Writing for web tips from Megan Arszman

We had a great time chatting with Megan on our most recent podcast. We have an exclusive clip just for our list as she talked about ways to write for web content versus print. And bonus--she put together a list of tips below!

Tips for Writing Online Articles
By Megan Arszman

Online publications and websites are growing in popularity because they are not as expensive to publish as print publications. You’re seeing more and more news articles online rather than in a print publication because of the immediate nature we now live in—we want the news now, not a month or two later.

So how is writing for online different from writing for print publications?

-        Length: Most print publications look for articles to be anywhere from 900-2,000 words, but online news articles are significantly shorter. There’s been research that says that we read a little slower from computers than we do print, so online stories need to be short (350-500 words).

-        Concise: Because online articles are shorter, your writing needs to be concise. Paragraphs are usually two to three sentences, use bulleted and numbered lists, and don’t be afraid to break up your story.

-        Basic Journalism: Go back to Journalism 101 and remember to use the inverted pyramid

o   Main part of your article at the beginning for the lede

o   Include most important information in top half

o   Least important stuff in bottom half

Also consider imagery for your online articles—videos and photos help for promotion. Online articles are more likely to be shared on social media, so you want to have at least one or two quality images that will catch potential readers’ eyes when scanning tweets or Facebook posts.

If you’re covering an event, think about doing a photo slideshow. If it’s a short how-to article, consider doing a short video to support the article. 

Abigail Boatwright