I came across an article on Ragan.com today that claimed to reveal “10 tips for writing for the web.” While I usually tend to avoid these sorts of lists, for better or for worse, I decided to take a quick look and evaluate my own blog by these standards.
Here’s the list of ten, as well as an appraisal of my own blog. Spoiler alert: I might need to write less in future posts.
Here are 10 tips to help you write better Web copy:
1. Keep it short
- And right out of the gate, we see one of my first biggest problems. I understand that we have a tendency to scan articles– be it online or in the newspaper– but I just can’t stop myself from being overly verbose at times. I like words, and I also like getting my point across– as long windedly as possible.
2. Make your last point first
- I always try to do this, especially because I know I am capable of quite random tangents. This is kind of liking stating your thesis in the introduction to a paper. The concept seems like common sense, but working as a writing tutor for the past four years has opened me up to a whole new world ‘college-level’ writing.
3. Keep paragraphs short
- Once again, back to our tendency to scan. The appearance of large blocks of texts can be intimidating and must certainly scare-off the most timid of readers. Instead, and I feel like I’ve mastered this skill quite well, it’s important to keep paragraphs short and succinct. Check! What else you got?
- (Oh, and by the way, I thought it was interesting to note that the article suggests checking out the BBC website, “one of the major U.K online media sites where content is written specifically for the Web.” And yes, I checked, this article is British-based).
4. Use numbered lists and bullets
- While this particular post certainly meets those requirements, I can’t say I use lists/bullets on a regular basis. Note to self: make more lists– grocery lists, to-do lists, favorite things lists– and post them. Okay, maybe the topics of my lists need a bit of work…
5. Use emphasis/bold
- I hereby solemnly swear to place more emphasis on my words, to use bold type more liberally, and to underline to my heart’s content.
6. Use links
- I always try to provide as many relevant links as possible. If people are actually taken the time to read what I write, I can only assume they have some sort of actual interest in the topic. Therefore, it would be only natural that they would want to follow up on it. I like to make that easy for them! Plus, when credit is due, I feel a necessary obligation to give it.
7. Use headings and subheadings
- I do not do this. I don’t think at all. But note to self– good idea. This is another helpful way for me to learn to break-up my wordy paragraphs. As the article states, these headings/subheadings act as “anchor points,” and I certainly don’t want anyone sailing away from my page!
8. Avoid ‘big’ words and marketing speak
- I don’t think I use any jargon, or ‘marketing speak,’ but I would have to go back and look. As to ‘big’ words– it depends on the audience. I don’t think I exercise my vocabulary too liberally on this site, but then again…who knows? Well, I shall attempt my foremost to abstain from indulging in the employment of gratuitus prouncements.
9. Think carefully about the headline
- Some posts are easier than others to come up with witty titles for. I always try to post my blogs with fun, attention-gathering names. For instance, as I write this very sentence, I’m try to think up some sort of clever play of words for the title. This might end in failure, however, and I’ll just have to hope that a listing above my blog is incredibly witty and a user mistakenly clicks on mine instead– only to find this wonderous trove of treasure!
10. Don’t forget SEO
- SEO, Search Engine Optimization. When everyone and their mom ( I really do hate that expression) has a blog, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Especially those times when you fail to produce a witty title, you can at least include as many key words as possible to increase the chances of that blog post showing up during a search. For blogs such as WordPress, you can use the tag posts to help with this. In fact, I like to tag my posts with as many words as possible, meaning that I get a big A+ in this category.
Well, my blog certainly isn’t perfect, but whose is? I feel like this list makes valid points, and I’ll certainly attempt to follow the 10 tips. What do you think? Anything this list got wrong? Anything you would add?
I’m open for suggestions. Oh, and I’m surprised it didn’t include anything about pictures. I love adding pictures.