I have talked to many people just getting started in internet marketing, or even in blogging in general, and a large number of them find the idea of writing website content challenging and a little scary.
The truth is that writing can be hard, particularly when you have to write on a regular basis.
However, it is also something that gets easier over time, and there is nothing out there that teaches quite as well as experience.
In this article I want to discuss some tips for writing website content that should make the entire process easier, regardless of the amount of experience you have.
After all, consistently writing good and engaging content can be critical for engaging the audience on a website, and making your posts interesting enough to read.
What is Content?
Content creation is often considered one of the key skills of internet marketing, but it isn’t always obvious what the term means or how it applies to individual people.
At its most basic level, content is the writing that is developed for any website and content provides a way of imparting information to an audience.
However, content is actually a very broad term that can mean a large number of different things.
People define and use content differently depending on their wants and their needs.
Because of this, the term content is also often extended to include video, visual and audio media as well as the interactions that regularly occur between website owners and their visitors.
For the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to specifically consider content in the context of online marketing, and focus on written website content.
This type of content is critical for making money through internet marketing and this also means that it is very common.
For most people with a blog or a website, writing regular content is important for developing and maintaining search engine rankings and for keeping the audience interested in the site.
Writing content can get challenging, but over time, it does become a habit and stops being nearly as difficult.
Know Your Audience
The best way to write content differs depending on who is going to be reading it.
You can’t simply assume that everyone reading your writing is going to have the same level of experience and understanding that you have personally.
When you are writing any content, you need to take time to consider what your audience is likely to know already, and what they are going to need explained to them.
Take the example of a website in the niche of professional photography.
A website in this niche might include discussions on specific types of cameras as well as the impacts of different features of cameras and how these features perform.
Because of this, the website is specifically targeted at an audience that has a working understanding of cameras and photography.
This is an important consideration for writing content, because it can be assumed that the audience will know many things that other groups of people wouldn’t know.
For example, when writing content for this type of site, you would not need to define specific parts of the camera or their function, because the audience will already know this information.
This means that the content written for this type of site will tend to be much more technical than for other types of sites.
In contrast, a website about making holidays memorable might include a section on cameras, but the content would have a different focus, and would tend to be simplistic, rather than technical.
Knowing your audience can help you work out how to write your content, particularly the style of writing that you plan on using and what information to include and not include.
A good way of approaching this issue is to consider the type of person who is likely to be visiting your website and look at what they are likely to be interested in and what their previous knowledge is likely to be.
Supporting your Content
For some types of websites and audiences, it may be necessary to support your content in some way.
An example of this is a site where you make claims about the health benefits of specific products.
Now, there are a lot of sites out there that make blanket statements and claims without ever attempting to back them up.
The problem with this is that it’s hard for the audience to know whether you are telling the truth or making things up.
An alternative approach is to link back to authoritative sites that offer some evidence, such as scientific papers.
This is only relevant in some cases, but it can be a way of making your content better than similar content that competitors offer.
Other Tips for Writing Website Content
Regardless of what approaches you use for writing content, there are some approaches that work much better than others.
1. Check spelling and grammar
If you have a website with consistently bad grammar and spelling, it will put people off and many people will stop reading it entirely.
Writing your content in a text editor before posting it can be a good way of reducing issues, particularly if you use the spelling and grammar checker before you post.
2. Content is Conversational
In almost all cases, content benefits from being casual and conversational.
This can help the audience to feel more engaged with the website, and overall it makes the content much easier to read.
One example of this is to use contractions, such as you’re rather than you are.
There isn’t really anything wrong with writing out words in full, but contractions are easier to read, which is desirable.
An exception to this is blogs that are strongly academic, scientific or professional in nature.
In these types of blogs, you are writing for an audience that is likely to prefer a professional approach.
However, these types of blogs are relatively rare and aren’t normally used as a way of making money online.
Another aspect of being conversational is to actually engage the people who are reading the content.
This might involve asking questions or directing them to leave a comment at the end of the post.
Additionally, for many topics you can use the term you to refer to people in the audience, as a way of telling them that they can do things.
This is much more personal than saying ‘it is possible to’ or something like that.
Another conversational approach is to use personal perspectives and stories.
For example, if you are discussing a specific way of losing weight or improving health, one of the best ways to do this is to talk about what happened when you tried this approach yourself.
3. Nothing is Final
Many people agonize around the first few sentences of their content, trying to get it exactly right.
However, it’s important to realize that you can always go back and change it later.
In fact, many people find it easiest to simply write as it comes and go back through the post at the end and make edits then.
This goes for the title of the post also.
Throwing up a temporary title can help guide the direction of your post, but you can always pick a better title later.
Realistically, you might not even know what title is best until you have finished the content.
4. An Outline Can Help
Having a list of topics or headings that you want to cover can make the writing process much easier.
Personally, I love using a rough outline, because it helps me to stay on track and actually cover everything that I planned to in the post.
Additionally, a rough outline lets you write the post out of order.
For example, I might choose to write this section of the content before I write one of the earlier ones.
This approach is particularly beneficial if you are struggling from writer’s block, because some sections can end up being easier to write than others.
5. Be Individual
Writers are people too, and many people try to hide their personality away when they are writing.
Actually, it is much better to write in your own style and let your personality shine through throughout your writing.
Content writing doesn’t have to be dull and boring, and realistically, boring content doesn’t get remembered.
Instead, you can liven it up with your own sense of humor, specific choice of words and the slang you choose to use.
There is absolutely no need to try and mimic other writers, and the last thing you want is to make your content sound stuffy.
If you have trouble with this aspect, try imagining you are writing the content for a different reason, like a story or a letter to a friend.
How would this change your language?
As a writer, your personality is the main thing that will distinguish you from other writers out there – take advantage of it.
Getting Past Writer’s Block
Every writer experience writer’s block at some point – and it sucks.
Sometimes there is a specific topic or article that you can’t figure out how to write.
Other times, any form of writing seems difficult.
Writer’s block is tricky, because it is a mental block, and there is no easy solution.
One of the first steps – if at all possible – is to take a break from trying to write.
The problem is, trying to write when you can’t tends to make you more stressed, which does nothing to help the writing process.
Instead, it can simply make the situation much harder and much more frustrating.
Another approach is to go out for a walk or get some exercise.
This gets the blood flowing and can sometimes help to shake the writer’s block.
Another trick is to try and write something different.
For example, if I am stuck on a post, I might choose a different post to work on instead.
This isn’t always a viable option – but it is a good approach when you can do it.
Some people also suggest having an alcoholic drink or two.
Clearly this one is a bit context dependent, and not an approach you want to try as a solution every day, but it can be effective.
Having some alcohol in your system does tend to make it easier to write, as you are looser and less stressed.
The downside is that whatever you write will require significant editing when you are sober, or by someone else.
Every so often, you may end up with something that is entirely unusable, which does kind of defeat the purpose.
Still, having something to drink to relieve writer’s block is an approach that many people recommend, and it certainly can be effective.
Finally, when it comes to getting past writer’s block don’t take a break on YouTube or Facebook, because you will end up there all day (trust me, I’ve done it).
Instead, you can look at the content on other websites, but you do want to be careful, because it is very easy to lose track of time and not actually get any help from the approach.
When All Else Fails
Most people can succeed at content writing with enough time and practice.
However, some people find writing too much of a struggle – particularly if their first language isn’t English or if they don’t have much free time.
I would really recommend taking the time to learn content writing, but if you feel that you cannot, there are other options.
In particular, there are many companies and individuals who offer content writing services.
This means that you can hire someone to write your content for you.
With enough searching, it is even possible to find a content writer with experience in your niche.
It’s also a good idea to try and stick with one or a few writers, because this will make it easier for them to tailor their writing towards your needs.
Additionally, hiring content writers through companies tends to be more expensive, but a little less risky.
If you can find a reliable individual instead, you can cut down on costs without compromising the quality of work that you get.
While many people do write their own content, you would probably be surprised to know just how many people do hire content writers for some or all of their content.
Ultimately, there is no correct or incorrect way to write content.
Everyone writes their content differently and this is often driven by their individual personalities and the type of audience they are targeting.
If you struggle to write content, my advice would be to follow some of these tips for writing website content and to simply keep trying – it does get easier over time.
You can also go through the training at Wealthy Affiliate and talk to members of the community there. I often find that talking to others is a great way to get new ideas and new directions.
That's especially true in the case of Wealthy Affiliate because the community is so large and members are very supportive of one another.