Whether you are looking to build a brand for your business on your social media page, wish to start a writing career to make money through paid writing gigs, or simply want to start your own blog with every post boasting long-form content and lots of pics just to keep your friends and family updated on your busy life, good writing skills can generate attention for your website and build great connections with your readers.
Although there was a time where our exposure to articles and long-form content was in our daily newspaper or between the pages of a glossy magazine, things have changed significantly since the rise of the Internet. As a writer, even for the odd guest blog post, if you want to money online, you want to know how to keep up with the digital age and write engaging, effective content, here is the list of our favorite tips and tricks:
Start off Strong
Irrespective of the topics covered, a strong, memorable introduction is key when it comes to being a writer, but this is especially true for online articles. After all, a person scrolling through Google often has the ability to read a tiny snippet of an article before committing to a click, which means that you have finite space to hook them in.
Our best suggestion is to decide what it is at the heart of your article. Is it the profile of one of your impressive and interesting employees? Are you writing about an important philanthropic cause that your business is committed to supporting? Consider what it is that your audience needs to know before anything else when it comes to that particular subject and then write it in the most interesting way possible.
Research Is Everything
If you are writing for the Internet, the good news is that this probably means you have access to the Internet. Surfing the web can be a powerful tool to conduct the research your article needs.
Research can be about fact-checking—making sure that every detail you right is true and backed up by evidence—but it can also be about getting familiar with a certain subject, industry, or writing style.
Although online research is easy, free, and an effective way to improve your writing, it is important to respect the other websites you stumble upon by giving credit where credit is due. Did you find the perfect vegan stuffing recipe for your series on meat-free holiday dinners? Did you find the perfect scientific study to back why the supplements you sell really work to improve lives and health?
If you are using someone else’s content—even if it is only a sentence or two—you should cite it. In terms of citing studies or articles that reinforce your argument, adding a hyperlink is often enough. For creative content, like photographs, audio, recipes or graphics, you should consider reaching out to the original creator and requesting permission to use it before you publish anything.
It’s Okay to Get a Little Extra Help
We all need an extra hand sometimes.
Most of us use word processors for most of our writing and, for many programs, spell check features are great—but also have their limitations.
For example, what if Word tells you that you are spelling a word correctly, but does not mention the fact that you are not actually using it properly in a sentence? Has a red underline ever told you that your sentence would benefit from being split up, or that you could be using more effective vocabulary?
Of course, you can hire professional article writing services, but these come at a premium. Therefore, if you want a comprehensive service to help you edit your work and make your writing as strong as possible, consider the many free and low-cost programs available online. Grammarly is a particularly popular option that not only checks for correct spelling, but makes numerous suggestions related to grammar, word choice, and clarity. It is a great program if you are only writing the odd blog post online.
Remember, your online articles represent you and your business. For this reason, even using an online program, you might also want to run your articles by a friend or co-worker with savvy copyediting skills.
Don’t Overdo the SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool in today’s online sphere. It can help you target the audience you want and rank higher on Google and other search engines, which is key to getting noticed and attracting new customers and readers online.
SEO typically involves keywords that real customers are searching when they look for a business or a website just like yours. Featuring these keywords in your writing can help make you easy to find online, thus generating more traction.
So, what could possibly be wrong with this?
The short answer is nothing. The real issue has nothing to do with SEO itself. It has to do with lazy writing and allowing SEO to become an excuse for it. Too many writers are focused solely on hitting the right keywords and are alright if these keywords are paired with subpar writing.
Generating revenue or attention is not your only job when it comes to online article writing. You are also trying to impress customers into sticking around for a bit, exploring your website, and hopefully returning later. You want them to read your articles and connect to them in some way, rather than just recognize the words they Googled moments ago.
Web surfers are also looking for the easiest and fastest answers to the questions they have. If someone is googling why a ketogenic diet might be right for them, your article will not impress them if it does not provide concise, clear, and evidence-backed answers.
But Don’t Underdo the SEO Either
You might be a little confused after the last tip, but the truth is that SEO still remains a powerful tool—it just isn’t a good alternative to sharp writing.
SEO without good writing leaves to disinterested customers who will not be returning to your website or learning about what you have to offer. But good writing without SEO will often lead to no customers at all—no matter how good and interesting the article actually is.
Let’s be honest here. No matter how niche you think your business is, chances are you have some competition. This means that when customers (customers who are looking for exactly what you offer) Google a certain industry or product, they have loads of webpages to choose from. The chances are high that customers will not go further than the first page of Google in their search for answers.
This means that you need to have high-ranking articles in order to be found. If you think your articles are really great and want to share them with the world, then getting started with SEO can help you connect with others who feel the same way.