Writers’ Best Practices for Improving Online Writing Performance This Year and Beyond

Does this sound familiar? Sometimes, as a content creator, you strive to find the most effective cure for a mean case of writer’s block. You might even reach the conclusion that your pen is a bit rusty. Even when you have one or more brilliant ideas that you could turn into solid gold, you can’t seem to be able to find the shortest, most concise and compelling method to tell the story of the concept you’ve been working on for so long.

5 Tips on How to Improve Your Online Writing Without Losing Any Sleep

If any of the above sounds familiar, you should know you are not alone. Oftentimes, writers lose their focus and can’t figure out how they could unstick their stuck narrative; others can’t find a way to reinforce their dialogue with their audience and cultivate the interest and loyalty of their readers. If so, then maybe you could use some of the expert tips listed below, meant to turn you into a more enthusiastic and successful online writer.

  1. Opt for High-Impact Headlines
    Let’s put it this way: your headline is your first and probably most important opportunity to sell your million dollar idea. In this context, would you put your prosperity and good name on the line by opting for a dull title? Probably not! Instead, you would do your best to raise the curiosity of your audience by promising to reveal a secret that could improve their lives, one way or another, or by creating mystery or intrigue. If you’re looking for tried and true headline formulas that still work, remember that the most effective patterns revolve around the same elements: surprise factors, questions, numbers, curiosity gap, audience referencing and how to guidelines.
  2. Shorter Paragraphs Are Your Best Friends
    You may want to factor in that online readers have a hard time identifying and grasping all the details that you may be willing to serve on a silver platter through your writing. According to a recent article published by The Guardian, the daily actions of modern readers are influenced by their lack of deep thinking and loss of patience. These content consumers are interested solely in writing that could satisfy their need for quick fixes and instant gratification; this is why you should anticipate and address this specific demand by offering them well-structured content incorporating small paragraphs that are easy to scan and skim, and organizing tactics such as numbered or bulleted lists, which enable readers to visualize and assimilate important data with more ease.
  3. Keep It Short
    Most inexperienced online writers try to convey multiple messages via one single content piece. The end result oftentimes fails to meet their expectations, simply because it includes more than one call to action, and tons of unsorted chunks of information that the reader may find it difficult to scan and decode. Here’s the simplest way to avoid this situation: write shorter sentences. Use easier words to improve the readability of your text, and write compelling copy that could be easily understood by seven graders. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to use one of the many online readability tools put at your disposal.
  4. 4. Use Templates
    As a creative freelance writer, you probably dread the idea of using certain templates to guide your online writing in the right direction. While we can all agree that following certain patterns can limit your creative thinking to some extent, following some predetermined rules may be beneficial. Delving into the colorful world of online writing templates can actually improve your concentration, maintain your focus and make it easier for you to bond with your readers by catering to their needs. For instance, a blog post or article should comprise three key sections serving three different purposes:
  • An introduction anticipating and presenting the problem that you, as the know-it-all expert writer, are getting ready to solve
  • The body aiming to provide the most feasible solutions to the problems that your readers may experience
  • Conclusion meant to wrap up your writing and engage your readers in further dialogs, or stimulate them to respond to your CTAs.
  1. Go Beyond Writing
    Here’s something that you probably don’t want to hear about your readers: most of them are looking for accessible solutions to their problems, which they could understand and apply while watching TV or eating lunch in front of their consumers.

These multitasking specialists are craving for quality multimedia content that saves them the trouble of navigating through large text fragments. Images, slideshows and videos are self-explanatory, and fairly easy to create and distribute. These powerful tools can help you craft valuable multimedia content offering a higher number of benefits, including a great opportunity to optimize on-page SEO, better branding, and more time spent on your blog or website.

So there you have it: while there is no classic, sure-fire recipe for success that could take you from zero to online writing hero in a split second, remember that an individualized writing style, a reader-friendly structure, and the presence of multimedia elements can do wonders for your web content. Apply all these changes to see the first signs of improvement, and don’t forget that practice makes perfect!

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Are Keywords Really Dead in 2016?

Over the past few years, marketers have worked long hours to step up their SEO game and anticipate and adapt to the new rules and guidelines introduced by search engines. In 2016, most industry experts are still trying to find the most accurate answer to the following burning question: are keywords really dead? Moreover, should one focus on high-value topics, instead of striving to include a higher number of keywords into their content pieces for SEO purposes, and reach the perfect keyword density?

Is Keyword Density Still a Thing?

Keyword density was one of the trendiest concepts in the SEO world for many years in a row. In 2011 and 2012, most marketers were desperately trying to find and apply the perfect formula to sprinkle the right number of keywords into their texts. This practice has become obsolete since 2013, when Google rolled out its Hummingbird algorithm update, which compelled content creators to acknowledge the importance of semantic search. Well aware of the fact that factors such as linking tactics and keyword density aren’t the most trustworthy indicators of the value of a webpage, Google has started to focus more on user intent and assess the quality and relevancy of web content based on how close it matches the user’s intent.

Keywords Are Still Alive and Well

While semantic search is on the rise, keyword density is no longer seen as a vital element of a successful 2016 SEO strategy. Does this mean that keywords are dead? Not exactly! Semantic search is one of the hottest pieces of the ever-changing SEO puzzle simply due to the fact that it replaces useless metrics such as keyword density, with more relevant ones, such as usefulness, quality and compatibility with users’ intent. At the same time, it’s safe to say that semantic search doesn’t and shouldn’t turn keyword use into a distant memory from the past. As a matter of fact, if you’re looking forward to getting better at SEO while revamping your content strategy, here are 3 steps that you should take to achieve your goal.

  1. Focus on User Experience. Write with the needs of your audience in mind. Think about the reasons why they may land on your webpage. Next, find a way to add value to your content by sprinkling a great variety of keywords throughout your body copy, instead of repeating the same phrase 10 times or more. Always put the quality of the user experience first, instead of striving to achieve the ideal keyword density.
  2. Create a More Compelling Story. Instead of repeating the same keyword over and over again and intoxicating your audiences with robotized, spammy, low-value copy, try to create a better context for your marketing message. Keep in mind that Google is now able to decode your keywords to some extent, so work harder to provide real value to your readers by crafting and delivering content that is engaging, problem-solving, unique, as well as easy to find and read. In other words, always put quality over keyword density.
  3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing. Last time we checked, keyword stuffing was still a major no-no. Therefore, refrain yourself from using the same 2 or 3 keywords a million times inside your web content. As SiteProNews points out, there are several other Google-approved tactics that you could explore to take your writing a step up and optimize your pages like a pro. For instance, you could start by using natural synonyms for the first and secondary search phrases that you have in mind. By doing so, you could boost the value and readability of your text.

In 2016, when it comes to breathing life into your content strategy, you should remember that phrases and long-tail keywords are much more efficient than overused single words.  As a recent experiment conducted by Moz indicates, the topics that you choose, and the way in which you expand on them could be just as important as the keywords that you integrate to optimize your text.  Along these lines, you should acknowledge that keywords are no longer the core of a successful 2016 SEO strategy; they can be a useful tool that you should use to determine and follow user intent, to make certain that you’re satisfying your readers’ appetite for first-hand content on a regular basis.