Internet writing is considerably different than other types of written communication. The rules and standards you learned so well in English 101 do not necessarily apply. While you still need to observe the basic rules of grammar and style, writing for the Web has its own unique style, rules, and limitations. If you want to create persuasive or informative content for your website or blog, you need to learn a few of the basic rules of Internet writing.

Write Short, Clear and Descriptive Titles

You might be tempted to create cute or catchy titles, but these are not particularly effective when writing for the Web. Make sure your Internet writing grabs attention and hook readers by creating a title or headline that is relatively short, makes a clear point and accurately describes what the main story is about.

Hook Your Readers

The first paragraph of your article or story should be compelling, but to the point. Don’t make your readers dig through your writing to discover what you are trying to say. Lead with your main point, and readers will follow.

Focus on Short Paragraphs

Long blocks of text can kill your Internet writing. Keep your paragraphs brief in order to make your copy readable and easy to follow. Sections of text should be between three to five sentences long. You can help break up text even further by using bulleted or numbered lists.

Use Subheadings

Readers should be able to scan through your article and quickly determine what each section is about. Subheadings describe what each major segment of your writing focuses on. Make sure your subheads are succinct and easy to understand. Much like page titles, your subheads should accurately describe what readers will find in the paragraphs that follow.

Write Short Articles

Good Internet writing doesn’t require readers to scroll down through endless amounts of text. Focus on keeping your articles relatively brief, preferably between 400 to 800 words. Research has shown that many viewers simply stop reading the page after that point. If you have more to say, consider breaking your article up into several small articles and linking between each story.

Create Clear Links

Never link to another website or page on your own site using generic phrases like “Read More” or “Click Here.” Each link should clearly identify exactly what a reader will find when they click on it. Clearly linking strategies not only help your readers; they can also improve your search optimization results and click-thru rates.

Be Genuine

Whether you are trying to inform your readers about a topic or persuade them to take action, your Internet writing should always be genuine and personable. Readers respond to articles that are natural, real and authentic. Focus your attention on developing a personal relationship with your readers, whether you are writing for a corporate newsletter or a personal blog. By learning the basics of writing for the Web and creating readable text, you can ensure that your Internet writing is as effective as you want it to be.