My Four Keys for Online Writing
(Professional rules of thumb I've picked up while writing online content.)
There are four main things I have learned while producing content online:
Know and respect your readers and their needs. Readers searching your topic are interested in information - fast and palatable. They want concise, focused paragraphs, in your voice. They want enthusiasm, and basic hospitality: translate jargon, polish your manuscript (including glitches between word processing apps and online format), share related links, insert some humor, and share personal experience which establishes your credibility. I strive never to be a writer producing a few paragraphs to generate a paycheck; I have more respect and courtesy for my readers than that.
Old school journalism techniques translate into online journalism techniques. Above the fold (most important content of the article in the top portion of the newspaper) has become the Golden Triangle (most important content in the top left part of the online article field). The answers to the Five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) become your keywords, and belong bolded in the Golden Triangle.
Every general topic encompasses dozens of subtopics and perspectives to be worked into stories. More than four or five subheadings in a story? That's when I break it into several separate articles, each riveted on a single aspect within the niche. In each of those articles, I can plant links that lead readers to all of my related material about the central theme. This gives my readers the benefit of all my knowledge and experience, and (bonus!) directs traffic to all my related articles.