So, you’ve written a great piece of content for your website. Congratulations! Oh, you thought you were done? No way. Now, it’s time to optimize your online content. Luckily, we have put together a checklist of the top 50 things you can do to make your article or blog post even better. This step-by-step guide will help you improve every element of your piece of writing. We will help you attract more traffic to your content and convert more customers. You might want to bookmark this article to reference every time you write something new!
Optimize Your Headline or Title
The first step is to optimize your headline or title. Do not skip this step. Your headline is the absolute most important part of any piece of writing. Why? Because if your headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, then they won’t read any of the rest of the article. It’s the first impression your audience is getting, so make it a good one. Here are the most important components of any headline:
1. Audience: Does your headline immediately and directly answer a question or address a need for your target audience?
2. Emotion: Does your headline verbalize or embody one particular emotion?
3. Interest: Does your headline pique your target audience’s interest in a way that will entice them into reading further?
4. Clarity: Does your headline clearly state what the rest of the article is about? Be sure to eliminate any unnecessary words.
5. Intention: Your headline needs to tell your reader exactly what they can expect from your article.
6. Momentum: Make sure your headline keeps the reader interested so they have the momentum to keep reading!
Optimize Your Subheads
The next step is to optimize your subheads. Your subheads, also called heading tags, are important for SEO and also to organize your article for your reader. Your subheads should accomplish the following goals:
7. Connection: Ideally, your subheads should drive home the point made in your headline or reinforce whatever idea you are trying to prove.
8. Qualify: Your subheads should also narrow your audience by adding qualifications.
9. Intensify: Whichever emotion your headline is designed to emit from your audience, your subheads should amplify that emotion.
10. Push: Your subhead should push the reader further into the article to answer a question or find our more information.
11. Scannable: Your subheads should be as evenly spaced as possible in order to break up your text for your reader. Avoid big chunks of text!
12. Benefits: Your subheads should work to further highlight the point of your article, and the benefits of the service or product you are selling.
Include a Value Proposition
A value proposition is what tells your potential customer why they should buy from your company, rather than the competition. Your value proposition needs to have all of the following elements:
13. Unmistakable: If I am reading your writing, I should not have to search for your value proposition. It should be unmistakably prominent within your copy.
14. Desirable: What is desirable about your company or product? Your value proposition should describe whatever that is.
15. Unique: What sets your product or company apart from the competition? What makes you different? The answer to this question should be in your value proposition.
16. Target Audience: Your value proposition should directly address the wants and needs of your target audience.
17. Clear: Your value proposition should be stated as clearly and simply as possible. You want it to be short, sweet, and most of all, memorable.
18. Quantified: Is there data to back up your claim about what makes your company or product the best, most unique, or original? Include data to back up your claim.
Optimize Your Introduction
Every piece of content needs a killer introduction. And no, we don’t mean “Webster’s Dictionary describes optimization as…” Your introduction needs to be original, to the point, and induce the reader into wanting more. Here are the three main elements you need to have in your perfect introduction:
19. Build: Your first sentence of your introduction should continue the momentum from your headline and subhead.
20. Flow: Make sure to keep your introduction smooth, simple, and easy to read. You don’t want to lose readers in your introduction.
21. Body: Does your introduction accurately summarize what will be contained in the rest of your copy?
Optimize Your Conclusion
The end of the story is just as important as the beginning and the middle, if not more so, right? The same goes for any online copy you write. Ask the following questions of yourself regarding your conclusion:
22. Climax: Does your article end on a climax that follows the tone and purpose of the rest of the text?
23. Action: Does your conclusion drive your reader to take your desired action? (See more in the “call to action” section below.)
24. Instructions: Does your conclusion offer easy and realistic instructions on how your reader can complete the call-to-action?
Include a Call-to-Action
Every piece of content you write should incite your reader to take some course of action, whether it’s to purchase your product, book your service, download more content, or something else. Your call to action, also often referred to as the CTA, is a statement that is meant to convince your reader to take your preferred action. Here are the components of every well-written call to action:
25. Singular: It is important that your text contains only one single call to action that is direct and clear. If you have more than one, it confuses your reader and leads to less follow-through.
26. Visible: Though you only have one desired action you want the reader to take, you can include the call to action multiple times on the page. Make sure it is visible and easy to see.
27. Promise: Make sure to promise your reader something within your CTA that fulfills a want or need that they have.
28. Button: Making your CTA a button that allows the reader to simply click it and complete the action makes it more likely for them to complete.
29. Next: Your CTA should tell your reader what to expect next after they click or complete the desired action.
30. Forms: If your reader will need to fill out a form, make sure it is short, sweet, and to the point. (Also, don’t forget to test the form yourself to make sure it really works!)
31. Trust: The CTA should contain a trust certificate, which will ease the anxiety of those who are nervous to convert.
32. Trial: Some companies like to include a trial period for users of their product, which also helps ease the anxieties of some consumers.
33. Guarantee: You can also include a money-back guarantee, which makes customers more likely to buy your product or service.
Consider Your Tone and Voice
Your voice sets a tone for your page. It is essentially how your writing makes your readers feel. The best writing advice out there is to simply write the way you talk. Here are some tips to help you with your voice:
34. Conversational: Keep your tone conversational. You can do so by pretending to speak to another person when you write.
35. You: Use the first person and speak directly to your audience by using the word “you” often.
36. Smooth: If anything sounds weird when you read it out loud from your writing, then delete it.
37. Straightforward: Be sure to avoid any jargon or cliches. Keep your language and word choice simple and straightforward.
Any content you write should contain two different kinds of arguments. The first is logical arguments, which are aimed at changing someone’s mind, and emotional arguments, which target the reader’s heart.
38. Data: Always be sure to provide solid data like facts and statistics to back up your claims.
39. Application: If you do include data in your article, be sure to explain and apply it in relatable, human terms.
40. People: It is always a good idea to include real people or characters in your content to illustrate your points.
41. Verbiage: When your characters take action, try to use vivid verbs to describe what they are doing.
42. Story: Every piece of content should tell a story and include one overarching narrative.
43. Hero: Who is the hero of your story? The answer should be your audience.
44. Heaven vs. Hell: Your story should illustrate the way your product or service can make your audience happy (i.e. heaven) and diminish their troubles (i.e. hell.)
45. Senses: Your copy should include plenty of sensory language about what your audience is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling.
Utilize the Weapons of Influence
Have you ever heard of Cialdini’s Weapons of Influence? These are the five tools that every marketer should use to convert leads into customers. They are:
46. Reciprocity: Your content should provide value for your audience in exchange for you getting them to read your content.
47. Consistency: Your content should consistently ask the same question of your reader.
48. Social Proof: Your text should provide evidence from other customers who are happy with your content, product, or service. This will make your reader more likely to trust you and whatever you are selling.
49. Likability: Your content should use relatable language and humor to that of your audience.
50. Scarcity: Your page should make your reader want what they don’t have, i.e., your content, product, or service.
Time to Optimize Your Online Content!
If you utilize all 50 of these tips to optimize your online content, you can be sure that your content will convert. For help creating content for your website, contact SEO Design Chicago today!
FAQs about How to Optimize Your Online Content:
- What part is the most important piece of my content?
- How do I optimize my headline?
- What are the marketer’s Weapons of Influence?
- How do I write a call-to-action?
- How do I optimize my subheads?