How to Write Quality Content for Websites and Social Media

There’s an old story about a dog who chased cars for years and when he actually caught hold of a bumper, he had no idea what to do with it. Same goes for businesses that are singularly focused on SEO [search engine optimization] but don’t have good underlying marketing copy, or content, to keep people on their website. A knowledgeable SEO provider can get you a higher ranking in SERP (search engine results pages), but that’s no good if your website content is boring, or worse, shoddy. Another problem apparent in some website content these days is content written by software for SEO purposes. Quite frankly, a dramatic reading of this content requires a robotic voice. It’s bad enough if a typo is on your website, so why allow horrific grammar and awkward wording to be on there? Instead, you can pair good SEO practices and good content writing. After all, what is the point of driving traffic to your website if the content on it is embarrassing or uninformative?

Pros and Cons of SEO Writing

You’ve probably seen or use a blog plugin for SEO writing that advises you if you are properly using your keyword and supplies other pieces of pragmatic advice. But that doesn’t allow for nuances. Note how the word content is not in the first sentence of this blog. Well, technically, that is a no-no, but then how would I have given you the analogy of the car-chasing dog? What would be more memorable – the visual of the dog grabbing hold of a bumper in its mouth or the use of the word “content”? As an aside, I’m not even a fan of the word content (which is dreaded in certain writing circles as dull and meaningless) but I use it nonetheless because it is a word I know people are using in web searches as it has a specific meaning. Here is where old-fashioned good writing and SEO writing actually align: use specific words. Always be as specific as possible. This is good for traditional writing in that specificity provides clarity. It is also good for SEO because key words are findable.

Don’t Make Perfect the Enemy of Good content

I hear from a lot of people that they have an idea for a blog or for their website but they are not ready to post it because it doesn’t seem perfect. If you were striving to win a literature prize, this inertia would be understandable. If you are a business owner looking to announce a new offering or provide background on what you company does, please do not hold back. Start writing. Give yourself parameters to make it approachable, such as:

  • setting aside 30 minutes to give the writing your undivided attention
  • just write 500 words per blog or webpage
  • segment the content into business categories by services/products, seasonal campaigns, etc.

Proofread

For the love of Pete, please proofread your writing before publishing. Ask a colleague or employee to edit it. Print it out and re-read it with fresh eyes. Walk away from it for an hour and return to review it anew. Proofread for typos and grammar woes by reading the content from the bottom up, starting from the last sentence. You are more likely to catch errors this way than if taking it from the top only to read right past your mistakes.

Own It

Take the same pride in authorship as you do in your business. Writing for the web about your business is no different than standing up at a local business breakfast to give an elevator pitch about your company. Put the same thought and consideration into what you write as what you say to customers and prospects.

For more writing advice, contact consultant Katharine Fraser.

dictionary

tools of the trade: real writers check dictionaries and style guides