Creating Content for the Web

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I have written about Web Writing before, but it is a very broad topic, and an important one as well. Those writer’s interested in writing good web content have the potential of being very successful with the right knowledge and tools.

Writing for the web is very different from writing a novel, article, poem or school paper. Very rarely do readers on the web read a page word for word, instead they spend most of their time ‘scanning‘ a page in search of information, or something that catches their eye. It is this ‘scanning‘ instinct that makes web writing an often complex avenue for writers to navigate and succeed in on the large-scale. With a little effort and some basic knowledge you can achieve success writing for the web. Many writers have found satisfying careers online and have even created reputable names for themselves as web writers.

Online audiences are generally in search of specific information, and quite often they are doing so on a limited time schedule, because of this web readers have a tendency to ‘scancontent. If you want to attract readers to your content it is important that you make your site ‘scan-able‘, this can be done in many ways…

How to Create Scan-able Content:

  • Use Highlighted Keywords. This can be done simply by using a bold font, or with a different typeface or color. You want to draw attention to the keywords so readers can quickly and efficiently find the information they are looking for without added time or in-depth reading.
  • Use Clear Headings, and even clearer sub-headings. Headings and sub-headings help to break-up your content and allow readers to quickly find what they are looking for. Don’t aim to be clever, as you would with a newspaper or book title, instead ensure that your headings explain what the content is about in as much detail and as few words as possible. Using content specific titles and headlines will make your content easier to locate through search engines, and more reader-friendly for web-based audiences wanting to quickly located the information the need.
  • Utilize the bulleted list option. Lists are far easier to read then lengthy paragraphs, and they naturally draw the reader’s eye to the information they provide. Use lists and bullets to highlight important information that you want your readers to see more clearly.
  • Be clear from the start. Being clever and catchy is important, but being clear is the key to successful writing on the web. Begin your post by clearly stating what you are writing about or your run the risk of losing your readers right out of the gate. Start with a clear outline of your content and work from there. Ensure that you are putting the most important information at the beginning of your post, and the less important content towards the end. Don’t forget to sum up everything you have written in closing as well, this helps readers to retain what they have read and allows them to see if they have missed anything while scanning the content.
  • Short and Sweet. A general rule of web writing is to keep it short and sweet. This applies to your paragraphs, which should only house one thought per paragraph, as well as your word count, where less is always more. Web readers live busy lives and often have a thousand other sites to visit along with yours, keeping your content to a minimum will keep your readers happy and actually encourage them to spend more time on your site. Feature only the most important information and save the rest for another time and place. Web writing can be beneficial because it allows you to create future content based on the short posts you have already written. Each post has the potential of turning into ten more through links to past content, and expansion of future content on your site.
  • Back up your facts. With the magnitude of information available online it can be difficult to tell what is true and what is false, be sure you support any facts with evidence. Credibility can also be achieved using graphics, professional writing, and outside links to similar information or sites. Using links will show your readers that you have done your research and that you are not afraid to direct them to other sites, it will also help generate more traffic to yours in the long run. Be sure to cite any sources you have used to gather information and give credit to those authors that may have inspired your post from content that was written on their site. Not only is this important for professionalism and general politeness, it is also a great way to gather readers from other areas of the online community that may not have found your site otherwise.

Web writing can be a rewarding career or an enjoyable hobby. It is a great way for beginning freelancers to break into writing and make a name for themselves. You can easily gather followers and fans with good writing, and you can help readers from all different walks of life learn and discover new information and ideas.

If you have the desire to succeed, and you create content that is easily read and rich with information, you can potentially earn a fair income writing online content in various forms. Whether you choose to write for yourself, or you gain a contract writing online content for another source the basics always remain the same. You simply need to remember that online readers want to find the information they are looking for quickly, and they want detail without hassle. If you make your site ‘scan-able,’ providing the essential information in an easy to read format, you will succeed as a web writer, a world in which the sky is the limit.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Do you have any advice for aspiring web writers?
What has your online writing experience been like?
Do you have any questions or concerns that you want addressed?

Feel free to post in the comment section below, or send your inquires, questions or submissions to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca 

Ten Benefits of Writing “Something” Everyday

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Writing is a part of everyday life. It is an unavoidable part of your day. From writing emails, to making shopping lists, different forms of writing make up a large part of our communication with others, as well as ourselves.

Aside from these everyday writing tasks there are many reasons to make a writing session part of your daily routine. Be it. blogging, journaling, or just some quick notes on how you feel, the benefits of writing can reach deep within your soul.

Ten Reasons You Should Write Something Everyday;

  1. Release Stress – Daily writing is a great way to release the stress that has accumulated throughout your day. Whether you are writing in a journal and confronting the stress head on, or making a joke of it on your blog, getting the words on to paper will release the stress from your mind and body helping you to relax.
  2. Produce Ideas – The more you write the more you will find to write about. Daily writing helps you to generate ideas for the future by expanding on things you have already written. This is especially useful if you are writing for profit, you can take a small piece of something you wrote at an earlier time and elaborate on it in the future, creating new content with little effort. Your mind will automatically start to produce new and exciting ideas the more often you write, knowing that those ideas will be released on to paper and sent out into the world to change and grow.
  3. Clear Your Mind – Hand in hand with releasing stress, your mind collects a large amount of clutter each day that needs to be released so that it does not weigh you down and turn into stress. Journaling, blogging, or simply writing notes about how you feel is a simple and effective way to rid you mind of this clutter so you can start each day fresh and ready to face new adventures.
  4. Confront Your Emotions – Emotions can some times be difficult to deal with, and even more hard to understand. It may sound strange but often times even we don’t truly know how we are feeling about something until we decide to face it head on and break it down bit by bit. Bottling up your emotions can be exhausting and is actually bad for your health. Writing can help you get those feelings down on paper so that you can access how you really feel about a situation. Free writing is a great exercise to help you release your feelings without thinking them through first. Sit down with a piece of paper and let your feelings flow, don’t worry about thought or form, just get it out on paper and take the time to access the words at a later time.
  5. Learn Something New – Writing requires a large amount of thought, and often entails research. Each and every word you write can teach you something new. Whether it is a new subject that you have to research for an article, a new voice for a story, or just something new about yourself, writing is a great tool for learning and should be utilized often.
  6. Get to Know Yourself – Just as writing can teach you about new subjects, it will also help you to learn about yourself. Even through writing about other topics you will find that pieces of yourself seem to turn up in your writing. If you are looking for a more direct approach to get to know yourself better opt for a journal or diary. Blogs and other writing forms are also great tools, as following your thought pattern will teach you how you think and what you feel.
  7. Escape the Chaos – Daily writing can be an easy escape from the world around you. After a long day at the office or home with the kids we are often looking for ways to unwind. Writing in a journal, or posting to your blog is a great way to get centered and enjoy some time alone. Settle in a comfortable quite area and let your mind relax, enjoy the silence and the words that you produce. Writing is an art, appreciate it.
  8. Form a Habit – Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What does this mean for you? Well if you hope to grow and succeed in your writing you must do it on a regular basis, thus if you can make it a habit for 21 days straight it will become a part of your everyday routine. It is easier to aim for success with good habits already in place.
  9. Change the Way You Think – Once you are writing and producing pieces of any form you will start to notice a change in the way that you think. There is something about having to look critically at what you have written that helps to open your mind and change the way you think.
  10. Live Your Dreams – You are here reading this because you obviously want to write. It is clearly a dream that you are hoping to make a reality… So live it. Even if you are living it little by little each day, grab your dreams and live it, in any way you can!

Journaling – Where Do I Start…?

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One of the most difficult things for me when I first decided to start a journal was “where” I was supposed to start.

I knew that I wanted to use my journal for personal growth and to sort out some of my overwhelming emotions, but that was about all I knew at the time.

It can be very daunting to sit and stare at a blank page, knowing that you are supposed to fill it with wonderful, touching, deep thoughts. That in itself is often overwhelming.

Fear not there are some tips to help you get started in journaling without stress….

  • Decide what your purpose is – For some journaling is a way to look within, view your thoughts, and possibly find your purpose in life. For others a journal is a way to be more creative through writing or art, and some people simply want to keep a record of their day. Whatever your purpose for journaling you should choose it before you begin. Not to say it wont change along the way, and not to say it wont be for many different reasons, but having an idea of what you hope to accomplish will help you find the direction you need to begin.
  • Chose your form – When I decided to start a journal I went out and bought a great binded leather notebook. I wanted to “write” my thoughts rather than type, just out of personal preference, as I spent most of my day typing and I wanted journaling to be my ‘time out’ from everyday life. Chose how you want to write and where then get together all the tools you will need. Some people prefer to have their journal online or on the computer, and other opt for a handwritten version, it is personal preference, chose the option that suits your needs.
  • Get Inspired – Depending on your chosen purpose you need to find inspiration to start your writing. You can find a plethora of journal prompts online for any given subject. Prompts can be useful in journaling, especially when you are journaling for self-discovery. Choose a prompt, usually in the form of a question, and share your thoughts or feelings on it. You can also create your own prompts by way of pictures, words, or questions you are trying to answer in your life.
  • Let Thoughts Go Where They May – Don’t force yourself to stay on topic, don’t feel like you “have’ to follow a set plan, if you find your writing wandering elsewhere allow it to happen. The most amazing thing about journaling is it’s ability to introduce you to new and amazing ideas that you never would have found. Let your mind and your hands wander free and follow them where ever they choose to take you!

The most important thing to remember is that your journal is a secure place for you to release your thoughts free from judgment or ridicule. Grammar, form and talent are of no consequence, just grow and learn from your writing, and most of all enjoy it.

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