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7 Rules for Writing Online Articles that Attract and Get Read

Updated on January 18, 2014

Writing online articles is far different from writing for offline publications. Similarly, the way people consume web content is different from the way they absorb print information. If you want people to spend enough time to consume the information on your web site, you need to adopt an effective online writing style.

Below are seven rules that can help you craft articles people will read and understand on the internet.

Craft Targeted Headlines

The first thing that will attract target readers to your article is the headline. Ideally, your content must be aimed at solving a certain problem, addressing a specific issue, or meeting a defined need. It is in the title that you need to make it clear what your content is about. If the headline is targeted and specific, your ideal audience will be motivated to read further to find out how the content can help solve their pressing problems.

For example, if you are writing about health insurance for seniors, include the term in your headline. This way, your target audience will want to know how the information can help them solve their health insurance problem, and therefore click through to read the rest of the content.

Write Compelling Introduction or Lead paragraph

After drawing the attention of your readers with the headline, it is critical to hold it so they can spend enough time on reading the rest of the content. In the introduction or lead paragraph, give a brief explanation of what the article is about, and how it can help them eliminate their struggles. One way to arouse their interest to read the content in its entirety is by making the lead paragraph so compelling that they will not want to leave unless they finish reading it. Additionally, this paragraph must be short and straight to the point to avoid boring them.

Use Short Paragraphs

One thing that will motivate your target audience to continue reading the rest of the content after the headline and the introduction is the structure of the entire article. Break up your content into small, easy to read paragraphs. Like the introduction, make this section scannable and easy to digest. Your paragraphs should be two to five sentences long, and must be short and concise. As much as you try to make the paragraphs easy for readers to digest, using subheadings in the content will also make article writing simple for you.

Use Simple and Easy to Understand Words

On the internet, people don’t have enough time to look for the meaning of words or technical terms. Don’t assume your audience understands all your industry jargon and write articles that are filled with them. Make your content conversational, and use every day life experiences people can relate with as anecdotes to convey your messages.

Add Keywords to the Content

People go to search engines when they are seeking information to solve a problem by using keyword phrases. If you want your article to be found easily on various search engines, you must embed relevant keywords within the content. This will enable Google and other search engines to index the content appropriately, and make it easy for your target audience to find the articles on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Embed Links within the Content

Don’t try to say it all in your article. If you feel you must write a lot about a specific topic, simply provide a short and in-depth explanation about it, and link to a source with detailed information regarding the subject. You can do the linking within your website, or to a different site with the same theme. If you give an example or quote a source in an article, instead of saying everything from the original source, link to it. Don’t be afraid of losing readers by linking out from your content. They will always come back for more as long as you continue to deliver high quality and informative content on your web site.

Write Well

Some of the things that can easily turn web site visitors off are grammatical errors and typos. For this reason, check every article you write thoroughly for wrong spellings, poor punctuations and sentence construction mistakes. Also, edit and proofread your content several times before hitting the publish button.

Like the difference between reading online and offline, writing articles for internet publication is quite different from writing for print media. Following the above rules when writing web articles will make it easy for your target audience to consume the content, and help achieve the goal your website is designed for.


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    • ajagbe4best profile image

      Sikiru Saeed 3 years ago from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


      It's so nice to read your comment. Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your rating and recommendation as well.

    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 3 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      So so so so relevant for writers on HubPages! Excellent read - rated up and useful! Thanks for sharing some great tips - I'd recommend this to new Hub writers :)