online contentI hear it over and over again: Content is king. Google loves content. You know why? People love good content. If it’s not good, no one is going to read it. If no one is reading it, what’s the point of writing your blog?

Writing good content doesn’t have to be hard. Sure, not everyone is a writer, but just like other crafts, practice makes perfect and tools are available literally right at your fingertips.

Are you ready to improve your online content? Start with these five simple steps.

1. Know how to write effective web content.

The guidelines are basic, but they’re different from other writing styles. Use short sentences. Write short paragraphs. Use subheads. These rules all make it easier to read content on a screen. Get to the point quickly. People get bored quickly and can easily exit out of your page. Keep them engaged by getting your point across quickly.

2. Find a writing style you love.

Then make it your own. I’m not saying to copy someone else’s writing – copying is bad. Chances are that you’ve read someone’s writing that you love. Find a way to create your own style.

Very few people are completely unique; they learn from others and pick up things from other writers. Maybe it’s an author’s word choice. Maybe it’s the way they break up sentences that makes it easy for you to read. Maybe it’s that they come up with the best ideas ever. Whatever it is, make it work for you. There’s a reason that you read a certain author’s work. Make people see that reason in your writing.

3. Read a lot.

In high school, part of required reading for a class I took was Stephen King’s On Writing. My biggest takeaway from this book comes down to one sentence: “Read a lot and write a lot.” When you read a lot, you’re exposed to many different styles, words and ideas. There are thousands of blogs and news outlets online and plenty of chances to read.

If you read something you agree with, write about it. Don’t copy it – write about it. Give your opinions on it. Include a link to where you found it. Your reader will trust that you know what you’re talking about and have done your research. If you disagree with something, give your opinions. What would you do differently? There’s always room for engagement here.

4. Make sure it looks good.

It’s no secret that people like things that look pretty. We’re visual people. Make sure that the images look good. You don’t want them stretched so big that they’re pixelated or smushed together to fit in a certain spot. Headings make the text easier to read, but make sure they break up the text correctly.

5. Give your readers a reason to read your work.

If you’re doing all of the above, you’re on the right track. People will stop reading if they’re not getting anything out of your blogs. Find interesting content to write. Stay consistent. Once you find your style, stick with it because the people who like it will stay with you. If people start reading your writing because they like the sarcastic comment you make at the end, that comment better be there on each post. Engage people. Make them have feelings and opinions.

Test out what works for you and what doesn’t. There are many other ways to approach content but by starting here, you’ll hone in on basic skills and will be aware of what else there is on that big world wide web.