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Writing for the Web – What You Need To Know

Whether it was composing a few reports for the local paper or your final Uni thesis that did it for you – you’re here because you’ve decided to dedicate yourself to your writing. Before you get started writing for online content, though, it’s worthwhile taking a few minutes to consider the qualities which make internet content different from the kind of written work you’re used to. Lucky for you, our article will only take you those few minutes to read! Here, we’ll show you how internet content differs in style and structure from the printed word.

Creating great web copys

Whether it was composing a few reports for the local paper or your final Uni thesis that did it for you – you’re here because you’ve decided to dedicate yourself to your writing. Before you get started writing for online content, though, it’s worthwhile taking a few minutes to consider the qualities which make internet content different from the kind of written work you’re used to. Lucky for you, our article will only take you those few minutes to read! Here, we’ll show you how internet content differs in style and structure from the printed word.

Save the Best for….the Start!

All good stories need an exciting development. When it comes to website content, though, a linear development or storyline is rarely a good idea. If you spread the exciting, important information more towards the end of your article, there’s a good chance that you’ll have lost the majority of your readers before they even get that far. Remember –web content is seldom read word for word to the end. The chances are the article will be skimmed as the reader searches for anything relevant. Most readers use the starts of sentences, as well as bolded font or subheaders as their orientation for finding what’s important.

Smartphones and tablets are increasingly being used to read content online, oftentimes just fleetingly. It’s also usual for the reader’s concentration to give up before the end of the text. Use this knowledge of your readers’ behaviour to your advantage: Put the most important aspects of your text at the start. You can include details later on. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Make sure your first few statements give the reader the answers to fundamental questions.

Keep on the Ball

The saying is truer online than anywhere else: outdated information is useless information. Website owners have the possibility to exchange or update their content with just a few clicks, meaning content which is no longer current doesn’t just look unprofessional and discouraging – it pretty much tells the reader to check out the competition.

Ensuring your content is up to date doesn’t just engage your readers. Since their Freshness Update in 2011, Google prefers websites whose content is regularly updated. The search engine giant works under the assumption that readers will be more interested in, for example, a current review of the latest smartphones, rather than a report composed three years ago. It’s for this reason that you’ll be presented with the latest articles on a search term at the top of the search listings.

Keep it Short

Countless details and flowery descriptions have no place here! When it comes to online content, make sure you make your point! Complex ideas and topics should be summarised in clear, succinct sentences. Endless sentences with overly complex phrasing make your readers work hard. Inevitably, they’ll quickly lose the desire to read your work to the end. Try to make sure you give each thought one clear sentence – this will help you keep your sentences concise.

Use paragraphs to separate and structure the ideas in your article. As much as you want to avoid overly lengthy sentences, you also need to make sure no points are cut too short. Remember that blocks of text tend to repel readers – aim for paragraphs of around 5-7 lines.

Don’t forget the Format: HTML

Help your readers skim your work. The easiest way to do this is by engaging them with visual aids, indicating the most important aspects of the work. Once you get started, you’ll find html a nicely efficient way to format.

  • Use a variety of subheaders to indicate which paragraphs are of most importance.
  • Emphasise relevant expressions: Use Bold or Italics. Underlining passages of text isn’t a great idea, as readers often expect a hyperlink with underlined text, too.
  • Use bulletpoints, lists or even tables to provide a quick overview of detailed information.

If you’ve never heard of html or just want to brush up on your skills, keep your eyes peeled for out up-coming tutorial!

Think Positive

It’s not unusual for clients to request articles written in a positive tone. It’s easy to mistake this request for a pretty dramatic limitation on what you can include in your work, but it’s not. Remember that your readers tend to skim articles, and any negative expressions or words tend to be the ones which stand out most when skim reading. Your readers will likely remember the opposite of what you intended to say. Test it yourself – which sentence leaves the stronger impression on you? This price of this reservation does not cover full board and lodgings OR additional services, such as meals/extra beds, can be added to this reservation.

Bring in useful Links

Don’t feel like you have to give each point an equal amount of detail. Especially if you’re working on an overview-style article, it doesn’t make any sense to go into details. Give your readers the opportunity to research the points they want. Adding hyperlinks to interesting, authoritative articles increases the degree of information in your work. Is there any content which is especially important for your work? Then put it at the start of your article – this way, you’re ensuring the link will be opened.

We hope you’ve found this introduction useful. It goes without saying that you should also double check exactly what the client requests. If they have specific structure requests and don’t want any extra links adding, then these following these requests should be a priority. Clear, succinct phrasing, together with useful, up-to-date information is always important – and remembering this is your key to successful writing online!


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