This post contains my top writing tips for online consumption.
So maybe you have a blog. Or, you simply want to create a longer post for Facebook, LinkedIn, or some other platform.
You actually want people to read some of it.
Perhaps you (like me) think you are a decent writer. Or maybe you don’t think you are.
I composed excellent, well-argued essays in high school and college/university. I knew how to structure an essay and each paragraph within it to effectively make my point.
Useful? Well, some of it is.
But writing for online consumption is a whole different ballgame.
Why is the internet different?
People read, or should I say scan, the internet differently than a book or an essay.
If you sit down to read a book or essay, you probably already know that you want to read it, and you at least may want to read it through to the end and understand it fully.
If you read a novel, perhaps you want to enjoy some exquisite prose.
There is so much information on the internet. So many options.
You have a 20-minute break. You could read any of dozens of posts/articles (or view dozens of videos) that are vying for your attention.
One post looks interesting. If you don’t see something compelling in the first 15 seconds, time to move on.
Even if you are somewhat committed to a post or article, you still scan online.
- 7-line paragraph? Skip down and try to find something interesting.
- What are the big points, the big topics?
- Where are the nuggets of information I can actually use?
- I am not spotting anything interesting – time to move on.
My 4 favorite tips:
1 – Use short paragraphs
1-3 short sentences in a paragraph.
Of course there can be exceptions, but have a good reason for going longer.
2 – Use headings and subheadings
Let the reader know what to expect from the next block of content.
Don’t ramble on too long without more subheadings so people can quickly see where they are.
If there are three smaller points below a bigger point, make subheadings.
3- Use bullets and lists
If possible, use an ordered list (1, 2, 3) or bullets to highlight parallel or related points.
4- Use images and block quotes
Break up your text with some appropriate images, videos, and quotes.
A block quote looks like this – it stands out more!
I plan to write more posts on related topics such as:
- understanding your audience
- keyword research
- sales copy (and how to get your audience to act!)
- how to engage with your audience through stories and other methods
- email copy
- effective headlines