The Secrets to Writing Really Great Website Content

MagazinesBefore you read, we’d like to let you know that this post is littered with links. Some go to other posts of value, and most go to Amazon. No, we’re not trying to be sleazy. We’re recommending books we think you should read, because we’ve read them ourselves and know – beyond a doubt – that they will make you a better website content writer, more so than any writing course you’ll ever take. Enjoy.

Writing website content is one of the trickiest jobs a writer can take on. It’s unique, it’s special, and it’s an exotic blend that can do magic. Get it right, and you can make a story go viral, or watch a business soar to success, or see someone get hired over and over. Website content is built to influence, persuade and compel, after all.

But get it wrong, and you just cost someone a lot of money.

Granted, writers aren’t miracle-workers (yet). Many factors go into a site that works and a site that doesn’t. Writers don’t have final say over everything that goes on in building a good site. Some factors are out of your control. Some are definitely right there in the palm of your hand.

Are you going to seize them?

Just What Is Website Content, Anyway?
Website content isn’t just a bunch of pretty words flung at a website. There’s an art to the whole affair, and it takes a delicate hand in creation. Writing well comes into play, of course, because having a website full of typos or errors isn’t going to create a credible image.

But website content involves way more than that.

Good website content isn’t really about good writing. The best writers in the world wouldn’t be able to make this type of content work unless they knew what really counts – and what counts isn’t grammar or sentence structure.

In fact, the best website content uses influential elements that have nothing to do with spelling and punctuation at all. Website content breaks the grammar rules all the time. You’ll find fragments and impact words hanging out there in the air – and they work.

You see, that’s the problem with learning how to write for websites.

The common myth is that it’s all about being a good writer, but website content has more to do with sales and marketing, branding techniques, shopping habits, storytelling and fiction and plain old human psychology.

What counts with website content is the power to influence people, the psychology behind why we buy, and what triggers our decisions to stay and read or click away. It uses storytelling techniques and social proof. It relies on impulse buying, scare tactics and mental appeal.

And maybe just a little bit of magic.

What You Need to Learn to Write Website Content
If you want to learn how to write website content, then ditch your diplomas, put down Dickens and forget about coming up with the next best classic. None will help you be a better writer in this special-blend area of the technological world.

That means, yes, you can even throw away The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. (How shocking, I know.)

Get a copy of Influence by Robert Cialdini. Read the Heath brothers’ Made to Stick. Pick up Paco Underhill’s Why We Buy, enjoy a Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech, and if you want to go really crazy, grab a Consumer Behavior book. Any one will do.

Then settle in and read.

You’re going to learn very little about writing. These books focus on the truth of website content, the knowledge of trigger events, impulse reactions, influential words, ideas that resonate and getting people to gravitate to the words you write.

Because getting people to gravitate to your words, click the link, sign up for the opt-in and hire the business is what website content is all about, isn’t it?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.