writing online

How to write for the web: 23 useful rules

How to write for the webAbout a decade ago I lucked into a job as a technology journalist. I had no journalism experience / qualifications, but I could string a sentence together and was madly passionate about ‘the internet’. Still am, for that matter.

I had to learn on the job: it was very much a case of in-at-the-deep end. I remember doing a lot of reading to understand how users read online, and how best to write. A lot of the standards set by the likes of Jakob Nielsen still apply today. 

Nowadays writing is a part of what I do, but it isn’t my whole job. But I still manage writers on a daily basis and wanted to share some of the rules for web writing that I’ve embraced, adapted or created. 

Before we begin I should point out that Yossarian remains my foremost literary hero and rules are always there to be broken. These 23 ‘rules’ are just guidelines that you can adopt if you see fit. They work for me.

The A-to-Z of online copywriting

The A-to-Z of online copywritingOnline copywriting can make all the difference between a website that engages and converts, and one that stagnates. 

Words communicate to your visitors and influence actions (both positively and negatively). Furthermore, good copy is, as far as the search engines are concerned, the food of the Gods. Words are to Google what oxygen is to you and me.

So I thought I’d try to nail an A-to-Z of online copywriting. As ever, these recommendations are guidelines, rather than firm rules. They’re broadly applicable to web copywriters and bloggers, as well as journalists who have their work published online. I hope it makes for a handy bookmark-friendly checklist…