Important skills to consider when hiring a website content writer

8 top skills of a professional website content writer

A successful entrepreneur knows when to delegate roles and when not to. As a business owner, one key ingredient for success is giving your business an online presence. Building a website can help boost your marketing efforts as well as revenues. This is a process that requires a number of personnel working towards one common goal; making sure that your website is bringing customers.

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Apart from UX experts and website developers, you need to have a professional content team. Content development is what will take the bulk of time in any website development process. Actually, after settling on a design, it is important to start developing content right away so that the website development process can move faster and smoother.

Here is a checklist of key skills every website content developer must have:

Professional content writer skill #1: Good grammar

The first skill you may want to look for in a content writer is good grammar. Writing is all about communication, and bad grammar puts your brand credibility on the line. In addition, it is important to ensure that your content writer understands your preferred writing style. Some words are, for instance, spelt differently in American English and British English. The type of English used to update your website content should appeal to the geographic location of your target audience. To ensure that the writer has used the right format, avail your company stylebook or let them know in advance the format you prefer for your website.

However, there are some universal grammar mistakes that cannot be forgiven. These include the improper usage of close words such as their vs there, your vs you’re, possessive ‘s and plural, as well as the wrong usage of tenses and consistent voice.

Professional content writer skill #2: Originality

Duplicate content affects your website visibility on search engines. This is why small business owners and professional writers invest in plagiarism checkers and content audit tools. It is hard to tell whether an article has been plagiarized or not by just skimming through. Even the most experienced Linguist can fail to detect a product of good spinning. You can use plagiarism checkers such as Grammarly and Copyscape or other free online plagiarism checkers to check post originality.

However, some modern writers are experts at spinning content in order to produce a lot of content with minimal effort. Always ask for references and cross-check with the copy you are receiving to see if it is a product of unprofessional writing practices.

It is essential to also note that apart from outright duplicate content, generic content will also place you at the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP). This is because what you are offering is already being offered by more established competitors.

Professional content writer skill #3: Research skills

From establishing the purpose of the website to determining the website persona, research remains at the core of every content writing assignment. In addition, great research skills enable the writer to have a thorough understanding of the industry they are writing for. This will not only help them with critical phrases to use in their copy but also give them an easy time when developing the copy. If someone writes about an industry or niche they have limited knowledge about, they may end up writing things that do not make sense or are inaccurate.

Professional content writer skill #4: Creativity

Creativity is about looking at something from a different angle. In addition, a creative writer has the ability to write about a wide range of topics. And this is what differentiates your brand and eventually gives you an edge in an increasingly competitive world. A lot of people don’t know exactly what they want. In addition, creativity will help the writer to gauge the user intent and produce an enticing copy that everybody will want to click.

Think about your window shopping experiences. You visit a market then see something attractive in one of the shops but the shopkeeper is not interested to talk to you. The chances of buying that product are minimal. However, if the shopkeeper sees you looking at his/her wares and approaches you with a smile and ‘This one is imported from…’, ‘This shoe matches with your trouser …’, or ‘This TV uses modern technology and comes with inbuilt free-to-air channels,’ you are likely to become interested suddenly and even make a decision to buy immediately or later.  In the same way, a professional website content writer is creative enough to know how to phrase and place calls to action to entice visitors to take action.

Professional content writer skill #5: SEO skills

Think about the entire search experience. You need to buy essential oils for aromatherapy. What would be the related results? This could be scented candles and an aromatherapy oil diffuser.  When you open the Google search box and start typing, it is possible that these other related searches will show up. Related keywords are no longer what they used to be. SEO writers should be able to travel through the mind of the target website visitor and find all the keywords they may use to search for the products or services a website is marketing. Good SEO skills ensure that your website is found by the people you are targeting with your products.

Professional content writer skill #6: Persuasion skills

The main goal of having a website is to sell. Even if you don’t intend to gain financially from it, what you are doing at the end of the day is selling. You can be selling your brand, your services, products, a concept or information. As such, the presentation of such a brand, service, product or concept should be persuasive enough to prompt action from the target audience.

The first sales tool in any online business is the content. A well-written piece of content attracts people to your website, product or service and also persuades website visitors to perform some specified task. These could include signing up for a newsletter, downloading a file, buying, asking for a quote on your website or even sharing with friends. Your website content writer should have enough persuasion skills to help you to achieve this goal.

Professional content writer skill #7: Team player

Content writers don’t work in isolation. At best, a medium to a large company has an SEO team, developers, sales and marketing and finance teams. He/she should be able to work within the given timeframe and budget, and according to the requirements given as well as the overall website theme. If the SEO team has provided a keyword map for each page, the content must be properly optimized for the right keywords without any cases of keyword cannibalization. The graphics designers and marketers may want copies written for their projects and campaigns. The writer should be able to step in ad provide the right copy. And in case they want graphics to go with the content written, or a page requires an infographic, they should be able to communicate clearly with the relevant team for the best result.

Professional content writer skill #8: Editing skills

Readability is very important in online writing. It is one thing to write in good grammar, and it is another to write in a clear manner. A good website content writer knows which words to use, where to put pauses and stops. The length of sentences and paragraphs, as well as the overall flow of ideas and harmony between sentences and paragraphs, contribute to readability. Every page, article or status update should be able to appeal to a novice as well as an expert in your industry.

The content should be progressive, starting from one point, building curiosity and ending at the right point. In addition, the content should be clear enough to ensure that the website visitor gets the intended message when they go through the write-up.

In conclusion, a content writer is a professional who wears many hats. He/she is first a good writer, an editor, a researcher, a good communicator, a team player, a salesperson and also someone who can see past the seen. They can see the motivations of every target website visitor as well as changing trends and prepare that content not only for current needs but also for future needs.