How do you become a webwriter? Doing our home study course will give you a huge advantage in a very competitive market.
But many of the best webwriters started their careers by looking at a website, and thinking: “I could write that.”
Many go on to prove the point and develop their webwriting skills. Maybe, you could do the same?
Our web writing course will certainly unearth any hidden talent, and help you shape your natural writing abilities for the fast-moving internet age.
Many of our online webwriting students find that they start tapping into writing skills they haven’t used since they were at school.
Many people with webwriting careers start because they have a real love and appreciation of language, and this really helps when they start writing for a living in a more disciplined way.
There is certainly a living to be made from writing. Many of our former webwriting online students are living proof of that.
But it does require self-discipline and plenty of imagination. A fertile mind is an essential attribute for a writer, especially these days, when the market demands articles that have a strong element of originality.
Let me introduce you to Claire. She started her webwriting career by emailing me about a government website, that she’d seen, while trying to find some information about career grants.
She told me in her email two years ago: “The content was very hard to read, and it wore me out in places. It was reasonably interesting, but the use of English made it very hard work to follow what they meant and what they were saying.
“They tended to use the wrong words and phrases, and switched tenses / voice, etc, forcing me to concentrate all the time to keep up with them.
“I felt they could have given me the information far more quickly and simply. They wasted my time and my energy.”
Fortunately, most government websites are a lot better than that now. I told Claire that website visitors tend to skim text, so it must be a very fluent read. I explained that writing as you speak helps to achieve fluency.
So does the proper use of commas. Some sites omit them, making it even harder to follow the flow of longer sentences. I also suggested that she tested her own copy for fluency, by using a text reader on her PC.
Claire told me, later, that it helped her hearing the article read back. The areas that lacked fluency stood out, and she was soon able to work out how to change them.
These are some of the tips we gave her to help her get started in her career as a webwriter:
1. Make sure the content contains the basic details: so, if you’re writing about an event, say what it was, where it was, when it was and who was taking part.
Remember, all articles should cover: the what, when, where, who, why, and how. Otherwise, the reader is left frustrated by the lack of basic information.
2. Analyse sites before you write for them: it is best to go through them with a fine toothcomb, and pinpoint their requirements in terms of article length, content, and writing style.
Check whether they use images, and analyse the key search phrases. You will need to repeat this process for every site you are planning to write for.
Although it is rather tedious, it will save you time and energy later, and will also improve your chances of getting your articles used.
3. Humanise complex issues – many webwriters use this approach: find someone, or some people, to illustrate your points and build the content around them in a very personal way.
Tell their stories, and use them as a way of introducing background information and comment. If you study the media, you will see that this approach is used all the time.
For instance, if you are writing copy for a community website about the council’s plans to shut their popular market, try to find a trader who has occupied a pitch that has been in his family for generations.
Or, maybe, find the story of a punter who found an obscure gift for his mother’s 100th birthday. These examples are accessible and interesting.
4. Keep sentences simple. Readers simply won’t have the time or the inclination to reread complex sentence structures. They’ll just click the mouse and go elsewhere.
Web copy must be very easy to understand, especially as people read 25% slower and 30% less efficiently on screen.
This means that sentences should be around 18-25 words, maximum, and paragraphs should be one sentence each. This breaks up the copy and makes it easier to read.
5. Avoid the word ‘local’ – it’s meaningless. Everyone in the world is local to where they live. Remember, people anywhere on earth might read your content, so referring to your ‘local shop’ won’t help them understand where you are referring to.
Only use the word ‘local’ when you are comparing something with a national position, for example: ‘Some MPs think it is a local problem. Others say it is a national issue.’
6. The first sentence needs to be captivating, both in its content and in its writing style. If the reader is put off at this stage, they may not bother to read on.
The skill is to make the content interesting, and include at least one phrase search as well. The start needs to catch the busy reader’s attention straight away, and set the scene for what follows.
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