How to Write Web Content that Speaks to Your Target Audience

writing web content

Understanding the nuances of writing web content is an incredibly important skill for copywriters in the digital era.

Traditional advertising copy had some good words of wisdom for an earlier age, with fewer options, and a longer attention span. Back then, the important thing was to present benefits in a clear, logical argument that gave the potential customer a lot to think about.

That doesn’t always work in the 21st century.

The basic concept of explaining a benefit is still there. But the style of writing web content has changed a lot. That’s because the average Internet user has the luxury of choice. With a near infinite number of distractions available with the click of a mouse, or the swipe of a touch screen, today’s web user can stay wherever is most interesting, and abandon at a moment’s notice anything that proves dull or useless.

When you are writing web content you need to keep this in mind. Writing for the web doesn’t mean the long, traditional academically structured arguments where an impressive, complex style of rhetoric is just as—sometimes more—important as the argument being made. Web users are in a hurry to move on to the next thing, and they want their information presented as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Writing Web Content Means Writing Scannable Copy

Web users don’t read long blocks of sustained, nonstop text. Nor do they appreciate complex, multi-structured sentences.

Web users want copy that presents information simply and easily. Smaller, efficient, words and language have more appeal than eloquence. And breaking information up into lists, or smaller points, makes it easy to find what a web user is looking for.

In a sense, web users engaging in a lot of content at the same time—which is a normal habit for today’s online reader—tend to scan through content quickly.

Writing web content that manages to clearly and cleanly organize its important ideas so that they are easy to find will have more staying power with a reader. And once a reader has been satisfied that the initial scan has proven that useful information is present, they will then switch to a more focused mode of reading to fully digest what they are looking for.

Entice Your Readers and Keep Their Attention

The best way to keep a reader’s attention with good web copy is to exploit this two-step reading process. You must have content that readers find useful; this is the first and foremost thing. But organizing that information is also critical.

Ensure that your content is “scan friendly” by breaking it up into smaller units, using points, lists, or subheads to prevent intimidatingly large blocks of text. Make sure your main ideas can be quickly located within this content. Once the scan-reflex has been satisfied, the quality of your content will take over, and the reader will more willingly engage with what you have to offer.

The Internet has changed many of the habits of average users. Effective web copy needs to understand and cater to those habits, not ignore them.

Like every medium, it has its own rules, and those who succeed in understanding them can exploit those rules for maximum effect.

Make sure when choosing a provider for website design that they understand these principles and can integrate the website design with well written web content.