Tips For Better Web Writing

By James Reed

Coming on the internet through the perspective of any writer, it may be easy to despair. You may well be used to writing for many sorts of media: newspapers, magazines, books, or maybe even radio, film or television. The internet, though, is different enough to what's come before that it demands you sit up, pay attention, and adjust your way of writing if you'd like your writing to improve the web.

Subheadings are Important.

Can you see what I'm doing here? I gave you a simple introduction, then I go directly into a number of subheadings. These subheadings divide your article up into clear sections, enabling you to dart around, scan without difficulty, read the bits you're interested in, perhaps go back and read some you didn't think you were interested in... it is certainly at your discretion. Web readers simply cannot follow being given a great chunk of text and having to evaluate it themselves - they want clear sections in your writing. Observe that your subheadings should be much more descriptive and much less 'creative' than they would be in print.

Create Sensible Paragraphs.

In regards to the internet, paragraph splits are, surprisingly enough, less necessary than they are in print. You will make your web site look odd if you place in a paragraph break after every sentence, or every two sentences. Instead, split paragraphs when you start a different idea - be aware that if you combine two, many readers won't register the next. Normally, you must not go for a great number of paragraphs before introducing a new subheading. Your focus on all times is to make your page reasonably easy for a reader to scan.

Lists are Always Effective.

If you're about to write down a great list with commas and semicolons, stop. Semicolons have no place on the web. Instead, you should be using lists, complete with bullet points, to have your point across properly. Treat it less as prose and more as a presentation. Clear presentation of data lets people see what they're looking for more rapidly.

Definitely, you shouldn't exaggerate with the lists. If you have more than one list in a row, or your list goes on for more than ten items or so, you may want to consider revising the layout of your writing.

Don't Be Afraid to Link.

It could feel strange in the beginning, but link whenever you're discussing something that isn't included in a piece of writing. You're quoting a dictionary or encyclopaedia meaning of something? Backlink to it. Are you reviewing a website? For goodness' sake, link to it! There isn't any justification for being nervous about linking: it is the way the net works, and if you're not linking when you could, you're not writing for the web.

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