Monday, July 6, 2009


Someone recently said to me that niche bloggers fall into 2 different camps; those who can write but don’t know much about internet marketing (that would be me!) and those who know internet marketing, but can’t write.

Because of the amount of content required to be a successful niche blogger, many niche bloggers outsource content. Or, if they are strapped for cash (or have been burned a few times by bad writing), they try to write everything themselves.

Which is hard to do, especially if you don’t have any writing experience.  So I thought I would share some thoughts on how to approach the craft of writing online content based on my background as an experienced fiction writer and writing web content for Demand Studios, private clients, and eHow.

1.    Use subtitles to break text into sections. Subtitles also are a great opportunity to use alternate keywords for SEO purposes. They also help readers skim the article and find the information they are looking for.

2.    Keep paragraphs short.  Big chunks of text turn readers off. Aim for 75 word paragraphs.

3.    Avoid word repetition as it reads flat and loses the reader’s interest.

4.    Use actionable verbs as much as possible. Notice how all my advice starts with a verb, do the same whenever it makes sense.

5.    Write as if you are explaining something to a friend. This helps keep your ‘voice’ natural and engaging.

6.    Use lists and bullet points to make important information stand out.

7.    Stay on message and don’t meander.  I always suspect meandering when I have a piece full of big, long paragraphs. Anytime you write content that involves a story or anecdote, be on the look out for meandering as well.

8.    Don’t panic if the words aren’t flowing. That’s what editing is for.  At first, just write and then edit your writing into quality content. 

9.    Be interesting. Juxtapose divergent concepts. Make a short joke (emphasis on short). Use a play on words here and there. This keeps things lively and entices a reader to keep reading.

10.    Be useful. Good content says something helpful or interesting.

11.    Cite your sources to build authority and credibility. Readers are more likely to trust you if they feel you’ve researched your topic.

12.    Check for logical flow. I think peacocks are beautiful...would be an example of poor logical flow.  Be sure each paragraph introduces an idea, supports an idea, and offers a conclusion on the idea without diverging into peacocks.  (Although I really do like peacocks, especially the feathers, but I digress!)

13. Sometimes, writers create these beautiful orphans, sentences that just don’t fit anywhere, or they have essential information that really needs its own paragraph, but doesn’t have enough data to support expansion.  These orphans must die. I usually cut them and paste them at the end of the document so that if I find a way to work them in, I can do so.

14. Write with ad clicks in mind. Meaning, the goal isn't just to be informative, it's to get the reader thinking they need to learn more, which, in my experience, makes them more likely to click an ad.

And that's it. Everything I think I know about writing web content for niche blogs. How do you do it?

1 comment:

  1. Great advice. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more.