How to write for online readers


How do you get site visitors to read, comment and come back? We show you how to turn quick-fix clicks into online readers.

Online readers are impatient. Forget the image of a 19th century lady enjoying a 500-page novel by the fire. Picture a frazzled parent with a toddler in hand and an iPad in the other instead. You'll need to adapt your writing style to keep a web surfer hooked.

How to keep netizens coming back:

  • Web surfers are looking for something different, newsy, and relevant. So find an angle, a niche or a punchline that will grip readers. Offering information is a plus.
  • Make your title snappy. Use your title to create expectation, and then fulfill this with your post. A catchy, clear headline will grab the attention of search engines and readers alike.
  • Your content should be linked to the title - after all, that's why people clicked on your link. Make sure your post delivers what your title has promised. Some writers get in to the swing of blogging and can stray from the topic. If this happens to you, revise your title to fit.
  • Web surfers read in an F shape and have less patience - so let them know what to expect in your introduction and don't waffle as you'll lose interest.
  • Keep blog posts short. This isn’t a novel, it’s a blog – if people like your first post they’ll read on. But if they don’t reach the end of your post, they’ll never hear your punchline and you'll have lost their interest.
  • Use keywords wisely - don't pack your blog full of the same old phrases so that search engines will notice. Yes, one of your most important readers is Google. But remember, human readers want interesting content, not repetition. So write the post and then decide on the keywords later.
  • Reading online is all about interaction. Ask open-ended questions to encourage readers to comment. Respond to all comments – it’s only polite. If a reader’s commented, they’re more likely to return to see if you’ve responded – so it’s a way of starting a dialogue and reeling in your readers. 

Last updated: 09-Apr-2013 at 2:42 PM