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10 Tips For Better Web Writing
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Better-Web-writingWriting for online readers poses special challenges that print writing doesn’t face.

Some things you need to keep in mind as you’re writing your articles are:

  • People have shorter attention spans when they are reading things online. You need to catch someone’s attention relatively quickly.
  • People have more options for clicking away. They tend to bounce around from site to site, quickly searching for the information that they’re looking for or that catches their attention.
  • Computer monitors are not easy on the eyes. Even if a person wanted to, it is just not that easy to read loads of information on the internet.

With this in mind, here are 10 ways to make your articles web-friendly:

1) Your title should be succinct and tell exactly what your article is about.

Avoid metaphors and clever puns. Remember, a reader is scanning your article title to see if they want to read your article. The easier you make it for a reader to determine the topic of your article, the better.

Can the reader get a good idea what your article is about by reading the first 3 words? That is something to shoot for.

Also remember that some article directories have length limits on titles–another great reason to keep the title from being overly long.

2) Present your main point right out of the starting gate.

When writing your introductory paragraph, get straight to the point. This is a work in progress for many of us who like to wax poetic, but it’s just a matter of disciplining yourself not to ramble, especially at the beginning of your article.

3) Use a word count goal.

If you don’t use a word count goal, the article can very easily get away from you. You might choose to aim for a word count somewhere between 400-800 words. This will help you write with more focus and discipline. You are not just writing indefinitely–you are placing limits on the amount of information you can include and that will help you get straight to the point.

4) Use short paragraphs.

As much as possible, keep paragraphs short and sweet. More line breaks give the reader’s eyes a chance to rest, and it helps a person read your article more easily.

5) Use sub-headings.

The more you can guide a reader through your article, the better. Sub-headings are a great way to delineate sections and topics in your article so that the reader can skim and easily follow the information in your article. Sub-headings should stand apart from the other sentences in your article.

Here’s how:

USE CAPITAL LETTERS IN YOUR SUB-HEADING

OR…

Use Capital Letters Just For the First Letter Of Each Word

OR…

*Put A Star (Asterisk) Before Your Sub-Heading

OR…

=> Put an arrow in front of your sub-heading.

(You can create an arrow by pressing the “equals” key (=) and then the “greater than” key (>)

Also, be sure that your sub-heading has a blank line above and below it–that makes it easier to see.

6) Include list elements.

Lists are hugely popular on the internet, probably because they are easy to skim. An article can contain list elements in the form of steps in a how-to article, or an actual “Top Tips” or “Top Mistakes” type of article.

7) Choose your links carefully.

Multiple links in an article can be distracting, so keep the links to a minimum. Remember, the main link you want the reader to click is the link in your resource box, rather than links in the article.

8 ) Put links after the 3rd paragraph.

Avoid putting links at the beginning of your article–it is distracting. If you must include a link save it for after the 3rd paragraph, when readers have had a chance to get into your article. Also something to consider: Some article directories will decline articles that have links in the first 3 paragraphs.

9) Your article is not a term paper.

Readers are not expecting you to provide every last detail about your topic in every article. When you’re writing articles, think “bite sized morsels” rather than “doctoral thesis”. Choose a subject that is manageable enough to cover in a medium sized article (800 words or less) and include as much information as you can. Provide a good chunk of valuable and unique information in your article, and let the reader click through to your website if they have additional questions. Remember, your article is the appetizer, and your website is the main course.

10) Edit, edit, edit!

Review your article and remove/edit any sentences that are redundant, rambling, or awkward. Â This is where your word count goal is extra helpful–it’s much easier to decide to give a sentence the ax if you’re forcing yourself to stay within a certain word count. Â Every word must earn a place in your article.

Conclusion

In a way, writing for the web requires much more discipline than offline writing. The idea is to quickly catch the reader’s attention, make your article as easy to read as possible, provide valuable information in your article, and also leave them wanting more.


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15 Responses to “10 Tips For Better Web Writing”

  1. Interesting post! I specially agree with the number 4. Short paragraphs gives me the idea that the article consists of tiny pieces that are easy to follow and quick to finish.

    Most of us think we’re going to run out of time while we’re online. To make most of out time, we prefer to spend our time in small chunks here and there. When I see a dozen of small paragraphs, I convince myself to read them, but if there are only two big paragraphs, I feel it’s a lot of text and I simply tend to ignore it.

  2. Good points…like the idea of sub-headings and shorter paragraphs…

  3. Great advice. I usually put up links in the beginning I had many seos say that. But I guess from reader perspective it makes sense to put it after 3rd paragraph

  4. Matt Somers says:

    I am a former subscriber who wants to rejoin.

    Can you tell me how I do this please?

  5. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Matt–we’re glad to welcome you back. We’re contacting you via email to give you the instructions for re-activating your account. Those should reach you soon.

  6. Sean says:

    Short paragraphs getting straight to the point are definitely an easier format to read.

    My golden rule is to always review what I’ve written 24 hours later – even if I rewrite it.

  7. Ann Bell says:

    These powerful tips will make everything I write so much better. This just might be the motivation I need. I’ve delayed article writing for much too long.
    Thanks!

  8. Nice post I have never used a subheading in an article. I am going to start using them and see how how I can work them in.

  9. Dan says:

    I have to be honest, I find most articles of 400-500 words much too short to impart any real in-depth information to be of much interest. They are just glorified advertisements. 800 words is a minimum for me, and 1200 – 1500 much better. Just my opinion.

  10. Uche says:

    Great job. I’m really impressed.

    Thank you so much.

  11. Good article — I didn’t realize you could safely use capitals in headings. I will apply that immediately to my articles. Many thanks.

  12. Gail says:

    Yet another helpful article. I have been attempting to re word many pages on my website for this reason.But still have a problem in that many websites( and articles) are rather lacking in substance.

    So it is a balance between providing real and useful information in a concise way…I hope!I do like headings through an article as you can scan and see if it has the info you are looking for.

    Thanks again

    Gail

  13. Great article with good information. Most publishers however will not publish articles with all caps even if in the subtitles or special characters which will show up as html codes in your article.

  14. Patricia says:

    These are very helpful. Something else that works for me is to read my little masterpiece aloud — tends to reveal all manner of easy-to-fix inadequacies.

  15. Kofi Hagan says:

    Great stuff. I have been reading your materials for a while now – 3 years, and now I am going to us it – big time too!

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