Writing for a website is not the same as writing for print media. The audience is different, the rules are different.
People (used to) pay for newspapers, magazines, and once they’ve bought it, you had their full attention. On the internet, you’ve to not only get their attention but keep it.
If you’re planning to start a website/blog of your own or looking to become a digital content writer, below are the most important tips on how to write for websites:
- Headline: You need a headline that captures the attention of your reader right away and piques their curiosity. You might need to write a few to find the one that’s most striking.
- Who are you writing for: Before you start writing, think of a potential reader—what would he expect in that article? Try to provide his answer in a shortest, cleanest way. Write for people, not for search engines
- Create a storyline: Make a note of the most important points you have to cover in this story and form a rough storyline. You should have a clear idea of the points you want to convey through this article. Use subheadings where you can; try to see if you can use a keyword in the sub-head.
- Short sentences: Write in clear, crisp sentences. Never write a sixth word where five are enough. Long paragraphs are for the books. The internet audience is impatient, they only scan the pages, so make it easy for them by keeping the paragraph short—only one or two sentences per paragraph. Better still, try to write in bullet points.
- Improve RoR: The rate of revelation is how quickly you introduce new information through your words. It has to be engaging, educational, and fun to read. Include quotes, stats, and pack the whole punch.
- SEO: Disperse keywords throughout the content—do not force them in sentences
- Subbing: Never submit/publish your work on the same day. After you are done writing an article, take a break, then read it again. Read like your potential audience. While subbing, get rid of any superfluous sentences. Add any information that you feel will benefit the reader. It takes 2-3 attempts to produce a compelling copy.
- Research thoroughly: Refer to at least 3-4 different sources, but don’t stop there. Sometimes I go to more than 20 different pages to be able to create an article of value. Your value depends upon the end product, not how many pages you go through to get there. Produce something of value, something that you will want to read.
- Give credit: If you quote another person or website, don’t forget to mention their name. If possible, link to them.
- Make it different: What are the most common things everyone else is saying about your topic? Forget them. Say something new. Add value. Bring forward your perspective. To find that coveted place among the top results of a Google SERP, your piece has to be better than what’s already out there. A lot of it depends upon your judgement of what information will be best presented to the reader who is looking for the subject of your article.
This is list in not comprehensive, but it’s a good start. The only other thing to know is that you can waste hours staring at that blank document but the words will come only when you start typing.