06 Nov Simple Starter Tips: Writing Content for Your Website
Simple Starter Tips: Writing Content for Your Website
By Paul Barrs
I have been fortunate… I have been “writing” in one shape or another since I was 8 years old. For me it’s always been a personal love – however I know that this is not the case for most people. In fact, second only to public speaking, article writing often conjures more fear than swimming with sharks for many a business owner.
The problem is though; “everyone” says we need to write more content for our websites! But why…?
Yes it is true that the primary benefit for writing and publishing content on your website is to provide reliable resources to your readers and to encourage people to share your website with their social media networks (it’s a great way to reach out) – but it is far more beneficial that you begin to build a relationship with your customers as they come to better know you and trust you. Just like Vickie always says, ‘the more they trust you the more likely they are the buy from you!’
So here are a few tips to make the process of writing content for your website just that little bit easier –
Number 1: The idea. Without doubt most of us stumble at the thought of the idea… ‘What should I write? I don’t know where to start’. These feelings are common.
When I find myself drawing a blank (which still happens from time to time) I simply go to my favourite article directory and browse through the headlines. I look for a headline that grabs my attention and sparks an idea. I don’t read the article, I just look at the headline and think, ‘yep, I could write something on that’.
There are literally millions of articles published in article directories, so you’ll never be stuck for ideas.
Number 2: How to begin. Look at the first paragraph of this article. In it you’ll see a very brief explanation of why I love articles. For me it’s a personal thing, it hits a key note, and it builds common ground with the reader – they either like writing or they don’t.
I often begin my articles with a short story, something that lets my reader know that I’ve got a life too, that I’m not just an anonymous webpage. I want them to know that I’m human also – that along with my failings I have successes too.
For me, this is the beginning of relationship building and it’s more important to me than anything else. Try starting your articles with either something about yourself or something about someone else that you heard.
Number 3: The content. Once you get started, just write. And when you write, write the way that you speak. Don’t try to write fancy, using some sort of style or strategy – just write naturally. Write the way that you speak.
Writing the way that you speak helps removes the fears about how an article ‘should’ look or read. It doesn’t have look or feel a certain way, it just has to carry a message! I do that everyday in my normal speech, and I know you can too.
Number 4: The Length. How long should your content be? Well… how long is a piece of string?? How long should a garden hose be to reach the plants that need watering?? As long as it needs to be! So how long should your article be? As long as it needs to be for you to say what needs to be said; nothing more, nothing less. Say what you want to say and then finish.
[Side note: I don’t need to write more on that paragraph above because it pretty much says all that needs to be said, doesn’t it?]
Number 5: Keep it simple. As you’re writing, try and keep it simple. If I were to try and get all technical I could say a whole bunch of other things about article writing – I could talk about grammar, I could talk about the correct or incorrect usage of nouns and pronouns, and synonyms and similes – but I don’t need to, and YOU don’t need me to either.
Once you’ve gone though your initial ideas, “put the pen down” and save the article. Walk away – perhaps coming back to review it later once or twice, but no more.
Personally I recommend that you jot down about half a dozen bullet points before you begin to set the flow of the content, and then write from your heart. You should only be writing about topics that you know and have knowledge on anyway, which is what makes this so easy. If you don’t know the topic, then don’t write about it.
Lastly, as for editing… OK, well, I suck at editing. All I do is trust my spell-checker, I rarely go back for multiple edits on anything that I write.
Sure, grammar nazis’ hate me… but then, I don’t like them much either. The feedback from my customers over nearly 16 years of writing online show that my customers love me.
That’s what really counts, isn’t it!
The most important thing is that you write and develop your own style, and like anything, the more you practice it, the easier it gets.