Writing For The Web
By Jeff Hendrickson
Writing is a specialized skill. Although almost anyone can string together sentences, it takes a certain level of training and experience to be able to make those strung--together sentences readable and interesting.
There are many different specializations in writing. You can write prose, news, fiction, etc. Each one of these specializations has its own unique set of rules.
With the rising popularity of the internet, another new specialization in writing has emerged - web writing. Understand the particular style it demands, and you can be assured that the articles you write are optimized for the unique requirements of the Internet..
Here are some tips you should follow for writing on the web:
Be short and direct. Don't meander when you write. Go right to the point. It is more powerful to use simple and direct words than try to impress with four-syllable words that only bog down your article.
Always use the active voice. A passive voice is wordy and awkward. An active voice seems more dynamic and concrete.
Use strong verbs. The stronger the verbs you use, the better you can convey the action in your sentences. Always be aware if you are beginning to use weak verbs and rewrite it using stronger verbs. It will make your sentences more engaging.
Try to use the inverted pyramid style. Online readers usually don't read; they skim or browse. Take note of this reading behavior and consider using the inverted pyramid style usually used for writing news. This style means that you bring all of the important and necessary information in the first couple of paragraphs.
If possible, include your sources. Some readers are a cynical bunch, they will be more skeptical about your article if you do not cite where you got your information. Attributing sources also brings another benefit to your writing: it gives you additional credibility because readers will realize that you are not hiding anything from them.
Use contextual hyperlinking. The structure of articles published on the web is quite unique. An online article must be able to let readers branch off and click their way to different articles that are more detailed and has more content. Another unique quality of writing for the web is that your hyperlinks can point readers to the actual sources of information. Take advantage of this "power over your content by using contextual hyperlinks. Link the URLs to the appropriate keywords, proper names, and phrases.
Break it into readable blocks. A big text block turns off readers. You also have to remember that reading on a monitor is different from reading a book because you scroll down the screen instead of turning a page. Make it easier to read by breaking it into more manageable blocks. Don't forget to format the text properly too. Use bold headers, block quotes and lists as aids in making your text more reader-friendly.
Check your spelling. Text that is full of grammatical and typographical errors look unprofessional and amateurish. Use your word processor's spell checker to find these errors. But don't rely solely on the spell checker. You should double check your work and look for these errors manually.
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