April 8

Writing Online

English: Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitt...
English: Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitter Town Hall in July 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often hear people saying how writing online is so drastically different from other kinds of writing. I’ll admit that online writing isn’t the same as academic writing, but despite the innovation of Twitter, the ideal article length online is around 300 to 400 words, about what you would want a newspaper article to be.

Also, like a newspaper article, you want a reasonably short, effective, and catchy headline that will get the reader interested. In the age of social media, the important thing is to get your article shared by as many people as possible. Making your article concise, interesting, and easy to read will do this. These are all very similar guidelines to what a newspaper editor might ask for.

The big difference between writing online and writing for print are keywords. You don’t want to overuse your keyword terms like “writing online” because your readers will feel an awkwardness in the writing. You do want to occasionally pepper your article with your specific keyword terms, like “writing online.” This will allow search engines to easily get the idea of what you are trying to communicate without readers getting frustrated and moving on to something else.

A smaller difference that people run into with online writing is the issue of editing. As soon as I’m done writing this article, I can press the publish button, and there isn’t an editor on the other end of it. The beauty of online writing, is that it isn’t set in stone. If you make a mistake, you can always fix it. The issue here is taking responsibility for your own work. Glaring errors happen to the best of us, but with online writing, it’s important to read and read again. After I hit the publish button, I go back the next day and read it one more time to make sure that I haven’t made any obvious errors that I missed the day before.

Keep up the good work, always edit, and try to stay within the 300 to 400 word range.