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How to Master Online Article Writing
As I continue to wrestle with the craft of writing for the web, especially when writing about subjects I hadn’t tried before, I remain paralyzed by the size of the task. All of you late entrants to the crowded field who walk the same line of continuous SEO failures with me, you probably understand the tortures of writing for the web at the time when bloggers and copywriters saturate the globe. We’ve often heard that competition is healthy, but when you compete against billions of competitors, there are no benefits on your health. However, we can’t deny that the challenge doesn’t open new doors for creative thinking and imagination. With this attitude, let us think of William Zinsser’s intangibles that produce good writing:
William Zinsser wrote a book On writing Well for a small segment of the population: students, teachers, writers, editors and all those who want to learn how to write. Although this segment of population seems huge to you and me, it’s questionable whether there are more online or offline writers. Whatever the case, some universal truths about the act of writing stand for both groups.
So, reading this book I asked myself these questions:
- Am I confident about my writing? (Yes.)
- Do I enjoy my writing? (Not really.)
- Why? (I hate the SEO part of it).
- What is my intention? (Earn money with my writing?)
- Is there enough integrity in my writing? (No.)
I suggest you answer these questions for yourself and analyze the answers so that you can work your way to success by working on self-improvement.
In my case, I realized that SEO part of writing doesn’t do me any good. My understanding of the situation is that I hadn’t learned enough about the subject and that’s probably why I face failures in terms of my intention (making money). No big fuss because this being said, I belong to 95% of the population trying to make a living by writing for the web.
Easy Article Writing For The Web? Is There Such a Thing?
There are thousands of people searching the web to find out how to make money online by writing articles. Many of them end up on a HubPages web page explaining the process in detail and many of them sign up and start writing. But, how much do they write? A high percentage of these newbies in the online article writing world give up because they don’t see dollars, euros, pounds, etc. flooding their bank accounts in no time. And most of them have written less than 30 articles.
The right question about online article writing
If you want to make money online writing articles, the first question that should cross your mind is "Can I really write good-quality articles on a regular basis?" Writing is what will make you a writer, and being a good writer is what will make you money. A dozen of articles won’t help you earn unless you’re very knowledgeable in the area of search engine optimization or you’ve got enough money to pay for expensive link building tools which could generate thousands of backlinks to your articles; this even doesn’t work as it used to before the Google Panda Update because Panda starts off from a human point of view, not a machine’s.
After all the recent changes imposed by Google to kill SEO, or at least, the methods and strategies people use to win the Google PageRank running race, I realized that answering the question about your writing intentions with earning money as your primary goal, you are destined to die without Google mercy. This is a good thing actually because there’s a chance we can actually enjoy our writing, maybe even give more than we can take (isn’t giving much better than just taking) and work towards integrity. I already give more than I can take in terms of time and money, but I’m not satisfied with how much I give to my readers. Thank Goodness, it seems there’s still the sparkle of a real writer sleeping in me!
I already knew this (well, not right away when I first started writing online), but to remind myself and all of you, interested readers, here’s a quote from William Zinsser’s book:
"Any invention that reduces the fear of writing is up there with air-conditioning and the lightbulb. But, as always, there’s a catch. Nobody told all the new computer writers that the essence of writing is rewriting. Just because they write fluently doesn’t mean they’re writing well."
This is true for academic writing, but oh, so false if we are talking about writing for the web. To succeed as an online writer you have to meet the unmet needs of your audience. Rewriting is signing your death sentence (figuratively said, of course).
"Writing is a dance – sometimes not at all that pretty – between the big picture and the small. So much of the writing happens when you’re not really writing at all. Sentences seem to come looking for you if you map their territory first."
- Mark Tredinnick in Writing Well: The Essential Guide
The Components of Good Writing
If you are confident about your writing, you enjoy it, your intention is to give something to the reader and there’s integrity in the process, you can start working on perfecting your skills as a writer. First of all, lots of writing happens when you’re not writing at all.
This means you have to keep your eyes and ears wide open in order to get the ideas you need for your writing.
Principles of Good Writing
According to Mark Tredinnick:
- Your writing has to sound like the very best kind of talking - it should speak.
- You have to study sentence craft – understand the importance of verbs you choose to say something, make sentences that vary in length and character, make them sound, astute, elegant.
- Use the right style. Say more with less.
- Your attitude toward readers is important. Don’t neglect your readers, but don’t think about them too much either.
- Work on the structure, learn to link sentences and paragraphs well. You have to know what to say before you say it and learn how to compose the paragraphs orderly.
Important Tip On Good Writing
The trick to writing better is to make your writing less like you always thought writing had to be and more like yourself talking about something you know among people you trust.
Personal Note on Writing For the Web
I've got cca. 200 articles on the web, and although they are mostly good, I made the common beginner’s mistake by jumping from one topic to another which resulted in implementing a poor link building strategy. Optimizing articles with inbound links isn’t easy when a visitor who follows those potential links ends up on a page with one, two or maximum three content related links. It’s like walking around the city and "ending up in a dead-end." Nobody likes dead-ends.
What I’ve learned about backlinking
I realized that inbound links have real value only if you’ve got something useful to offer on your web page including additional information (usually in form of relevant internal links), something that people find so interesting, awesome or at least helpful enough that they want to share it.
If you post a link to your article on Digg, Stumble Upon, Twitter, FB or anywhere else, what’s the point of doing it if nobody is digging, stumbling, tweeting, “liking” or “bla-bla-bl-ing” that page?
Some people keep looking at how many followers a writer has and how many articles the writer has published. The number of followers can sometimes be very impressive, but I find the number of published articles even more impressive.
Where Else To Write?
I write on HP, Seekyt, SeekSuccess, Wizzley, Xomba, but people mention also Squidoo and Infobarrel as excellent alternatives to Hubpages. Seekyt seems to be performing the best for me (after HP) so you may want to read more about why you should join the site here: Seekyt Review.
30 Day Challenges
30 Day Challenges are great if you want to write more and learn more about writing. Most people are excited at the beginning but start worrying as the time passes by. 30 Day Challenges involve writing 30 articles in 30 days. Lots of people have reached their goal, but lots of people haven't succeeded in reaching this number in the given time frame. However, they learned a lot and expanded their article database anyway.