Writing Original and Engaging Content
Many people who have been through this before will advice: write lots of great content and your website traffic will increase. In addition to that advice I also prefer to add that the content must be original and engaging. But what does it mean to write original and engaging content?
Like film, the writing medium creates an experience for the audience. Storytelling format could be an important choice to make. The story or a personal anecdote that creates an experience will also create engagement. Don’t worry if you think it’s difficult to write.
If you practice with coming up with stories yourself you are eventually going to get much better at it. Many people don’t realize that they have the power of creative output. In fact you might find it exciting to be able to write engaging content. Most people can do it just as they can talk and explain ideas to their friends.
And If you think that you can’t, then you probably can’t do many other things if you set such low expectations for yourself. When writing, try to think of what you would find interesting to read. You have probably read books in the past by authors you enjoyed.
Remember that many people don’t like to read. By splitting the same number of your thoughts and ideas into more paragraphs that are shorter you increase the chance of people actually reading your writing. This also gives people more opportunities to start reading virtually from any point within the page.
One of the problems I used to have, as I look back at my experience with writing is that I used to write long, elaborate paragraphs. I felt like I wasn’t explaining enough. But later I realized that it wasn’t necessary when writing for the Internet audiences.
Keep practicing making straightforward points and avoid using filler sentences just to trick people that you have more substance in your text. Not only you are increasing the size of your paragraphs, but you are essentially saying nothing about nothing.
One of important things about writing is being dense with unique ideas. Try to put as much meaning into each sentence as possible without using words that don’t mean anything such as "probably", "therefore", "however", and so on. Try thinking of the specific concepts and actions you are trying to explain and use those words instead.
What to Write About?
Writing original content can start by choosing the subject you feel passionate about. If you merely base this subject on how much money you think you are going to make from the ads located on that page, you are likely to fail in creating unique and original content.
People react to what feels authentic. If they can sense that you are putting a large amount of effort into producing your content, if you can surprise them by engaging them in your writing, they are much more likely to start trusting you and remember your site. This feeling of authenticity is hard to achieve, so long as you are explicitly thinking about achieving it. Use friendly language, and express your thoughts as they occur to you, improvise along the way by adding bits of knowledge you have gained in the past based on how you felt it affected you.
For example, if you felt that a webpage you have found in the past was really well written, try to read it again and pay attention to the sentences that engaged you and influenced your decision to continue reading it. The same can be said about website layouts as well. If you feel that a website is well constructed and easy to navigate, try to pay closer attention to the details an figure out which elements in particular are contributing to that experience. Then try replicating that on your own sites.
Don’t Write About Subjects You Are Not Interested In
Many people choose the subjects to write about for the wrong reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to write about content that will be matched with high-paying advertisers such as insurance companies or debt consolidation.
There is nothing wrong with starting a new website about debt consolidation or mortgage loans. However, you will need to be extremely creative in your process. You will need to spend more energy on research and subject improvisation.
By itself there isn’t much one can say about Debt Consolidation. It’s a service provided by companies in order to "consolidate", or put together credit card debt from all of the existing credit cards into one account with different rules. But you can improvise and think of specific things people search for, for example "How to stop using credit or credit cards". If you start typing these sentences into Google, you will see that people legitimately are looking for this type of information.
If this is something you can do, if you can write about finance really well and be able to be extremely creative with choosing your topics and caring about your content, then there is no reason for why you shouldn’t do it. But many people simply choose the subject because it can potentially make lots of money and then get frustrated when they can’t find anything to say about that subject.
Not Knowing How Much You Know
One thing I learned from person experience is that at one point I felt like I had nothing to share with others, when it was clearly not true. Only later I was able to look at it and realize that.
I think what happens is that when we ourselves learn about a subject that interests us, we disregard the value of knowing it because, well. . . we already know it. It seems that because you know something, that it is now less significant. But think of all other people who have not acquired that knowledge yet.
Analyze your own repository of knowledge. What are some of the things you’re good at? It could be anything, for example cooking, exercising, doing something outside of the house, doing something you take for granted. This may be the knowledge that will jump-start your new website and help thousands of people learn from you. In a way, you have to think about how you could become a better teacher and be concerned with things like what it is that you need to do in order to effectively explain something.
How Much Can You Write About an Oversized Towel?
I like to experiment with websites and ideas. I want to know whether something will work or not. But even after practicing writing and making many websites, sometimes even I make something outrageously pointless.
Like a few months ago (I’m writing this as of August 2011), I started a website called Beach Towel Galore. My decision was based on the fact that many people are likely to buy towels online. You don’t really need to see the towel in person in order to buy it, as long as it had a pretty picture on it that people liked.
I started adding towel pictures to the site with printed pictures of dolphins, horses, skulls, and other ideas I found using the Google Keyword tool. I added towels with Betty Boop and even had a picture of a towel with Pink Floyd logo. The selection was pretty wide to cover (no pun intended) all types of towel lovers.
Writing an article about towel sizes was excruciatingly irritating. I realized the mistake I made. I started a website on a subject there was nothing to write about, simply based on keyword popularity. A proper way of building a website about towels would be to create an e-commerce store for towels.
The site does receive 2-3 visitors per day and every once in a while someone actually does buy a towel. But overall the site is experiencing a traffic stagnation period because I cannot find things to say about towels. I might still think about improving the site eventually and organize it a little better but I wouldn’t put too much long-term commitment into working on it.
The niche is great and some AdSense clicks have received $1.00 and more in profits. But the website lacks other important ingredients (most notably content). Was this a bad idea? Not necessarily. The point is that without having all standard elements of a content website perfectly aligned with each other it is extremely difficult to continue running a website. It can probably improved and even succeed in the long run, but it is simply not an interesting website to be inspired enough to continue working on.
Choose Topics That You Can Find Things to Write About.
My towel website experiment ended. I learned my lesson. Though I still do consider it somewhat of a success. It sold a few Tommy Hilfiger towels. Though, I wouldn’t do something like that again.
I would rather spend my energy on creating content websites about subjects I am interested in. And try and find a way to match my content with some type of a demand for that subject. I still do Google Keyword research but other times I simply try to think of what it would be interesting to write about.
I never really know which articles are going to be more popular than others. But there are always a few articles that outdo others in terms of website traffic. Why does this happen? I don’t really know. Maybe someone decided to link back to an article I have written.
I noticed that some of the pages I have written are being used as references for articles written for the website called HowTo. It can be really gratifying to see someone referencing your original content. In some cases that influences me to start writing more content.
The information about which sites are linking back to yours is readily available from Google’s Webmaster Tools website for free. Hook your website up and see who links to you. Try to identify the reasons why people link to you and focus on writing more of the similar type of content.
By doing that, only one thing is meant to happen. More people will link back to your site, increasingly making your website more popular among the millions of other websites, whose owners don’t bother thinking about the details.