How to Write Website Content

As a writer here at DDA, I take part in not only writing new content for websites, but also managing and editing client provided content. As a result, I’ve seen (read) some awful content on websites – ok, a lot of awful content. It is apparent to me that not everyone can successfully write for the web. Most people are accustomed to journalistic content, novels, reviews, and print material. These forms of media often give you either an unlimited amount of space to write, or they force you to narrow down the wording. Since the Internet seems like an unlimited amount of space, people tend to write content for websites in the same manner, but other times the content is just too short.

When writing for the web, balance is a necessity. Millions of websites exist for certain topics, so you can’t afford to waste precious web space with content that fails to answer the users question because the user will just turn somewhere else. And it’s not like a brochure where you can use catchy phrases to draw the reader in. When people search the internet, they want information, and they want it now. However, you can’t write too much information because the user will lose interest pretty quickly or have difficulty finding the exact information they want to see. Again, it’s all about balance. When writing content for websites, you can follow some of these golden rules that the team at DDA has developed over the years:

1. A word count of about 350-450 words is about right. It’s not too long, it’s not too short, and the user won’t feel like they’re scrolling through an endless abyss of content.
2. Stay on topic. Just about every word on that page needs to discuss the specific topic at hand. The user needs to know that every word on that page relates to what they might be looking for. When you start to go off topic, the user stops reading.
3. Don’t be afraid to create new pages. If you are writing about a medical treatment, consider writing one page on the history of the treatment, one page on the actual disease, one page on the treatment process, one page on the recovery process, and however else you can think to break it up. Putting all that information on one page is just too much.
4. Break up the content. Nothing is worse than trying to read a long page of content where everything is grouped into one large paragraph. This may work for books, but it doesn’t work for 19+ inch computer monitors. Break up the content with space breaks, headers, or bullet points. Make it easy for the reader.