Writing content for a website or blog requires a certain amount of creativity. It’s not just about writing what everybody else is writing. First, you’ve got determine your intent.
Remember, all blogs are websites. All websites are not blogs.
The tone … and intent … of your message when writing content for a website is extremely important.
My wife likes to throw parties. Especially family parties. She likes to have her family “about her” as much as possible.
Birthday parties. Celebrations. Holidays. You name it. We usually have a party for it.
She learned some of this from her parents but she’s taken it to a whole new level. She’s a master at it.
Two things I’ve learned over the years about these parties. Or going to those thrown by other people.
Make sure you know who’s actually putting the party on.
And make sure you know who else is coming to the party.
Perspective is everything. It determines how people act. How comfortable or uncomfortable they’ll be. And who might be offended about something another invitee says.
I’ve seen people deleted from family party lists … not my wife’s though …due to something they said or did at a previous party.
Even seemingly minor things.
And this kind of reminds me of how relationships work when it comes to writing content for a website.
The voice you use when writing content for a website depends on who you’re talking to with that particular entry.
And your success depends on using the right voice.
It’s also imperative to keep in mind what your intent is.
Are you talking to first-time visitors?
Are you talking to frequent readers?
Are you talking to people who are already customers of yours?
What kind of a relationship do you have with your readers?
If you’re writing a blog post, most of your readers may be people that frequently come back to your blog and read everything you write.
If you’re talking to people who you want to develop a relationship with, that may be a different voice.
For first-time readers, you want to be that person sitting on the barstool next to them. Or the one giving them a manicure. Or a haircut.
Trying to build a relationship slowly and patiently. And getting them to come back.
Be personable. Even transparent. Try to gain your prospect’s trust by putting them at ease. Don’t be afraid to use everyday slang. In fact, use it.
When you use these techniques in writing content for a website, many of your readers will keep reading your stuff.
Because they like it. And they can relate to it. They might even be learning something from it.
Now when you’re writing content for a website for frequent readers … even customers … the voice may change.
You already have a relationship with them. They’re already a paying customer. And you’re trying to deliver a different message.
Maybe content mixed with additional or big-ticket product offerings for example. Or links to a new blog post.
Here you want to be the expert … the go-to source … for whatever product or service you’re offering. You’re trying to build a repeat … even a lifetime … customer.
When writing blog posts, go with what got you there.
Forget a lot of the rules and let your personality come out in blog posts. That’s why people read blogs.
When writing content for a website, in most cases (not all), you want to talk to your readers like they’re in junior high.
Like they’re in the 8th grade. Or even better, in the 6th or 7th grade.
Now you’re probably asking why we would want to do that when writing content for a website. It’s simple really.
It’s because that’s simply how most people talk. Kind of like this article. And most of my blog posts and emails. How people talk.
I was raised in western Canada and we had very good public schools. At least back way when I attended. We were drilled on grammar and how to write the English language.
I received an A in pretty much every English class I can remember. Including in college.
But did I talk that way? Not usually.
And I had to completely re-learn how to write content, blog posts and emails to do the copywriting work that I do.
Most people nowdays don’t have the patience, desire or energy to read literature.
They want it dumbed-down. Easy to read. And easy to understand.
For a lot of them … due to a variety of reasons … it’s a requirement.
They don’t want difficult words.
They don’t want long, run-on paragraphs.
They don’t care about complete sentences.
They don’t give a crap about overusing contractions.
One tool I’ve used through the years is The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. It’s a program used by pro copywriters and writers … people who make their living doing this … to evaluate their writing.
It gives you four different scores. But the only one you’re concerned with is the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
It’s easily available in the “Review” section of MS Word. Or you can just Google It, cut and paste to get your score.
This score summarizes the other four. If it gives you a score of 10.3, guess what? An average student in the 10th grade … 3rd month … can understand what you wrote.
You want to target 8.0 or even lower. Shoot for 6th or 7th level. That’s the 6th or 7th grade level. Believe me, it works.
So what’s the Grade Level score on this page? 5.3.
5th grade right? But have you read down to at least this point? Still here?
As multi-millionaire master copywriter, marketer and entrepreneur Mark Ford once explained, “Simple writing is more believable than complex writing. And more believable writing is more successful writing.”
If you use big words, complete sentences and real paragraphs … English as it was taught in English classes … you’re taking two big risks.
First, your reader might not understand you. Game over. Gone.
Second, she might even resent you for trying to show off your vocabulary. Once again, gone.
Now you’ve still got to have no patience for mis-spelling words and lack of punctuation. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Obviously if you’re writing a technical piece or something meant for an “intellectual” audience, you’ll need to stick closer to the rules of good grammar.
But don’t overdo it.
And … obviously … I’m talking about writing the English language in this post. How this kind of writing translates to other languages is beyond the scope of this article.