I used to charge consulting clients thousands of dollars for this knowledge. I no longer consult, so I'm giving away my secrets... for free.
Why is writing for the web different?
- People online don't read...
- They scan.
- 4.4 seconds for every 100 words on a page
Be concise... or I'll press the back button!
That's the name of the game.
How to be concise:
- Prefer lists over paragraphs.
- Put a Grandma-friendly explanation on the homepage.
- Every page needs an ultra-clear title.
- Focus each page on one topic.
- Put different topics on different pages.
How to be even more concise:
- Use headings, sub-headings, and sub-sub-headings frequently.
- Keep paragraphs short.
- Keep sentences short.
- For any page over 500 words, write a 100 word teaser. People can read the teaser first so they know what the page is about.
- No page should contain more than 1000 words in the body.
Bulleted lists are like crack cocaine
- Don't believe me?
- Look at the section: "Measuring the Effect of Improved Web Writing"
The only thing better than lists are pictures and videos
- Use lots of pictures and video.
- You know what they say...
- A picture's worth a thousand words
- A video's worth a thousand pictures
- Why are sites like Buzzfeed so addictive? They're lists of pictures and video.
Format your writing!
- Don't capitalize words for emphasis; use italics.
- Avoid italics: when every word counts, no emphasis is necessary.
- Don't put periods at the end of headings.
- Indent blockquotes from the article.
Bait and switch the reader
- Use a captivating headline to get the first sentence read.
- Use the first sentence to get the second sentence read.
- And so on...
- The least important information is at the end.
- (Newspapers do this.)
Winning at Google SEO is so simple
- Google ranks based on authority.
- The whole Google algorithm is trying to determine your authority.
- So, instead of trying to scam Google, become an authority.
You must choose a niche
- To rank high in Google, you need to become an authority.
- Therefore, you must choose a niche.
- Be better at it than everyone else.
- Becoming an authority on "cars" is really hard.
- Becoming an authority on "2003 Volvo XC Cross Country Station Wagons" is doable.
Building authority with keywords
- Have 10-15 core keywords that are used on every page.
- Reuse your keywords and keyphrases consistently throughout your site to build "authority" on a topic.
- If you want to be the "authority" on a topic, then reuse your keywords a lot.
A real-life example:
- Say you want to come up under "Maryland health care reform" on Google...
- Use the complete phrase, "Maryland health care reform," frequently in paragraphs and headings.
- Have a page called "Maryland health care reform for seniors."
- Have a page called "Maryland health care reform for students."
- This increases your authority on the subject.
- Use each word individually, mixed into the paragraphs and lists.
"Authority" isn't just about keywords
- It's Youtube videos
- It's Twitter followers
- It's Facebook fans
- It's Yelp reviews
- It's search traffic
- It's page views tracked by Google Analytics
- It's comments on other websites
- It's forum discussions
Before you write a word....
- Look at your competition.
- Always start by Googling.
- Don't worry if there is a "big site" that comes up first.
- A smaller site can win, if it addresses a topic more thoroughly and becomes a better topic authority.