How to Structure Your Online Article
For many of us the only writing advice we were given was in school and unfortunately much of it (but not all!) is completely redundant when it comes to writing for online platforms. Writing an online article is very different from writing an academic essay, from the type of language used to the structure and layout. Whether you want to improve your writing skills in general or write online content to promote your business there are a few structural guidelines which can help you make your online articles more effective and easy to write.
Why is structure so important?
Structure is important no matter what you are writing. Without structure your article may jump from one thing to another or go off on a tangent and it can be very difficult for the reader to follow. A good structure can help you get your point across clearly and help ensure that all the information you need is included. Once you have a structure in place the writing part is also easier and quicker.
What does a well-structured online article look like?
When writing for online platforms there are a few important things to remember. Online readers want to find information quickly and easily and they aren’t likely to want to read through large bodies of text to find it. Make sure you use short paragraphs and break up long passages with headings so that readers can quickly find what they are looking for.
Most articles are structured in a similar way. They have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Your introduction should be no more than a paragraph or two explaining what the article is about and how it will benefit the reader. Don’t give away too much in the introduction or your readers won’t have any reason to read the rest of the article. There should be just enough information that your readers are intrigued but not so much that there is no point them reading on.
When you are thinking about the body of your online article, try writing down a list of the main points you want included – for a 500 word article you will probably have between three and five main points. Where possible, turn each point into a subheading with a small section of text underneath. This will help you keep things short and succinct and make sure the information is easy to find.
The conclusion should be fairly short and recap the main points of the article. If you are writing a blog post or online article, the conclusion can have the call to action at the end, which tells the reader what to do next. Try to avoid including any new information in the conclusion, there shouldn’t be anything there which isn’t covered in the body of the article.
How long should an online article be?
Word length is important when writing online articles, especially if you are trying to impress the search engines. Recent changes to Google’s algorithm have meant that anything under 500 words is not likely to be considered as valuable content. A good length for an online article is over 500 words with some search engine optimisation specialists suggesting that for the best rankings you should look at 1000 words or more.
Structuring online articles takes a bit of practice but once you have a good structure in place you will probably find that you can write them very quickly. If you want to improve your online presence and generate original and engaging content for your business, contact me and I will be more than happy to help!