A recent commenter here at FWJ wrote she was having trouble making the transition to web articles from traditional print. Writing for the web is significantly different as I pointed out in “P.U.! Why that Web Article Stinks.”
When people go to the web, they are often in short attention span mode. Most readers hit the headline, skim for the important points and are onto the next piece before you can say, “Whoa!” If you bring your print mentality to the web you’ll find yourself dropped faster than a 486 PC. So how to make the cut?
- Bullet points and headlines.
- Both work wonders in directing your reader’s attention to the main point.
- Bullet point ideas are short and to the point.
- Any information needed beyond the main idea can be added below keeping info clear and concise.
- Figure out what the audience needs.
- If you are writing an article on fixing a dripping faucet, your readers do not want to hear about the history of modern plumping. Get to the point.
- Cut out ‘that’ and all of those other extra words.
- ‘That‘ is a word (that is) often used to transition throughout a sentence, but if you eliminate it during editing, you’ll find (that) you don’t need it.
- When you’re first transitioning from print to web, go through and read each paragraph and ask yourself if you can say it in less words while keeping the ‘voice’ of the piece.
- Turn it into a series.
- If you have the opportunity, turn your long article into a series, breaking it up into shorter, manageable bites.
- This is easier to do with blog posts, though an editor may be open to it as it is likely to drive more readers back to the site to read the next piece in the series.
Writing for the web requires tight writing. Be sure to suck up any extra words without sucking out the personality. It’s like putting on a girdle without cinching yourself to the point of becoming immobile. My male readers will just have to trust me on this one!
Got a question or lament? Tell me below and you may just become the inspiration for my next post. *Thank Jen for this one!