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how to write content for web: an overview

Discussion in 'Blogging' started by 7yearitch, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. 7yearitch

    7yearitch Regular Member

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    Hi, guys. i'm training some new content writers and this is the template i give to them to get started writing for web content. this might help those of you who want to train writers as well. senior members please leave feedback. i want to have a great content team.

    Writing articles for web content

    There are 2 types of content:
    a) Content for readers
    b) Content for search engines (SEs)

    Content for readers - write with only the reader in mind. Great for when you want to influence the reader to do something ? click on a link, buy a product, share or like on FB, etc. Drawback is minimum visibility in SEs.

    Content for search engines ? written so that the search engine crawlers (googlebots) would recognize the content as related to the particular targeted keyword. When overdone, the content would make little or no sense to the reader.
    We need to hit a sweet spot between the two.

    The articles requested by the client this time around are skewed to the SE side of things. That?s not hard to do:

    1) Keyword in title ? put the targeted keyword once in the title of the article. Not hard to do. But make sure the title grabs the attention of the reader and encourages them to click the link. That?s a bit trickier.

    2) Keywords in content - I usually aim for 1-1.5% keyword density per 100 words of content. Eg. For a 500 word article, get the keyword in there 5 times, 7 times at the most. Google has wisened up to people stuffing their articles with keywords and their new algorithms detect this and your site will get screwed. Not fun.

    3) Keyword positions:
    a) 1 keyword in the first paragraph, not later than the first 2 sentences so that people know what they?re reading about right away.
    b) 1 keyword in the last paragraph to summarize neatly what the article was trying to convey.
    c) The remainder of the keywords peppered in the main content so as to read as naturally as possible. Requires creativity to pull off without the article reading like a retarded mess

    4)Subheadings
    a. People nowadays have notoriously short attention spans. A study was conducted and it was found that people don?t read articles on the net, they scan the articles first.
    b. Even if they find anything interesting, they might just bookmark the article so that they can forget to read it later.
    c. Some readers even scroll down to the last paragraph to see the conclusion, and then they decide whether or not they?ll do step b.
    d. Avoid writing huge walls of text. Break the subject up into smaller subcategories so that the readers can scan. Huge walls of text are a sure fire way to get modern readers to hit the ?back? button on the browser.
    5) Use accents to bring the keywords to the reader?s attention. Use bold, italic, underline. Again, don?t overdo it, and make sure it makes sense to the reader. See what I did there? ;P

    So follow these steps, and you?ll be fine.
    I?ve attached a pdf sample of an article the client recently paid for. The attachment is the raw product sent. If you have a read, you?ll notice that the writing isn?t all that great. But the bugger got paid anyway.

    Review of the sample article:
    Article length: 500 words
    Article keyword: sing high notes
    Tilte: ?Tips on How to Plant Trees?. Blech..

    Calling this a title would be an insult to all the trees that had to die so we can have paper to write bad titles on.
    I edited that to this: ?How to plant trees: what to watch out for?.
    There. Much more inspired.
    The keyword is in there, and the reader is inspired to take good care not to ruin the sapling.
    Remember the objective is to get the reader to do something. Why not start at the title?

    Article body:
    Keyword positioning:
    Good job. The keyword appears in the first paragraph. Notice the keyword used here is ?get the onions to flower?. That?s perfectly fine.
    It?s actually good to paraphrase sometimes instead of trying to fit the actual keyword into damn near impossible situations.
    ?flower onions? wouldn?t make any sense. It?s what the North Koreans teach their youngsters to keep them dumb. I think..

    The keyword appears in the last paragraph, but a bit too early for my tastes. I would?ve liked it better in the concluding line ? which by the way is missing from the article altogether.

    Have a good conclusion ? If the reader would take away one thing from the content, what would it be?

    Subcategories:
    I like the way this is written because the article flows naturally and doesn?t feel forced. Proper technique would be to have a subcategory title that?s related to ?plant trees properly?, but Scroogle?s too smart for that nowadays. This one?s good.

    Readability:
    Now that the techy stuff is done with, look at the readability of the article. You will notice that as I write this guide, my paragraphs never have more than 4 lines. This is a good practice to have.
    The article has paragraphs with 5 lines or more. No bueno, senior.
    The article states the octave range of Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. This shows some research has been done. In-depth research is not required for this type of article, but a few facts here and there add to the engagement of the reader.

    Another thing I don?t like about the article is the lack of a strong opinion. No personality shines through here. It?s too fact-based and sterile. I would rather have the writer state a controversial opinion than have no opinion at all.
    People don?t follow facts, they follow other people. And other people have opinions. State your opinion. What is the best way to plant trees in your view? Make sure you can back it up.

    I could?ve asked Mr Client to resend the article and get this repaired but I decided to go out and get a beer instead. Decisions, decisions..
    So that?s it.

    A few other ways to skin the proverbial cat:

    The list method. People love lists because they?re like mental fast food. Instant, taste good, no nutritional value. Just kidding. Have a read:

    5 Surprising Health Benefits of Coffee

    Coffee has been around for ages. But it has never been quite as popular as it is today. It has become part of everyone?s lifestyles. It?s being drunk at any time of the day.

    It has become some sort of ?comfort food? to a lot of people. It could be the energy booster people crave in the mornings. And it could even mean relaxation after a long, tiring day.

    You can have it hot, or iced, or mixed with a variety of syrups.
    And really, you cannot go anywhere these days without tripping on a coffee shop. I read somewhere that the farthest you can go in the US without seeing another Starbucks is just 170 miles.

    But is coffee just a way to get caffeine in your bloodstream? Oh no.
    It?s got actual health benefits.

    And here are some of them:

    1. Coffee fights depression.
    A joint National Institute of Health and AARP study found out that people who have 4 or more cups of coffee per day, are 10% less likely to be depressed than those who didn?t drink coffee at all.
    And hey, you know what? Less depressed people are also less likely to commit suicide.

    2. Coffee is good for the liver.
    Studies has shown that caffeine helps the liver regulate itself. This could lower coffee drinkers? risk of a rare autoimmune disease that leads to cirrhosis, liver failure and cancer.

    3. Coffee may help you lose weight.
    Ever hear of the green-bean coffee extract from Dr. Oz? It supposedly burns up fat fast. What are they? Unroasted coffee beans, that?s what.
    To be honest, research on the subject has been limited so far. But coffee does suppress appetite. Just don?t go overboard and just guzzle coffee all day. Too much of anything is still bad for you.

    4. It?s a legal performance enhancing drug.
    Caffeine has been shown to increase the number of fatty acids in the bloodstream, according to The New York Times. What does that mean for the athlete in you? How about being able to run longer?
    For an average weight person, 2 cuppas will do the job.

    5. Coffee can make you smarter.
    Caffeine temporarily boosts cognition. Downing a cup of coffee will improve your focus and for a while, give you better reaction time and attention.
    Not bad for a lowly bean, don?t you think?

    Example of strong opinions:
    Why Book Adaptations Make Bad Movies

    I distinctly remember the day The Queen of the Damned came out. I dragged the husband straight to the movie theater as soon as he got off from work.
    I was sooooo excited.
    I will confess to being a bit of a book nerd. Okay, maybe that?s more than a bit. Anyway?
    Interview with the Vampire came out 8 years before. It was one of those movies that I didn?t know was a book first (I was only 12 at the time.) Actually, I didn?t even seeInterview until the time I was in college. It was the movie that got me hooked on Anne Rice?s books.
    And it was The Queen of the Damned that turned me off all book adaptations.
    It was horrible.
    It was a waste of dollars.
    It was a waste of time.
    God, what a mess!!!
    Don?t believe me? Check out Metacritic where it has a 30% rating. IMDb rated it 5/10. Critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 17% rating. (Although, inexplicably, 67% of crazy users gave it a fresh rating.)
    I don?t think I would be the first person to feel this bad about a favorite book being ?butchered? in the cinemas.
    In fact, even the masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings trilogy has its fair share of haters. Most of them are the avid fan boys.
    So what is it that makes perfectly perfect books into lousy movies? Two things.

    1. Loose adaptation
    Some of them are so loose they?re something else altogether (I?m looking at you, World War Z.)
    We just have to admit. Sometimes a movie will stay as close as possible to the book?s storyline and plot. This won?t necessarily mean that it translates well to the big screen. Case in point: Watchmen.

    2. Cinema will never get the picture in my head right.
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the heart of the problem lies.
    When you read a book, you imagine how everything will look. You get the feels. Heck, you even begin casting the potential movie in your head. In your mind, a masterpiece has already been created.
    Even graphic novels and comic books are not safe. Sure, the pictures are already there. But you still know Cyclops will never quite look like James Marsden in real life.

    And so you get really, really excited when you hear that your favorite book/comics is getting screen time.
    And then you get Ben Affleck cast as Batman.

    Oh the sacrilege!

    <end of article>

    Ok this might be too personal, we don?t want articles like the ones that appear on Perez Hilton. Unless, of course, you?re actually writing for a gossip site. Don?t worry, I?m not judging. Yet.
    But strong opinions are good. Keep it real.

    I got you the plant trees deal on purpose because it will be a breeze for you to write. You?ll need to slowly expand your repertoire to write on diverse topics. Have fun writing!
     
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  2. hpasha

    hpasha Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    now thats a comprehensive detail...

    Thumbs up for your contribution
     
  3. webso

    webso BANNED BANNED

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    Thanks for the nice share , should go with stickies , in content writing section :)
     
  4. 7yearitch

    7yearitch Regular Member

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    glad to be of help. feel free to add on any insights of your own.
     
  5. ContentWriter

    ContentWriter Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Maybe you'd like to write a brief on how your writers should write different types of writing (e.g. SEO-based articles, web content, product description, product review, autoresponder emails, etc).

    Each of these types of writing cannot be written from one angle only.
     
  6. 7yearitch

    7yearitch Regular Member

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    thanks for pointing that out. for now my writers are only trained to write seo articles and web content. no emails, autoresponders, reviews yet.
     
  7. pahosa

    pahosa Junior Member

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    Wow, this is very comprehensive. As a writer myself, this leaves almost no room for questions as everything is laid out. One thing though.. I suggest that you might also want to point whether the content is for the main website itself, webpage content, which follows strict rules and has to be researched well. Or it can be for blogging which is an SEO content as well, but more relaxed and light-hearted.
     
  8. 7yearitch

    7yearitch Regular Member

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    this is good for web content, seo, and blog posts. the point is to include facts about the topic, and to include strong opinions. if the google team does a manual check they would likely conclude that a human being wrote the article instead of spun.