One of the keys to writing well is to understand your reader. You need to know what they want.
If you’re writing for an online audience, remember that generally people go to websites to get things done. Usually they are looking for something – such as a piece of information, perhaps an idea. They may have a task they are performing or something they are researching. They may have come to your site looking for one part of the puzzle.
This is not always the case, of course. StumbleUpon readers, for example, are typically browsing their way through sites looking for something that interest them or grabs their attention. A lot will depend on the nature of your content.
But by-and-large people go online for a specific reason. They may want to book a holiday, buy a book, find the answer to a problem, or discover how to do something.
This influences the way people write and explains why so many of the most successful blogs have a strong ‘how to’ element to them. It’s clearly seen in the kind of headlines you find on blogs.
I’ve already looked at the subject of headlines, very briefly. It’s something I’ll be returning to again and again, because it is so important in just about every type of writing.