20 December 2013 Guest Contributor

Everyone can write on the web, but there are seven common problems business owners have when they put their fingers to the keyboard. Great online content writers don’t make these mistakes, so take a page from their web writing book of tricks.

Mistake #1: Not knowing your audience

Numero uno, you must always write for your reader and to do that you must know who is reading your content. Who is your target market; your ideal customer? These are the people who you want to engage with, who will share your content and, ultimately, buy your products. 

Mistake #2: Writing only for search

Search engines should always come second. Your reader comes first, so write like you are talking to your best friend. In saying that, writing effectively for the web does include writing for search. So learn some basic SEO skills such as keywords, meta data, title tags and alt tags. 

Mistake #3: Boring copy with no value

You are writing more than just bland words on a page - it must add value - so give your readers info they don’t know, share industry news or tell them a story. Web content is about creating a connection and having a conversation. According to TMG Custom Media, 78 per cent of consumers believe businesses that provide custom-written content want to build good relationships. 

Mistake #4: Not building trust

Your cred is everything. No one has the experience and knowledge you have and that’s how you can build trust and credibility among your readers and potential customers. Give away your knowledge, be authentic, write often, educate and inform, reply to comments and simply be of genuine help.

Mistake #5: Writing your own content

Many people think that they have to write their own web content. And, yes, you should because no know knows your biz better than you, right? Just like you would take your car to a mechanic, ghost bloggers and writers are worth the investment if it means saving your sanity.

Mistake #6: Doing nothing at all

Biggest. Mistake. Ever. Businesses that don’t have an online profile will win lots of new customers, generate leads and boost business through the roof – said no one ever. Having an online presence means you have the advantage of being a “global” business from your own backyard.  It’s the way of the world, with eMarketer research reporting we spent $118.4 billion on content marketing, video marketing and social media this year.

Mistake #7: Copying other people’s work

One word – don’t. It's plagiarism and it’s stealing. Content creation can be very simple. Just look at your business frameworks (write a “How to” piece) and customers (answer their questions) for ideas. 

Elizabeth Campbell is a passionate and professional online content writer, journalist, editor and owner of EC Writing Services - content marketers who specialise in online content writing that's informative, educational and valuable.