Some of us are natural writers. They can write an attractive, fun, readable text in a matter of minutes. Others lack that skill. Unfortunately, they’ll have more difficulties keeping visitors on their website. But, while attractive writing is partly a matter of talent, practice sure helps! In this blog post, I’ll give six tips to improve the style of your text and make sure the content of your website is attractive.
Do you need more help to take your SEO copywriting to the next level? In our SEO copywriting training, which is part of our Yoast SEO Academy training subscription, we’ll teach you how to write copy that ranks!
1. Read a lot
If you want to develop an attractive writing style, you should read a lot. It doesn’t matter if you read novels, blogs, magazines, the newspaper, etc. Reading regularly is an essential step towards improving your own writing. Firstly, it will teach you how other people form their sentences and build their paragraphs. Also, if you read often, you’ll learn how to use jokes and how to play with language through real-life examples. Finally, lots of reading gets you to develop a gut feeling about what makes a nicely readable text. You’ll be inspired to write your own awesome articles in no time!
Read more: 5 tips to write readable blog posts »
2. Decide upon formal or informal
Most web texts are not very formal. Blogging especially allows for an informal style. However, not all blogs are alike and not all bloggers are alike. So, keep in mind your brand and your audience and decide upon a formal or informal style to address your readers. Use a style that fits both you and your blog and try to be consistent, otherwise, your readers will probably get confused.
For example, at Yoast.com, we try to write in an enthusiastic manner. We are all young, our company is young and constantly changing and we’re passionate about what we are doing. Also, we think an enthusiastic style fits our audience. Looking at other sites and giving things like this some thought can help if you’re unsure what style is right for you.
3. Go for variation
For a text to be attractive to a reader, it should be varied. This means that you should try to avoid repetition! Try to alternate long sentences with shorter ones. Avoid long sentences altogether. Reading from a screen tends to be hard on people. Long, complicated sentences make reading even harder.
Look at the way your sentences are composed. Try to alternate the sequence of words. Most languages allow for all kinds of variations in word order. For example, a sentence like: “At Yoast, we give SEO advice” can be written as “we give SEO advice at Yoast,” but also as “SEO advice is given at Yoast”. Varying in the composition of your sentences can make your text much more attractive.
Try to use synonyms if you tend to use a word very often. Some people use the word ‘and’ or ‘too’ very often. Using similar words such as ‘also’, ‘moreover’ or ‘ as well’ could already make the text much more attractive.
4. Don’t use abstract concepts
If you are writing an article, you should try to use clear terms. Try to use words that have meaning to people, words people can visualize. Writing about ‘staff’ and ’employees’ remains abstract whereas writing about ‘the secretary’ and ‘the handyman’ has more meaning. ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is a very abstract concept, while ‘ranking high in Google’ immediately makes clear what you mean. Of course, you usually need to use some abstract terms and words in your blog. That’s fine, if you make sure to explain these terms using concrete terms as well. Adding examples could also do the trick.
5. Look into ways to spice up your text
There are several styles and techniques to make your writing more appealing. Even if you’re not an experienced writer, you can use those to spice up your text a little. The more you practice at using these techniques, the easier it’ll get. Here are a few to get you started:
- Use metaphors
If we say someone is cold as ice, we all know that doesn’t literally mean the person is made of ice. Using metaphors or expressions can illustrate your point and make your text more fun to read. People instantly understand what you mean, if you use well-known metaphors and expressions. Do not go overboard though: writing a blog post with 50 metaphors is probably stretching it!
- Use storytelling
Everyone loves a good story, and most people are probably also able to tell a good story -especially from personal experience. So, why not try to use the power of stories in your copy? Including a (relevant) story can help catch your reader’s interest and provide more clarity.
- Try the inverted pyramid
A well-known writing style in journalism, using the inverted pyramid basically means you put your most important information upfront. You get your main message across right away and elaborate in the following paragraphs. This writing style especially comes in handy now that web content is increasingly used to answer every type of question a searcher might have.
6. Ask a fresh pair of eyes for input
Whether you ask someone to read your text and give feedback or use a tool to check your text: a fresh pair of eyes always gives you a new perspective. You can ask your neighbor, friend or colleague to read your text before you post it online. If someone gives you (constructive) feedback, it’ll help you make your text better, as well as improve your writing skills.
If it’s not an option to let someone read your text, there are also (online) tools that can analyze your text. I discovered a really awesome tool to help with your writing. You can put your text in the Hemingway-app (with a free online version) and it analyses your text immediately. It analyses among other things whether or not your sentences are too long or too difficult.
Of course, only a few of us can write the Great American Novel. Some people just write more easily than others. Developing an attractive writing style is probably harder than writing in a clear structure. Still, with a little practice and the use of these six tips, everyone should be able to write a decent blog post. If you would like more help in optimizing your content, you should check out our SEO copywriting training, which is part of our Yoast SEO Academy training subscription. It’ll teach you everything you need to know to write copy that ranks!
Keep reading: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »