August 6, 2013

Writing for the Web. What is involved.

Person typing on a keyboard
photo credit: amanky via photopin cc
Twitter has fast become one of my favorite social networks to keep up to date with real-time news and engage and share insights with my community of followers. Therefore, when I was required to research, plan, write and publish a web post dedicated to a specific topic for a postgraduate assessment, I had no problems choosing the subject matter: Strategy:10 Tips for using Twitter for Business Success Part 1 and Part 2 (in hindsight, both very long posts but hopefully informative). 


Of course, in essence this assessment was much more involved than just writing on a subject of interest. The task itself required:
  • Conducting topic and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) keyword research using keyword research tools;
  • Deciding who I was going to write for (i.e. my audience);
  • Learning how to use the Squidoo.com user interface and making sure I understood their web content policies; 
  • Learning and applying HTML and CSS code to create a visually appealing lens that complied with basic website design, content layout and SEO copywriting principles;
  • Devising a link building strategy (inbound, outbound, special on-page links) using tools to check page rank, back links, broken links and general SEO health;
  • Sourcing appropriate images to compliment content in each post including applying Alt text,  tool tips, and other relevant tags (e.g. Rel="Author", Rel="no follow") and attributes;
  • Applying citation and referencing to content and adhering to copyright requirements for linked content and multimedia; 
  • Proof reading and editing and repeating the process again;
  • Promoting the Lens URL link to my social media accounts and generating some type of onsite engagement;
  • Responding to comments in a timely fashion and thanking people for likes, favs and shares.
"<strong> coffee <strong>" may be required
photo credit: infelix via photopin cc
So never let anyone tell you writing for the web, is a straightforward or easy task, especially if you are new to publishing or web content publishing platforms of any kind. Writing for the web is different to other forms of writing such as report writing, proposal writing or copy used in marketing and promotional brochures. 

There is a lot to learn especially with relation to, writing succinct, scannable and readable copy, mastering HTML coding, White Hat SEO and ensuring copyright laws are understood. A good portion of your time will be spent planning what to write about and refining how to write in a way that will resonate with your intended web audience (strong coffee may be required).

One of my challenges (which I mentioned above) is I tend to want to write more than I need to (this probably stems from all the formal report and business writing I have done in my time). I was also typically over the word count when submitting my undergraduate writing assessments, and would often be up late the night before a piece of writing was due, editing the content to omit words. Luckily for me I have improved in that area since I have become a postgraduate student. It must be all that writing hey?

Writing for the web is an important skill to have for anyone who manages a website or must produce copy for online publications, documents or brochures. Here are few resources that I found useful in helping me develop my writing skills: 

Writing for the Web


Learning HTML 

Search Engine Optmisation

So, do you know of any resources that you would suggest for becoming a better writer? 

If you liked this article please share it or alternatively you might enjoy reading Starting a Blog? Why it took me so long.



3 comments:

  1. Nice post. I didn't realise how much was involved in writing content for a website. Wow.. no wonder I don't have a blog.

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  2. Thanks for your resources. I am thinking of starting my own blog so this has been very helpful.

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    Replies
    1. Glad I could be of assistance. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. There are also a few good blogging chats on Twitter that may be of interest to you, for example, #BlogChat with @MackCollier or #BlogGab with @patricksplace And you will find me present most weeks.. :)

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