With a runtime of 220 minutes, Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston did a good job covering the Ten Commandments. But where oh where were the lessons about article writing? We’re not sure what’s tougher: writing an article on a stone tablet, writing an article on a tablet computer, or staying awake through that entire movie. Regardless, the demands of writing articles for the Internet are crying out for their own set of commandments.

Well here they are. Read them. Share them. Obey them. Or risk being forever plagued by the ghost of Yul Brenner.


1. Thou Shalt Not Steal From Other Writers

This first one’s pretty simple, no? Come up with your own ideas or get banished to the kingdom of plagiarizing hacks forever. Or 220 minutes of watching Charlton Heston in sandals. Whichever comes first.

2. Thou Shalt Craft A Killer Headline

Getting your article to stand out in a deep red sea of online information demands a headline that’s attention-grabbing and relevant to the audience you’re going after. Make it great and never look back.

3. Thou Shalt Open With A Bang

The first paragraph of your article should serve as the “hook” and reel the reader in. Make it so compelling that a first-time visitor to your site will have no choice but to continue reading. It should also clearly state the purpose of the piece.

4. Thou Shalt Use Subheadings

Subheadings, those little bold words that break up the text and serve as mini chapters in articles, are very important. It might help to imagine that your article is being read by a ferret who’s been weaned on Red Bull, because that’s about the average online reader’s attention span. Subheadings help break it up and make it easier to skim ahead.

5. Thou Shalt Offer Up Ample Eye Candy

Be sure to include photos in your article, because 4 out of 5 dentists not only approve chewing Trident in between meals, they also prefer articles with pictures. The last thing you want to do is irritate a man with sleeping gas and a drill. Or Moses.


The uh, eye candy.

6. Thou Shalt Not Drone On And On

Again, the reader’s attention span must be catered to. If you can get your point across in 500 words, you’re likely to get the entire article read by more people than if you tripled that word count. If the Ten Commandments only needed 70 words, do you really need 2,000?

7. Thou Shalt Have A Big Closer

A great article often ends with a great concluding paragraph. If you can sum up your piece with style and a satisfying conclusion, you’ll surely have pleased the article gods.

8. Honour Thy Keywords

To improve your article’s searchability, it’s important to have the keywords in both the title and the body of the article. For example, if you’d like to be the first thing that pops up in a Google search for “220 minutes,” a headline like “5 Better Ways to Spend 220 Minutes” would be pretty neato.

9. Honour Thy List Articles

It’s a fact: People love their list articles. “The 6 Surprising Ways to Feed a Ferret” would probably get clicked on by 90% of the people seeing that headline, even if 70% of them disliked ferrets.

10. Remember The Spellcheck, To Keep It Holy

An article riddled with spelling and grammar errors will disappoint everyone reading it, including your closest relatives. Use the software tools at your disposal to check for errors, then read it again. Later, after apologizing to your relatives about all the errors in that otherwise stellar ferret piece, have someone else take a look at it before posting it.


Misspelling ‘ferret’ could turn this beast against you.

They may not be written in stone (yet) but these 10 article writing tips, commandments if you will, are essential. Whether thou is writing about energy drink-fueled furry critters or ancient Hollywood epics, keep these tenets close and thou will have more than a prayer of finding success.