How to write for the web…

*tents fingers*

There are some core principles for writing online. Tenets, of a sort, that are the foundation of a free and easy style guide defined by the idea that the web is a fluid and ever-changing thing.

While greatly simplified, the four concepts below form a basis for how I approach writing for the web.

This is the golden rule, basically. Never break it.

Do All the English Grammar Things

Tired, but true all the same. Checking your work will never go out of fashion, and this applies wherever you happen to be writing words. It’s just good form to ensure the final draft you submit is error free and coherent.

An easy way to achieve that is to read everything out loud. You sound like an absolute eccentric doing that at two in the morning, but the benefits are undeniable. More often than not, you can hear where you’ve gone wrong and identify what needs to be fixed.

Write to Instructions

Stick to the guidelines provided. There isn’t a set way to do things anymore and different platforms want different things. Ensure that you’re remaining well within the brief – checking back regularly is a helpful habit to develop.

Don’t venture out and explore the ways in which you can break the rules. You’re writing to fit a precise tone and style, enforced by the specifics you are given. Stay on track. In the end, it means less editing and shows that you are able to adapt your writing to fit a certain style, which is always a nifty little party trick.

Due Diligence is Non-Negotiable

Ignorance is bliss, they say.

Except when you’re a writer. Wrangling words for a living makes ignorance a dangerous trap. Luckily, it can be easily avoided by doing your due diligence, or your homework. It will make you a better writer, so that what you write adds value to the reader’s experience.

Do your research. Make sure you know what you’re writing about. Turn yourself into an authority. Like I always say: every day is a learning day.

Meet Your Deadlines

It’s a tale as old as time, but deserves a special mention nonetheless. Half of content marketing, and being a successful freelancer in general, is building relationships and creating trust. The easiest way to do that is to meet your deadlines. Not only does it help your reputation, but it forces you to add structure and process to your workflow, creating a schedule that ensures that you never miss a due date.

Organized and trustworthy? Yes, please.

“When was my deadline?”

In an environment that shifts from one day to the next, there is no real web writing formula that can be applied across the board. But the above essentials are good to hold in the front of your thoughts when you’re settling down to pen some words.

To learn more about those core philosophies, and other web writing tips and tricks, check out our Content Marketing Academy.

Till then, remember… to always save your work.


Dan P. is a writer of things, specializing in needful words and clean-cut sentences.