There are four very important factors you should keep in mind when writing articles for the Web:
- Know your audience
- Accept rejection without taking it personally
- Spell-checking and proofreading
- Enjoy what you do
There are a lot of web-based magazines and blog sites that pay very well for articles. Although most do not pay very well, content mills can provide you with immediate income to start your own website or blog.
Always keep your eyes open for new opportunities by subscribing to other freelance writer’s blogs. Read eBooks by freelance writers to avoid making the same mistakes they made.
1. Know your audience online
Knowing your audience is very important in that it will tell you what format to use. Most web-based magazines expect formal voice in their articles, whereas blogs accept informal voice.
In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt.”
Web users don’t read the same way as a book reader. They normally scan the article to see if it is of interest to them, so put the most important things upfront. Be brief and concise. Use short sentences and only one concept per paragraph.
2. Accept rejection without taking it personally
Learning to accept rejection is as important in writing as accepting a check. It’s like they say, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Even perfectly written material may not be the right fit for some websites, which could go back to knowing your audience.
Never give up on an article you feel strongly about. An article that’s not right for one forum may be perfect for another. Re-check and refine the article, if necessary.
I was totally shocked and a little upset when I experienced my first article rejection. Even though I was told to keep it light because their readers were not technical, another editor rejected my article because it wasn’t technical enough. I wound up selling it for four times what they had offered me.
3. Spell-checking and proofreading is essential
No one should minimize the importance of spell-checking and proofreading. A practice I always use is to put my article aside after it is complete and I’ve done a spell-check. I will come back to it after a few hours and reread it. Another good practice is to have someone else proofread it.
Remember spelling and grammar checks don’t catch everything.
4. Enjoy what you do!
This could just as easily be listed as the most important lesson learned about writing for the Web. If you write about something you have a passion for, you won’t have to do as much research and your passion will naturally show in your words.
Whether you’re writing for the Web or a medical journal, know your audience, become your own best critic, and have fun with it.