As a product of the 80s, I have grown up in a world where if I want to know something, it’s never too hard to find the answer. We’ve all seen an increase in the give-it-to-me-now attitude and with responsibilities and information springing up all around us, none of us have time to twiddle our thumbs any more.

Information has to be easy to find. It has to be concise, while being comprehensive enough to be of use.

As content creators, there is a lot that you can do to make your information more accessible to your internet audience. As you go through these tips, you’ll see how they’ll likely apply to how you hunt for information online.

General writing tips

Creativity

is the key to staying relevant, interesting and fresh online. In order to be creative, you need to spew all your thoughts down without subjecting them to editing. Write your entire article without stopping. Then go back and edit it afterwards.

Start in the Middle

Write the main part of your post first. Your post may not take the form that you initially thought, so you want to leave the introduction and conclusion until the main part of your post is set. This way your introduction grabs your readers’ attention and the post actually matches your introduction.

Do it Everywhere!

As creative beings, we come up with ideas in the strangest of places. When you get an idea, write it down there and then. If you don’t, you’ll forget it and miss out on a potentially awesome post.

Most of us have smartphones now. You may even be using one of the official WordPress apps. If not, you probably have access to a pen and paper. Or a napkin. Or papyrus.

The title

10 Steps to Super Awesome, Attention-Grabbing Post Titles

Okay, so I don’t have 10 steps, but there’s a few good ways of crafting a winning title:

  • Put a number in there. I don’t know why, but people prefer ‘5 tips to success’ over ‘Tips to success’.
  • Use exaggerative adjectives. ’10 killer tips’ beats ’10 fairly good tips’.
  • Capitalize everything but your stop words. Stop words are words like and, as, for, to me etc. e.g. ’10 Killer Tips to Improve your Writing’.

Check your Keywords

This isn’t an SEO tutorial, but you need to consider who you’re aiming for with the post and have the right words in your title to make sure that both human and search engines find you.

Writing style

Don’t be cocky to the point of being arrogant, but have confidence in yourself. Know that you write great content and have confidence in your opinion and knowledge. This applies to when you’re promoting your content too!

Humor and the Personal Touch

Don’t be afraid to have a laugh. You’re not writing a textbook – you’re writing short articles and your personal touch will help set your writing style apart as something that is fun and enjoyable to read.

Wandering Eyes

Us internet people are great at scanning and finding important information. However, you can help out your readers by highlighting the most important parts of your post. Think underline, italics and bold.

Ease up on the Punctuation

This is really hard for me because I loathe what I see as the bastardization of the English language, but there are ways you can avoid over-complicating your punctuation without sacrificing good writing practices. For example, use a bulleted list instead of writing one in a sentence using colons and semi-colons.

Since We’re Talking About Lists…

Lists are excellent. They draw attention and display your crucial information in an easy-to-digest fashion. Whether bulleted or numbered, they’ll draw focus to the crown jewels of your post.

Shawty

We’ve all grown up with ‘bigger is better’, but in the internet generation, that’s not really the case any more (great news boys!). Your reader’s attention is fleeting at best. So keep sentences and paragraphs short. The shorter the better. Got it?

Headings

Break your post up into general sections and use semantic markup (that’s h2, h3 and h4 tags to you and me) to give your readers an idea of what’s in your post so they can find what matters to them.

Images

It’s amazing what a little color can do for you. Aim to have at least one image in every post, whether it’s decorative, instructional or to grab attention.

Read It Yourself

Don’t ever publish something that you haven’t read and re-read. It also helps to plan ahead so that you have time to come back to an article a few days later with a fresh mind before it gets published.

Reality Check

It’s fine to be opinionated, but are you driving your point home with arrogance?  Also be conscious of how realistic your claims are. It might be tempting to tell someone they can earn millions by blogging, but it stinks of sensationalism and is a real turn-off. Be confident, even optimistic, but always be realistic.

Fact Check

There’s little that screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” more than incorrect facts. If you start out an article telling me that the internet was started by Mark Zuckerberg in 1995, I’ve already moved on.

The Rules of Engagement

Your readers are your lifeline. Even if you’re not writing to make money, you’re writing so that what you write will be read. So engage your readers in conversation. Initiate conversations with those who share your article. Respond to comments. And invite feedback and questions on what you’ve written (which I’m hoping you’ll realize is an invitation to do just that right now).

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Dave Clements

Dave runs The UK Edge - a company that build WordPress-based websites for small businesses.

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