Writing Articles for the Web can be Fun and Financially Rewarding.
There are four important factors when writing articles for the web:
- Knowing your audience
- Accepting rejection without taking it personally
- Spellchecking and proofreading
- Enjoying what you do
There are a lot of web-based magazines and blog sites that pay very well for writing articles for the web. Although most do not pay very well, content mills such as, textbroker.com, guru.com, Elance and oDesk, which combined to make Upwork.com and Fiverr.com can provide you with immediate income to start your website or blog. Many “experts” will advise against using content mills; however, sometimes it may come down to a choice between eating or listening to the experts.
Always keep your eyes open for new opportunities by subscribing to other freelance writer’s blogs. Read eBooks by freelance writers to avoid making the same mistakes they made.
1. Knowing your online audience
When writing articles for the web, knowing your audience is crucial in that it will point toward which format to use. Most web-based magazines and technical sites expect formal voice when writing their articles, whereas blogs accept friendly, less formal voice.
In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.”
Quotes taken from the web must include a source, either as an embedded hyperlink or at the end of the article. I always to add a quote that is relevant to the subject and three or four relevant external links, which I hyperlink. Moz.com has an excellent article on the use of external links, how to hyperlink, and how those affect search engine optimization (SEO). Also, use an internal link to your About and Portfolio page, so readers can get to know you.
Web users do not read the same way as print media. They typically scan the article to see if it is of interest to them, so put the most important things upfront. Be brief and concise. Use short sentences and only one concept per paragraph. Additionally, I use H2 subheaders to break up the text so the reader can find items of interest more quickly.
I like to include at least one optimized image, such as a photo, graph, chart, or infographic. Infographics have become very popular recently, but many times those are overused. If you do not have at least five to seven points to make, it is probably not enough to make an interesting infographic.
2. Accepting rejection without taking it personally
Learning to accept rejection is as important in writing as accepting a check. It is said, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Even the perfectly written material may not be the right fit for some websites, which could go back to knowing your audience.
Never give up on an article you feel strongly about. An article that is not right for one forum may be perfect for another. Double-check and refine the article, if necessary.
I was totally shocked and a little upset when I experienced my first article rejection. One editor said to keep my writing light because their readers were not technical; another editor rejected my article because it was not technical enough. I wound up selling it a few days later for twice what they had offered to pay me.
3. Spellchecking and proofreading are essential
No one should minimize the importance of spell checking and proofreading. A practice I always use is to put my article aside after it is complete and I have done my first spellcheck. I will come back to it after a few hours and reread it. Another good practice is to have someone else proofread it.
Remember spelling and grammar checks do not catch everything. Consider buying a subscription to Grammarly, Whitesmoke, or Ginger. My favorite is Grammarly. Although some of these grammar checkers claim to be free, it is much better to buy the subscription. Much like a mechanic with a toolbox, the more tools you have, the easier the job becomes. Grammarly basic will, for instance, tell you there are 13 errors, but without the upgrade, it will not tell you what every mistake in your writing is. Many times, it is just passive voice, which very rarely fits the situation, try to avoid it. Get Grammarly and get better grammar and accuracy. It is recommended not to use more than ten percent passive voice in your writing. Some editors insist on NO passive voice.
In Word, if you choose File, then Options, Proofing, and then Settings you can choose how autocorrections will appear or how Word will notify you of supposed mistakes.
4. Enjoying what you do!
Maybe I should list this as the most important lesson learned about writing articles for the web. If you write about something that you have a passion for, your passion will naturally show in your words.
Whether you are writing for the Web or a medical journal, know your audience, become your own best critic, and have fun with it.
The following are comments and feedback I have received from my clients for my writing and editing projects. I sincerely hope that you will add your feedback to this list.
Writing and editing comments received from John E., UK Solicitor:
Brilliant writing that needs no editing. Excellent work – the very best. Highly recommended. I depend on Stephen to write all the content for my 600 websites in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, except medical, which I have a retired doctor write. He has never let me down.
Comments received from NS MUKUNDAN:
Timely deliver. Great writing. He maintained the same writing standards in all the articles. He maintained good communications throughout. He was able to write on any topic. I will definitely work with him again.
Comments received from Jireh Publishing:
Stephen edited my non-fiction book, Heaven: The Popular Choice. It was a delight and a joy working with Stephen. I could sense that he really cared about the project because through his health challenge he never quit. He stayed true to the task to the end. He went beyond the call of duty and for that, I am truly grateful. I am more than pleased to offer my recommendation to anyone who needs the services he has to offer. Thank you, Stephen! May God richly bless and keep YOU!
Comments received from New Paradigm International:
Stephen was committed to the project of editing and formatting my eBook from the very beginning. He worked quickly and effectively and delivered a product which was professional and to my specifications. He displayed excellent communication and got the job done. I am very pleased with his work.
Comments received from Jay, Ohio Sports Editor:
Outstanding. He went to work right away. Researched and found the facts before writing the articles. I was very pleased with the results. Will use again soon.
Comments received from Huginn Gretarsson:
What a great job, I would recommend this freelancer for any writing and editing task. This the second children’s book that Stephen edited for proper English.
Comments received from Fitness Innovative Technologies, LLC:
Working with Stephen was great. He did excellent work and with a very fast turnaround. I will work with him again!
Comments received from Uncharted:
Stephen edited and basically rewrote several sentences, paragraphs, and events. He took the time to ensure everything flowed properly. I highly endorse Stephen for his dedication and upbeat personality. Primarily, I was impressed with his patience, honesty, and professional demeanor. As an Army Veteran, he could relate to certain difficulties. Stephen demonstrated all of the qualities and more — I strongly recommend him for any editing and creative writing. Thanks again Stephen!
Comments received from Christiane Abreu:
Stephen did an excellent job researching, writing, and editing the articles I asked him to write. He communicated with me consistently throughout the process, asking questions for clarification when necessary. He also edited my website’s home page for grammar. Even though he had the lowest bid out of all the freelance writers that bid, he delivered what he promised, ahead of schedule, and it was more than I expected. In the future, I will use Stephen exclusively for my writing and editing needs. I would highly recommend him for any writing or editing project you need completed.
Comments received from Jennifer Mariani, Course Vector Operations Manager:
August 6, 2015 “Stephen’s experience is truly an asset to us and our clients. Great copy is essential for an engaging website and a strong online presence. His expertise will help our clients find their voices and further their reach online.”
Comments received from Alan T.:
February 4, 2016 “This article is one of the best I have had the pleasure of reading. It is full of interesting facts and details that our readership is interested in. If you can continue with this type of information, I would like to have you continue to provide us with similar work throughout the year if you’re interested. Thanks again for a refreshing change & look forward to your next work.”
July 23, 2016 “Please send me an invoice for $100. I would like to give you a bonus for the work you did on that Case Study, excellent work. Thank you.
Comments received from John J.:
- 300 word Content Curation; or
- 4 Product Descriptions 100-150 word each; or
- Article or Blog 300-450 word; or
- Press Release; or
- 10 Product Descriptions 100-150 word each; or
- (2) Articles or Blogs up to 600 words or (1) up to 1000 words blog; or
- *Website Edit with 2 blog spots; or
- Novella edit up 50,000 words; or
- (5) Articles or blogs spun for reposting.
- *Website Edit with 3 blog spots
- Novel/Novella edit up 100,000 words; or
- (8) Articles or blogs spun for reposting.