For many people wanting to start an online business, one of the most scary things is having to write content. I have talked to many people who were absolutely certain that they would be no good as a content writer and felt that the importance of writing on a website would be their downfall. I’m not going to lie, being able to write content is an essential part of most ways of earning money online, but it isn’t nearly as hard as it looks, and you don’t need to be a brilliant writer to be successful.
Follow your own style
When it comes to writing content, it’s easy to imagine that there is a specific format that you have to follow, or approach you need to use. A common recommendation is to use specific layouts, like an introduction, three body paragraphs and conclusion. If you are new at writing content, using a structure like this can help you to get on your feet, but it is by no means essential. In fact, as a content writer, letting your personality and style show through in your writing is a very good thing.
For many types of websites, like personal blogs or more formal niche sites, having a presence as an author can be an advantage. For example, I have been working as a freelance writer for close to three years, and I frequently talk about my own experiences when I am writing posts on this site and on my own site. I find that this makes my writing more personal, and means I can directly answer questions from people who read my posts.
Actually, writing in your own style is also easier.
It helps your writing to stand out.
You will also find that over time, your writing style grows and changes. Don’t worry too much about this, it is just a byproduct of experience and means that overall your writing is improving.
Research – but don’t copy – other content writers
There is a lot of information online, and odds are you could probably find hundreds of different pages on any given topic.
When it comes to writing content, you want what you are writing to be original, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot take inspiration from other people.
Often when I am writing on a particular topic, even if it is one I know well, I do a quick Google search and pull up a range of websites that deal with the area that I want to talk about. The sites can be useful for giving me some ideas about the direction I want to take a given post, or specific points that I could talk about.
When it comes to researching from sites, make sure you don’t copy from them. It’s tempting to find a really good post on a different website and reword it to fit your own needs without really changing anything. While Google mightn’t pick up on this, it’s likely that some of your readers will, and this can be bad for your traffic.
Besides, if you want to stand out as an authority on a topic, copying really isn’t a good way to do it.
Don’t ignore grammar and formatting
Writing on most websites is relatively informal, and it’s easy to avoid paying attention to spelling and grammar, or to the way that pages look when you are finished with them. This is actually a really bad idea, because your whole post, not just the words you have written, have to grab the attention of the reader.
Have you read posts that are full of errors or badly formatted?
Posts like that tend to be very difficult to read, and this is off-putting for the person who is looking at the site. Most online users don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to reading websites, and will quickly move onto a different website if they lose interest.
Often, making sure your post looks and reads as it should is simply a matter of reading back through it once or twice and checking for any errors that are present. However, don’t worry too much if you miss errors every so often, because this happens to everyone. The aim is just to keep the rate of errors as low as possible.
Have a purpose and direction
For some people, writing content for a website simply involves picking a vague topic and writing from there. The problem with this approach is that the post itself ends up having no direction and is often long without much purpose.
Generally speaking, content on a website should be targeted, and keep a clear focus on this purpose throughout the writing. For example, in this post I am focusing on some of the key elements of writing content for a website, with the aim of making this process easier for people, particularly those who do not have much experience.
Often, setting an approximate word limit for a piece of content can help to maintain the purpose and direction of the piece. With a word limit, the writer is constantly reminded of the need to be concise and not to stray off topic. One of the most common suggestions that I have heard for post length is to aim for around 500 words, but there is a large variation in how long posts are. Some writers make shorter posts, somewhere in the range of 250-350 words, while others make posts that are over 1,000 words in length.
How long your posts are is really a personal decision, and is also related to what you are writing about. For example, if your topic is complex or you have a lot to say, a long post may be better. For other topics, a short post may be more effective because it acts to grab the attention of the reader and can be read quickly.
I have been talking about content creation because it is such an important skill, and so many ways of making money online rely on your ability to write solid content. This is true for people engaged in internet marketing, for people running blogs for profit and even for people like me who engage in freelance writing. Honestly, online business has the potential to lead to financial independence and being able to write content is the key to succeeding in most forms of online business. For some people writing content is difficult, for others it is easy, but like any skill, it is something that you get better at over time.