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Saturday, April 07, 2007

 

Writing for the Web

According to a recent research from Poynter's EyeTrack, online readers favor text to video and audio. This surprised me because of the popularity of websites like You Tube. But good content is what readers are really looking for, and that's great news for writers!

Chris Nodder, a web-writing expert for the Nielsen Norman Group, has a few helpful pointers. Because there's a difference between reading on print and online, Chris recommends the use of a lot of white space and grouping content.

Suggestions for Web Writers:

  • Use the inverted pyramid. Start with the conclusion.
  • Write abstracts or summaries for longer content.
  • Tell readers what questions they can expect an article to answer.
  • Make small chunks of content with one or two ideas in each chunk.
  • Group content that is similar.
  • Write unique titles, headings and subheadings.
  • Make lists, not paragraphs. Bulleted lists and white space can break up text.
The reason it works: You're looking at a low-resolution screen, and not a 300 dpi printed page. Also, when readers are looking for an answer to a question, they will scan a page for relevant information.

Makes sense to me!

That's why Q & A's are so popular. You can easily scan the questions and pick out one that's interesting to you. That's why we put all our questions in bold.


EXAMPLE:

This is something freelancers need to consider when writing for the web. For instance, in our last issue, copywriter Debbie Feldstein queried us on her article: How 2 Use Gender-Specific Skills to Write Better and Sell More

WHY WE LIKED IT:

Her article attracted us right away because of her use of bold to highlight points, her lists, headers for topics, catchy titles, and indented short paragraphs with underlines. Plus, her content is terrific!

We hope freelancers keep these ideas in mind when submitting articles to online publications. Simply formatting things a little differently can help you organize your ideas, and sell your work!

For thought-provoking fun: View this fascinating 5 minute video on Digital Text!

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