12/22/08

Top 7 Online Freelance Writing Tips

If you've spent any amount of time online, you'll notice that writing for the online world is far different to the writing style used for magazines and newspapers.

Let's look at some things you should remember when you're writing for an online audience:

Online Freelance Writing Tip 1: Keywords

Visitors can't find your article on a search engine unless it contains the right density of keywords.
Too few keywords means your article may not be found and search engines won't list it very highly in search engine results, meaning no one will find it unless they're directed right too it.

On the opposite end of this, having too many keywords in one article is considered to be 'keyword spamming. Think about how many articles you've read where the writer has tried to stuff so many keywords in that it feels unnatural and awkward.

Try using Textalyser.net (http://textalyser.net) to analyze your keyword density. If you find your keyword density is over 5% then rewrite it and see if you can keep it at around 3-5%. This has to be done at the same time as making sure your article doesn't sound unnaturally stuffed with keyphrases that don't flow.

Online writing is about visibility. You're competing with billions of websites for people's attention. Do a simple search on your favorite search engine and learn a little SEO (search engine optimization).

Online Freelance Writing Tip 2: White Space

Writing for an online audience means catering to their needs as well as remembering the search engines at the same time as providing information. You need to keep finding new information to give people so they'll keep coming back and reading what you have to say, then write out that information in an article designed to keep them interested. Then you're caught out trying to include optimized phrases to attract high paying clicks on the paid ad bars just to be sure you're earning at least something for all the effort you've put in and all the work you've done and all the information you provide...

What a messy paragraph. Nobody likes to read large chunks of text. It's painful on the eyes and many readers simply lose interest. When people read online they prefer clearly written small paragraphs that are easy on the eyes and easy to skim through information.

Break up your writing with paragraph breaks or even sub-headings to help online readers skim through to the bits of your work that interest them most.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 3: Sub-Headings

Sub-headings are a logical way to break up your content and help readers to skim through your article quickly to locate points of interest.

Sub-headings have a double advantage, too. Because they're usually set in a bold typeface, they're a great place to put your keywords for maximum visibility to search engines at the same time as breaking up your work into manageable chunks.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 4: Clean, Clear and Correct

Which brings us to the next point. Online writing is about getting people to understand your point. Too many newer writers will fill an article with keywords so many times that the sentences no longer have any meaning.

Keep your writing simple. Use strong nouns that explain your meaning and avoid adjectives where you can. Only include keywords where you know it won't affect the flow of your writing style.

If you're struggling to meet a requested word count, then words like absolutely, positively, certainly and amazingly seem to become very popular. These words might flesh out your word count, but they do nothing for your writing style.

Before you submit your writing, run it through a spell-checker. When you're sure it's correct according to the computer, read it again.

Words like then and than are spelled correctly so they won't show up on your spell-checker, but they also need to be contextually correct in your article. Nothing beats a good set of eyes.

Re-read before you submit.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 5: It's Not About You

If you're writing a blog, then feel free to throw in your personal opinion and your own personal anecdote.

But if you're writing an article with the intention of selling it online, then leave out the personal slant. People read articles in order to learn something or to find information about a topic. Your personal stories have their place in reviews or opinions - not in informational articles.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 6: Plagiarism

Copying another writers work is never a good idea. You're allowed to take ideas from other people's writing, but stealing the actual words they used is theft. Don't do it.

Copyscape (http://www.copyscape.com) is one popular plagiarism search engine. Most people are aware of Copyscape now and if they use it to check on your work, you'll be found out.

Not only could plagiarism negatively affect your reputation with your clients, but you could also bring down the wrath of the rightful author.

Online Freelance Writing Tip 7: Back-Up Your Work

Hard-drives crash and die. It's a sad truth and it keeps the computer companies happy when they get paid to fix your computer problems or replace faulty parts - but it doesn't replace your lost hours of work and research.

If you can afford to buy an external hard drive, store all your work and important information on one of these. Unfortunately, these have a habit of dying miserable, untimely deaths too, so you might back-up your work on a re-writeable CD for just such an emergency.

Or you could use Google Docs and store your work securely online. Not only are you able to access your work from other computers but you can also use their storage space for your back-up needs.

:)

2 comments:

Catana said...

Bianca, just checking on a matter of concern. Do you have another blogspot blog called The Freelance Home Writer? If not, someone is ripping you off bigtime, excerpting and doing some minor editing, but following you, article for article.
http://freelancehomewriter.blogspot.com/

clickmind said...

thank you for the writing tips! I like your postings here.. =)