Writing Content for Better Reading [UPDATED]

by J.V Krakowski

It takes four seconds for people to decide whether the content is worth reading. Everything from font and format to site design and layout will affect their decision. However, nothing makes readers click away faster than ill-written content.

Grammatical errors in any form are a turnoff, making the content writer seem less of an expert. Well-written content ensures that someone is intelligent. There are rough drafts and edits for a reason. Every content writer is encouraged to take that process.

Revisit content after a year and ask, “How can this be improved?” That is a healthy, professional attitude for content writers. It is also suitable for content rankings. It renews interest in the content and gives people reason to return to a blog.

Writing Tools are Important

Writing Content for Better Reading was rewritten after a decade online. The original system that ranked it as quality content has changed. The readers presented with the content have changed. More writing tools are available to content writers, too.

There is nothing wrong with that, either. Writing tools exist to make writing quality content easier. Using them to critique and modify content is a good practice. It helps keep content readable, grammatically correct, and SEO compliant.

Not all content is public-worthy after a decade, though, but that judgment is up to the content writer to make. Make sure content is worth reading, and then take it through the writing process.

Content is the #1 priority

People visit and revisit websites for content. It conveys information and guides a person through their online experience. Think of it as a website’s persuasive edge. Good, well-written content will persuade people to transition from visitor to customer.

The content is an integral way people connect with a company online.

Avoiding Skip Around

A skip around is flitting from one place to another without comprehending anything. There is no real engagement, and people only nitpick what they need. These people are unlikely to visit again or find value in the website.

Engagement is what companies need to rank and persuade. The more engagement occurs, the more valuable the content is. Here are a few tips to avoid skip around:

Keep it short and direct.

Write like the audience is in third grade. Keep content direct, and break everything into small, digestible portions. Avoid paginating content because only clickbait does that.

Focus the content by cutting out unnecessary details. Concentrate only on essential points.

Think of it like this: Someone needs a tutorial about creating a menu with jQuery. Does that person care about the history of jQuery? Does it matter why jQuery was chosen instead of plain CSS?

Nobody cares about those details. Cut them out and continue writing what is important. Here are some other tips:

Use bullet headings.

Break up significant content with bullet headings. Each heading should highlight an important point. Much like this post is doing. Content is more readable that way. It helps people comprehend it better, too.

Lists are great.

Lists are like bullet headings; it is a fantastic way to relay large amounts of data in short bursts. Buzzfeed is known for viral blog posts like this.

Infographics help people keep information.

Infographics are beneficial visual aids. These images are attractive and condense information into a sharable format. It is effortless to share to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Highlight important information.

If information needs to stand out, then highlight it someway. Using a different color — or bolding it out — makes it easier for people to see it. People pay attention to words or items on a page that seem visually different.

Do not paginate a blog post.

This point is so crucial that we reiterated it. Paginating content is annoying. Most importantly, it is counterproductive.

A reader will skim headlines or visit the comment section to avoid reading the content. That is not encouraging engagement or comprehension.

The existence of a feature does not mean that we need it.

Focus on a topic, not a subject.

Focused content is easy to digest, attractive, and reader-friendly. Writing focused content is like writing a recipe versus an entire cookbook. Some algorithms reward longer content, but readers may not. That does not mean it should be full of worthless details.

Readers vs. Search Engines

Nowadays, search engines have changed how people write. If better traffic is the goal, the content has to meet specific criteria. Content that meets criteria receives more attention by receiving a higher rank. It weeds out poorly written content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps people gain better rankings. Unfortunately, that does not guarantee their content is well written or even current. A good rank means it met the criteria, not that a content writer is fantastic. The writing process helps with that.

Writing is only part of the work, however. After publishing, the next step is promoting that content across social media. That is a new type of writing designed to hook a visitor in a few short sentences.

Writing for social media has become a challenge all its own. Different platforms have different criteria to rank and deliver content. Understanding how their algorithms work is key to attracting readers.

Final Thoughts

Connecting to visitors through writing is an essential part of business online. Good writing is easy to understand, appealing, and easy to access. While it is more work for content writers, the rewards can be lucrative.

Everyone has a formula for content writing that works for their readers. What works for one content writer may not work for another. Doing a bit of research about readers will help form one.

Originally published at linkedin.

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