Tips For Improving Your Online Writing

j.m. raymondStarred Page By j.m. raymond, 9th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Professionally presented articles have a greater chance of being read, and thus a greater chance of making you more money.

Formatting

Some online writer's sites and virtually every blog and every piece of content manager software allow the author to format their own works. Don't go overboard on formatting. Use bold and italics as highlights to call attention to short, specific words or phrases in your piece. A long string of text in bold or italics can be difficult to read because web browsers for the most part are not designed to faithfully reproduce those features of a font face.

The list of fonts common to all computers and operating systems is very short. This limited list of fonts can often make for difficulties for your readers that you may never be aware of if you use large amounts of bold or italic text.

In addition, individuals can usually choose the specific font they want for certain situations on their computer. Their settings may make it even more difficult for them to read your work with an overuse of these techniques.

Printed material operates on different standards than does online material. First, the resolution for print is much higher, making for greater clarity of details. Second, most traditional book publishers will do their own formatting of your text to suit their layout, page size and other requirements. Third, overuse reduces the effectiveness of the techniques. As an author, it can be difficult to determine that fine line between overuse and effective presentation when formatting our own work.

Links

Some links in your text are good, especially for supporting information or to enhance a point. Generally speaking, in a piece between 400 and 800 words, more than four or 5 links in that amount of text is going to be tedious to your readers. There are exceptions, and you and your readers will have to be the judges of when and where it is appropriate to include more.

Another technique for links is to supply them as reference points following your article. Cite as many as necessary, but again, do not go overboard. The first two or three links in a list are most likely all that will ever get followed. Exceptions to this would be articles requiring large amounts of supporting documentation, or scholarly works that need to reference a greater number of sources.

If you have other articles related to the topic you're currently writing about, be sure to include links to some of those others. Pick one or two of your own relevant or related works to include. Be selective; you don't want to swamp your reader with everything that you've ever written. Provide links to the best of your writing on the current subject.

Serials and Installments

First, if the work is too long to post in a single installment, you will be better off in terms of viewership and reader satisfaction by waiting to post it in its entirety. Online readers' attention is usually focused on your page for a brief timespan at best and then it's off to the next page of interest. This behavior makes it very difficult to get them to return for a continuation.

Whereas, if the story or the article is available as a whole of collected parts, and it is easy to get from any excerpt to the first, or the next installment, you are more likely to get people to read the whole thing. It is also much easier from an author's standpoint to be able to sort out the various pieces and build the navigation prior to publishing than it is to do so after the fact.

When posting excerpts from longer works online, whenever possible, you should always provide a means of navigation for your readers. At the bottom of every excerpt, you should have some text that indicates that "this is the second of ten excerpts in this story. Click here to go to the beginning. Click here to read the next installment," or words to that effect and purpose. Make it easy for them to know where they are and how to get to the balance of your story.

To Read, or Not To Read

In sales, you are taught to make it easy for your customer to say yes: would you like the green one or the blue one? Either answer is a yes.

You want to do the same thing with your writing. You are "selling" your story or article to your reader. You want to make the most effective presentation possible. Isn't that the point of writing something for public consumption in the first place? To get people to read it?

References & Related Links:

Effective Creative Writing
Writing Good Satire
Common fonts between computer systems

Tags

Article Writing, Articles For Money, Creative Writing, Writing Articles Online, Writing Online

Meet the author

author avatar j.m. raymond
Satire, humor and fiction are my primary interests, although occasionally, I make forays into the worlds of technology and small business management.
You can also find me on twitter: @rentedfingers , my website at micha...(more)

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
10th Oct 2010 (#)

Excellent advice.

Thumbs Up, Tweeted.

Reply to this comment

author avatar SiddiQ
10th Oct 2010 (#)

Very great! Really good!
If Jerry hadn't tweeted it, I would have!
But I will give you a thumbs up!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Jerry Walch
10th Oct 2010 (#)

You can tweet J.M.'s article too, SiddQ. The more tweets it gets the more people are apt to read it. People who follow me will get notification of my tweet while people who follow you will receive notification of your twee.

Reply to this comment

author avatar SiddiQ
10th Oct 2010 (#)

That is good, Jerry. Thanks for reminding me. :)
I will help you J.M Raymond.

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
10th Oct 2010 (#)

Thank you, good sirs. Much appreciated.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Denise O
11th Oct 2010 (#)

Great article J.M., I mean, what more can you say.
You got a thumbs up from me.:)

Reply to this comment

author avatar James R. Coffey
11th Oct 2010 (#)

Very good presentation.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Melissa Dawn
12th Oct 2010 (#)

Good share. I often wonder how many links I should put in...guess I'll get the hang of it eventually.

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
12th Oct 2010 (#)

Thanks for the thumbs up, Denise.

Thank you, Mr. Coffey. Greately appreciated.

Melissa, thanks for the read. My scientific method for determining how many links is: use as many as necessary. (That does seem to be a moving target.)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Angelique Newman
20th Oct 2010 (#)

Great article. Very informative and easy to follow. Thanks for sharing :-)

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
20th Oct 2010 (#)

Thank you, Angelique.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Pinkchic18
22nd Oct 2010 (#)

Great job with this article, very good tips!

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
22nd Oct 2010 (#)

Thank you, Pinkchic. I appreciate the read.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
31st Jan 2011 (#)

What a really great article

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
7th Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you, Martin. My apologies for taking so long to get back to your comment. I have been in the process of moving and have not had as much time to spend at the computer as I would like. Greatly appreciate the read and the comments!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Martin King
25th Feb 2011 (#)

Thanks for the share I enjoyed the read

Reply to this comment

author avatar Lila Bangsawan
12th Jun 2011 (#)

Good info and very useful reading. Thank you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar j.m. raymond
12th Jun 2011 (#)

Thank you, Lila. And welcome to Wikinut.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password