8 Tips for Writing Better Content

Are you struggling to write content for your website? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and continue to visit that place on occasion. Creating content doesn’t have to be difficult, but sometimes it takes a bit more effort than you might think. We’ve got a few tips for you to help get you writing better content for your blog.

Start writing better content by ignoring it

It may sound backward, but if you’re having trouble coming up with something to write, try leaving. That’s right, get out of there! Often what you really need is to get away from your work area and move around. Some people choose to take walks, others choose to exercise. A distraction from your work is sometimes the best way to motivate your mind.

Try to find something that takes your mind off of things. I usually go outside, scratch on my turntables or wash the dishes. It seems to work as a reset button to get things in my mind out of the way. If your content creation has been lacking, try finding something to distract you. Sometimes the best way to start writing better content is to stop trying.

Take the time to plan it out

Planning your content ahead of time is a great way to start writing better content.

If you’re having trouble with your content creation, it can be helpful to plan it out ahead of time. If have trouble writing, start getting some ideas together for topics. Tools like Trello can help you keep your ideas organized and together with easy management via the website or mobile app.

We use Trello for several different purposes. For ACWPThemes, we use it to track bugs and changes in WordPress themes. For Asheboro Creative, we use it for reminders and road mapping. For both of those and Webmaster Notebook, we use it to create a large list of topics we want to write about and share. In fact this is one from the list!

Making a list of different things you would like to talk about is a great way to begin writing better content. As you add more topics, you’ll begin to build a board full of ideas. Add notes to the description of each card when you add one. It’s a good way of giving yourself a reminder of what you were thinking when you made the card, and provides a jumping off point when you’re ready to write.

Find a quiet place and get in a zone

I have two kids so I understand how hard it can be to find a quiet place to do anything. Thankfully, the universe has provided coffee shops and libraries to allow us an escape. Finding a quiet place to work will allow you to focus your thoughts.

When I’m unable to get away, I typically use headphones to disrupt the noise. I may not have anything playing, but the headphones are large enough to block out a lot of noise, and quiet any that is closer. When I do have music playing, it’s usually from a playlist I’ve put together or from Radio Rivendell.

Getting away from everything is a great way to improve your work. The limited distractions will work in your favor by putting your writing in front, making it easier to start writing better content than if you still had the interruptions around you.

Use your personality

A large duck

Don’t write like a robot. Nobody likes reading technical manuals so put some personality into your writing. Including your dialect and sense of humor can catch audience attention and keep them interested. In fact, a great sense of humor can go a long way toward converting a first time visitor into a repeat reader. Just make sure not to include too much of your personality.

Keep things out that may annoy visitors. You don’t want to turn your post about financial advice into a political argument in your blog post comments (everything can somehow turn into a political argument).

Keep your paragraphs short

Writing for the web isn’t the same as what they taught you in school. Indented paragraphs of 5-7 sentences in Times New Roman at 12pt doesn’t translate very well to the Internet. Your content needs to be shorter, interesting and to the point. A key to writing better content is to get your ideas out quickly so readers who skim your pages will understand your information.

Long paragraphs are more difficult to read on the web, so make sure to break yours up when you can. Also, keep in mind that the width of the text is going to factor into the readability of the content. Big paragraphs and very long sentences can both lose your reader. Keep your paragraphs short, and your lines of text between 60-80 characters long (including spaces and punctuation).

Don’t try to impress us with big words

Start writing better content by not trying to use every big word you know.Pernicious and plethora are two of my favorite words. They have been for years. That doesn’t mean I use them a lot. Big words and phrases like “especially substantially tremendous” can easily be turned into “really big”. You don’t need to throw a thesaurus at us.

The use of big words is sometimes thought of as a way to show how intelligent a person is. The problem is that not everyone understands the words you are using. People don’t want to keep Googling your text just to figure out what you’re talking about. Keep words simple so everyone can understand you.

Use related images in your blog post

Images are hugely important for a few reasons.

  • They break up content long text.
  • They illustrate your information with a visual for your readers.
  • They can be used to boost SEO ranking.

Using images in your content can help you a lot. Make sure to use them when necessary and don’t over do it. Remember, the more images you add, the more your page weighs. A lot of uncompressed images can make a page slow, so make sure you optimize your images before using them. Also, use alt and title tags to let search engines know what they picture is and how it relates to your content.

Remember your audience

Woman writing in notepadIt’s easy to forget this but you aren’t writing for you. Your audience doesn’t know everything you do, otherwise they wouldn’t be on your site reading your content!

Make sure to keep your information relevant to your visitors. Explain things in detail and in a way that you would if you were teaching someone. If you start writing too technically or outside of the general knowledge of your audience, they won’t understand what you’re talking about. That can result in loss of visitors and impacts to your traffic metrics.

Have fun with writing!

Writing can be fun. It isn’t always, but since you’re picking the topics, try to select topics that will be of the most interest and the most fun to write about. The more fun you have, the easier writing better content will become.

When a Simple Article Becomes a Monster

I love to write. This is a good thing considering I write a lot, for several different things. However, like a lot of people, I will occasionally find myself writing much more than I originally intended. My topic might relate to other ideas or may possibly have core concepts that can be branched out on even further. This becomes a problem when what I’m writing takes on a life of it’s own and becomes a monster.

Just a few moments ago I was writing an article for Webmaster Notebook entitled “Understanding Shared Web Hosting”. The article is intended to be a generalized view of what to expect out of shared web hosting. I wrote about the same topic a little more conservatively back in 2012 for my web design and development company, so it seemed fitting to revisit the topic here and flesh it out even further for beginning webmasters and site owners.

As I got through a few paragraphs, I found myself writing quite easily. By page 3 (according to Google Docs), I found that I may have ventured further into life of shared web hosting than I wanted to. I started backing up, pulling apart different ideas and separating them into their own articles. It was during that time, somewhere around the part I discuss the true nature of Unlimited storage and bandwidth, that I had the idea for this article.

Make a wireframe for your writing

Back when I was teaching a student from Asheboro High School how to create web site mockups, I explained to her the importance of wireframes. A wireframe in this respect is a very basic idea of what a website will look like. It’s often a sketch of where specific elements will go. This allows the web designer to have a good grasp of what the site will look like before they actually start designing.

When you start writing, it’s a good idea to work from a wireframe. Pull out a list of specific parts of the topic you want to cover. As your list grows, you will inevitably find that there is a lot which can be removed and written independently. Move those ideas to the side and try to stick to a short, concise group of ideas which you can focus on. This will prevent your writing from straying too far into different ideas and leaving your reader bored, overloaded or simply lost.

A wireframe for your writing doesn’t have to be overly complex. Try to keep things simple. Even though my article about shared web hosting is a topic that can be very complex, it doesn’t have to be. After all, the target audience of this site has always been those who just beginning, those who want to learn the basics. Making it too complicated would destroy the reason it exists.

Follow your rules, remove the excess and use it to build more

Your wireframe should be easy to understand, stick to the core concept and allow little room for deviation. If you do this, it will help you stick to a much more clear path.

When you find yourself writing more than you intend to, take that writing and store it somewhere else. Revisit the parts you remove and explore the possibility of turning some of that excess into additional writing, perhaps as a follow up or supportive to the original article.

The more information you can provide, the better. Just remember that you don’t have to put it all in the same article.