What Writers Should Know About Writing Online

New to online writing? Use these tips for better online content publishing and using Google AdWords Keyword Tool to help readers find online articles.

For writers transitioning from print to online publication, writing online can be exciting and daunting. Thanks to the Internet’s vast readership, writers can reach larger audiences and publish articles outside their usual subject areas. On the other hand, writers involved in online content publishing must also compete with thousands of web articles, making it more important to stand out from the crowd.

Fortunately, all the skills print writers use – from research to fact checking to revising – are vital in online content publishing. Sources that provide writers with good print articles can provide material for online publishing. And despite popular belief, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all important in online writing – for few readers forgive sloppy writing, no matter where they find it.

That said, writers interested in writing online will need to modify and/or develop new writing skills. In extension to becoming familiar with online audiences, online writers should learn to use search engine optimization (SEO) to help readers find online articles and format their articles to make them easier to read online.

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Writing for an Online Audience

In general, Internet users search the web not only to find interesting stories and trivia but also to learn skills and find explanations for new or obscure topics. Thus, “How to” and “What is…” articles tend to attract online readers. Print writers can take advantage of this by rewriting print articles to make them more online-friendly (i.e. turning a piece on counterfeit watches into an article entitled “How to Spot a Fake Rolex”).

Writers should also know that since the Internet reaches an international readership, online articles must be written for a broader audience. Sometimes, this means not being so ethnocentric – U.S. writers, for instance, should refer to their civil war as the “American Civil War” rather than “Civil War.” Other times this can mean giving in-depth explanations of cultural practices unfamiliar outside certain countries.

Search Engine Optimization and Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool

In magazines or newspapers, readers find articles by scanning front pages or reading a table of contents. On the Internet, readers find articles by typing keywords into search engines, making it important for writers to learn about search engine optimization (SEO).

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization is the process of making website content more relevant and easier to find on search engines. One way this is done is by finding keywords most people type into search engines when researching certain topics. For instance, people deciding what dog to buy are likely to type “choosing a dog breed” into search engines to find relevant articles.

Writers can take advantage of this by emphasizing SEO keywords with high-volume searches in their headlines, subtitles, subheadings, photo captions, and article bodies. This helps their articles gain high placement in online searches and attract readers. To make sure their keywords attract the right readers, however, writers must use specific SEO keyword phrases relevant to their articles rather than unspecific single keywords.

Finding the Best SEO Keywords

Online tools, like Google AdWords Keyword Tool, let writers type in key phrases and find the local and global search volume of SEO keyword phrases. Google AdWords Keyword Tool also offers lists of “extensional keywords to consider” with each search that sometimes offer better keywords. See details here for more tips for online content publishing at how to effectively promote your website.

For writers who earn a percentage of ad revenue when readers click on the online ads surrounding their articles, Google AdWords Keyword Tool estimates the average Cost Per Click (CPC) of SEO keyword phrases that attract certain ads. Writers who want high-paying ads can use high-paying keywords in their articles – however these keywords do not always come with high-volume searches.

Formatting for Online Content Publishing

Many magazine and newspaper articles use long paragraphs in their copy. When these articles are posted online, however, they’re hard to read since scanning large blocks of text on computer screens leads to eye strain.

To avoid this, online articles should use short paragraphs and sentences. Articles should also be broken into sections that spotlight key points (just as this section focuses on “Formatting Website Content”).

Writers should avoid vague titles (i.e. “The Truth About Con Men”) and use titles that give specific information about the article’s content (i.e. “Five Tips to Avoid Online Cons”). Headlines and subheadings are also excellent places to emphasize keyword phrases writers want picked up by search engines.

While people will read long Internet articles with interesting content, writers can also split long articles into series of articles with online links that let readers navigate from one article to the next. This also helps keep readers on the writer’s website.

Keep Learning About Online Content Publishing

Although these tips should give new online writers a start in online content publishing, new strategies are emerging for Internet writers all the time. Writers should keep reading up on such strategies to enjoy a successful online writing career.

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