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Writing Tips for the Webmaster

Copyright Beth Morrow  - All Rights Reserved


With more and more real-life businesses venturing online to establish an internet presence, it makes sense for the traditional working writer to know the basics of writing for the web.

Though writing for the web may incur a few new learning curves, the actual word crafting that goes into each assignment should not. Grammar, punctuation, correct spelling, accurate research and credible sources are musts—possibly even more so—because you may not only be the content writer but the editor as well. With the fast-paced nature of the web, a few thousand people may view your article from the moment you post it to the time you can get back to correct it. Do the hard work upfront to maintain your professional edge and image at all times.

With that said, here are a few additional elements to keep in mind as you undertake writing for the web.


Web surfers are not nearly as patient as hard copy readers (though they may certainly read in both formats) when it comes to getting to the good stuff. Tight, crisp editing and important elements at the beginning of a piece show a respect for the reader’s time. Sure, someone will spend five solid minutes reading an editorial from the New York Times or a how-to article for something they need to fix soon, but those readers go online searching specific content. If you’re not yet established and don’t yet have a following, shorter posts on multiple topics (or sub-topics within a main topic) will not only build your readership by keeping readers engaged, they’ll be more likely to invite those readers to return.

White Space and Chunks

Sounds like the name of a really bad punk band from the 1990s, but simply put, readers read internet and hard copy very differently. Print readers are used to large passages with few line breaks or white space on the page. However, writing for the web is much more than just cutting and pasting a 500-word article and posting it to the web. Lots of white space gives web writing visual appeal and a chance for the reader to digest what they’re reading. For this reason, keep your textual chunks fairly small on the web page for maximum impact. Since you’re going to be writing passages in smaller chunks, editing for tightness will become extremely important. Don’t waste your words.

Other Important Visual Elements

In addition to using white space as your friend by chunking text, there are other visual text elements that lend power and punch to your online passages. Online readers do not necessarily surf in order to lose themselves in the experience of reading like book readers do. Rather, they come to the internet for a quick hit of news, sports and information that fits in their time frame. (The exception is ebook readers, but this article is geared toward copy and content writers). They need news, they need it now, and they need it in the most simple and streamlined manner that they can get it. Give them the key facts of the article with:

--bullet points

--sub headlines

--easy-to-skim text

--regular/frequent content updates


Any good English or Reading teacher can share with you the value of good graphics and photographs in any type of writing. Readers are drawn to photographs, and often look to pictures and graphics before reading to judge their interest level. Most readers have a general expectation of an article (online and print) after seeing the accompanying photos, and some will even use the photo to help cement the article content in their mind.

For this reason, make sure to use graphics and photos that meet specific criteria:

--relate the photo to the content in some way (if not, readers will feel cheated)

--use only clear graphics and photos. If the photo is in any way fuzzy or indiscernible (unless that is the intention of the photo), readers may turn away from the article on a subconscious level and you’ll lose their reading interest as a result

--if using photographs of people, be sure the subjects seem approachable and not cold, judgmental or angry. We react to the faces in photographs the same way we do to faces in real-life, and if your article is accompanied by an uninviting picture, chances are your copy will not have the impact you’d like it to have

Know Some SEO

You don’t need to be a Search Engine Optimizer, or SEO expert, to understand that web searches pull up pages based on the relevance of their popularity and content to the term being searched. It isn’t necessary to have a vast knowledge on SEO keywords and phrases in general, but use common sense when writing your article to match keywords directly to your content. SEO isn’t all about selling, it’s about maximizing exposure (which can lead to selling).

This list wasn’t put together in any particular order, but SEO was listed last for a reason: writing should be for people first and web searches second. If you write the best, most fabulous keyword-rich content but don’t engage or interest the reader, what’s the point?

Knowing that writing for the web differs from writing for print is half the battle in tailoring your content for readers across venues. As you did with writing when you started, practice and practice again until you’re comfortable with your work. If words come easily, consider venturing out into the world of web writing.


About the Author: Beth Morrow loves writing for web, print and any other medium that will take her. You can find recent examples of her work in and at www.DiabetesHealth.com, Camp Business Magazine and soon in the Romance Writers Report. When she isn’t writing, she’s busy keeping up her blogging addiction at her blog for writers: www.writer-in-progress.blogspot.com.






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