commanderW - 3:49 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)
I agree old_expat, The content writing forum is a bit slower than others. I think a lot of people learn writing in a different way than web design. I personally seek out advice on code and technical matters, but rarely do for writing in general.
But there are special aspects of writing for the web that differ from writing for print. These need to be discussed. It is a new medium and a new format. Everyone is making it up as we go along.
1 - The layout dictates things. In a book, if the page is wide and the eye gets lost, you can have columns next to each other. If you do that on a web page the reader has to scroll back up and then down again. This becomes tiring and boring. I find myself writing shorter and shorter items as I try to keep my essay in one slim column.
2 - For some reason, reading on a computer is uncomfortable. If I fill a web page with the equivalent of a books full page, it feels like it takes forever to read. I find myself writing shorter pieces.
3 - For some other reason, it is harder to scan a full length page on computers. I find myself writing shorter and shorter paragraphs. I also use bold and italics much more.
Here's my 2 cents-
In every writing course or book I have ever looked at, they always stress a common structure. The introduction, the body, and the conclusion. It is the same in a film script, a poem, or a news story. These words are so abstract that it looks meaningless. I think the principle can be better seen in the structure of a joke. The set-up, the development, the punchline. This is a richer vision and makes the intent clearer. Anyway, if you keep this structure in mind as you write, it enables you to pace your work and make it fit.
The outline is our friend. I have had much success using it. It helps organize work and thoughts. It is possible to sit down with very little in mind, and by writing random thoughts in outline form, actually lay a good solid base to start from. This always helps get a project off the ground when I really have no idea what to say or how or in what order. Just write down the 2 or 3 points you can think of and use them for top level items. Then think of details about those three as second tier items, and so on. Before you know it, you've fleshed out a good basic concept. Even if the subject bores you stiff !
Finally, another good subject for writing for the web involves SEO and advertising. I have begun thinking about ways of 'salting' my writing with words that I hope will light up the machines. Can using less descriptive words and more nouns help SEO? Is it possible to write prose so that it effects the type and quality of advertisements?
Is it possible to write in such a way that the page is more attractive to advertise on? Etc. Writing for Adsense is a new art form. If I put more nouns in my text, will that result in more interesting ads being placed on my pages? More clicks? More pennies?
There are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to writing for the web.