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.

(You’re welcome.)

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

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.