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How to Write for the Web

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 07:00 AM PST

1280072 73127582 300x180 How to Write for the WebDoing web writing or blog posts in a reader friendly manner is a skill that can be learned by most people so long as they are willing to step back and look at what the reader expects. Writing for others to read is not the same as writing a diary or journal for yourself. It must be presumed that the reader that come specifically to that web page or found it in a search engine had an expectation of what would be there.

There are several factors to bear in mind with this consideration.

Tone
As an example – if a reader is looking up fashions and has to decide which to click when presented with the following as choices

  1. Fashion trends for professional women
  2. Teen Fashion on a budget

They would expect very different results and styles of writing even if both were geared to female clothing styles. This goes beyond the expected content of the writing itself. Clearly, the merits of cut-off jeans in one or silk blouses in the other are not interchangeable. Beyond that is the tone and style a reader may expect.  In the first the use of the word "cool" would likely be only in reference to the light airy nature of the clothing and in the second it could well mean nice, catchy, or trendy.

Style and Structure
A person browsing for factual knowledge of a specific event has a very different expectation than somebody looking for the opinion of others in general.

  1. Person A is looking for car safety statistics
  2. Person B is looking for opinions on style of 2 door as opposed to 4 door cars

The first person wants to hear quotes and citations of crash tests results and insurance premium information and would be better served by a bullet style list of facts. The second person would likely prefer narrative of what looks best, most popular, and who is driving which vehicle to see if it is the image they want to portray. Both pieces could be done either way , but typically one will hold the attention of one person's purpose longer than the other.

Content
It does not matter what a person is expecting or looking to get from their time reading your work – if the content is not interesting, new, or different than what they have already read in other places they are not going to read long enough for it to matter. It has to say something to have any value to the reader.

The tone and structure are always going to be important but in the end it will be interest of content that makes them take more than a casual look before moving on so choose a topic with idea of presenting something new, or if not new, presenting it in a new or different way then you may have seen in other places. 

Readability
If the reader cannot follow along and read through quickly or skim to the areas of interest they will not keep reading regardless of how interesting or new. For online reading:

  • shorter paragraphs
  • images
  • bold fonts
  • vocabulary choice

These will keep a reader that was pleased with tone, style, and content reading until the end.

Author: James Raglan is a blogger and copywriter who writes on many subjects but particularly social media and online marketing.

 

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