Mastering Web Content Writing: Tips for Engaging Readers

Shutterstock 2372562547 Mastering Web Content Writing: Tips for Engaging Readers Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 7 minutes

According to Ahrefs, about 73% of readers skim web content, and only 27% read it fully.  

You’ll need to master web content writing if you not only want to increase the time a user spends on your website, but also want to see them take impactful actions on your website that contribute to your sales, such as visiting sales pages after reading blogs or signing up for your newsletter. 

Read on to find out how to write web content that engages the audience.

What Are the Characteristics of Engaging Content? 

Engaging content encompasses some, if not all of the following characteristics:

  • Addresses the search queries they have and answers they came looking for quickly.
  • Uses a voice and tone that connects with the target audience.
  • Is optimized for mobile and offers an overall pleasant user experience.
  • Has a visually appealing layout.
  • Contains data or research to qualify insights.
  • Offers original or expansive insight on the subject.
  • Is actionable and users don’t need to visit another web page to solve their problem after reading it.

Start Writing Engaging Web Content with These 4 Steps

1. Spend Time Understanding Your Audience

If you don’t understand your audience, you can’t fine-tune your content to appeal to them.

You also can’t understand their level of knowledge on the topics you’re writing about, the kind of language they use, the references they understand, what questions they may have, or what problems they’re trying to solve.

Your brand’s ideal client profile or buyer persona can give you some insight into your audience. Here are some other ways to know them at a deeper level:

  • Perform market research: Run surveys to understand the kind of content your audience would like to see. Is there anything they struggle to find help with? Is there a gap you can fill? 

You can also perform SEO competitive analysis to learn what your top competitors are doing and learn from their strategy. 

  • Study their demographics: Think about who your customers are in simple terms, like how old they are, whether they are men or women, where they live, and how much money they earn. This will help develop a tone for your content that speaks to that group. 

For example, I once worked on a car insurance website who had a customer base that skewed towards a much older group. Our keyword research came up with a keyword we wanted to target for their blog: “best car seat”. Knowing the audience we could position the article as “Best car seat for your grandchild”. Without the audience insights, your first instinct might be to title the article: “Best car seat for your child”.

  • Try to match each content piece with a stage of the buying journey: People who are just learning about a topic will look for different types of content than those who are already ready to buy products that solve a problem. Your content should match the purpose that the user has when they come to your website.

This also means matching their search query with the search intent. As an example, for a search term like, “tips for cleaning my house”, you need to produce informative content and not serve them sales content. You can, however, direct them to sales pages from this blog with recommendations of cleaning products they can use — only if you can keep them engaged enough. 

Pro Tip: You can track engagement rate for your website in Google Analytics 4. Use this data to revise your content as needed. 

2. Develop a Unique Voice and Style for Your Content

When you don’t hook your audience from the beginning of your content, you lose a chance to direct them into the next stage of the buying journey. Equally, if your content isn’t helpful, or you do not come across as authoritative and trustworthy, they won’t even consider buying from you and clicking those CTAs, even if they are in the market.

Developing a unique voice can help you keep your audience’s attention and resonate with them. Here’s how you can get started: 

  • Find the right tone: Depending on your audience, your tone can vary from casual to formal. The general advice is to stick to a writing style that is most similar to how your audiences talk in real life without compromising your brand values. And it’s good advice for most industries too. But if you happen to be in a YMYL industry like finance or insurance, you’re better off sounding more professional or corporate. If you haven’t found a tone that perfectly fits your brand identity yet, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ones to see which one your audience responds to best. You can then develop a more nuanced tone based on engagement metrics. 
  • Be authentic: Your style of writing should reflect your brand’s values and personality. It should also make your business appear trustworthy. 

Avoid copying other brands or using a tone that doesn’t reflect your brand’s values. Audiences can pick up on that, and this can alienate them. You want to be memorable and connect with them on a deeper level, so being authentic is key. 

  • Focus on consistency: Maintain the same content style and tonality across the website. This will make your website messaging cohesive. You can establish content guidelines that set requirements for how to create content that is of similar quality each time. 

3. Track Engagement Metrics

Once you have developed your unique voice, it is time to check how your content is engaging people. You can measure this by comparing engagement metrics from before and after editing an article. When measuring engagement of new content, be sure to compare it to articles of the same style and in a similar part of the customer journey. You would not want to compare the engagement of a technical support article to a mid-funnel evaluation article, as the purpose of each and next steps are very different.

Here are some other metrics besides engagement rate that help you determine engagement on a page:

    • Page Views: Keep an eye on how many times your content was viewed online. High page views indicate your content is visible in search engines and attracts visitors. As search engines reward content that consistently keeps users on the pager longer than other web pages competing for the same search query, higher number of page views can indicate increased levels of engagement. 
    • Session Duration: It measures how long visitors stay on your website per session. Longer durations mean that content is successfully keeping them engaged for longer periods. 
    • Social Shares: Track how often your content is shared across platforms like Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter. Social shares indicate that the reader thinks your content is worth sharing across their connections. This is a clear sign that your content is engaging. 
    • Comments and Feedback: If your content or blog allows comments, pay attention to how often you get them. If those have increased, chances are that your content is also more engaging now.
    • Scroll Depth: Scroll depth measures how far down a page a visitor scrolls before leaving. Monitoring scroll depth helps you understand if users are consuming your content fully or losing interest and bouncing off the page prematurely. 

    Pro Tip: If your scroll depth is poor, try reworking your title and introductory paragraphs to make them more engaging. Using the BLUF (bottom line-up first) principle is a great way to make the benefit of reading your article clear to the user immediately and give them a reason to stick around for longer. 

    4. Use Free Online Tools

    Creating engaging content definitely takes work. Thankfully, there are free online writing tools that help you reduce the time you spend creating content and/or help you improve your overall content flow.

    Here are some good ones we recommend: 

    • Grammarly: This tool works as your very own grammar police as it checks your spelling, grammar, and punctuation on-the-go. You can copy and paste the text inside its editor or download a Google Chrome extension to use it with Google docs.
    • Hemingway Editor: Hemingway editor is like having a personal editor in your pocket. It checks your text for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, issues with fluency and structure, and can even highlight sentences that use passive voice. In other words, you can use it to tighten your content and improve its readability. 
    • Canva: Using pictures and infographics helps you convey your information clearly, break down chunks of text, and much more. Canva is a great beginner-friendly tool to make those custom banners and images for blogs. 

    As users trust custom images more than stock photos, this can also help in engaging them further. 

    Practical Tips for Writing Engaging Web Content 

    Use these practical tips to make your content more suitable for the web:

    • Keep sentences short: Web content requires that you keep your sentences brief and easy to understand. 

    We recommend keeping 60-70% of sentences below 20 words. You can vary the sentence length for the rest of the text, but really big and convoluted sentences raise the reading level and make your content more difficult to understand.

    • Use transition words: Although transition words are most reminiscent of high school essays—using words like “then”, “however”, “consequently” and “finally” can really tie ideas together. Your sentences will also flow better as a result.

    Here’s an example:

    “Sarah loved to travel. She had always dreamed of visiting Paris. Finally, she saved up enough money. Then, she booked her plane tickets. After arriving, she explored the city’s landmarks.”

    This paragraph uses three transition words (which are underlined). Without these, different events in Sarah’s timeline would appear disjointed, and the story would lose cohesiveness. 

    • Vary paragraph lengths: Just like long sentences, big chunks of paragraphs are hard to read when you’re scanning through a document quickly. The ideal length of a paragraph is 1-4 sentences, and we recommend not using paragraphs that use more than three sentences consecutively.
    • Avoid starting three or more consecutive sentences with the same word: Multiple sentences that start with the same word can be confusing to follow when a reader is just skimming through the blog. Avoiding this also lends more variety to your sentences and can make your text more interesting.

    • Use the K.I.S.S. Formula: “Keep it simple, silly” is good advice for writing web content. 

    Use simple words and phrases to convey information. If a simpler word can replace a more complex one, or if something can be said in 1 sentence rather than 3 — that’s the way to go. 

    Another good tip is to give plenty of examples and illustrations to explain complex or abstract concepts. This will help your audience comprehend your information more easily. 

    • Focus on readability: According to the National Library of Medicine, the average American reads below the 8th-grade reading level. This means that most people won’t be able to understand your content if you use technical jargon or use complex sentences. 

    Evaluate the readability of your content before publishing it using tools like the Flesch Kincaid Calculator

    • Use a logical structure and divide sections with subheadings: Use subheadings to organize your content and differentiate sections from each other. This makes it easier for your users to find what they are looking for when scanning your content. 

    A logical content structure also helps search engines determine what your content is about easily and is an important SEO copywriting practice.  

    To Sum Up

    Engaging content writing starts with understanding your target audience. If you don’t know who you are writing for and what they want to read, your content will not resonate with your audience. 

    Your ideal client profile can be a good place to start to establish who you should be writing for. 

    Follow the tips and tools in this guide to create content better suited for a web audience. Don’t forget to measure the success of your content with engagement metrics.