideration stage, you’re targeting readers who are already aware of your brand or services, but they’re still evaluating it as a solution to their problems or desires. The kind of content you produce to target these shoppers can play a key role in finalizing future sales.

In the final decision stage, you’re encouraging users to finally pull the trigger. Your content can give that last little push to transform an almost-customer into a converted buyer.

Believe us: writing persuasive web copy is all about knowing what your customers need. The more you can learn to target shoppers in their respective stages, the more effective your web articles and marketing strategies will become.

12. DON’T – Use Copyrighted Images

Similar to the “don’t” listed above, this one should come as a no-brainer, but we see people do it all the time. Using images that are not yours to use:

  • Is illegal.
  • Jeopardizes your credibility as a brand.
  • Increases your risk of fines and legal action.

That doesn’t mean you have to go out and shoot your own photos for all of your content. There are some royalty-free websites you can turn to, such as Pixabay or Pexels. These are legal to use, but you should still cover your bases and cite any images you borrow. Giving credit where credit is due is always smart.

13. DO – Audit and Repurpose Old Articles

Old content does not necessarily equate to bad content. Instead, we like to view it as content with potential.

Take a look at some of your outdated, unpopular content to see how you can transform it into something new and useful. At Foxxr, we commonly go through our backlog of blog posts and articles to find opportunities for improvement.

It’s not a bad idea to keep track of all your content pieces in a master content audit spreadsheet. There, you can record how various pieces perform, publication dates, and when you should take a look at old content to update it with newer, better information. Put everything in there – eBooks, emails, videos, listicles, SlideShares, etc.

Repurposing and updating old content makes your life easier. When you run out of ideas (or you need a quick turnaround on an article), you’ve got a wealth of options from your previous content library. Many of them probably just need a little elbow grease in order to shine for search engines and real users.

14. DON’T – Let Content Fatigue Take Over

Content Fatigue

Image Source: Zion & Zion

Last but not least, don’t let yourself get lazy or complacent with mediocre strategies. Content fatigue is a real thing, and many people experience it as they attempt to brainstorm, craft, and execute piece after piece. It gets tedious.

Some tips for preventing or overcoming content fatigue include:

  • Setting goals that you can consistently work toward achieving.
  • Shifting your focus when you lose steam.
  • Creating resources you can refer to overtime.
  • Really find your niche and write about relevant topics.

Most importantly, remember that quality will always win over quantity. Yes, you should produce content consistently, but not if churning out more pieces means sacrificing the value and worthiness of your content.

Need More Help? Reach Out to Foxxr

Content strategy is our marketing team’s bread and butter. We have some amazing tools and experience at our fingertips, and we’re happy to share them.

For now, hopefully, these do’s and don’ts have given you a lot to think about when it comes to your content. To learn more or speak to a content expert, call 727-379-2207 today. You can also reach out online.

As we said before, content can do incredible things for your brand, but only if you’re doing it right. We look forward to helping you maximize your content’s potential with tried-and-true strategies.

 

First published on: Dec 11, 2020

Updated on: June 23, 2021

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