Principles of Web Writing: 10 Important Tips and Tricks
Web writing is not the same as writing offline. It requires a specific strategy, which includes a set of rules that are unique to the Internet. These principles of web writing are practiced knowingly or unknowingly by good writers but it is important to list them down so that those who are new to web content writing know what is important and what is not.
We have made a list of 10 principles that will help you optimize your web writing and help you reach your target audience better. Some of these tips and tricks might already be familiar to you but by making sure that you follow all the 10 principles listed here, you are almost ensuring your success when it comes to online marketing. We say ‘almost’ because in spite of adhering to these tips and tricks, you still need to write professional & research your topics well. That is something that cannot be stressed enough.
No matter how well an article is formatted and optimized for the web, if it does not provide useful information or if it does not engage or entertain the reader, then it is not of much use. Thus, make sure you are writing awesome content and also following these 10 tips & tricks.
- Post consistently
Writing great content is awesome. However, if you are not posting it in a consistent manner, then it is awful for your content marketing strategy. It is recommended that you follow a routine and post a certain number of posts at the same time.
Whether you are posting half a dozen articles everyday or you are posting one blog post every week, make sure that there is a certain rhythm to it and stick to that rhythm. This helps readers to expect new content and when they do visit the web page, they will not be unpleasantly surprised to see nothing new or several more than what they expected.
- Do not leave certain pages blank
We have noticed that many websites often have empty pages. A link might lead to a page that only has a few sentences whereas another link can have a detailed page of well-written content. A website is not only about consistency in design. It also needs to have consistent quantity and quality of content on all its pages. Make sure that you do not leave any pages blank. Also ensure that pages do not have insufficient content as that is going to turn readers off as well.
- Use images and videos effectively
While writing great articles is always important, it is also equally important to attach an image and sometimes, a video as well. Images and videos add to a website’s SEO & are central to making sure that your website appears in search results.
You need to ensure that the images are not arbitrarily chosen and that they are there for a very compelling reason. Also, before publishing, make sure that you resize the image to fit the theme of your website. We have noticed many blogs that carry images, which look either stretched or go beyond the ‘margins’.
- Small paragraphs
Whenever an article or a blog post is written, it should be easy to read. Readability depends not only on the content but also the way it is structured. Make sure that each paragraph does not contain more than a few sentences and that the sentences themselves are short & simple.
Long and complex sentences are tiresome & no one wants to read through them, especially, while browsing online. It is important to keep the paragraphs short enough not only to make it easy to read but also to make it easy to see. When a published article looks attractive because of small paragraphs, people will take the time to read or scan through it.
- Keep it short
Do not write very lengthy articles. Anything more than 2,000 words is very tiresome for most people that, usually, browse the web. A good blog post is, usually, around 500-700 words, whereas, a column could range around 1,400-1,500 words.
Anything that is unnecessarily lengthy is, usually, ignored by readers. Even if you wrote excellent content, people probably will not want to read through the entire article. It is always better to keep the article as short and simple as possible so that you do not alienate your readers.
- Use simple and understandable words
There is a tendency among writers, either offline or online, to use jargon and complex words that sound fanciful. It not only looks awkward and pretentious but also puts people off, when you use words that are complex, instead of an easily understandable word.
You cannot impress your readers by writing in jargon. It comes across as cold at best and ridiculous at worst. Unless you are writing a highly technical document, avoid using jargons of any kind. Keep your language simple, friendly and modest. Web writing is not the place to experiment with vocabulary, with an intention to stroke one’s own vanity.
- Keep references ready
Each time you research online and each time you are picking up data & statistics from some website, keep these references handy. At the bottom of the post, you can list all the references from where you picked up the numbers.
Do not create statistics like many writers do. It is very easy to find out that you have been making up numbers. It not only affects your reputation but your entire website will lose credibility. It is important to list all the websites and links from where you picked up your numbers & information from.
Articles and content need to be scanable by visitors. What we mean by this is that it needs to be readable and content should be formatted in an easy to understand manner. There has to be small paragraphs, utilization of bold and italics when necessary, usage of bullets & numbers etc.
It is also equally important to use headers and sub-heads so that people find it easier to scan your information. It is often noted that people do not read through every word in a linear manner. Instead, they scan through your entire article and look at information in a way that is quite non-linear.
- Use attractive titles
Titles can make or break your post. People click on a certain link only after they see the title in the search results. If the title does not look attractive enough, they will probably not bother to click and visit the page.
This makes it very important to make sure that you are writing great titles. Use attention grabbing but credible titles, which will encourage people to click. If you are unsure, ask for help from a colleague or a friend.
- Entertain and inform
The idea of web writing is not only to market your products and services but also to entertain & inform. In fact, most people who visit your website do so because they need information. The choice of buying or using products and services might not even be on their minds. However, in the long term, it does help to build credibility this way.
The theory being if your content is great, your products and services must be too places a lot of importance on building content that is informative & entertaining. Once you build a loyal readership, they will begin to talk about you on social media and eventually, the word spreads.
Why online writing is different from offline writing
The main premise of this article is to highlight certain characteristics that are not found in the realm of offline writing. When you write online, you have to write not only for your audience but also for search engines. This makes online writing significantly different from offline content.
Moreover, internet users tend to have less attention than those who read content offline. Thus, it becomes mandatory for you to write as much in little words as possible. That means, you will need to edit and re-edit several times, in order to reduce the number of words in any particular article.
In spite of the differences, good research, writing style and knowledge are all important to online writing as well. In fact, web writing might even help you to become more informed than you were before you began to write; and that is because you will end up reading a lot more online than you ever would offline, in order to write.
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