Instead of a writing strategy this week, I’ve rounded up several effective web writing tips from a panel of bloggers. These tips are (mostly) from the Web Writing Panel at the Writer’s Craft Fair hosted by the BC Association of Magazine Publishers. I was honored to participate in this panel – I love being a panelist! – and learned a few new web writing tips that I wanna share.
First, a tip for attending writer’s conferences: Go to the writing panels, not just the workshops. I love the Surrey International Writer’s Conference for many reasons; one is the proliferation of panels they offer. Panels are especially informative and entertaining because you learn from a variety of specialists – not just one writer, novelist, or blogger.
5 Web Writing Tips From a Panel of Expert Bloggers
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1. Write short, concise blog posts. To keep your readers reading and ensure your post gets indexed by Google and other spiders, keep your posts between 250-600 words long. More than 600 words is too long for readers; less than 250 means your post might not be found. Note that some writers (such as Crawford Killian, a Tyee writer) set their upper limit at 1,300 words; it just depends on the blog and the blogger’s purpose.
2. Give your readers something to do at the end. Provide at least a couple of options at the end of your blog post. You could list a few links to a related article or invite your readers to comment or ask a question. This purpose of this web writing tip is to help your readers decide what to do next.
3. Limit your internal and external links. If you have too many links in your post, your readers may not know if they should click the link or keep reading. I try not to include more than three links in my blog posts. This post will be four, because I want to internally link at least once!
4. Use nouns as much as possible. Instead of saying “you” when you’re referring to bloggers, use the words “effective web writers” or “bloggers.” I tend to overuse the word “you” when I blog or write for Suite101, and I’m sure it negatively affects my rank with Google. Don’t use “click here” or “read this article” as link text. Instead, use a keyword, article title, or webpage title.
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5. Write a strong title and first sentence (or two). I didn’t mention this in the Web Writing Panel, but it’s an important tip for bloggers: Pay special attention to your first two sentences of your post. If you want Google and other search engines to spider and rank it properly, make sure your first two sentences contain keywords and keyphrases. Your first sentence (or two, depending on the length) are the first things surfers see in the Google search results, so they need to accurately represent your post.
If you have any web writing questions, please ask below. You might also find Keyword Optimization Tips for Web Writing helpful, on Quips & Tips for Successful Writers.
And…I listed three more online writing or blogging tips from my first stint as a participant in a web writing panel, in 5 Most Helpful Blogging Classes for Writers’ Workshops. Come see!