Showing posts with label writing tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing tips. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

5 Rules to Create User-friendly Web Content that Delivers

User-friendly_Web_Content_Neha_Agrawal_Blog
When a web user lands on your website through organic search, he/she would be browsing through many websites simultaneously. So, you would have very less time at hand to captivate their interest and make them browse through your text. If you want your content to communicate your intended message and give you the desired ROI, but have been wondering how to achieve this feat, we have cracked the code for you.

Rules You Should Follow to Create User-friendly Web Content

1.    Most important information should stay on the top – Being a writer you would be tempted to go verbose, and feel like giving a detailed introduction and a build-up before actually diving into the topic. But, if this sound likes you, hold your guns right now. Web content writing is different from Academic writing, and it’s important to get to the point in the beginning itself; so that your readers remain interested. You can then tell readers that going forward they can expect other useful details (tips, details, related information, etc.). basically, follow the Inverted Pyramid Approach.

2. Know your audience – The key to writing effective content is knowing:

·         Who are you writing for?
·         What are their problems and areas of concern?
·    What would interest your audience more – a detailed technical know-how of the solution or just the fact that you have a solution (just explaining your process, advantages, and that you can provide a solution)
·   Whether you have the expertise and knowledge to impart value to your target audience through your content?

3.    Address the Pain Points of Your Audience -  Let your audience know in the beginning itself how your service can resolve their woes, or how your product can change the way they work. People are always looking for a solution, and if you can address their problem spot on, your readers would be more than interested in reading your solution.

4.    Write for Scanners – 90% of the web users don’t read the entire content. What they do is glance through the page, scan the title and headings, and click on a link that vaguely matches their search criteria. Therefore, use –

·         Headlines which best describe your content
·         Appealing Images which also communicate your message
·         Add a lot of easy-to-scan bulleted points
·         Indentation and page breaks wisely

5.    Serve Your Content on a Platter – Web users are spoilt for choice, and they can really afford to be lazy and not put in an effort to read your text. So, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your text is easy to consume. Hint – presentation is the key.

·         Use captivating headings – H1, H2, H3, H4
·         Write small paragraphs – 3-4 sentences at a maximum
·         Write small sentences – 12-15 words on an average
·         Avoid jargons, complicated words and passive voice, as you may not really want them to sit with a dictionary while reading your page
·         Avoid redundant and generic lines


I can vouch from my experience that practicing these rules can help you get a better response for your pages. Give these rules a try, and comment below if you practice some other rules which have improved your web content and made it user-friendly. 

Love and Live, 
Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

15 Crutch Words that Can Ruin Your Well-framed Sentences

Crutch_Words_Can_Ruin_Sentences_WriterCommits_Neha_Agrawal_Blog.PNG

Read a very nice write-up in Dictionary.com about common 6 fillers in the English language, and I can totally relate to it. I have come across many people who like to use crutch words or fillers in their sentences. Not only is the excessive usage of these words distracting, but also takes away the essence of your content, and makes it sound unpolished.

Some of the notorious fillers I have come across are:
  1. Actually

  2. Basically

  3. Literally

  4. Really

  5. Apparently

  6. Obviously

  7. Honestly

  8. Like

  9. So

  10. To be fair

  11. You Know

  12. I mean

  13. You Know

  14. Kind of

  15. Hmm..
I am sure you would agree that using these words repetitively in the sentence can get amusing for the listeners or readers, and mar your credibility as a writer or speaker.

If you also have come across any other such crutch words, leave a comment below and share your experiences.

Happy learning!

Love and Live,

Neha Agrawal

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Tips to Extend Your Content’s Lifespan & Get Rid of Orphan Content

orphan content - writercommitsMost of us believe when we say that CONTENT IS THE KING!

That’s the reason why most of the organizations today, whether big or small, are under tremendous pressure to create more and more content than ever before. Instead of maximizing each content effort, marketers and businesses focus more on one-off content efforts catering to their current needs rather than looking for a long-term content ROI. Being stuck on a non-stop content generation treadmill, organizations tend to lose the wisdom, time, and resources to focus on existing content, which can be put to better use by re-purposing.

The flip side of all this labor that we don’t recognize is – generation of copious amounts of ORPHAN CONTENT!

So what is Orphan Content?

To put it into simple words, any piece of content left unused and unnoticed after its initial publication and promotion (may or may not) is known as Orphan content. Here are few characteristics of orphan content:

  • Like an orphan, your orphan content doesn’t have any internal or external links that can support it in the time of need

  • Like an orphan, your content doesn’t get any regular updates, making people forget its existence

  • Like an orphan, your orphan content isn’t invited to any social gatherings! Being not promoted or curated through social media, it soon becomes out of sight and out of mind


7 Tips to Get Rid of Orphan Content and Expand Your Content’s lifespan

All marketers, writers, and business owners will unanimously agree that reusing and repurposing an old content is far easier than generating an equally appealing fresh piece of content. If you believe that you had written a wonderful piece of content which worked wonders when it was first published, it’s time to ensure that it doesn’t become orphan, and is reused to increase its longevity and further generate ROI.

  1. Reschedule social media and newsletter promotions for any content you publish. Also, add it to your content promotion calendar to republish the link after few weeks so that the audience don’t forget about it. In case of email newsletters, suppress recipients who already opened it.



  1. Conduct regular content audit and update your content at regular intervals by adding most recent and relevant information.



  1. Use diverse media channels and platforms to infuse new life into the Orphan content. Republish your existing content by turning it into an infographic, PPT, Slideshare, image, video, etc. to generate eyeballs.



  1. Republish your blog post / content for appropriate audience at regular intervals. If you publish loads of content on a daily basis and your website has recently witnessed an upswing in online traffic, it’s the right time to republish your orphan content, so that new visitors who haven’t seen the old stuff can see it afresh. Also, it will be a great refresher for the existing clients.



  1. Hire a content curator who knows how to promote existing content, and different ways in which it can be done. Additionally, the person should have sound understanding of the market, audience type and their requirements, and content positioning.



  1. Repackage, curate, re-envision your existing content to transform it into something new by adding new text, process diagrams, workflow, statistics, charts, video, audio, and images, etc.



  1. Translate your existing orphan content to different global languages to expand its reach


Like children, your content also needs constant care and support to ensure that it exceeds expectations and brings in its true ROI. Try these 7 tips to give a new life to your orphan content and extend its lifespan.

Live and love,

Neha Agrawal

 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Innovate Your Content Marketing Strategy with 4 R's Principle

[caption id="attachment_171" align="alignleft" width="300"]4 R's Principle-Writercommits Innovate Your Content Marketing Strategy![/caption]

"Content is the king", is something we all keep hearing lately; and to be honest, no content marketer or writer ever complains when someone repeats this fact to them! Content creators and not merely writers, they are the marketers turning brands into revenue generating machines with beautifully woven pearls of wisdom.

Like every marketer in the business, content marketers also need to constantly innovate their content strategy, which means creating new content. However, always remember that 'old is gold', and it makes more sense to infuse some freshness into the old content and give it a new lease of life, rather than working from scratch on an entirely new idea, which may take more time and efforts!

The trick lies in following 4 R's principle (this principle doesn't exist in the books, but is something I believe in, and follow, in short, coined by me)

4 R's Principle

Rebrand - I am sure you have heard of the phrase, "Old wine in new bottle", and that's exactly what you have to do! Stay updated, connect with the Gen Z, learn about their likes and dislikes, this will help you address your content to the newer audience and make your rebranding efforts a success.

Reuse – Ever wondered that your old whitepaper can be split into 4-5 distinct articles? Reuse your old content by rephrasing and repackaging it, and publish it across diverse platforms and social media.

Remodel – Are you inspired by a brand and their style, and wished you could do something like that? Here you go! Remodel your old content on the lines of something you fancy, you will get a brand new content flow that's an extension of your own style.

Relax - This is the last resort, when nothing seems to work. Take a break, go on a ride, do painting, fishing, or anything you are passionate about. This will give you a chance to unwind, and let your creative juices resurface. Then you will be able to plan for a complete overhaul or revamp of your content strategy from the square one.

Live and love,

Neha Agrawal

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

6 Common Misconceptions about Copywriters

6-common-misconceptions-about-copywriters

What People Think Copywriters Do

  1. Copywriting is only about writing, and copywriters just write



  1. Copywriters write for websites, brochures, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Billboards, etc.



  1. Ability to advertise even the most boring product is the most important quality a copywriter can have



  1. Copywriters need to talk to diverse groups of people



  1. Copywriters use words to sell



  1. Copywriters create advertisements


What Copywriters Actually Do

  1. Copywriters use words, to make an idea come alive.



  1. Copywriters just need a medium to convey their thoughts, but they are not bound by any of those mediums!

  2. Understanding people and their emotions, is the most important quality that a copywriter has!



  1. Copywriters know how to find the right words that strike a chord among different ethnicities. It’s a different thing that they may not know how to speak different languages!



  1. Copywriters use words to create brands, and make people feel good about them!



  1. Copywriters create advertisements that connect with people; make them smile, cry, laugh, and beam with pride!


Words become potent in the hands of people who know how to use them. Use your words wisely.

Happy Writing!

Neha Agrawal.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Writing lessons from the Indian Festival of Colors

 

Writercommits - Writing lessons from the Indian Festival of ColorsAs soon as we hear the word “festival”, our heart gets filled with joy and profound happiness, as festivals signify celebration and family time. Festivals give us the much-needed break from our monotonous hectic schedules and mundane tasks, and allow us to be with our near and dear ones, and do the things we love to do, or are rather longing to do.

There is a popular Indian festival of colors, called HOLI, which is celebrated every year around February or March with great fervor. It’s quite similar to the Spain’s “La Tomatina Festival”, with the difference that it’s played using organic / artificial colors in India, rather than tomatoes!

We can learn a lesson or two from everything in life, and Holi is one such festival that not only spreads happiness but can also help us become a better writer.

5 Things to Learn from Holi:

1. Embrace unity - Holi soaks everyone in the colors of life; be it children or adults, and unites people irrespective of their caste, creed or financial status. Write a content that is universal in appeal and unites people, rather than creating boundaries or anguish among communities (stay clear of cultural stereotypes while writing).

2. Use all possible colors – Imagine wearing one color all your life! Life becomes boring if it is monotonous, and so does writing. Add different colors to your writing by displaying different emotions in the written word. Be informative, add suspense, sprinkle a touch of humor, preach a little, and be silly sometimes.

3. Organic is the way to go – Artificial colors ruin your skin, and that’s what plagiarized content does to your reputation. Be organic in your thoughts, though you can seek inspiration for writing.

4. Be unpredictable – The charm of holi lies in its unpredictability. You never know when someone is going to splash color on your face, throw water or give you an impromptu hug. Similarly in writing, you started losing it the moment your readers start making predictions about your next topic. Surprise your readers, and offer them content they were not expecting out of you.

5. Have Fun – Last but not the least, have fun while writing just like you enjoy celebrating festivals. Don’t write just because you have to, but because you love doing it, and you will end up creating your best work!

Happy writing,

Neha Agrawal.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

15 Tips To Become A Better Writer in 45 Days

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="290"]Image 15 DIY tips to become better writer[/caption]

Even as a child, I was intrigued by the written word, so much so that it looks as if I have been reading and writing since ages now. While growing up, I remember reading stories that transcended me to a dream land where fairies & flowers were my friends, and stars lit up my room. Books soon became my best friends, as they answered everything I was searching for. They made me smile, feel sad, anxious, joyous all at once, and helped me learn life’s most important lessons while familiarizing me with the world and worldly manners.

Since then, I have realized the beauty of words and the power they command, and harbored a secret desire to be able to write like one of the several writers I cherished reading. I am not sure if I am there yet, but certainly over the years my writing has tremendously improved. I am better with words now, and know what it takes to polish ones writing skills. So, if you aspire to do wonders with your pen, you have landed up at the right place.

Why reinvent the wheel when I have already figured out 15 tips that can help you improvise your writing skills in 45 days.

1. Read – You are what you read! Everyone needs inspiration for writing, including you. Read work of writers you admire, and over the time, their excellent writing style will rub off onto you

2. Write What You Read - In the beginning you may have difficulty in starting off. So, start writing in long hand, what you read from your favorite writer. It will help you get into the flow and develop your own unique writing style

3. Get Started - Quoting Mark Twain, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Just take a pen and paper or your laptop and start scribbling for at least 30 minutes daily; you will find noticeable difference in your writing and new found confidence with words in less than 20 days

4. Meet the Deadline - Writing every day is a must to achieve your dream. Make a realistic deadline (say, 500 words by 3.00 PM) and make sure the deadline is met

5. Experiment – Keep a writing pad ever ready, and put down your thoughts on paper as soon as you get an idea. Then experiment by presenting your idea in different styles, voices, and words

6. Avoid Repetition - Learn different words and their usages, and try using those words while writing. You can even edit your previous articles by using new words

7. Learn the Rules - Good writing follows pre-determined rules. Learn those rules, and then learn when and how to break them

8. Avoid Loquacity – Follow Professor Stunk’s golden words: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

9. Use Vocabulary - Make the best use of your vocabulary, and use thesaurus to learn new words and their meanings

10. Don’t Edit the First Draft - Creating and editing are two separate processes that use different grey cells, so don’t mix the two. Never edit while creating your first draft, and feel free to express your thoughts without someone (including you) judging what you are writing. Better, switch off your monitor while typing, as you can’t edit what you can’t see

11. Ctrl S and F7 – Make a habit of pressing Ctrl S (save) as soon as you finish a line or paragraph to make sure your hours of work is saved. Also, don’t forget to hit F7 (spell-check tool) to auto-detect grammatical and language errors

12. Read out Aloud – Errors and awkward sentences come to life when you read them aloud. It even highlights the errors that slipped out of your mind in the initial edit or spell check

13. Grammar - Punctuation, correct use of commas, and periods is essential. Remember, Let’s Eat Mom? Punctuations regulate your thought flow, and can leave your text confusing when not used judiciously

14. Relax – You may be ignoring obvious errors if you are used to editing your written text just after writing. Set aside your write-up for a day or two before editing. Trust me, you will be able to look at the write-up with a fresh pair of eyes, and find errors that earlier seemed non-existent

15. Take Criticism in Your Stride – You can’t become a Stephen King or Jeffery Archer in a month or so. They too had to labor a lot to develop a distinct style of their own. While you will certainly better your writing if you write regularly for 45 days and follow mentioned above tips, but do seek opinions of fellow writers or friends on what they think about your writing. Don’t get upset or offended if the criticism is harsh, but use it constructively to amend your mistakes. Trust me, it works

Making mistakes is not always bad, as, to err is human. But you need to at least get started to commit those errors. So, start writing and commit mistakes, because even they will teach you a lesson or two!

Happy Writing,

Neha Agrawal.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Need Inspiration for Writing?

writercommits-writing inspiration

Motivational gurus are prospering because we all seek motivation and a little push to achieve unbelievable heights. Inspiration is great form of motivation that encourages us to try something new that can in turn inspire others and satiate our creative instinct.

Writers often suffer from writer’s block, and seek inspiration in some form or another.  Often we are stuck at finding a suitable title for our post, or are uncertain on what line to start our essay with.

If you are suffering from writer’s block, it’s time to chill, grab your IPod, and listen to your favorite song/songs! Yes, you heard it right, trust me, it will work!

Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Now forget the song, and turn that line into the title or inspiration for your post.

Writing is not as difficult as it may look! Give it a try at least.

 Live and love,

Neha Agrawal.

10 Things to Do – Before You Start Writing

10 things to do before you start writing

Writing and Blogging is a great trend, which is fast picking up in people irrespective of their age, gender, or location. These days I see a lot more people coming out of their cocoon and giving the world a glimpse of their thoughts.

Netizens are sharing info about their personal experiences, food recipes, books they like to read, places they visited or want to visit, movies they loved or hated, and everything that is happening around them, which is pretty cool to read. It helps me understand people better and get a tab on what’s going on in my surroundings. However, this is not the reason why I am highly appreciative of this trend.

I admire writing and blogging as it allows people to share something they are really good at, all for free! That’s my idea of sharing knowledge and happiness with others, and paying back to the society we live in. I am sure that you must be excellent in your own area, and can contribute in a bigger and better way to the society by penning your thoughts and sharing your work tricks that always click with your boss.

I admire and encourage people to write, but not rap their keyboards as if they had participated in some NaNoWriMo. If you are planning to give your writing ambitions an air, following tips will surely do you some good, have a look:

 10 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Start Writing:

1.      Do Your Homework - Never publish anything and everything that comes to your mind, plan on what you need to write, and ask yourself, “whether it is worth writing”.

2.      Cut The Crap – It’s easy to stray from the topic and deviate while you start writing. So, stay focused and to-the-point.

3.      Keep The Interest of Your Audience In Mind – Sharing your thoughts on FB is different from writing a full-fledged informative article. Understand what your audience expects out of you, and cater to their needs.

 4.      Decide on the Tone - Decide the feel and tone of your write-up based on the reactions you want to generate; Generic, Informative, Persuasive or Negative.

 5.      Decide on The Length – This one is tricky. Some readers won’t like reading long posts while some will find them highly researched and thoughtful. So, follow the middle-path and keep your post around 350-400 words.

 6.      Check Punctuation and Grammar – This is what separates a mediocre piece of writing from the one that is appreciated by people.

 7.      Pay Heed to Formatting and Indentation – Your readers can forgive you for this if you are giving quality information, but it hampers readability. So, it’s always better stick to correct format and indentation to ensure better readability.

 8.      Proofread once, and forget about the Article for a Day or Two – After you finish writing, proofread it once, but DO NO PUBLISH. Right now, you won’t be able to find mistakes as the article is still fresh in your mind, you will jump through the errors, so give that article a break.

 9.      Go Through the Article Afresh – Go through that article with a fresh pair of eyes, I am sure you will end up doing some editing now.

 10.  Hit Spell Check Before You Publish – Once you have proofread your article for the second time, just hit the spell check to ensure it’s free from spelling mistakes, and your article is ready to be published.

Hope these tips will help you in creating a perfect write-up. Please share your views and suggestions on these tips, and other things you feel should be taken care of while writing. Your feedback is always welcome.

Live and love,

Neha Agrawal.