Guidelines For Writing Online Content

When it comes to writing for the web, and especially when it comes to writing SEO content, there are many different sets of guidelines and advice available online. These are a few that we’ve found work well under all sorts of circumstances.

Easy Reading

As we’ve mentioned in the past, people who read online tend to scan the content more than they actually read it. This means that the easier your content is to read, the more likely people will be to read it.

Popular ways of making text easy to read include breaking it into sub-sections, with their own descriptive headings, using lists or bullet points that people can read quickly, and keeping individual sentences short, with no more than one idea per sentence.

(Technically, you might notice that the paragraph above failed that last criteria. It has four separate concepts in a single sentence. Since you’re interested in writing better SEO content though, I feel fairly confident that you’ll all have read it anyway. Right?)

Write For The Medium

Put a little bit of thought into where the content you’re writing is going to appear, and you’ll find it easier to manage your length requirements. This especially applies when you’re writing for websites, where you might need to save some space to highlight products, services or especially important information.

It’s less serious when it comes to things like articles and blog posts, but do keep in mind whether people will need to scroll, or perhaps click on a “read more” link in order to see the rest of the content.

Keeping It Concise

As has been mentioned in often interminable detail, people don’t read the same way on the web as they do in print. Instead of starting at the beginning, and reading through the the end, they scan the page looking for easy to read bits of information that “look useful.” (Hell, I do it myself, because reading on a computer screen is much harder than reading something that’s printed out.)

If you’re worried about people reading your content, do your best to keep your paragraphs short, and your sentences shorter. One sentence paragraphs aren’t the best idea, especially when it runs over several lines.

Keep It To the Point

If you find that you’re repeating yourself in your writing, you might not be communicating your basic concept very well. You might need to go back and pay attention to the flow of your writing, make sure everything follows on from the previous point, and leads into the next one.

There are two schools of thought about this point, and I’m not sure which one I like the best. One says that people who are reading or looking for information online are in a hurry. So you should get to the point quickly and clearly, with the least amount of back and forth.

The other suggests that, because people only skip through content, a little bit of repetition, of vital information only, can’t hurt, because there’s a chance that people might miss it in one spot, but pick it up in another.

Personally, I try for a happy medium. Get to the point, but don’t worry about reprising important information, especially when it’s really important.

In Conclusion…

At the end of the day, there is no hard and fast rule for anything to do with content. Context is everything, and as a result, it all depends on what you’re writing.

If you’re communicating something valuable and important to your readers, in the most effective way possible, then you shouldn’t worry too much about things like how long your article is.