Writing for the Web – How Is It Different from Traditional Writing?

Everyone knows that writing for the web is vastly different from traditional print writing. People scanning the web for information have much shorter attention spans, different eye tracking patterns when reading online content as opposed to reading a book or a magazine, and want their information given to them in small bits and pieces. Here are a few areas where online web content is consumed differently by readers.

Here’s how writing for the web is different from traditional writing:

Web writing is tailored to focus on user needs

This is perhaps the main reason why web content writing is so different from traditional writing. In the latter, authors rely on the belief that someone is taking time to sit down and read their piece from cover to cover, with no option for any other source of information once a person starts reading.The author has the power to direct the flow of information and has more freedom in choosing his writing style. Web writing must adjust to the reading style of the reader, which is usually dictated by his needs. If a reader is looking for something, he usually gets drawn to content that offers him what he is looking for in the first two or three sentences, or you risk losing him to another website that has the information he wants.

Web writing involves the use of catchy titles and conversational tones

Catchy titles are a must in web content. Online readers are bombarded by text when they open their browsers and a catchy title is one way to stand out from the sea of words. Aside from catchy titles, online web writing is also informal. It is common to use the first and second person speaking styles to connect better with the reading audience.

People scanning content online prefer shorter paragraphs and bullet points

Shorter paragraphs and bullet points deliver information in a way that is easy to spot when scanning. Most people who browse the Internet often allocate just a few seconds of their time for a particular page and quickly more forward to another page when they do not see what they looking for. Your page may have the information but it is hidden in long boring blocks of text, rendering it invisible to the searcher. Shorter paragraphs and bullet points are easier to read, so online readers can easily spot them on the page.

Web writing incorporates SEO for higher rankings

The main characteristic of web writing that makes it different from traditional writing is the use of keywords, the words and phrases most likely to be used by readers as they search for information on the web. The right use of SEO, which is a keyword appropriation of about 2-4%, leads to high search engine rankings which makes the article or piece more visible to searchers. Too much keyword usage can lead to low search engine rankings and lower visibility for a particular piece or website.
The Internet is an environment where we read and consume information in a manner that is different from the traditional or conventional. However, with the Internet becoming the primary mode of gathering information, knowledge of these patterns and behaviors is very important for anyone aiming to get information out to readers online.

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