Ever thought of writing for the web but didn’t know where to begin? Have you written for the web anyway and the only hits you seem to get are from your mum and distant Uncle Fred, who your mum has managed, against all technologically-challenged odds, to email the link over to? Never thought of writing for the web, but have an interest in reading irrelevant ‘how-to’ articles? Then, read on, these tips are for you!
- Introduce your argument in the first paragraph, summarising what you’re planning to say and then go on to support it. Don’t leave people guessing – you’re a writer, not a magician, so you should communicate. This approach has the added bonus of ensuring that you actually have a point (the challenge after this is making sure you stick to it).
- Support your argument with a number of clearly though-out paragraphs. Use numbers in planning: para 1 – argues this point, para 2 – argues this point, etc. Eg. 1. Chocolate is great. 2. Too much chocolate can be less great. 3. Moderation is probably the best approach.
- Ensure you link your paragraphs together. Eg. The start of paragraph 2 could be, “Although chocolate is delicious, too much chocolate can…”
- Put your paragraphs in a logical order. Eg. If your premise is how great chocolate is, don’t list the drawbacks first. Think about what you are leading your reader to consider and the order in which they need to digest the information to get there.
- Last tip on paragraphs, I promise. When you write a paragraph, close with a line that relates it back to the opening sentence of that paragraph, ie. “Chocolate is my favourite thing to eat. I like milk chocolate with sea salt. I love salty and sweet together. This is why my favourite thing to eat is chocolate.” Easy.
- I lied. Make sure your paragraphs are a reasonable length. Lot of unbroken text will have a reader clicking off your page in a millisecond.
- Use subheaders. It might be my own personal preference but it definitely breaks the text up and makes it easier for people to read. Reading on screen is harder than reading the printed word, so make it as easy as possible for your reader to stay with you.
- Include tangible examples. This is true especially in relation to more abstract subject matter! Relate your writing to concrete things. If you are writing about concepts or theory, explain how it might work in reality.
- Consider throwing in some personal examples – as this article is about writing for the web, let a little of your personality in. Tell the reader how it relates to you or what experience you have – or plan to have! – with your subject matter. Write from the perspective of a living, breathing human being rather than a machine. It adds weight, and is how you make your reader connect with your writing
- Summarise your argument at the end. Wrap up what you’ve argued and what your original point was.
And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed the article. Mum, can you forward this on to Uncle Fred?
If you found that you really enjoyed this article, you could read Jess’s other article about how to overcome any blockages to your creativity. Alternatively, look at some more beautiful photographs like the one above on free digital image website Unsplash.
Jessica is an aspiring novelist living in London. She teaches yoga, is an excellent baker and is excited by new experiences.