Writers’ Tips: The Anatomy of a Great Web Page

Content writers always want their written masterpieces to be read from start to finish. If readers come to the webpage but don’t stay long enough and navigate through the page to read what they’ve written, it can be disheartening. Webpage creation and management is indeed an arduous task. What then is the anatomy of a great webpage?

While it is impossible to create the perfect one (where readers will want to visit, share, react to again and again) there are some things you can do to make it near-perfect. Here are writers’ tips on the anatomy of a great webpage.

Loading time

Internet speeds have improved so you must make sure your webpage loads fast. Remember, your visitors are impatient and their attention spans are short. You can always use a page speed checker like Google’s PageSpeed Tools. From there, you can work on improving page speed for desktop and mobile users.

Navigation

It is the first thing visitors observe about your site. How easy was it to go from page to page to find what they want in your site? Did they feel lost or that they’ve visited the wrong page? In other words, was it a waste of their time? Difficult or confusing navigation within your site will make them leave.

Clear readability

Once your readers are hooked by something on your site, they now want to explore. How do you keep them glued? Start by having a clear layout. What they were there for should be understandable and readily available the minute they land on your page. Some consider typography a big deal in keeping readers. Typography doesn’t only involve the fonts, but also the color, sizing, paragraph margins, line heights, kerning, etc.

Graphics design and color

No one wants to be overloaded with information. Sometimes, the webpage’s beautiful design is what’s making visitors come in, stay, keep reading and come back for more. The design involves layout, white space and a harmony between message and design. Also, not all visitors will react the same way with certain colors. Use colors properly for your target audience. For example, if you target women, you may use blue or green. Plan your color scheme choices properly because colors have different meanings and symbols to different people.

Content

It’s King after all. A great webpage has great content because it gives the answers to visitors’ questions and it anticipates potential questions of visitors. Do this to avoid frustrated visitors. Mediocre content will waste customers’ precious time. Too many topics will confuse them. Also, keep in mind correct grammar, tone, punctuation, etc. Use the proper calls to action and other vital information.

With very engaging, informative and unique content, you distance yourself from the rest and you gain attention. Visitors want to know that your site is reliable and trust-worthy, user-friendly and credible. And content plays a major role.

Writers’ tips

These are pointers that content writers and webpage designers must use together. Be patient and don’t rush a good webpage. Always respect your readers by giving them a site with beautiful elements and honest content. In return they will reward your webpage by trusting it, returning to it, sharing it and eventually buying the products in it.

Now that for sure is worth the wait.

How To Win Against Online Plagiarism

Imagine the scenario: You’ve just finished a beautifully written and well-researched piece of content. You click publish. You reap the rewards and praises from readers. You find out, after a month, your work has been passed up as another person’s original writing.

You’ve just been plagiarized!

But fear not. Modern technology is here to help you from being a victim again. Take these tips for writing and help solve the plagiarism dilemma.

By definition

It’s like borrowing but not really. It’s more of literary theft. And more specifically, cyber-cheating. It’s not accidental. Writers who plagiarize did it deliberately. But even if you do acknowledge your sources in your work, improper or under acknowledgment of sources is still considered plagiarism.

According to Wikipedia, it is a “wrongful appropriation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas or expressions and representing them as one’s original work.”

Cut, copy and paste with no effort at all.

Is it copyright infringement?

No, there is a difference between the two. Think of plagiarism as the ethical violation while the other one is a legal crime. The acts may be the same, but if you ask a lawyer, he will give you a different interpretation.

Should we stop plagiarism?

Absolutely! It is a crime, after all.

Little do these cunning plagiarists realize how much damage they can do to the original source, (writer, web page, published material).

  • Innocent readers will start to wonder whether the original writer is indeed the original writer. Reputations are at stake.
  • In terms of revenue, the original content will have revenue taken away (example by AdSense).
  • Google’s SEO update will hit the original work while the plagiarized work will get rewarded.
  • It promotes literary creativity stagnation since plagiarists won’t do much research.
  • You lose valuable time by having to detect and prevent plagiarism all the time.

The list could go on.

Tools to help detect plagiarism

It may be impossible to totally eliminate plagiarism, but at least you can prevent it with free tools.

  • Google Search – Just type in a few lines (or the entire text) you suspect has been plagiarized. Look for exact matches.
  • Google Alert – Set it to notify you when there are copycats lurking.
  • Copyscape – Probably the most popular among the rest, Copyscape helps you detect copies of your work with the percentages of the copied work.
  • Plagium – Search for copies of large amounts of your content. It also uses other languages aside from English.
  • Grammarly – is a proof-reading service that analyzes your content and shows you the source of any plagiarized content.

Put up a fight

So what can you do when you find out someone’s been stamping your work as their own?

  1. You can write an email to the site’s webmaster and let them know your discovery. Ask them to take down the copied content.
  1. After a few days of no reply, you can file a report to the major search engines stating your case.
  1. As a last resort, you could file a case with your attorney to have legal action done to the website owners.

Flattery?

Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but don’t mistake plagiarism for imitation. It’s a totally different art form. The good news is that there are now laws to help stifle this crime and that search engines do penalize these content thieves.

Content writers should be aware of the proper citation skills they learned in journalism classes. If they don’t know, maybe they should take these tips for writing and do a refresher course in Composition 101.

 

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Why a Writer Without a Deadline Is Looking For Trouble

Writing without a deadline is like beaming a laser light into the night sky. The end cannot be found because the writing will never end. If you don’t give a writer a deadline, he will write and write forever. Doing a change here, adding a detail there. The list goes on. The word deadline has some negative hint to it, too. Take note that it has the word “dead” at the beginning. It might as well be called dreadline – the dreaded deadline. Or it was probably a shortcut to a longer phrase: “I’ll be dead at the end of the line.”

But deadlines can be friendly reminders to do a job well and send in what needs to be sent. They give writer a sense of order amidst the chaos of other articles on queue, or other lined-up work to do including non-writing jobs. Let’s see why deadlines are very important and maybe writers should see it as some serious tips for writing.

The pressure is off

Time management is the key to unlocking the deadline bolt. And so you have a deadline? Give yourself a deadline within what your editor gave you. Make it a few days earlier than the actual date. This way, you can have extra time if an emergency crops up that you cannot get away from. Or if you DO meet your self-imposed deadline, you will have extra days of R&R, self-imposed, of course.

Don’t look at it as a deadline

Imagine that it’s actually a reward when you look at a deadline. This will give you extra motivation because the reward is very satisfying. You get a sense of achievement. Give yourself a pat on the back, good job for sending it on time.

You’ll have a great reputation

If writers meet deadlines, they get to be relied upon to come through with whatever task they’re asked to do. Soon, they will have a reputation of always meeting deadlines. Remember, editors like compliant writers. It takes some of the stress off their load.

Tips for writing with deadlines

  • List down all your writing tasks with the corresponding deadlines. Place your list where you can clearly see it.
  • Tick off each one once you’ve done them.
  • Do the easy tasks first. These require less time to do and less effort. The harder ones need more time and planning.
  • Update your publisher/editor/client with your progress. Give him a draft before sending in the final one.
  • It’s tempting but don’t get more work than you can handle. You’re only human.
  • Stick to your timetable. Even if you’re freelancing, treat it like a normal 9 to 5 job, with rules to follow and tasks to finish.

Conclusion

Not all writers love deadlines. They think it’s restricting. But at the end of the day, it still is a job to do. Something that needs to be done to pay the bills. Practice these tips for writing and meeting deadlines. It’s not easy at first but in time, you will learn to love deadlines. So if you’re serious at being a freelance writer, deadlines should be your best friend and procrastination is your worst enemy. Your BFF will take you away from your comfort zone just to make you meet a deadline. Even if it means isolating you from family, friends, usual luxuries and all other things that can distract you from finishing your work. It’s a tough job, being a best friend, but somebody’s got to do it.

Mistakes That Clearly Brand You as an Amateur Writer

So many mistakes, so little time?

If you’re an amateur writer, time is a luxury that you can use to the fullest and for sure, you will have a lot of it. What you can’t have a lot of are the mistakes. We all want tips for writing the best article or the best email or summary. But if you’re in a hurry, you will fall into a lot of mistakes and probably rejections.

Avoid these at all costs

It won’t be easy and it will definitely take time but if your desire to become a good writer and write for that dream brand is big, avoid these mistakes I once made.

  1. Too many adjectives and adverbs

Having a lot of adjectives and adverbs doesn’t really make you a good writer. Maybe you can describe well but too many adjectives spoil the subject and too many adverbs spoil the verb. When you add too much, you’re drawing the reader away from the dream and may sound tedious. Pull them back in with just the right number of descriptive words. Go to the heart of the conflict instead. A writer’s wild imagination can create a good description, but it should also end in the readers’ minds.

  1. Avoid the passive voice if you can

Passive voices have no place in writing. There may be a few instances where they fit. But take these tips for writing. Passive is another word for weak. You don’t give a big impact to your readers with this voice because it lacks force. You want your reader to be in on it with you in your story’s plot, right? Passive voice won’t bring them there. It won’t even invite them into your story. It sounds pretentious, not real.

  1. Be clear with what you want to say

Sometimes, writers want to blabber on with too many words without having to say what’s necessary. Or rather, too many words but not really saying enough to leave the readers satisfied. In flash fiction, writers are forced to write short short, really short stories. From introduction to plot to happy ending, all under about a hundred words.

  1. Try not to use big words

Try not to impress your readers with your deep knowledge of uncommon words. If your reader will have to use a dictionary each time he encounters a big word, he could get tired and confused. It’s best to tell the story with a rich vocabulary but not too deep, they can’t get out of the hole.

  1. Vary your sentences and structure

Don’t write monotonously because your readers will see right through it. Don’t use the same structure and length of sentences in your paragraphs. Try a little variation with the number of words in your sentences and the number of sentences in your paragraphs.

  1. Avoid the dreaded clichés

Yes we love using clichés because they somehow have certain eloquence but avoid using the overused clichés at all costs.

  1. Practice descriptive writing

When describing a certain situation, sometimes writers write what they see without much creativity. This aspect of writing requires practice and in time, it can be learned to describe by instinct. You don’t just say, “The chef got so angry”. With lots of practice, write by instinct with more creativity by saying, “Chef Mario lashed out, swearing and tearing the kitchen apart.” In other words, show it to your readers; don’t just tell it to your readers.

  1. Make use of the five senses

It’s normal to just use the sense of sight but there are other senses that you could use, too. Don’t neglect the sense of smell, touch, taste and hearing. Place your reader into the story at just that moment with the other senses.

And finally,

  1. Practice good grammar

Your editor will thank you for practicing correct grammar always. It will show your commitment to your craft and that you are thorough and responsible in staying true to correct grammar.

Are you ready to get out of the Amateur label and move up to becoming an Expert? (Or at least, semi-expert). Then keep practicing and avoid some common and uncommon writing mistakes. These tips for writing are simple yet so neglected. Practice makes perfect so keep at it and someday your readers will eagerly await your next piece.

7 Editor’s Secrets To Help You Write Like A Pro

Writers make mistakes. You’re only human. But no one submits their first draft without proofreading it a couple of times. That being said, editors can often spot the most common mistakes made by a majority of writers.

A full-time professional writer is aware of these common mistakes that are readily spotted by editors and ensures they are avoided while proofreading. Fortunately, this list of useful tips for writers who want to write like a pro will take your editing skills to the next level:

  1. Get rid of those comma-heavy sentences

If you’ve used more than two commas in a sentence, then it’s time to break it down into two sentences. Long sentences are good, but readers usually lose interest or focus in what you’re saying by the end of it. Shorter sentences are more impactful.

  1. Make contractions your best friend

Isn’t it easier to read this sentence is better than is it not easier to read this sentence? Contractions make your blog reader-friendly and add a conversational tone to it. Plus, it gives the feeling that you’re talking to your reader rather than coming across as a know-it-all. And nobody likes a know-it-all.

  1. Use one voice and stick to it

If you’ve started penning your copy in the second person then remember to stick to it till the end. It’s confusing for readers if you start with “I” and halfway through switch to “you” and “your.”

  1. Avoid using fancy words and jargon

You may want to flaunt your vocabulary by using fancy words but it doesn’t help readers understand what you’re saying. Perhaps one of the most useful tips for writers is this: If someone needs to grab a dictionary to understand your blog, then you’ve lost them. If you can’t find a simpler word for describing something, use a thesaurus.

It’s important to avoid using fancy words because it confuses readers sounds better than it’s pertinent to avoid using extensive terminology in text because it disorients readers.

However, sometimes it’s necessary to use jargon especially if you’re writing a technical article. But if you’re writing a simple blog, article or story, stick to simple words.

  1. Cut down on prepositions

Prepositions make content lengthier. It’s better to use direct words rather than of, in, at, to or for. For example – The father of the bride can be changed to the bride’s father.

  1. Remove very, actually, really and honestly

Do you really need to use such terms when you actually don’t need to? Cutting down on these three words can tighten your copy and make it more powerful. These words sound good in conversations but not so good in the written form.

  1. Use active voice

This is one of the most useful tips for writers. Sentences in passive voice aren’t the best way to express your thoughts. Active voice emphasizes the subject and the action rather than the object. When a subject takes a direct action, the sentence is much more appealing to readers.

For example, shots were fired on Maine Street sounds vague but robbers fired shots on Maine Street sounds clearer. Jack married Jill reads better than Jill got married.

To summarize, professional writers search for common mistakes during the proofreading process that make copy clean, crisp and clear. These common mistakes include removing long sentences, using contractions over the expanded form of the words, sticking to one voice, avoiding the use of fancy words, cutting down on prepositions, eliminating redundant words and using the active voice. Now go ahead and write like a pro.

How To Succeed In Writing When You’re Not An Expert In Anything

Niche writers are highly sought after by publications and it’s no secret that businesses are willing to shelve more cash for copywriters who have an authority in their field of expertise than someone who has no clue about what they’re writing.

Wouldn’t you rather hire a writer a retired nurse for a healthcare blog than someone who has no idea about the healthcare system?

Actually, it’s not always the case. Here’s the secret to succeeding in writing when you aren’t an expert in anything: You don’t have to be an expert in anything to succeed in writing. The only skill you need to succeed as a writer is your writing skill. That’s something no one can teach you.

That being said, there are lots of things you can do that will help you succeed in writing when you have zero expertise in any field. Here are some useful tips for writers:

Research, research and more research

Two things will help you become an awesome writer: Your writing skill and lots of research. It’s okay if you don’t know anything about the topic you’re writing. You just need to do ample research and talk to experts in the field. Google is a wonderful tool that can be used to read about any subject. Read articles, blogs and opinionated articles. Then, contact experts in the field to ask for their point of view. In no time, you’ll be able to write an elaborate, well-thought out article.

Similarly, you don’t need to have a college degree in psychology to write about Maslow’s theory of self-actualization or work in finance to pen a blog about mutual funds.

Become a Jack of all trades

I’ve seen several writers who write blogs on varied topics. They aren’t niche writers; they just juggle countless subjects with ease. In fact, this is a good strategy because it enables you to be open to writing about any subject. Would you rather be a Jack of all trades or a master of one?

Being a master in one field is good, but being a Jack of all trades is even better when it comes to the world of freelance writing. One of the most useful tips for writers I’ve come across is to be an expert in multiple fields rather than just one. It increases your employability in a fiercely competitive market.

Sometimes it’s better not to be an expert

To be honest, most editors aren’t willing to hire experts because they are awful writers. Think about it. A veterinary doctor may not necessarily be adept at penning an engaging, reader-friendly and crisp article about veterinary medicine. On the other hand, a writer with little veterinary medicine knowledge may have the writing skills to create an interesting and helpful article.

This is especially true for editors seeking writers to explain how to do something, simplifying complex jargons and giving tips on a subject.

Keep writing on topics you like or know a little about

If you do want to be a bona fide expert in a field, one of the most useful tips for writers that I’ve come across is to write on topics you like or know a little about. Have you ever bought a house? You can certainly write real estate articles. Like sprucing up a room’s décor? You can certainly pen a blog about popular bedsheet designs.

The more you write about something, the more you become an expert in that field.

9 Elements Of Persuasive Content

Why do businesses hire writers? For one and only one reason – To persuade. You’re either selling something, giving information about a product or service, influencing the reader to see your point of view or triggering an emotional response. The point is that words are a powerful tool that can evoke a response.

Professional writers know this.

That’s why content is never random. Writing persuasive content is an essential component of being a successful writer. Fortunately, it’s easy to influence readers. Here are a few useful tips for writers that can help them influence readers:

  1. Catchy headlines

The reason why a reader will click your article over another boils down to your headline. Use a catchy headline rather than a boring one. For example, you’re more likely to pay attention to a headline that says, “6 Things You Never Knew About Potato Chips” rather than “Facts And Information About Potato Chips.”

  1. Add Bullet points or subheadings

Bullet points and subheadings break down text into easily digestible reads. Large, chunky text is harder to read than small paragraphs or bullet points. Remember that readers like to skim through articles before reading them. Attention span is short.

  1. Give important information first

You don’t want your audience to wait till the conclusion to receive the most important information of your article. Give the most essential information at the beginning of your content because if you wait till the end, they’ll be long gone.

  1. Use short sentences

Long sentences confuse readers. They might not even remember what you wrote at the start of the sentence. Short sentences are not only easy to read but they keep copy crisp and clean. Short sentences are powerful.

That being said, you can use long sentences. Just make sure there is a short sentence before and after the long one. It’s perhaps one of the most useful tips for writers.

  1. Use simple words

Avoid using complex terms and jargon unless you’re writing a technical article. Nobody likes fancy words. You might come across as a know-it-all. Content should be light, conversational and simple to read.

  1. Trigger a response

At the end of the day, you want to trigger a response in the reader. It may be an emotional one (laughing or anger), a physical one (buy a product) or a mental one (a change in opinion).

  1. Add an image

The old adage that a picture says a thousand words proves true in content writing too. One of the most useful tips for writers that I’ve come across is to always add an image to the copy. It could be an attractive picture, a diagram elucidating the content or a chart supporting factual information.

  1. State facts but also give your opinion

Professional writers know that facts can serve as the foundation for persuasive content. But facts can be boring. It’s your opinion that will draw the reader in.

  1. Add the you in your writing

Finally, add a dash of personality, a good measure of your writing style and a generous dollop of your unique voice to make the content truly persuasive. When you show your most authentic self to your audience, it increases your credibility and trustworthiness.

In conclusion, persuasive content consists of a catchy headline, bullets or subheadings, short and simple sentences, gives pertinent information in the beginning, avoids jargons, triggers a response, has a nice image, states facts but also has your opinion and has a dash of your personality. Now it’s time to woo your readers.