Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Write for a Blog, E-newsletter, and the Internet

When was the last time someone send you a link to their travel blog . . . and you actually enjoyed reading it? Did you read it to the finish?

While there are many good blogs out there - and a few really great ones, the truth of the matter is that the internet is innundated with wordy, difficult to read blogs that fail to capture attention.

Here are a few tips on writing for the internet that will make your blog, newsletter or internet article stand out, drive traffic ro your site, and ease the eyestrain of your readers:

Content on the Internet has to be easily scannable. Thanks to the Internet and broadcast media, people have far less patience and tolerance for large blocks of narrative text. When you create new Web text, make sure it's "chunked out" (broken into smaller blocks of text separated by a break) or "chunked down" (shortened).

Explain your points in short paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easier for the reader to follow. No one likes to look at a long block of solid text. Three, four or five sentences are usually enough for one paragraph.

Use the traditional newspaper structure of "inverted pyramid" writing. Like newspapers, the Internet should be a fast read, involve a lot of content and catch the reader's attention. Make sure your five W's (who, what, when, where, why, and also how) are close to the top. Details of lesser importance should follow, from general to specific (that's why the pyramid is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom). The idea is this: Even if the reader only reads the headline, they should have a good idea of what the article is about. And if they read only the first few lines, they should have a very good idea of the main points in the article

Here is an example of our Green Tortoise Adventure travel newsletter: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs053/1101592235017/archive/1102949516783.html

Try to use keywords so the search engines can find the article. Also link to our own website with the proper landing page - the page that contains more information. The more keywords, the better. That's because search engines – the “publishers” of the internet - have “spider bots,” which crawl all over the internet looking for just the right websites to recommend to every person who enters a word or phrase in a Search box. The best keywords are ones that are most likely to be used in a search engine and picked up by a "spider bot."

So now, cute and catchy titles are out because the "spiders" don't recognize cute and catchy; they want short and precise titles using those keywords that also must appear over and over in an internet article. Synonyms are out - it's now all about keywords! This is how the people who are out searching for articles on the internet are matched up with the articles an author wants them to read.

When designing the layout, keep in mind the "f shaped" eye pattern that internet users utilize. Click here for examples of this study:

The F pattern's implications for Web design show the importance of following guidelines for writing on the web:

Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are conducting their initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors. Yes, some people will read more, but most won't.

The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There's some hope that users will actually read this material, though they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second.

Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behavior. They'll read the third word on a line much less often than the first two words.

So now what are you waiting for? Start composing your blog and live your dream!


No comments:

Post a Comment