12 Tips On How To Write For The Internet

I already know you can write but can you write well? More than putting pen to paper (or cursor to Word), your article should connect with its target reader.

On the internet, the most effective way to do that is to write with a casual, easy to read and friendly style. You have to be personable because they don’t know you and would click away in a heartbeat.

Here are a few short things to remember:

1) First rule: help the reader. The reader is most likely reading the article to get something out of it. Make sure he gets what he needs and that everything you write down works to that end.

2) The first thing they see is crucial. The title, the first sentence and the first paragraph all need to be both a quick summary of what you’re talking about (we’re all busy so spill the beans to me) and it should also grab the reader’s attention (by being relevant, witty, frank, etc.)

3) Short sentences (around 1-2 lines) and short paragraphs (around 2-3 sentences) work best. Short means they can better understand your work since they won’t get lost with meandering sentences and long-winded paragraphs.


4) Simple is best. Again back to our goal of being easy to read. Substitute simple words for complex ones. Instead of pulchritude, why not say beauty?

5) Write in the second or first person. The usual way is to write in the second person (you, your, etc.). Switch to the first person (me, I, our, etc) if you are talking about your own experience or opinion. Avoid writing in the third person (the person has, the user will see). You wouldn’t want people talking over your head, wouldn’t you?

6) Use the active voice. This means the subject of the sentence is the doer (the cat ate the fish) instead of using passive voice where the object is the doer of the action (the fish was eaten by the cat). It’s both longer and more complex, thus harder to understand.

7) Contractions are great. Why? Cause it’s shorter and more casual. Just like when you talk to friends.

8) Use connective words. These words assist the reader in going with flow of the article. Examples are “also, therefore, as well as”.

9) Saying easy, fast, free and similar words are only for lousy copywriters. These words are usually a crutch and you’re better off describing your idea in terms of nouns and verbs which have more impact. Instead of writing it’s an easy and free way to promote a widget, tell them how it’s that way (one-click publishing, available online, etc). Be creative!

10) Make sure your headline is clear. It should say to the reader, “Hey guy, read me! I’ll answer your problem”

11) How to close your article. I know this is quite common, but a helpful reminder never hurts. We usually prioritize the intro and become engrossed in the body that our excitement is pretty much drained come the conclusion. To help you close your article: you can add a Call to Action or you can loop it with the problem you set out to solve (mainly the thought you shared during the intro).

12) Your copy should have a goal. If there is no goal for the copy, create one. It’s simple to make. What is the end result you want to happen after the visitor reads the copy? How will you go about it? Take those answers and turn it into a short, easy to understand action. This makes what you want to do clear both to you and others

And here is the style guide we use, something that HubSpot made specially for the internet.

Internet Marketing Written Style Guide

Hope this helps you get started writing well!

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