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Guide: Tips To Keep Online Audience Reading Your Blog
This is what it’s about: Anyone can write, but not everyone is a writer. It doesn’t matter what kind of freelancer / solo preneur you are or how big or small your business is, chances are you are doing quite a bit of online writing for your freelance business.
At the heart of it, writing is communicatingAnd the secret to effective online communication is presentation. Here are a few tips to help you write for an online audience. Once you get the hang of it, writing for the web is easy.
There are just a few things to keep in mind as you write, such as:back to menu ↑
1. Format for clarity
When writing for the web, it is considered a violation if the text is not formatted correctly. After all, reading long blocks of text is taxing. No one has time to slow down and read. We all scan and browse online.
How to Fix it:
Write short sentences for better impact. Try to limit your sentences to 15-20 words at most. Even single-word sentences and paragraphs are acceptable online.
The next, break your text into shorter paragraphs. Three-sentence paragraphs are the norm, but five-sentence paragraphs are also acceptable. Make sure you mix them up with long and short phrases however!
If your text requires many items that you separate with a comma, divide them into lists or bullets Use subtitles help out guide the reader through your text. Subtitles give the reader the essence of the text at a glance. It helps them absorb more information faster.back to menu ↑
2. Write in a passive voice
It is so easy to write in a passive voice that most writers don’t even realize they are writing in a passive voice. Unfortunately, passive voice writing is murder for online writing. It doesn’t appeal to your reader.
Here’s an example of a phrase in the passive voice: “The freelancer has been hired by us.” Here’s how we put it in an active voice: “We hired the freelancer.”
Now imagine reading both sentences in, say, an email. Which sounds better?back to menu ↑
How to Fix it:
I can give you the technical explanation of how the topic in the sentence performs the action expressed in the verb, but that’s just confusing and hard to remember while writing. Writing with active voice boils down to creating that connection with your reader
Rather than referring to yourself or your audience in the third person, write them in first personImagine having a conversation with someone while writing.back to menu ↑
3. Wrong sentence length
Usually non-writers give themselves away by their sentence length. Scan online, readers. This means that if your sentences are too long to scan, your reader will stop reading and move on.
Any sentence over 25 words – and that’s a very generous word count, loses the interest of the readers. Imagine reading one sentence after another that is too long to read in one sitting. Just thinking about it is exhausting, right?
Let’s do a quick test. Go to all the online content you’ve written and randomly check the word count of your sentences. If there are quite a few of those sentences between 20-25 words, you have a problem.back to menu ↑
How to Fix it:
Solving this is very simple. All you have to do is divide your text into smaller sentencesInvestigate one thought, point, or idea per sentence.
Make sure the sentence length is between 16 and 20 words maximum for the optimal reading experience. It gets even better if you can handle shorter sentences.
Make sure to vary the length of your sentence. Too many short sentences and the text becomes abrupt. Too many long sentences and it gets boring to read. to blend up the length of your sentences for a better reading experience.back to menu ↑
4. Have no power
One of the most popular writing advice (probably of all time) is: The purpose of your first sentence is to get the reader to read the second sentence and so on.
While the quality of the writing is very important to that point, the flow and structure of that writing is also very important.
If your writing is not structured and presented in a haphazard manner, your reader will wonder what point you are trying to make.back to menu ↑
How to Fix it:
Organize your writing in a structure and let it flow logically. Start with the introduction, then go down and list all your points before summarizing them all in the conclusion
Format your writing for the web. Use short paragraphs and explore only one idea in it, use subtitles, lists, etc. To make it easier to read.back to menu ↑
5. Disrespect your readers
When you’re writing for an audience, it’s so important to respect your reader. Just like in a face-to-face conversation, we show our respect through being kind, respectful and don’t talk to them.
To be fair, there is a very fine line between respecting your readers and insulting them. Sometimes Being overly helpful can backfire to.
Go online tutorials for example. If you simplify them too much and explain everything, you feed it the risk of undermining the skills of your readersIf you don’t, you run the risk of alienating your readers who may not find you tutorial helpful enough.back to menu ↑
How to Fix it:
Determine your ideal reader and write for him. Taking the tutorial example a little further, if your intended reader is a beginner, detailed tutorials that explain that every little thing is the right choice. If your readers are well versed, it would be enough to just point them in the right direction.
In front of tutorials and all other types of online writing, make sure your writing comes across as friendly and does not make your reader feel like you are talking to them.
Using ‘You’ and ‘Your’ are great ways to make your readers feel like you’re specifically talking to them, but make sure you don’t get patronizing.back to menu ↑
6. No call-to-action
Web writing is all about convincing your reader to take action after reading your content. It can be something as simple as they leave a comment or as complicated as they trust you enough to buy from you.
If there is no call to action in your writing, how will they know what you want them to do? Or why did you write the content?back to menu ↑
How do you fix it:
Include a call to action at the end of your content. If you’re writing a blog post, ask them to share their thoughts, let them know if they agree or disagree, or ask them to leave a comment outright.
Inviting readers to share your content via social media is also a call to action. If you want them to buy or sign something up for a newsletter, etc., let them know by adding a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Sign up here ‘call-to-action.back to menu ↑
7. Improve your reach
At the heart it is just as easy as formatting your text, writing with an active voice, having a call-to-action and most importantly – with respect for your readerThe good thing about writing is that once you know what to look for, it’s easy to improve.
Start practicing the above in your emails. For other forms of online writing, write as usual, but take the time to proofread and edit it tips in mind. After a few times, these errors will pop out to you while writing, and before you know it, your writing should have improved!back to menu ↑
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