Writing for the internet is not the same as writing for print media. The audience is different, the rules are different.
People pay for newspapers, magazines, and once they’ve bought it, you’ve got their full attention. On the internet, you’ve to not only get their attention but also be interesting enough to keep it.
If you have no idea about how to write for websites, you can start with the rules below:
- Write in clear, crisp sentences.
- Never write a sixth word, where five are enough
- Long paragraphs are for 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
- Use subheadings where you can
- Try to see if you can use a keyword in the sub-head
- Try to write in points, where possible
- Write for people, not for search engines
- 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
- Form a story-line before you start writing and write-down the topics you will cover
- Disperse keywords throughout the content – do not force them in sentences
- Never submit 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.
- Plagiarism is a serious issue. You cannot copy anything from any other website. Sure you will need information but it must be presented in your words and your style.
- Besides, copying another person’s work is just unethical – don’t do it and ruin your reputation/career.
- Always remember the 4 word rule—no more than 3 words in sentence should match any other source on the internet.
- Refer to atleast 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 which you will want to read.
- Give credit where due. If you quote another person or website, mention or link to them.
- To beat the top three results on Google, your article must be better than all of them—meaning it must be more useful for the reader. A lot of it depends upon your judgement of what information will be best presented to reader who is looking for “the topic of your article”
This is list in not comprehensive, but it is a good start. If you know the above rules, you know how to get started with writing an article for the web.
I haven’t even started about SEO yet. There is a lot more to learn.