Are you an online marketer who trembles at the thought of writing a blog post? Are you a student wanting to improve your skills? Don’t let that blank page intimidate you!
Treat writing like any other skill. If you want to improve your online writing, all it takes is some knowledge, patience, and practice.
Do you own a website? Excellent quality writing is a crucial skill for increasing traffic amid a sea of websites.
Take a look at these seven tips for improving your online writing abilities!
1. Read More
Reading is fundamental to writing. The more you read, the better you’ll write. As you read more, you’ll gain an appreciation for good writing.
Read a wide variety of writing, from short articles to longer in-depth pieces. Read fiction, non-fiction, and personal memoirs. Read at least one article every day.
Read classic writers like Ernest Hemingway who was famous for his short, terse prose. Find writers you love and figure out why you enjoy reading their work.
2. Get a Handle on the Fundamentals
You must understand the basic principles of writing, otherwise, your great ideas get lost or misunderstood. Sentence fragments misspelled words, and missing words distract readers. You don’t want readers abandoning your piece because you have a poor grasp on writing fundamentals.
Get to know your keyboard inside and out so you can insert accents, subscripts, and superscripts. Learn more about that here: https://setapp.com/how-to/how-to-subscript-and-superscript. This gives an added polish to your work.
Bookmark a dictionary and a thesaurus in your browser. Use free writing and grammar resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab when you have questions.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Like anything in life, practice is the best way to improve your writing. Write every day, even if it’s only a journal entry. The practice of writing every day helps you hone your writing style and voice and makes you more comfortable with the act of writing.
Figure out the time of day that works best for you and take advantage of it. If you’re a morning person, make it a habit to write for an hour in the morning. Make this a distraction-free time and write for at least an hour before you stop.
Writing every day also helps you get over your fear of the blank page or computer screen. When you’re doing this kind of writing, don’t stress about what you’re saying as much as about how you say it. Aim for complete sentences with proper grammar and spelling.
You can also take a class or join a writer’s workshop for more practice and feedback from other writers. Look for a content marketing meetup or a professional development group on LinkedIn or Meetup. Write an article and ask for feedback from the group.
Find someone else who also wants to improve her writing and team up. Write short articles for each other and then proof each other’s work. This is also your accountability partner, making sure you write on a consistent basis.
4. Keep It Short and Sweet
This doesn’t mean your articles must be short but rather the writing itself. This is especially true if you’re looking for freelance writing jobs online. Readers want short sentences and short paragraphs.
Online readers often scan more than read. They’re looking for short, clear headings and subheadings. Keep sentences concise and clear.
Keep paragraphs short as well. When readers scan online articles, they don’t want to see a big wall of text. Try to limit your paragraphs to three sentences or less.
5. Read Your Article Out Loud
Before you hit “publish” on any article, you should first read it out loud. It may feel silly but it will definitely improve your writing.
Reading out lout helps you spot errors you didn’t notice when reading it quietly to yourself. It also helps identify awkward sentences or words.
Are you stumbling over your own sentences? That’s a sign you need to rewrite them.
Another benefit of reading out loud is that it helps ensure every word serves a purpose. It’s easier to identify unnecessary words when you’re reading out loud.
6. Keep It Active
Avoid using passive voice. Active voice makes your writing less vague and easier to read. Passive voice is also harder to understand than active voice because it’s not always clear who is performing an action.
What is active voice? It’s when you put the emphasis on the agent performing an action rather than the recipient of the action.
- Passive voice: The house was damaged by the fire.
- Active voice: The fire damaged the house.
- Passive voice: The horse was bitten by the snake.
- Active voice: The snake bit the horse.
The order of your sentence in active voice is subject, verb, object. With the passive voice, it’s object, verb, subject.
It’s not always possible to write in the active voice but make a habit of using it as often as you can. It makes your writing easier to read and your readers will thank you by reading more of your writing!
7. Take a Break Before You Publish
Another part of your writing habit should include walking. Walk away from your article before doing your final edit and publishing it! It helps to take a real walk outside.
Walking is great for your brain and even shows promise for reducing the odds of getting Alzheimer’s. When you come back to your writing with a fresh mind, you’ll have renewed focus and energy for the work. You’ll see issues you didn’t notice before.
After your walk, read your article one more time before you publish or submit it.