Web Writing for Beginners Part 2 of 3

Flashback! We’re refreshing this three-part series, originally posted in June of 2012. If you missed Part 1 go ahead and tab over for a refresher. Otherwise, on to part 2!

Web Writing is an Art and a Science

Indeed, Hemingway would freak out if he had to do everything writers have to do today to make their work successful because, in his day (though he’d surely never see it this way) there were only so many outlets for the written word, and only so many writers trying to fill them.

Today, writers also have to mind their web presence through keyword research and analytics (see Web Writing for Beginners Part 1 of 3) just to stay afloat in the sea, and as if that weren’t a full time job, they still have to produce compelling content.

What Does it Take to be a Great Web Writer?

  • When you will write, and
  • What tools you will use

What Does Our Routine Look Like?

Anna starts at the beginning of her work week by taking a gander at her editorial calendar and putting the topic in her hopper (that’s her brain!) so she can let the ideas get flowing in advance. Call it prewriting.

Then she researches, either at the library, online or among books she has on hand (just so you know, she’s quite a book addict). If it seems like a good idea, she talks to other people to get a new take on the topic.

Anna then bangs out a rough draft on recycled paper with an old fashioned pen, curled up by her window, watching the real hummingbirds, with a pot full of green tea.

Then she does a quick web search to see if she left anything out or to follow up on ideas generated by writing the draft. Quick tip: Add any new ideas to your editorial calendar. You can refer to them when you’re feeling uncreative.

Then she types the whole mess into Pages, her favorite word processing tool.

After that, she copies her work into InboundWriter, a freeium tool that helps writers optimize for the web.

Then, she copies her optimized text into her CMS (WordPress) and HTMLifies it. Quick tip: “HTMLify” is not a word, but it’s handy shorthand for tagging the layout manually.

Does this sound like a lot of work? We never promised writing would be easy.

The Most Important Thing

Web Writing Tips

In your headline and introduction, make sure it’s clear what you’re going to talk about. Talk about it. Then recap. This method helps readers get your take home.

Cover One Main Idea

Write Like You Talk

Don’t Write for Search Engines

Make Your Web Writing Easy to Scan

  • Short paragraphs
  • Headlines
  • Subheadlines, and
  • Bullets

The white space you create using these techniques makes your writing visually easy to read. Crowded writing is hard to read.

Make Your Headlines (and Titles) Pop

Worse: Using an Editorial Calendar can Make You a Better Writer

Best: How to Write an Editorial Calendar That Rocks

See the difference?

Quick tip: Use keywords in headlines and titles because they are weighted more heavily than other text for search engines. But remember: don’t force it!

Use Active Words

  • Try: Call today for great savings
  • Skip: If you call us today we give you some great savings

Create Simple, Uncluttered Sentences

  • Make your sentences short and punchy, and
  • Rely on nouns and verbs

If you say you are going to write about something, write about it.

If you link to another article, make sure the link works.

Quick tip: Speaking of links, it’s great to link to your own work.

Edit

  • Read your work out loud
  • Rewrite
  • Give it a rest, and
  • Rewrite

We guarantee that your writing will improve as a result of this technique, or your money back!

Steal Like an Artist (by Austin Kleon)

Pay attention to great web writing. Keep a list of sites you love. Refer to the list to improve your own writing.

Now Let’s Talk About Picasso

Next week, in part 3, after you’ve done some writing, we’ll do some promoting. And then we can break out the champagne!

Any other tips from aspiring writers? Any secrets that take your writing to the next level? Find us on Facebook or Twitter, and let us in on it!

Colibri Digital Marketing

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It’s fun :)

Originally published at colibridigitalmarketing.com on July 31, 2017.

I work to make the web a more beautiful, accessible, and functional place. I use dreams as a form of planning. And I play because it’s fun.