To stand out from the competition and attract high-quality readers, your content needs to be well-written. However, there are several mistakes that writers commonly make on the web that prevent their content from being truly authoritative and effective. Knowing these mistakes and what causes them can help you identify and fix them in your own work before you submit it to the web or to clients, improving your content overall. Here are the seven most common web writing problems and their solutions.
PROBLEM #1: Not crafting an outline
Outlines are an important part of a written piece. It organizes the information perfectly. Plus, having an outline can help you identify potential problems with your argument or organization before you start writing. It can also save you time by helping you focus on what’s important and eliminating extraneous details.
If the outline is broken down into key points with complete sentences, your first draft is already created. Simply string the sentences together into paragraphs. Outlines are super easy to design once you get used to the process. Transform key points into complete sentences.
PROBLEM #2: Not getting to the point
Your readers are busy. They don’t have time to wade through a lot of fluff to get to the point of your article. If you take too long to get to the point, you’ll lose their attention and they’ll move on to something else.
The first 150 words of the written piece should explain the content's promise and what the reader can expect. Give them a reason to read the remainder of the information by promising more good tips and tricks.
PROBLEM #3: Topic straying
When writing for the web, it’s important to stay on topic. Drifting off will prompt the reader to find new material to read. A common mistake is to start with a general statement and then move on to specifics. Another issue is ending with a conclusion that doesn’t match the overall tone of the piece. Another common web writing mistake is failing to edit and revise your work and not being clear and concise in your writing. The last common mistake is not using an active voice.
Throughout the entire piece, make sure the keywords of the title are addressed. Break complex topics into two or more posts instead of trying to cover them in one.
PROBLEM #4: Bad formatting
If your web layout is cluttered or unattractive, readers will skip the information. The goal is for every sentence in a paragraph to be about one idea (so there are no sentence fragments). Use headers or bolded words for every major point in your post. If you have five points, use one header and five bolded words.
Take the time to format your text so it is easy to read. Use short paragraphs, headings, and bulleted lists to break up your text and make it easy on the eyes.
PROBLEM #5: Too wordy
Making sentences too wordy and paragraphs too long is a turn-off. Keep things short and sweet for a better chance of holding your reader’s attention. Try to make each sentence serve a purpose, and if you can say something in fewer words, do it.
Writing paragraphs of no more than four sentences in plain, everyday language rather than jargon.
PROBLEM #6: Misplacing the call-to-action
A call-to-action (CTA) is an essential element of web writing, yet it’s often missing or misplaced. A CTA tells the reader what to do next, such as click here to learn more or download now. Without a CTA, your writing may be informative but it won’t be effective.
At various points in the copy, not just at the end, include a clear call to action.
PROBLEM #7: Improper editing
When it comes to grammar, there are a few main problems that tend to pop up again and again. Misspellings, missing words, and incorrect verb tenses are just a few of the most common issues. While some errors can be chalked up to typos, others are the result of carelessness or ignorance. Either way, they make your writing look bad and can turn off potential readers.
READ IT. Did you know that writers don't often read or reread their own work? It's true. Yes, Take the time to edit correctly. Let your work rest for a bit before checking for typos and errors. Again, and it can't be stressed enough, read it. Re-read it after you edit!
And there you have it, the seven most common web writing problems that plague the internet. There certainly are more, like choppy sentences, boring content, weak headlines, overuse of exclamation points and lack of personality, but we'll touch on those another day. You can avoid all of these mistakes by taking the time to plan your writing beforehand. By proofreading your work, being concise, thinking about your audience, using strong verbs and including a call to action, you can create well-written content that will engage your readers.