10 Tips for Improving Your Writing Online

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General / Improve Online Efficiency / Search Engine Optimization / Writing

Promoting yourself online will inevitably require some writing. This might be through the text you use in describing your work on your site, the posts you write on your niche blog, or the articles you write to drive traffic to or improve the search engine ranking of your sites.

Here are some tips you should observe in order to deliver better online copy (writing) that will draw readers in and transmit a professional image:

1. Use short sentences

You don’t need to needlessly complicate things to make a point.

2. Formatting

Mix up the use of bold, italic, underlining, colours and font styles to emphasize points and draw in the reader’s eye more effectively.

3. Be positive, not negative

State something that is, instead of what is not. Studies on the psychology behind this show better absorption of the message by the reader for written material delivered in a positive frame.

4. Use space

Break up paragraphs and blocks of text with well-defined breaks, so that reading is more digestible and easier on the moving eye.

5. Use short first paragraphs

This applies to longer pieces of copy like articles and blog posts. These will bring the reader in to read and read on.

6. Take grammar, punctuation and spelling seriously

Try and keep this area in shape, even if it is not 100% accurate. This will transmit a professional image associated with you and your writing. All the small details like apostrophe use are important.

7. Keywords

Including a smattering of keywords that relate to your niche (for example, the word ‘vector’ if you write about digital illustration) in your copy is good for search engine rankings, and will bring more targeted visitors to your writing. Keywords are especially effective in titles and opening paragraphs.

8. Repetition

Without overdoing it, repetition will emphasize key points. Repetition is an important element in persuasive writing too. Be sure to express the same point in different ways to avoid monotony.

9. Lists

Bulleted and numbered lists have been shown to be a popular and very readable writing method.

10. No passive-voice

This is when the subject of a sentence is swapped with the object. For example: “The girl saw the cat,” is in the active voice. The passive voice would be: “The cat was seen by the girl.” Passive writing tends to add unnecessary words to an otherwise clearly written sentence.

What other writing tips to do have that you would like to contribute?

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The Author

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

33 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Alex! I hadn’t actually considered some of these techniques; I usually try to make sure my writing is good, so it’s good to see what I’m doing right and wrong and what else I can do. Thanks for another great post!

    • Alex Mathers says

      Sure thing Alex! Good to see that there are some things you hadn’t considered before πŸ™‚

    • Alex Mathers says

      Hi Mr Yen! That’s good that you found the post useful – plenty more info coming πŸ™‚

  2. Good advice! The point write positive is well taken. It’s so dreary reading negative text, just like it is listening to negative talk.

  3. Sue Rundle-Hughes says

    Thanks for this. Great tips. I always enjoy reading your posts πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Alex,

    Great stuff here. I will return to read more about self-promotion. I enjoyed it. Thanks for following me on twitter! Hope we can all benefit one another. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Keep up the good work.
    -S

  5. I loved point 8 about repetition. Your example made me laugh. I would recommend having a friend proof an article before you post, many times we do not see a simple error.

  6. Alex Mathers says

    Thanks Sandra, Betty and Lorri!

    @Lorri, that’s a good point about getting others to proof read what you have, particularly if they are longer and/or important pieces of copy. It’s always good to have your work read by fresh eyes.

  7. Great advice Alex. It’s also worth checking your words once they’re online. You can use this web spell checker to examine the first 100 pages of your site for free. And it’s good to review your copy regularly and see if you can improve it.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Hi Matt – thank you. That’s an excellent tool! I’m going to give it a go..

  8. I am one of the person who get fast in a writers block. therefore your tips are just right for me.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Thanks for the comment James, I’m not suggesting this will turn you into Hemingway overnight, but start small, and you’ll get there. Would you like to elaborate on your comment?

  9. Alex – The issue is that what you’re teaching are merely executions with no fundamentals to base them off.

    It’s like showing someone how to pole vault without explaining how to run, or even walk.

    i.e “Use short sentences” – Why? Are you suggesting that there’s never a reason to use a long sentence? It’s rediculous.

    These things are contextual. And to recognise context you’ve got know the basics.

  10. Rebecca Ritchie-Timms says

    Interesting point James.

    I can relate to what you are saying. I like to mix up my sentences and voice to give a sense of my personality.

    In regard to the tips that Alex is giving. I am seeing them as suggestions that will sustain an audience. How I execute them is another matter. If I do not understand the fundamentals of the language use I would consult an English teacher.

  11. You know it’s weird but a lot of people (I’m guilty of it too) have this notion that the rules you learn in English class don’t apply to writing online. That’s such a strange idea because it’s probably a lot more people that will read what you write online than in an English class.
    Anyway, thanks for the tips. Useful as usual. πŸ™‚

  12. Glenna says

    Alex, I think you’ve given a good outline as a starting point. There’s one thing with which I don’t agree. I think that 100% accuracy should always be one’s goal, whether it be punctuation, spelling, sentence structure… whatever. I’ve been involved in evaluating resumes, and ANY error sticks in the reader’s mind. Having someone else proofread is a great idea, as is the admonition about using the passive voice. Passive voice diminishes the punch of your message. I enjoyed reading your list, as I’m a print designer, writer, editor and proofreader, and I’m about to embark on trying to sell my skills on the internet. I’ll look forward to further information. Thanks and cheers!

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  14. It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the entire guidelines and the course of actions are very much important as well as contemporary to make the writing well along with functional in every possible cases. No matter how hard the situations are the entire way out is very much fundamental along with promotional in all the way.

    • what an insightful comment! You seem to have dictionary at the ready and truly experienced in writing the quality of English languages. Hats off to you sir. You must be a writing services company with years of trust!

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