I’m wrapping up the book, Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and while it’s a great guide for anyone who works with content writers, or websites in general, there is one section of the book that has struck me: The Web Writer.
Halvorson explains that the web writer is much more than a copywriter. She says:
“Your web writers need to have the skill and talent to write content that’s engaging, persuasive, and clear. And that is a rare and valuable skill. Which makes it difficult to find.”
Beyond this, Halvorson goes on to say (and I agree) that the role of the web writer is much more faceted then writing pretty sentences. In fact, the role of the web writer must include an understanding of:
Web usability – content writers need to understand how people use websites, where they want to find information, and what information they want to find.
Search Engine Optimization – sign, groannnn. Still, a basic understanding of SEO is necessary for a web writer to write words that are interesting and engaging, but that also get your business found.
Metatags – While not a necessity, it’s incredibly helpful for your web writer to employ metatags. This is especially true of they will be publishing your content in addition to writing it.
Industry writing standards – Writing for the web is different. It’s concise and pushes boundaries. Having a web writer that understand this more than the need for fluffy marketing speak will make all the difference to your visitors, customers, and your bottom line.
Functionality – Your web writer must understand the way your website will work, or does work. Without a knowledge of what each section’s purpose is and what the end goal should be, they cannot write effective content.
Publishing – Again, not necessary, but helpful. Either your web writer will be your publisher, or they should at least understand the proper format to send content to the publisher in order to make it easy for them and to save time.
So, the next time you are looking for a web writer, or receive a proposal from a web writer, consider everything this person should know in order to give you the best content for your business. It takes skill and creativity to be a copywriter. It takes skill, creativity, and a host of technical knowledge to be a web writer.