Even for professional writers, writing is hard. Effective content should be relevant and engaging to your reader and, at the same time, support (one of) your website goals.
The better you understand your audience, the easier it is to enhance the content you provide. However, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to ensure your content is also understood by search engines, improving your SEO game.
Practice leads to perfection, but here are five tips to boost your website content:
- Create a compelling headline
- Pay attention to how you write
- Write how people search
- The structure of your blog post
- Revise what you’ve written
#1. Create a compelling headline
According to Copy Blogger, 80% of users that come across your article will read the headline, but only 20% will read the entire piece.
A headline should be specific, make a promise to the reader and, if possible, create a sense of urgency so the reader feels that they must pay attention right now.
You should begin your writing by creating a working title. When you finish, come back to the title and revise it accordingly to what you’ve written. It might be a good idea to ask for a second opinion from a friend or someone with more experience.
You can also rely on ‘title formats’ such as:
- HOW-TO FORMAT
- Teaches the user how to do something.
- Example: ‘How to become a successful international student in 10 steps’
- LIST FORMAT
- Lists x examples or tips related to the topic you are talking about.
- Example: ‘5 things you should keep in mind when studying abroad’
- QUESTION FORMAT
- Peaks the interest of the reader by providing an answer to a compelling question.
- Example: ‘What do you need to receive a scholarship to study abroad?’
There are several other formats you can use. If you’re lacking inspiration, follow these tools to help you get started:
- Hubspot Blog Topic Generator:
- Answer the Public:
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator:
- Copy Blogger – Headline Formulas That Work:
#2. Pay attention to how you write
Your writing should use your audience’s language and show that you understand their challenges, doubts and goals. You should write to help people and not to sell your product.
Before you start writing, take a few minutes to research what is already out there. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to analyse top-performing content for the topic you are writing about.
Your article should be relevant and add value to what has been written before. Ask yourself what is missing and how you can be more relevant to the audience you are aiming to reach.
#3. Write how people search
You should use words people actually use to search and communicate.
Use keyword research to guide you, but always come back to what sounds natural to your audience.
If your reader uses the words “study in holland” rather than “study in the Netherlands”, you should give priority to “study in Holland” in your headline and content.
You can also make use of similar search terms. To do so, go to Google and search for your theme. At the end of the page, you will find related searches with terms that might be interesting to cover in your article as well.
#4. The structure of your blog post
A clear web page should have one main idea, and everything else should revolve around this idea. Your writing should make people “slow down” and prevent them from clicking on another link.
If you’re writing a blog post, you should consider adding an introduction, then mentioning the X topics you will cover (you can use video and images to illustrate), and finishing with a powerful conclusion and call-to-action.
If you’re a beginner, keep in mind the following structure:
- Subheading or introduction making clear the ‘benefits’ or ‘what the reader will get from the article’.
- X benefits or topics.
- Strong conclusion with call-to-action
Always end your article with a strong conclusion and a call to action. The call-to-action can be as simple as asking the reader to share the publication with friends, ask/answer a question or watch a Youtube video. This is the opportunity you have to ask your audience to continue to interact with you.
#5. Revise what you’ve written
It is essential to revise what you’ve written, but you should take a break before revising. This will give you a new perspective on your own content.
Here’s a quick revision plan you can follow:
- Check for grammar mistakes and eliminate any part of the copy that does not relate to your core idea.
- Use contractions to make you sound more human. For instance, use don’t instead of do not, since the latter sounds more robotic.
- Eliminate any ‘fluffy words’. Most of the time, it is unnecessary to use words such as ‘very’, ‘actually’ and ‘in order to’.
- Write in simple language and replace terms your audience might not be familiar with.
- Give examples to clarify difficult topics.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs. This makes the article more pleasant to read.
- If you are using acronyms, introduce them to the reader first. It might be clear to you that IBMS means International Business and Management Studies, but this might not be clear to the reader.
- Use active voice! A passive voice can make you sound boring and confusing. So instead of saying, “a new course was introduced by the school”, you should say, “the school introduced a new course”.
- Use ‘you’ and ‘your’: they make you sound more conversational. Imagine that you are writing to a friend. This is a simple tweak that will make your blog post ‘friendly’ instead of an ‘instructions manual’.
BONUS: Creating videos with your phone
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what about creating short videos to complement what you’re written? Here’s a mini-class on creating videos with your iPhone.
Did this article resonate with you? Let me know in the comments ❤️ ????????