I’ve been writing and publishing regularly on the internet for about five years now. Over this period I have published hundreds of blog posts, landing pages, and social media posts–all with some aspect of written content.
Here are some tips that I would give anyone who is just getting started with publishing on the internet.
These tips will help you maximize the impact of your content by getting people to click on your article, and stick around long enough to actually read it.
Write a KILLER Headline
When publishing online your headline is the first impression your reader gets about you and your article. It needs to be catchy enough to get readers to click on your article if you actually want people to read your writing.
If you’re writing for SEO purposes, your headline should include your target keyword for the article – and should still be catchy enough to stand out in search results.
There are headline analyzer tools online that you can use to make sure your headline is optimized for maximum impact.
I recommend using CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to audit and improve your headlines.
Use Headings as an Outline
One of the first things I do after I start writing an article is to outline the article with headings. This helps me keep the post organized, and breaks it up to make it easier for people to read.
I also find that after organizing the heading of the post, I can more quickly write a few paragraphs under each heading. This helps me speed up my writing process.
Use Simple, Conversational Language
For some reason, I find that people are tempted to use more sophisticated language when writing versus speaking.
When writing for the internet, bigger words don’t necessarily make you sound smarter. In fact, if you’re writing about complex topics, distilling the concepts down to a simpler explanation can make your content more user-friendly.
Use Shorter Paragraphs
Most readers are browsing on mobile, so shorter paragraphs make it easier for them to read without getting fatigued.
Large chunks of text are overwhelming and can turn readers away. Also, keep in mind that many of your readers will just be skimming your article for sections they’re interested in. More smaller sections make this easier for your readers.
Write Specifically For One Person in Your Audience
If you’re an expert in a given field, or you are especially passionate about a specific topic, you can be tempted to preach at the whole world about it. However, your writing will be much more valuable to your target audience if you write for one person in that group.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a blog post about how to cook a steak. To improve this post, think about one of your friends who may be interested in how you cook a steak. Then write your post as if you’re talking directly to them.
When you write for an individual versus a group, you’ll be more likely to include small details that you know are relevant to that person.
Include Visual Components (Photos, Graphs, Infographics, Memes)
Text-only posts are fine. We are focusing on writing after all. However, including visual or interactive content can provide easier-to-digest information for your readers and keep them on your site for longer.
The possibilities for this type of content are endless. You can embed YouTube videos that explain a certain aspect of your post, infographics that share contextual information, or photographs relevant to your post.
Blog posts that include images, videos, and graphics are inherently more appealing to readers and more catchy to people who are just scanning through your posts.
Use Lists and Bullets
Benefits of Using Lists:
- See how this is easier for your eyes to scan?
- It gives readers a break from long paragraphs.
- It allows you to set apart important points or information.
- Lists can reveal the relationship between multiple items.
Link To Your Sources and Other Resources
The beauty of publishing on the internet is that you can provide endless context and value to your readers by linking to other sites.
You can raise the value of your post simply by including a link to another web page that explains a related topic or goes into greater detail about something specific in your post. If you consistently link out to valuable resources, your readers will be more likely to trust you and come back to your content in the future.
The best way to improve your writing on the internet is to simply publish and see what works. I recommend finding a consistent schedule that works for you and sticking with it for a few months. Even if you just write one post a week, over time that adds up.
To build a significant following online, you’ll need to show up consistently for your readers. Every post you publish is another chance for you to reach new readers and gain insights into how they interact with your content.
Bonus: Consider Your Blog’s Layout and UX
One thing that people tend to overlook is the layout and UX of their blog. In this industry yes, CONTENT IS KING!, but if your content is hard to view people are more likely to look elsewhere for answers to their questions.
If your goal is to get traffic from search engines to your site by keeping your site SEO-friendly, improving your UX is a quick way to give your site a better chance of ranking.
FAQs About Writing Online
Where Can You Publish Your Writing Online?
- Medium: I have published a ton of writing on Medium (You can follow me here) and I absolutely love it. The website is clean, and easy to use and navigate. Medium also has an established audience that you can leverage even if you don’t have a large following online.
- Your Own Website: If you’re going to build a career in writing, I highly recommend launching your own website or blog. This allows you to publish whatever you want, it allows you to own your audience, and it helps you build your personal brand.
- Blogger: Blogger.com makes it easy to publish blog posts and allows you to customize the look and feel of your site. This can be a good place to start if you’re just looking for a place to put your writing online.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn has exploded in popularity for writers looking to reach a large audience. The number of users on LinkedIn drastically outnumbers the people who actually publish on the platform. So what does that mean for you? A ton of interested eyeballs looking for written content to read.
How Is Writing for The Internet Different?
The main difference between writing for the internet and publishing say a magazine article or a novel is people consume it differently. On the internet people are using all sorts of different devices to access your content, so you need to accommodate them.
The context of how people are consuming it is also highly varied. One person could be waiting in line at a coffee shop, another could be on a desktop computer in their living room, and someone else could be reading on an iPad on a plane.
This is why I think it is crucial to simplify your writing so it is easier to follow and understand. You need to be able to keep people’s attention, because if not they will simply hit the back button and move on to the next site.
What Kind of Content Is Popular Online?
I’ve heard people say that blogs are dead. That’s just not true. While people may spend less time on blogs than in the past, people still rely on blogs all the time. For example, if you’re looking for a recipe on the internet, I bet you’ll end up on a food blog. If you’re looking for the best ways to get rid of ants, you’ll probably end up reading a blog post.
Video content is obviously very popular, with YouTube being the second most used search engine in the world. You may not realize it, but many YouTubers actually started as bloggers or run blogs to supplement their videos.
Infographics and photos are also very popular on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, but again many of these kinds of content originated on blogs just like this one.
If you’re just getting started in your writing journey, I’d love to help out or provide any tips you may need. Follow me on Twitter and shoot me a message!