Writing for publication on the internet is a totally different experience than writing for other media mediums. Careful thought about how people search for information coupled with strong use of search phrases and article structure will be the keys to reaching and engaging the readers.
Early Lessons I learned writing on the Internet
Be direct with short, concise sentences.
The appropriate writing level needed to reach the reader.
Small blocks of text comprised of one or two thoughts set off by a bold sub-heading.
The use of action oriented sentence structure rather than passive tenses.
Thought about search engine popularity when it involves words and phrases.
The “Golden Triangle” and the importance of front loading major information early in the article to engage and keep the reader.
The use of referencing to credit for information sourcing.
The importance of respecting the copyright of photos and information.
Understanding that when reviewing copy for typos, the eye reads differently online as opposed to print. Get someone to proofread for you if possible.
When writing online, it is imperative to think about time restraints of the reader. Understand that hey want the information delivered without any pomp and circumstance. Writing creatively is fine in novels and short stories but the ability to deliver information in short, concise sentences is important to keeping the reader engaged.
Structure of online content differs than conventional print content
The average internet reader spends as little time as possible devouring information. They tend to read 25% slower than print medium and scan pages on the web rather than reading them. This is the reason that 5 and 6 sentence blocks of information are important with bolded sub headings to keep the reader engaged. The average internet reader reads at a 7th grade reading level so the use of complicated words or writing styles is adverse to most readers and will result in them finding more “friendly” writing.
Search Engine Optimization
The focus of every writer online needs to focus around how the search engines will receive an article. If an article is filled with typos, too wordy, too many backlinks, the “Search Engine Spiders,” will discredit the importance of the articles content and give I a terrible search ranking.. That will negatively affect future potential readers finding the content. An article that can’t be read is like a masterpiece from DaVinci sitting in a storage locker. If no one sees it, the best written article on the planet will be unread and mean nothing to the world.
Words and Phrases needed to be Search Engine friendly
Thinking about how people search for words and phrases is of prime importance and critical to the success of an online writer and how the article ranks on search engines in that category. These key words and phrases need to be included multiple times throughout an article for the “Google Spiders” to index the keywords into a category. Learning this early online lesson will result in more readers engaging with your content and a higher chance of better search engine rankings and other mainstream major websites backlinking to your article.
The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is a term used on the web in the writing community on how the reader scans a web page. It is of extreme importance to understand how people read on their PCs, Mobile phones and Ipads. All of these devices offer different experiences for the user and require the writer to write with the focus on where things are placed on the page in the article. The Golden Triangle rule is keep your most important information on the left side of the page and at the top and funnel the less information down he page. In general, keep locations and dates to the right side of the page.
Proper Referencing and Respecting Copyrights
All information taken or farmed from other places whether it be print, web, television, or radio needs to be referenced in the article. Use of backlinks to that information is critical for credibility and preventing accusations of plagiarism. Respecting copyrights needs to be maintained. Crediting and/or obtaining permission to use content and photographs is common courtesy and also keeps you on the right side of the law.
Nothing reads as poorly as a page full of typos. Poor grammar, bad sentence structure, misspellings and poor punctuation make a reader uncomfortable in accepting the content’s credibility and makes them want to just click on another article. Google Spiders also hate typos and misspellings as it influences their decision to classify an article as quality or poor content. The Google Spiders can make or break the success of an article so a thorough proofreading is an important lesson for the online writer to learn as early as possible. Try to get an uninterested third party to proofread the article before submitting for publication.
Let an article sit for a day before publication
It’s important to let an article sit before publication. This way, you will return the following day to an article that is “new” to you again and typos that you skimmed past will be blatantly obvious. Also, every proofread leaves us with opportunity to rewrite wordy sentences or choose more search engine optimized words. Proofreading will never cost you anything but a few minutes but catching a few typos and improving he article is worth every second of effort.
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