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Online Writing: What Makes It Unique

Online writing is any kind of text that you read on a digital device – on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Online Writing: what makes it unique with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

It’s also called digital writing.

Writing online can take different formats – websites, blogs, sales pages, social media posts, eBooks – even text messages. 

But good digital writing is not a simple cut-and-paste job from print matter into the back end of a web page or onto a social media post.

Yes, each online format has a unique structure. But all web writing formats have a few things in common – things that are distinct from print writing. 

What Is Unique about Online Writing

1. It Is Easy to Skim

Study after study bears out this truth: people read print, often word for word. But online, they skim. 

Don’t you? Think about how you read a book. You read it sequentially, concerned that you might miss a detail or a scene.

But online, you skim the subheadings and the bullets to get the gist of the page. If you want to know more information, you go back and read it more thoroughly.

Writing Tip: format your content so that it is easy to skim online. Put the most important content first – the information that your reader must have or wants most. Then break up your writing into short segments, with plenty of subheadings, bullet points, and white space.

2. It's Easy to Read

When your reader decides that she wants more information online, make it simple for her to digest: short sentences. Short paragraphs. Simple, conversational language

Good writing online is clear and concise – the kind of content or copy that’s easy to read.

Writing Tip: online, write paragraphs of just 4 or 5 lines. Write sentences that average 15-20 words. Longer than that? Break them up. 

3. It's Easy to Re-Use

How can you tweet itblog about it … post it on Facebook or Instagram … combine it with other content to make an eBook …  use it to create a podcast … write an ad … use it to build a brochure … even text a link … so readers can learn more? 

Re-usable content saves time and gets your message across with more impact. It’s a hallmark of good online copy and content. You can easily repurpose it for another format. 

That doesn’t mean content must be long. In fact, many forms of online writing are short (think Twitter’s 140 characters.) Good content contains enough substance so that writers can adapt it to different mediums.

Here is where YOUR skills are so valuable. You can write content once and then restructure it for different formats – both online and offline. 

Writing Tip: When writing content or copy, always ask, “How can I use this content in another way?”


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