I’ve been writing blog posts for three months now. And it’s been an interesting (and educational) experience. Writing for the web is a very different skillset and experience than writing for another medium. And so, I think now may be a good time for me share some very basic lessons I’ve recently learned.
Lessons on Writing for the Web
Lesson #1: Keep humor simple.
I’ve found that humor is difficult for readers “to get” when it’s part of an email or blog post. I think this has a lot to do with how body language and our voice inflections impact or “set-up” the punch line. A good rule of thumb is to keep the humor simple and light. You can’t go wrong that way.
Lesson #2: Be nice.
I’ve found people are turned off by (and tune-out) negative attacks on anyone or anything. After all, what makes anyone think that someone is just dying to spend their free time reading Debbie Downer web posts? News flash: They aren’t.
Lesson #3: Keep your language clean.
I try to stay away from using four-letter word bombs in my writing. It’s been said, and I believe, that it takes more creativity and shows a greater level of intelligence to convey your thoughts or ideas without the use of any four-letter word bombs. Think about it the next time you go into pre-launch mode.
Lesson #4: Make your reader the top priority.
When writing for the web, remember that you already know the subject matter you are writing about. You’re writing because you believe there is value to be gained by sharing this knowledge with others. So, who are you writing for? It’s the reader. Keep that in mind the next time you’re creating an email or post.
Lesson #5: Avoid hot-button issues.
One thing I encourage everyone to stay away from is editorializing about controversial subjects like politics and religion. Why? Because 50% of your reading audience will agree with your point of view and the other 50% are going to think you are a f#@%ing Moron. (I think I may have found an exception to Lesson #3 above).
Lesson #6: Keep the personal personal.
If you like to share explicit pictures, jokes etc. on the web, I would encourage you to be selective and discreet with your postings. Know your audience before you press the PUBLISH key, and ask yourself the following question pre-launch: “Do I really want this person or group of people viewing the post?”
Lesson #7: A Golden Rule for web posting.
I’ve saved what I believe to be a Golden Rule for web posting for last: Everything posted by you or about you on the web is like a bad tattoo … it’s permanent!
You may be thinking that this isn’t fair. I would agree. However, the reality is an innocent mistake or momentary lapse in judgment could have a long-term negative influence on key life decisions, such as applying for college, getting a job, a car loan, a mortgage etc.
Follow these seven lessons when you’re writing for the web, and avoid making some of the mistakes that many others are regretting.