Writing for How People Read Online

There always seems to be confusion about what makes good content for the web. The audience is more fickle, quicker to move on when something doesn’t jump out – but they’re also cunning, knowing when something has misled them.

So what really matters in online content?

Every business is different, but there are patterns to how people read and search on the web. When producing content, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind about your reader:

Grab Attention

You have a few seconds to connect, so make sure something grabs the reader. Your ultimate goal is to have them read through the site and make some sort of conversion, but it all starts with a connection.

Be Relevant

If you’re trying to position your site for content writing, you don’t want the place they land to start talking about graphic design. Structure your pages around topics of interest and that will help deliver better SEO results as well as reducing bounce from poorly directed customers.

They Skim

Readers don’t go through every line. If you’re doing that now that’s awesome! But most people don’t. So you have to use headlines, headers and formatting that directs them where to look. I use a multiple section approach to my writing so the audience can jump immediately to whatever appeals to them.


Answer questions.

People are searching to fulfill needs, so start putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. What is it they’re looking for and how would they search? The most important questions to answer are:

What do you do? (do you provide the services I am looking for)Who do you work for? (do you serve me or a different audience)Why does it matter? (why should I pick up the phone)

Address fears.

Most people will select a handful of potential vendors to consider, this is to compare services but also address fears of being misled or taken advantage of.

Do you support your work? (what happens if something goes wrong)Who have you worked for? (are you a credible service provider with a history)What is the process? (is it something I can follow and track)

Skip fluff.

Quite often we find ourselves stretching to find thing to write about and we’re left with filling pages with useless information. More content can be better, but not at the cost of your reader who will bounce if they get frustrated.

Give them next steps.

The reader shouldn’t get to the bottom of your page and have no indication what to do next. It may be a purchase, the next article, contact information; something that helps them commit to the next action. For instance, at the bottom of my articles I generally want people to continue reading, so I provide other articles. Unless they are potential customers doing research, then contact me here about content writing and let’s get to business!


About the author: Sean Kopen


With a unique, story-based approach to writing, Sean Kopen is an experienced content marketing specialist and instructional designer. Review some of his personal stories and perspectives at his website www.seankopen.com

This article was first published by Sean Kopen

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