5 Web Writing Tricks Every Blogger Should Know

A man doing an egg balancing trick

Writing for the web is very different to creating copy for other media. A study by Jakob Neilson – one of the fathers of online usability – found that only about 20% of web copy is read.

Don’t let this stat get you down, though. There are a few tricks you can use to ensure that users find the information they need and keep returning to your website.

1. Use bold text

But don’t use it all the time! Pick out the most important point in each section of your post. Users scanning your post will be drawn to bold text.

You’ll need to make sure that the text you use makes sense in isolation, and only use it once in each paragraph. That way you’ll ensure that it has impact.

2. Break up your text with sub-headings

Splitting up your work with sub-headings will also give readers scanning your text a sense of what it is about and where the information they need may be. Try to avoid using puns – it’s less fun, but will help your users more!

It’s very important to use HTML header tags (<h1>, <h2> etc.) as these improve your site’s accessibility for users with screen readers.

3. Never use ‘click here’ for links

In my view this is one of the cardinal sins of web writing in terms of usability. Instead of using vague terms such as ‘click here’ or ‘visit our website’, try to ensure that your link text describes where it will take the user.

This is helpful for a number of reasons:

  • Users can instantly where the link will take them and the information they could receive
  • Longer linked text provides more of a target for mobile users (although, you should still keep it to under 6 words)
  • It improves accessibility for people using screen readers

Additionally, make sure that linked text is underlined, and that you never underline any text that isn’t a link.

4. Include a summary

Another characteristic of web users – particularly in an age with more mobile devices – is that they like to scroll. This means that the areas of your page with the most views are the top and bottom.

So, in order to have another shot at drawing users in, summarise the points covered in your post at the bottom of the page.

This could be in the form of sentences or bullet points – it’s up to you!

5. Keep it short and simple

Digital writers tread a fine line between giving users enough information and keeping their attention.

Make a note of the points you need to cover and ensure that you don’t repeat yourself or go off at a tangent.

Why not check out my post on taking the pain out of the editing process for more advice on this tough area of writing.

Summary

Web users often come online with a specific goal in mind, and therefore tend to scan posts instead of read them. However, there are a few tricks your can use to ensure that they find what they need and return to your website in future.

  • Highlight your key points using bold text
  • Use sub-headings to break up your posts
  • Make it obvious where links will take your users
  • Summarise your main points at the end of your post
  • Keep your posts short and to the point

New to blogging? Read my article on the best advice for new bloggers from around the web.

Like my blog? You can follow me on Twitter at @jrcopywriting

 

 

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