Last updated on April 16th, 2013
If you’re a company trying to build an online presence, you’ve certainly heard how important developing content is. Blog posts, buying guides and keyword landing pages are just a few examples…
Content not only helps you build rankings in the search engines, it also helps you build credibility for your brand and a loyal following. When people see you’re developing engaging, informative content, they’ll remember you as someone who’s willing to listen and take initiative to help customers better understand important points about what you’re offering.
Likewise, search engines will see how youre making strides to provide your audience with engaging, informative content, and reward your site accordingly.
While many strategies and techniques are specific to your business or industry, there are some general ideas you need to keep in mind when writing web copy – one of the most important, yet most overlooked, is white space.
What do you mean by “white space”?
One, it helps the readers better comprehend what you’re trying to say. They can skim sub-headings, bulleted lists, and other elements designed to help communicate information in a clear and concise way.
The other purpose is to give the eyes a break – how many times have you encountered a page with just long-block paragraphs and immediately clicked the back button in frustration?
In our fast-paced, information-driven world, our senses are literally overloaded with all kinds of messages at all times of the day. We have to discriminate what’s deserving of our attention, and disregard the things our senses and minds tell us are not important.
We do this through scanning…
If your piece – be it a blog post, an article or a landing page – doesn’t provide an adequate break, it will seem dull and intimidating, no matter how well it’s actually written.
What do I need to do to ensure my site’s content has adequate white space?
We don’t want to imply that long paragraphs are bad – if you have a thought that requires a little extra explanation, by all means, take the extra space.
A few ways to boost white space include:
- Limit paragraphs to 5-7 lines – if you have an extra-long paragraph, consider putting a one-sentence paragraph just below it to either make your final point, or a follow-up point.
- Include sub-headings – to break up different concepts within your piece, use sub-headings. This allows the reader to scan your piece’s important points without having to read it word for word – your readers will thank you. Including keywords in headings and sub-headings are also beneficial from an SEO perspective.
- Include a bulleted or numbered list if it makes sense – Another way to add “white-space” and make your piece scannable is by using bulleted or numbered lists. These help draw attention to important points and communicate information quickly. Be careful though – bulleted and numbered lists don’t always fit.
These are general points to consider when drafting content for your website. If you’re writing an e-book or more formal piece of content, you can have longer paragraphs for example. Also, you really won’t have much in the way of sub-headings with a press release (except in the beginning).
The important thing is to remember that you’re writing for real people, not search engine bots. You need to be mindful how you’re content will appear to a new visitor.
Is it easily digestible with a quick scan?
Is it easy on the eyes and not too “in your face” or intimidating?
Keeping these things in mind will help you develop exceptional content for your site. While there are many other things to consider, this is one of the fundamental tenets of writing for the web – and one of the key differences between print and online media.