Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Virtually anyone can write a post or article for their website. However, it takes a bit of effort if you want to write effective content. But what makes the material effective in the first place? That is completely up to what you’re trying to convey and your priorities.
The purpose behind any blog is to be read. Otherwise, there is no sense in writing it to begin with. Because of this, you need to put effort into engaging the target audience. The more people who visit the site, the more popular it becomes.
And that often leads to greater income, reputation and possible job leads. So, what can you do to create effective content that impresses the masses?
In a moment, I’ll go over the exact steps I take to impress clients. But here are important components you need to be aware of.
What is Your Objective?
Clearly define what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Do you simply want to write creative pieces to entertain visitors, or are you trying to make a few bucks with your content through systems like AdSense?
Your ultimate goal will guide writing your content. It will influence the amount of effort you put into things like optimization, sources and other elements.
Know Your Audience
Who are you writing for? What kind of reader are you trying to engage? What do people find the most alluring about your website? It’s questions like these you’ll have to answer before creating effective content.
For example, one of my clients focuses a lot of attention on people who need help with various content management systems. As a result, I need to write for beginners who want to learn more about things like Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. This often means fewer technical terms.
Provide Detailed Information
If you want your content to matter, it needs to be based in facts and offer detailed information. Of course, this really doesn’t impact those who simply want to create creative pieces.
The more data, facts and information you include in the piece, the more attractive it is to people seeking to learn. Even if you cover a topic that’s already available online, offer something the competition doesn’t.
Make your blog stand out by including a different point of view or focus on additional facts.
Don’t “Fluff” the Content
The worse thing you can do is “fluff” an article. This is when you add words and content to a post for the sake of making it look longer. It’s a poor practice you should avoid.
Fluff makes an otherwise good article look forced and often confuses the reader. Instead of someone absorbing the content, you can drive them away from the website completely.
Don’t forget to include links within the article. Links give people and search engines other access points to posts you’ve already created. It also helps engines like Google understand what your content is about as well as showing authority.
Just make sure the links are to pages which support the topic. For example, you wouldn’t link to a website about cat food if you’re writing a piece about automobiles.
Cite your sources. If you’re including statistics, which work great for building authority, link to the sites you’re getting the information from. It will impress both humans and search engines.
Focus on Readability
If you want effective content, it needs to be readable. This often means using easier language when it comes to visitors. Shorter paragraphs and sentences are ideal.
Personally, I always scan my content to make sure it registers at a certain reading level. But this doesn’t mean everything needs to be ready for 8th graders in the United States.
Sometimes you’ll have content that is just more advanced…which is OK, as long as your audience is capable of understanding the material.
Understand How Headlines and Headers Work
Part of creating easy-to-read and effective content is by making good use of headlines and headers. Take this post, for instance. I separate each point with an obvious header which supports the content below it.
This makes it easier for visitors to scan through to find exactly what they are looking for. It also helps to keep content organized and easier to scan by search engines.
Don’t Forget Grammatic and Spelling Errors
Effective content relies heavily on good grammar and few spelling errors. It makes it easier to read while denoting professionalism.
You don’t have to be a grammatical expert or hold a degree in language arts. But you should know the difference between typing things like “pubic” and “public.” It will save a lot of embarrassment and help people understand what you’re writing.
Use Your Analytics
Tools like Google Analytics will help you decide what content is the most effective on your website. By monitoring the traffic of certain pieces, you can gauge what type of materials your target audience wants to see.
Not everyone likes the idea of browsing over tons of data. But it works if you want to really connect with the readers.
You can answer questions like:
- Do lists work better for my blog?
- Is my content appearing often enough in Google searches?
- What phrases are people using to find my content?
How I Write for Clients
OK, so what do I do with each piece of content I create for clients? Below are the precise steps I take every day to make people happy.
Step 1: Choose a Topic
Decide what you’re going to write about today. This part is pretty easy in comparison to other steps in this list. It’s all about what you want to write. Is it going to be a tutorial? Perhaps you’re feeling creative today.
One of the important things to keep in mind is to keep it relevant to the website. I highly doubt a web hosting provider would appreciate an article on the fastest animals on earth.
Once you pick a topic relevant to your site, keep it focused. For example, don’t go off on a tangent about politics if you’re writing a how-to article for cooking chicken.
Also, don’t forget to put as much research behind the material as possible. The more informative it is, the better it’ll perform.
I research every piece of content even if it’s something I am completely versed in.
Step 2: Research Keywords and Relevance
Keywords are an important part of any effective content. It’s finding the best words that people are using in a search that poses the challenge. You need to discover trends and usage if you want others to find your site.
The trick is to know how people are using the keyword. Don’t assume that because you include one of the most searched phrases in your blog post you’ll appear on the first page of Google. It’s more about how the word relates to your overall content.
Try using tools like Google Trends to find words people are using to find specific topics.
Step 3: Include Semantic Terms
Keywords are good, but knowing the semantics of the search is ideal. In other words, you need to know the intent of the searcher. What exactly is the person looking for outside of the keyword?
Personally, I feed the topic or title of my blog post into things like LSIGraph or Google Search. Both of these tools will show you relevant terms people are using to find that particular kind of content.
For example, put “healthy progresso soup” into Google. When you scroll down the first page, you’ll find relevant searches. Including some of these terms within your content expands your reach when engaging an audience. Just make sure they are relevant to your blog post.
Another good method for telling readers and search engines what you’re writing about is including relevant synonyms. You can find these easily by putting in “synonym” and then the word in a Google search.
Like the relevant search phrases, make sure your synonyms make sense in terms of creating content.
Step 4: Outline the Article
Essentially, this is the planning phase before I actually write. I outline the article with points I want to include. Not only does it give me a chance to plan out a good flow, but it helps me remember what points I want to add.
To outline the article, I usually create headers first. This tells me what sections are going to cover specifics. Then, I’ll include any links and points I want to write about.
Step 5: Write Effective Content
Once I have the keywords, relevant terms and article planned out, it’s time to write.
Now I know some experts attest to how longer pieces of content are better for search engines. I would have to disagree. It’s more about the value of your article rather than it’s length.
In fact, one of my most popular articles on my health blog is less than 1500 words…half of what “experts” say will get you on the first page of Google.
A shorter piece is effective content if it’s rich with detail, facts and engages the audience. Don’t think you have to push yourself to reach a certain number of words in a blog post to appear on the first page of a search result.
Step 6: Link to Facts Which Support the Topic
Like I said earlier, links are important. The more internal and external links you have to support your content, the better it looks to readers and search engines. This is especially true if you’re linking to authoritative sources.
It’s like citing your work in a college essay. And in a world where “fake news” runs rampant, you want to make sure your content is factually based. Otherwise, people may not put faith in your material.
One of the reasons my health blog does so well is because I link directly to scientific data to support certain claims. It’s also one of the biggest reasons why some organizations link back to my content.
Never underestimate the power of good linking.
Step 7: Include Images
Images play a huge role on the Internet. This is especially true when it comes to sharing on social media. For instance, adding an image to a post in Twitter results in 150% more retweets and nearly double the “likes.”
Images and video are important because humans are a visual species. We are more likely to remember content when there is an image involved. It also helps to make your blog posts stand out more.
If you don’t have the money for a high-quality image site like ShutterStock, you can always go with a free method to get blogging pictures. Personally, I use Pixabay quite often for images unless I take screenshots myself.
Step 8: Proofread the Content
Once the article is complete, I then re-read the piece for grammar and spelling errors. It also gives me a chance to change the sentence structure and word choices throughout the post to make it easier to read and understand.
Unfortunately, sometimes things slip past me. Nobody is perfect, and I can point out all kinds of grammar errors in even the most profound works of literature. Don’t get hung up on trying to be perfect.
Once I read through and made changes, I’ll feed it through a proofreader I have in WordPress. This often finds the words and grammar issues I miss, which fine-tunes effective content.
Give Visitors Something to Read
In a nutshell, it’ll be your audience that determines what effective content is on your blog. You may have pieces you didn’t think were going to be attractive turn out to be the most important articles on your site. Your readers are the most important part of your website. Make sure you’re creating blog posts tailored for them.
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