ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Commercial & Creative Writing

Online Article Writing Tips

Updated on November 23, 2011

Another Day, Another Challenge!

Title: Parchment ~ License sxu license ~ Photographer: brokenarts ~ everystockphoto.com
Title: Parchment ~ License sxu license ~ Photographer: brokenarts ~ everystockphoto.com

Plan, Focus, Write!

If you have a blog or are an online article writer aspiring to make money, you are faced with a unique challenge with each dawning day. You must come up with fresh article topics or fresh ways of looking at old topics, gather thoughts and resources, and then put it all together in a way readers will enjoy and pass on to others!

Here are a few online article writing tips to help keep you focused and producing!

Don’t be scattered! Decide what you want to write about, how many articles you want to write and set up a time frame. Gather your resources (references and keywords) and have at it. Don’t stop to do other things online. Close your browser, instant messaging, Skype and so on. Just work in your word processing program and keep at it until you are done. With good organization and focus, you can write quickly and efficiently - if you know how to type and can think fairly quickly.

Write articles about what you know! If you are trying to write about something you are unfamiliar with, it will show. Write what you know - even if you are not an expert on the subject. Find good reference information about it and add your own slant, ideas and experiences.

Back up your knowledge! Find all of the resource documents you plan to use. Copy and paste information you want into a single document. Be sure to include the name, author, and web address of any article you use. List these as source documents when you list your references.

Refer indirectly! When you use references, “refer”. Avoid using direct quotes or anything that might smack of copy & paste or plagiarism. When you reference your sources, use terms like, “In a paper presented to YADA-YADA on M/D/Y, Dr. X of the BLAH-BLAH-BLAH said THAT…” and then paraphrase what the good doctor said in an indirect quote. Be sure to provide credit and links to your source.

Have good basic skills! When you‘ve prepared well and stay focused, you’ll be surprised at how much you have to say - that’s assuming you have decent typing and writing skills. You don’t have to be Stephen King, but you do have to have enough command of the language to write your rough draft without thinking about it very hard, and you also have to be able to type quickly enough not to lose your train of thought.

Go with the flow! In the olden days, when we were all scratching out essays and book reports in ball-point pen on lined notebook paper, it was very important to have an outline. Today, with good word processing programs, this is really not necessary. Eventually, your article will need to be organized. It will need an introduction, a body, a conclusion, and a good title; however, these may not be clear to you until you get all your thoughts down. Start out simply typing what you think and gathering ideas from your references. When you have said your piece, go back through your work and edit, cut, copy and paste, and give your article form.

Brainstorm! I find that I do my best writing by simply brainstorming with myself and my resources and typing as fast as I can. I can always move things around, make lists, add bullet points and so on later. By working in this way, more and more possibilities present themselves as I continue to write, and I come out with better articles than I ever thought about to begin with!


Avoid overusing keywords! Look up your keywords first and work them into your writing gracefully as you type. On your final article edit, look for places where you can tweak your keywords a little bit more. Bear in mind that your keywords should always read naturally and should not be used so much as to seem repetitive.

Use keywords as article titles! Titles for online articles aren’t like titles for books, movies, and print articles. They should not be catchy, clever or convoluted. Your article title should say what the article is about, and it should rate fair to moderate in a keyword search. Once you know what your article topic will be, use a free keyword tool to find good , long tail (medium hits) keywords to work into the article. Be on the lookout for keyword combinations that will make a good title. Be sure your title is sensible and gives your ideal reader a good idea of what to expect from your article.

Keep keywords in context! Today, search engines use a process known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). By this process, the search engine locates your keywords by definition and by context. This gives you flexibility in your use of keywords and saves you from having to insert keywords into awkward positions in your written article. This helps you write decent prose that makes a nice statement for your product or service and still gets noticed by search engines.

Use keywords as article concepts! While you can use popular keywords as jumping off points for article topics, be sure to choose keywords in topics that can be gracefully linked to your product or service. Articles that ask the musical question: “How is a trip in a hot air balloon like using a Brand X vacuum cleaner?” are likely to be quite ungainly unless you are a very fine comedy writer and able to make the most of this ridiculous comparison. In that case, you might be able to start a very unique niche for yourself by gracefully linking oddball keyword combinations in a way that is entertaining and fun!

Write in first person! Don’t write about yourself in third person as if you were royalty or an imaginary person hired to write articles on your behalf! Address your readers directly about your own experiences. It is easier for readers to engage with you and vice-versa if you address them directly. Over time, if you write lots of true articles, you will build trust with your readers, and they will begin to seek out your work and your business.

Address your ideal reader! Stephen King always writes for his ideal reader, his wife, Tabitha. You should do that, too, but not for Tabitha. Write articles for your ideal customer or reader. Think about how you would address that person if s/he were sitting across the table from you. Make it easy for that person to understand and enjoy what you have to say by using vocabulary, expressions and a writing style that will be likely to engage him/her.

Don’t make your ideal reader work too hard! Remember, even if you have a stellar vocabulary and a fine grasp of critical thinking, your ideal reader may not, or simply may not want to use those skills to understand your product or service. Write your articles in friendly, easy to understand, every day vocabulary organized around clear concepts. This will help your ideal reader to understand and like you better. That will help you accomplish your goal.

Ask your ideal reader for article topics! Once you have established your ideal reader, you will begin to collect a following of ideal readers. This is your target audience. Be sure they know that you “take requests”. They will be good sources of topics for articles that are sure to be read by an ever-growing throng of curious ideal readers clamoring for information!

Brevity is the heart of wit! It is also the way to keep your ideal readers engaged. This is a longer article because it is written for a specific niche that would tend to appreciate longer articles - online article writers - however, most of the time, people like 300 - 500 word articles that get right to the point and cover each aspect of a topic briefly and well.

Shoot for a 1-minute reading time! Most people only look at a web page for under a minute. They want to be able to scan information and get the general idea, then go on their merry way. This is why, brief, well-organized, accurate information is popular online.

Use your own time wisely! If it takes you 4 hours to write a 400 word article, you probably won’t get your money’s worth out of it! There are online article writers who claim to be able to knock out half a dozen 300 word articles an hour. I have to say, I can’t do that and come up with truly unique prose. If you are doing article rewrites that will pass a plagiarism program, you can probably do that, but coming up with truly unique articles takes a little more time.

Choose your topic carefully, and think about your return! To put it in context, this 1500 word article took me about an hour and a half to write. Over time, I believe I will reasonably make enough on it to make it worth my while. If I were writing about a product rather than a concept, I would write a 300 word article that would take about half an hour from concept to finished posting, and I would expect a fast turnaround on that small investment of time.

Practice brings progress! There is no practice makes perfect with online article writing because the available tools, the possibilities, the methods change day-by-day. One thing is certain, though: The more articles you write, the faster and more efficient you will become, and quick efficient article writing can lead to good financial returns.

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:June 20, 2011

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • htodd profile image

    htodd 5 years ago from United States

    Great post..Nice

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Spencer! Glad you liked it! :)

  • Spencer Camus profile image

    Spencer Camus 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    What a fantastic hub. I've read a number of this type, but none have really given me much beyond what I knew, or suspected. You've really given some solid context and reasoning that I can use. What a brilliant read, thanks very much for sharing. I didn't hesitate to vote up, it ticks pretty much all the boxes.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks all! :)

    Amy, I have learned that online writing is just different than regular writing. There are devices you employ - such as inserting a specified keyword - and everybody knows it. It doesn't reflect on your writing skills. If a person happens to search for your topic using your keyword, they find your article, and it's useful, they aren't going to complain that you wrote, "When you are looking for locksmith Boston MA..." or some such silly thing, because that's exactly what they were looking for, and they found it! :D

  • Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Great advice, justmesuzanne, I write here at the hub creatively and general articles online at AMS for pay. I had no understanding of "keywords" until I learned it there. The issue for me occasionally is the awkwardness of some of the keyword phrases that must be incorporated in the first and last paragraphs. I manage, but sometimes there is "no way" to have them read as naturally as I'd like. Sometimes, I suppose a writer has to make do with some constrictions. Great topic and I enjoyed the read. Thank you.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    Great hub - especially (for me anyway) the bit about turning off your browser and focussing. I have a very bad habit of doing at least three things at once - I would probably accomplish more if I didn't!

    Bookmarked for future reference - thank you.

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

    Lots of great suggestions!

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    yes. I've written a couple of news article/opinion pieces on HUB Pages. most recently, one on the Penn State scandal. It's a different type of writing. If you're curious, check it out. it's called "Penn State Shame" Good advice, here. Voted up and shared

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks PDX! Yes, this advice is really more for informal articles and article marketing. For a news type story, you would want a more objective viewpoint.

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    Very helpful and useful. Voted up. Interesting that you mentioned writing in first person because this is the way i like to write and the natural way for me to write, however, Examiner.com, makes people rewrite articles if they are in first person. Thanks for sharing. Bookmarked.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Herbert! :)

  • HERBERT ubaldo profile image

    HERBERT ubaldo 5 years ago

    Very useful tips....

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Glad to be of service! :)

  • Ruby H Rose profile image

    Maree Michael Martin 6 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

    Couldn't do it without you! Thanks for the wonderful writing advice. Gets me up and going again. Time to stop reading and write!

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks Raj and Jaye! :)

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Thank you for some excellent suggestions and information, Suzanne! I'm sure I will return and read this one again. Voted UP and (very) useful!

    Jaye

  • rajaramravi profile image

    rajaramravi 6 years ago

    useful information,thanks I am voting up.

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • profile image

    khmohsin 6 years ago

    Great hub with great writing tips.

  • Brett.Tesol profile image

    Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

    Very good informative hub! Voted up and useful

    I learned some new things about Keywords ... seems like the rules are forever changing lol

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • profile image

    rorshak sobchak 6 years ago

    Great tips! I really liked your Hub. :)

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! I'm glad I could help you! :)

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

    Wow, this is very good wisdom for us online writers. I am bookmarking this one for future use. The part I need to work on the most is being organized with my writing, so that I don't waste time. You have given me good tips on how to get better in this area. Thank you and take care!

  • Ultimate Hubber profile image

    Ultimate Hubber 6 years ago

    Some of the most useful tips available on the subject. Thanks Suzanne!

  • nighthag profile image

    K.A.E Grove 6 years ago from Australia

    some great advice thanks

  • justmesuzanne profile image
    Author

    justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks, all! :)

  • agsawan profile image

    agsawan 6 years ago

    This one is a keeper! Thanks.

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    I wish I had run across this information when I first started writing on line.Evenif one is not writing commercially we all want readers.

  • profile image

    Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

    Very practical advise. I tend to get wordy. I need one of those bobble heads sitting on my keyboard that repeats "shorter is better" when I am writing.

    :)