What Is Website Content Writing? Explained with 17 Tips

Content is part of the reason people visit your website.

And your website's content makes all the difference in having a visitor stay on a webpage or leave it. In other words, you can't have content just for the sake of it — it needs to be well-thought-through and properly written.

This post will cover what website content writing is and how to write great content that keeps visitors glued to your website.

What you will learn:

  • What website content writing is and why it is important
  • Why you should know your readers and content's objectives before you start writing
  • How to attract and maintain the reader's attention
  • How to encourage readers to take action    
  • A few SEO best practices

What is website content?

Website content includes written, visual, and interactive elements that provide users with information and engage them.

It is meant to draw people in, teach them something, and keep them interested. It will help them reach their goals and also help the website owner reach their goals.

First, it's important to understand that website content involves a lot more than just simple texts.

Content can also take the form of images, infographics videos, audio files, or any other media file that contributes to your site's browsing experience.

For example, Yes Theory's About page uses a blend of text, images, videos, and animated elements to create a genuinely pleasant reading experience.

If your website were a house, the content would be the furniture — it's what makes your site usable, exciting, and gives it a purpose.  

As such, top-notch web content plays a major role in encouraging visitors to remain on your website, warm up to your brand, and boost conversions.

It also helps increase a website's visibility in search results through search engine optimization tactics, such as keyword optimization.

What is web content writing?

Web content writing is the process of creating any type of written website content including product descriptions, landing page copy, blog posts, e-books, case studies, and so on.

Web content writing aims to engage visitors, provide value, and drive conversions.

Writing for the web allows business owners to show off their brands' personalities, highlight their product's or service's benefit, appeal to their audience's pain points, and establish strong relationships with visitors.

And again, it's ideal for search engine optimization.

Search engines prioritize credible and authoritative websites that offer value through genuinely helpful content.

17 tips to write website content

Now that we covered the basics let's dive into the nitty-gritty and see what amazing content is all about.

Here are 17 steps for writing website content that drives engagement.

1. Write with a purpose

First, you need to define your content's main objective—whether to inform, entertain, or persuade site visitors to convert. This will help you identify the right approach and the appropriate language and word choice.

For example, The Minimalist's article on what minimalism is successfully fulfills its purpose — to educate readers about this lifestyle and its benefits.  

You can tell that the writer takes a humorous, somewhat self-deprecating approach to break down the concept in an entertaining manner.

The article's objective is to obviously explain to readers that they can be minimalists too without being too preachy or overbearing.

The writer also has a natural, simple way of writing that can help tune readers into the article. Coupled with his humor throughout the post, the writer creates a genuinely pleasant reading experience.

In any case, if informative content is your main focus, doing your research is what's most important here.

You want to establish brand authority, provide accurate insights, and ideally bring something new to the table.

This earns your readers' trust, gives them a reason to return to your website, and wins the algorithm's favor.

However, if your content's objective is to sell, it must successfully align your product's or service's benefits with your audience's pinpoints. This tells them why they need your product and compels them to make a purchase.

2. Understand your readers

High-quality content writing is also about adjusting the language and tone based on your readers. This helps resonate with your target audience and craft copy that's engaging.

It also helps come up with relevant content ideas.

For instance, TheBlondeAbroad knows exactly who she talks to.

The post is about acquiring travel miles and points to save money. It caters to beginners who want to get into long-term traveling and are looking for ways to do it affordably.  

The content is highly informative but doesn't get into too many details that may overwhelm readers. It instead offers quick actionable tips along with all the relevant resources to help visitors start flying for cheap.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are your best friends here.

These free site analytics tools reveal everything you need to know about your site visitors — from their demographics and location to interests and more.

You can use that information to create data-backed audience personas and tailor your content accordingly.

3. Start with a strong hook

A generic intro or product description will probably get visitors to click the back button just as soon as they land on your web page.

Your opening statements need to catch and maintain the reader's attention.

You can either start strong with a bold statement or engage with readers directly and spark their curiosity through questions.

Getting to the meat of the content as soon as possible also works.

Cup of Jo, for example, starts with an ambiguous title on purpose. "A Parenting Realization That Really Moved Me" sounds mysterious and appeals to its target audience's emotions — it's a magnet for clicks.

The opening builds up suspense and uses storytelling to paint a picture in the reader's mind. This gets readers glued to the content right away and nudges them to keep reading.

Here are a few methods to write openings that generate a similar effect:

The Problem-Agitate-Solution (PAS) formula: Acknowledge and empathize with the audience's main pain points right away, then press on the outcomes of their problems to instill a sense of urgency, and tease a solution to add a sense of relief and motivate visitors to read on.

The Attention-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) formula: Start with a bold claim to attract attention and move on to an interesting fact or statistic to maintain interest. Then explain exactly how the content helps readers to turn that interest into a desire and finish with a call to action.

The Bottom-Line-Up-Front (BLUF) formula: Cut to the case and highlight the most important information in the opening, then use the rest of the content to get into the details.

4. Adopt the right tone

An appropriate tone makes content resonate with your target audience and conveys the message more effectively.

As a general rule of thumb, stick with a conversational writing style. It's engaging and strikes a good balance between sounding friendly and personal yet not too informal.

However, the right tone for your website content also depends on your brand's personality and niche.

For example, if you mainly discuss more serious topics, like medicine or finance, you can use more formal language.

It helps establish trust — overly playful language would sound unprofessional and off-putting here.

If you cover trivial subjects, on the other hand, don't be afraid to go on the opposite side of the spectrum. Just like Wait But Why does.

The blog post doesn't shy away from slang or jokes, and generally adopts a playful language — it aligns well with the topic, target audience, and the brand's identity.

Make sure to take all these factors into account when you write content.

5. Use language your readers understand

It's still important to note that content filled with industry-specific jargon and pompous language doesn't impress anyone—it just confuses readers.

Even if you want to write in a more formal tone, use simple terms to ensure you get your message across to all your readers.

Aim for a fifth-grade reading level.

That means simple words, short sentences, and no large blocks of text. Here's how Zen Habits does it:

The sentences are concise, while the content's structure is nice and tidy.

Paragraphs are double-spaced and the writer uses bullet points to break down the post's ideas.

This makes the blog post a breeze to read through and understand — you should follow a similar format.

And most importantly, avoid passive voice and adverbs. They drag out your content and make it hard to read.

Here's a brief comparison between passive and active voice:

  • Passive voice: "The event was organized by him."
  • Active voice: "He organized the event."

The second sentence sounds much more natural and easy to read.

Tools like Hemingway Editor help spot any excessive adverb or passive voice usage throughout your content.  

6. Optimize for search engines  

Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes your web pages and website content to occupy higher positions in the search engine results page (SERP).

SEO is important because no matter how well-written your content may be, no one will read it if search engines cannot find and index it.

Keyword optimization is the cornerstone of SEO.

Keywords are the search terms people use when typing something in the search bar.

Keyword optimization aims to identify and incorporate these search terms into your content to rank high in the SERP.

Suppose I type in "What is the rule of thirds in photography?" in Google's search bar.

Google will then serve me a bunch of results.

And I click on Digital Photography School's listing.

The listing leads to a blog discussing the topic in detail.

The keyword "rule of thirds" appears 83 times throughout the article, which obviously gives Google a pretty solid idea of what the content is about.

But it's also worth noting that the content itself is nearly 4,000 words in length, so the keyword density is optimal. The writer hasn't jammed 83 keywords in a short article.

To put it differently, only include keywords where it makes sense — no keyword stuffing. Google and other search engines don't like this practice.

Headings and sub-headings are also excellent spots for keyword optimization.

Google uses them to understand your content and its structure, so implementing keywords here can help search engines index your page faster.

As for keyword research, you can use content optimization tools like Surfer to identify relevant search terms and topic ideas.

Surfer provides a list of important keywords and how often you should use them in your article, for Google and other search engines to understand and rank your content.

If you have the time, you can use Google's autocomplete, People Also Ask, or People Also Search features, which work well too.

But again, there are numerous other best practices you should keep in mind.

Here are a few more:

Use internal links

Add links in your content leading to your other web pages. This helps search engines navigate and index your website faster.

Optimize meta tags

These are the page titles and descriptions that appear in search results. Include your main keyword here and be descriptive, yet concise.

Optimize page URL

Your page's URL structure should accurately reflect its content and include keywords.

7. Write in first person

First-person pronouns help establish a more personal connection with readers, which makes you more relatable and credible.

It also helps to write in a conversational tone and create a more engaging reading experience.

For example, an author from Fluent in 3 Months uses first-person pronouns along with personal stories and photographs from her time in Japan to teach readers about the basics of the Japanese language.

This makes the blog more engaging and simultaneously backs up her expertise to demonstrate she has the knowledge necessary to teach readers the language.

She uses phrases like "Why me? I have a university degree in Japanese," for example.

This way, the author also infuses her personality into the blog post, which makes for a much more memorable and impactful reading experience.

8. Show them who you are

An author's byline can further remind readers that the content is written by a human and reinforce your credibility.

A profile picture and a few fun facts about yourself also help establish a strong personal connection with the audience, just like Pinch of Yum does.

The bio goes into brief details about the author.

It's written in a friendly, engaging manner. You can also link your byline to your About page, which should follow a similar format.

Pinch of Yum's About page focuses on the site's creator, not the brand itself. It provides a snippet of her personal life, hobbies, and professional experience.

This goes a long way in showing off the brand's personality to make it more memorable — much more so than a generic company's About page explaining its mission, vision, and values.

That said, don't be afraid to break the ice and let readers get to know you on a more personal level.

9. Encourage action

Visitors won't convert unless you let them know you want them to.

Your Calls To Action (CTAs) must be obvious, while the copy should let visitors know exactly what happens once they click on the button.

Avoid generic copy like "Submit" or "Download," for example — it's vague and doesn't compel users to take action.

You should follow James Clear's example instead:  

Although placed at the bottom of the web page, the bright yellow color contrasts the white background, making it highly visible.

The CTA button's copy is crystal clear and lets users know exactly what happens if they type in their email address.

Also, the author adds extra context just above the button to explain the newsletter's content, while the emboldened texts serve as social proof—they give visitors extra reassurance and motivate them to sign up.

10. Grab attention with a strong headline

Your headline is the first point of contact you have with your audience.

Whether you write blog posts or copy for sales pages, social media posts, or advertisements, your headlines have to be enticing enough to get readers to click and learn more about what's behind them.

Keep them short and sweet as a general rule of thumb, but find a way to let readers know how they'll benefit from reading your content.

Headlines like "Copywriting Tips" won't cut it. Although straight to the point, it's bland and doesn't give readers enough incentive to click.

Here's what Copyblogger does instead:

The headline quickly brings up the target audience's main pain point — writer's block.

It then uses powerful words and phrases like "Become a Master" and "Only" to add additional impact.

"3 Hours a Day" is also an excellent tactic. It's specific and lets readers know exactly the amount of effort they need to put in to apply the tips mentioned in the blog post.

You can also use numbers in headlines like "10 Proven Copywriting Tips to Write Copy That Sticks," for example.

The idea is to give readers a snippet of your blog's content and hint at how long it would take them to read through it — it helps set clear expectations and eliminates any potential uncertainties.

Also use power words like "Essential," "Ultimate," and "Proven" to add more weight to your headlines for a more powerful impact.

11. Make your content skimmable

No one likes to read through huge blocks of text.

A 2,000-word blog post that looks like it's glued together is difficult to read and will cause visitors to leave at some point throughout the content.

Double-space your paragraphs and add bullet points to break down your texts, give them some breathing room, and make them easy on the eyes.

Also, make proper use of subheadings to make it easier for readers to skip ahead and find the specific information they're most interested in.

For example, Zety's blog post is dead easy to read:

The blog post effectively uses numbered sub-headings and bullet points to be straight to the point and provide clear, actionable information.

It also uses dedicated text boxes to show resume summary examples—a clever idea to draw attention to them and simultaneously separate the examples from the rest of the text to avoid confusing people who just glance over the content.

You can also use double-spacing to highlight important ideas and give them additional impact.

12. Include media

Media files like images, infographics, and videos also help the reading experience. They break your content apart and visually back up your ideas for better comprehension.

They are also excellent for SEO.

They open up the opportunity to apply image SEO best practices, like adding keywords in alt text and file names — it can give you an extra boost in search engine results.

Think With Google uses neatly animated visuals to highlight important statistics.

Of course, you don't necessarily have to create animations, either, but using dedicated charts or infographics for statistics is an excellent idea—they're easy to understand and highly shareable.

For other types of content, you can also use your personal photographs — just like in the Fluent In 3 Months example shown above.

Real pictures help anchor your content to real life and establish a personal connection with readers.

In any case, don't add visuals just for the sake of it — that means no stock photos. It adds no value to your content and makes it look superficial.

Also, keep in mind that visuals are heavy hitters in terms of loading speed.

Always compress your images with tools like Compressor.io or Smush (for WordPress) before you upload them.

13. Update your content regularly

Content writing isn't just a post-it-and-forget-it practice.

You need to routinely revisit your posts and provide up-to-date information.

This helps you create high-quality content that maintains relevance and ensures the same piece brings a steady flow of new visitors as time passes.

For example, rather than writing a new post from scratch Hootsuite continuously updates its blog about social media trends — a topic with a generally short lifespan — with new sections and statistics.

The reason for this is two-fold.

For one, updating existing content is always easier than writing a new piece from the ground up.

Second, Hootsuite's blog post already does well in terms of search rankings — a new, separate post might take a while until it achieves similar results.

Besides, updating the existing piece ensures that this particular post always maintains high positions in the SERP and brings consistent traffic.

That said, make sure to regularly research topics you have written about in the past and see if there are any new details you could implement.

This is where Google's People Also Ask (PAA) or Google Trends come in handy.

Google Trends tracks search trends around a specific topic, including questions users may be highly interested in at any given time.

You can also use PAA results to identify any new questions visitors may have about a topic you covered and update your content accordingly.

Type in your keyword in the search bar and see what pops up.

Surfer's Auto-Optimize feature allows you to update existing articles with new information automatically.

Clicking the feature tells Surfer's algorithms to analyze your article, look for missing information and keywords, and plug those gaps to improve its content score without changing its original meaning and readability.

14. Link to sources

You need to back up your statements with concrete evidence from reputable sources. This will help visitors verify your claims and give your ideas more weight.

For instance, "The global social media userbase grew in 2023" isn't good enough — the sentence is vague, lacks credibility, and doesn't provide any quantifiable information.

In contrast, "The global social media userbase grew by 8% in 2023, reaching 5.04 billion users by January 2024" is much more specific.

The hyperlink also lets users verify your data.

Research stats or facts regarding your main topic, include them in your content and provide hyperlinks to reputable sources.

Type in your main keyword + "statistics" in the search bar and see what you can find.

You should also consider an internal linking strategy.

In short, internal links are hyperlinks that lead users to other web pages within your website.

This encourages visitors to explore your website content, helping increase dwell times and decrease bounce rates.

At the same time, search engines will navigate your website and index its pages more easily.

Of course, these internal links must be relevant to each page you implement them on.

Consider topic clusters — a series of web pages covering a specific topic and its sub-topics in detail.  

A topic cluster comprises the following elements:

  • The pillar page: A page that covers a high-level overview of the topic in question.
  • Supporting pages: A series of secondary pages, each providing in-depth information regarding your main theme's sub-topics.
  • Internal links: Links that connect the pillar page to your supporting pages, and vice-versa.

As such, topic clusters help increase topical authority, establish a solid internal linking strategy, and generally boost search rankings.

You can use Surfer to automate topic clusters and internal links.

For instance, Burpee includes multiple topic clusters.

The website covers everything and anything gardening-related — from general tips to details about each specific flower, herb, fruit, or vegetable.

This helps the website establish itself as the ultimate resource of information for gardeners.

15. Use writing tools

Mistakes happen.

Typos, unclear sentences, or too much passive voice are almost inevitable. And these mistakes can easily go unnoticed — even if you proofread your website content.

The problem is that readers are not so forgiving.

No matter how well-researched or compelling your content may be, errors will make you look unprofessional and lose credibility.

Writing well research high quality content also takes time, effort and specialization in most instances.

But you can use dedicated writing tools to make your job easier.

Surfer AI, for example can generate a draft of your first version in a few minutes.

Instead of writing long-form content from scratch, use Surfer to generate content based on other pages of your choosing.

Edit and personalize the content to your liking before you publish.

This way, you'll save a couple of hours that it would take you to write an article from the start.

Take this 2500 word article for instance. It was generated in a couple of minutes, which would otherwise have taken me a few hours to come up with.

You can use additional tools too.

For example, Grammarly is an excellent free tool to spot any spelling and grammar errors and unclear sentences.

Hemingway Editor, on the other hand, helps improve your content's readability — it highlights passive voice, adverbs, and overly complex sentences.

16. Draw inspiration from competitors and others

Although original content is a must, you can still draw some inspiration from your competitors or other sites.

This helps you identify popular topics within your niche, pinpoint your competitor's gaps to fill them in yourself with fresh insights and see what content format is most effective.

Google's SERP is one of the best resources for inspiration—simply type in a seed keyword and check the top organic listings.

Suppose you want to write a product roundup about backpacking tents and type "best backpacking tents" in the search bar.

Here's the post from the first organic listing:

And here's the article from the second listing:

Both articles follow a highly similar format — long-form blog posts that highlight what each specific tent is best for in their sub-headings, along with a brief overview of their dimensions, pros, and cons, followed by detailed descriptions.

Since both pages occupy the top spots in search results, following a similar format and structure in your content could likely lead to higher rankings, too.

You can also perform SEO competitive analysis to get precise insights into industry trends, the keywords and audiences your competitors target, their performance metrics, and more.

17. Highlight social proof

Customer testimonials, reviews, or even logos of the companies you work with throughout your website can be a major conversion driver.

Even if your sales copy is persuasive, visitors will still seek extra reassurance from your existing customers before making a purchase decision.

As such, adding social proof helps clear up any uncertainties and gives potential customers that extra push they need to convert.

Here's how Smart Passive Income (SPI) implements social proof on its homepage:

Notice how the testimonials also include the customers' names and profile pictures — they remind visitors that the feedback comes from real people, which helps make them more impactful.

The numbers listed below help users quantify the website's achievements and experience in the niche, while the trust badges beneath let them know SPI was featured in serious publications.

What skills does a website content writer need?

A website content writer needs strong writing and editing skills, the ability to research information, and creativity and storytelling abilities to create clear, engaging, and error-free content.

Web content writers require additional skills beyond writing.

A good writer must understand and resonate with their target audience. Quality content involves knowledge within the niche in question so it can provide fresh, actionable information that helps target audiences solve their pain points.

A content writer should also have a solid understanding of SEO to create high-ranking content that attracts a wider audience.

Other skills include the ability to break down complex concepts into clear, easy-to-digest ideas — no industry jargon or hard-to-read texts. Familiarity with content management systems and analytical skills to measure content performance are also useful.

Key takeaways

  • Top-notch content aims to attract and maintain the audience's interest, and drive conversations.
  • Before you start writing, you first need to have a thorough understanding of your content's objectives and your target audience.
  • Use catchy headlines and copywriting formulas to attract attention and generate interest immediately.
  • Use first-person pronouns to keep readers engaged. Also, adopt a conversational style and align your content with your audience's tone.
  • Include media, bullet points, and double-spaced paragraphs to make your website content easy to read.
  • Back up your statements with links from reputable sources and social proof to earn the reader's trust.
  • Use writing tools to avoid common writing mistakes and maintain a professional look.
  • Keyword optimization and an internal linking structure are a must for SEO. Consider topic clusters.
  • Check your competitors to surface relevant content ideas, or update existing content with new insights.
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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics