Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Tips On Writing Successfully for the Web

Online readers love free information. They scour the Internet daily looking for specific information to solve their problems, help them be successful, live longer or get healthy. You should join the information revolution too! Publish your free, helpful solution-oriented articles to Fred's Head or the Fred's Head Companion.

  1. Make your article scan ready. Your impatient web readers will want important information to jump out at them. Some practical ways to make your text scannable include:

    • headings
    • sub-headings
    • bulleted lists
    • numbered lists
    • easy steps
    • typeface variation

    For example, compelling headlines are considered an art. Are you drawn to the author's article as "How to Write Web Articles" or "5 Tips to Write Winning Web Articles?"

  2. Keep it short. Get and keep the attention of web readers by delivering short messages. You put effort into gaining your web reader's attention; now make their click worthwhile with brief compelling copy in bite sizes. Start with the conclusion. Your readers may not make it to the end of your piece to get it. Web readers don't want to get bogged down in long blocks of text. So get to the point early and use the rest of your article to support that main point.

  3. Make your title sizzle. Dull titles will not capture your readers' interest. It will make your article fade into the sea of other boring articles listed in article banks these days. You have to create a title that will reach out and grab your reader by the collar. Make it short. Create interest. Include the main benefit or solution in your title.

  4. Talk to your target audience. Your information is not for everyone. Avoid generalities. Choose a friend or family member that's interested in your topic. Write your article to them. Writing to a friend will make your copy personable and friendly. You won't come across as a fussy hen, do this, do this, don't do that. You will connect with your readers as a friend giving advice. Your article will do a better job of building credibility for you.

  5. Add substance. Resist fluffing your articles. Include practical, valuable information in your copy. Everyone loses when you don't take the time to impart substance. It increases the reputation of the web being an unreliable source of knowledge. Additionally, lack of substance will block your road to profitable referrals. Do the research and/or draw from your knowledge and experience to illustrate. Your stories and real life examples will meet your reader's need for practical information and connect with their emotion. It's a known fact emotions will move people to action. Whether you desire them to act by signing up or making a purchase, add substance and improve your reader responses.

  6. Make it web professional. Create a more web professional look by using short sentences, then format your page to approximately 65 characters per line. Long stringed sentences that stream from side to side of the web page look visually unprofessional. Select a layout for your article from several short article formats that include the how-to, tips list, question-answer, problem-solutions and interview. Make your introduction and summary short but do add one. Your web readers don't want just a list of boring facts and information. They want to connect with you by reading your personable introduction and practical tips with a definite ending or summary. Remember, excited readers become enthusiastic buyers and enthusiastic buyers will refer your product or service to all their friends.

  7. Don't spice the article with "optimized" keywords to flatter search engines -- this how-to is about how to write successfully for the web, not search engines, after all. Usually, the search engines will follow the links of real readers, who actually liked your content.

You may use these guidelines for all kinds of web copy. The same elements (using keywords, making your article professional, adding substance, keeping it short and making your copy scannable) will improve the quality of your articles. Practice these simple principles and write winning articles to distribute on the web.

If you are interested in writing an article for Fred's Head or the Fred's Head Companion simply submit your material to fredshead@aph.org for consideration.

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