Synicate Me

02 February 2008

Learning How To Write For The Internet

You have learnt how to find a place to blog, what to blog about and now it is time to learn how to add the content yourself.
Of course, you may find content for your blog somewhere else, but I will not be dealing with that option here. There are places on the Web where you can find free essays on just about any topic, but since the quality is generally poor, you will have to rewrite much of it anyway.

Learning How To Write For the Internet
Writing for the Web is much different than traditional writing. The reason for this is Internet readers read differently. Internet consumers tend to skim over content. If a quick glance does not capture the concentration of your readers, you have lost them. Here are a few tips:

  • write your content in the inverted pyramid style. In this style, you tell readers what you are blogging about first, before fleshing it out. More on this below.

  • add some multimedia content. It doesn't have to be full-blown 3D animation. A few pictures will do.

  • check your content for errors and suitability.

The Inverted Pyramid Style
In this style, you turn the traditional writing structure upside down. Instead of laying the foundation with broad strokes and filling in the detail later, then reaching a conclusion, you give the conclusion first and then explain how you got there. It may seem counter-intuitive, but think about the way a news bulletin is structured in a newspaper:

  • first a headline catches your attention. Writing a great headline is an art all by itself.

  • the first few sentences give the crux of the matter. You start with the end, in other words you start off with the conclusion.

  • gradually work backwards from the conclusion filling the gaps with background information.

  • you will notice many lists in this blog and many others. Bullets catch our attention. They are easier to skim over.

  • the same goes for highlighted keywords. I highlight the keywords, because it is easier to skim over a list with highlighted keywords quickly.

This is just a brief guide on filling your blog with content using the Inverted Pyramid Style. It might seem unnatural, because when we are taught writing, we are taught to begin with an introduction and end with the conclusion. The advantage of this style is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. It also makes sense, if you consider the structure of other blogs you read. For a good reference, please see writing for the web.

Putting Multimedia Content On Your Blog
Please! Please!! Please!!! Do NOT use copyrighted pictures on your blog! This means DeviantArt is OUT! Unless of course you have contacted the authors and reached an agreement to use the content on your blog. DeviantArt is filled with blood, sweat and tears. How would you feel if someone took your blog and used it to promote their own agenda? There are many stock images available for you to use, guilt free. Google is your friend.

Video is a great idea. Youtube is filled with hours of mindless entertainment. Adding a youtube video is remarkably easy, you just add the object code. Youtube has full instructions on how to do this, so I won't repeat it here.

For my main blog, I often edit images slightly. This adds to the USP of my blog. Note that to the best of my knowledge, the images I use are in public domain. The same goes for the videos.

Checking Your Content
Besides the obvious spelling and grammar, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before posting to a blog. This comes after you have fleshed out your content, added a few multimedia elements and right before you are about to hit the submit button.

Now you know how to deliver great content for your blog. The next post will deal with how to let search engines find your blog.

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