How to write captivating content for readers/search

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
It’s said to be the shortest story ever told. Compelling, don’t you think? Sad, too. It was written by a young Ernest Hemingway, who told his colleagues he could write a complete story in only six words. The bets were on and it was $10 against Mr Hemingway until he wrote down his six-word story and passed it around the group. Apparently, he got to keep the winnings, which was a lot of cash in those days.

This week I wanted to give you my best tips on structuring your content so it captivates your audience and search engines at the same time. Yes, you can do both!
Of course, a lot of what you write will be written according to your target market (here’s a blog on that). Writing is actually the easy part – it’s the other stuff that comes with it that you have to watch out for. That is, formatting and the structure of your paragraphs. If you don’t know these few things, your life is about to change!

Consider the layout of your web page or blog post. It’s commonly referred to as the f-shape.

Picture this: A header across the top of the page, secondary header under it, picture off to the right side of the page, text under the sub-header that is broken up into bite-sized bits that run down the page with white space between each paragraph. It looks like an F.

The worst thing you can do is give your readers a main meal of a block text. No one wants a text-heavy read. This was one of the first things I learned as an editor working on magazine and feature products. The pages must be easy to read. It’s the same with online.

Here are 5 ways you can break up your text:

  1. Use sub-headers and make the first few words really interesting.
  2. No block text. Write short one or two-sentence paragraphs.
  3. Use bullet points. These are easy to read and are surrounded by white space.
  4. Readers on the net are skimmers and skippers, so use bold and italics to point people in the direction you want them to read. Their eye will naturally read this text more because it stands out.
  5. Utilise white space where you can, add a return here and there if you have to.

Hot tip
Break up every page with an infographic, picture or video.

Writing content doesn’t have to be a hard slog, if you’re in need of some help, you can grab a copy of my eBook – Wow – Words on the Web here on Amazon.

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