Web pages and blogs must engage readers. Words must convey ideas, thoughts or perceptions that connect to readers’ lives, circumstances, challenges and dreams. Compelling, persuasive, informative writing that connects to readers doesn’t just flow with “off the top of the head” messaging. Here are a few ways to check your site’s or blog’s content.
1. Pick a page or a posting. Copy the content and paste into Word.
2. Try a few word searches. How many times does “is,” “are,” “have,” or “was” appear? Those are warning signs for weak writing.
3. Try a search for “ly” to get an estimate of how many adverbs are used. More than likely, words with “ly” at the end are adverbs. Adverbs may not be a pariah, but they shouldn’t be used often. Some successful writers (Stephen King, for one) believe adverbs should almost never be used. And for good reason. They are weak.
4. Try the Flesch-Kincaid analysis (in Word, the option resides in “Spelling and Grammar” under “Review” tools). This review will give you a sense of the writing’s grade level and the amount of passive sentence construction. Try to stay at about the eighth-grade level for most writing. And keep your passive construction to a minimum. Also, for sites and blogs, don’t get too hung up on AP Style. While it is “correct,” its rules (like all rules) are made to be broken when done so with purpose.
Those quick tests show you the issues. Invest the time and/or resources to get the copywriting that works.
Remember, your writing should engage your readers by connecting to them, their lives and their circumstances. When you connect and engage, you form a relationship and reveal understanding. Isn’t that what every client or potential customer wants from a business? They want to hire or buy from those who they like and trust (relationship), and are attuned to their needs (understanding). The right words empower relationships, connections and understanding.