how to write a good internet article
To write a good article for internet publishing you need to keep it short, simple and direct.
We have analysed web statistics from tens of thousands of site visitors. They suggest that surfers don’t like to read long articles. Most spend between a few seconds and a minute or two on a page, and then move on.
Web surfers probably make a quick assessment of the page based on the first paragraph. Or they skim it for key points. Or they bookmark or print the article for later reference. The number of people who spend time reading long articles is very low.
Some topics may require longer and complex articles. But in general your article will be better if you:
Keep it short
We recommend a word length between 300 and 800 words. If you want to write more than this, break it up into smaller articles. For topics that require thousands of words, produce several articles and then a summary page that links all the other pages together. (This page contains just over 500 words.)
Keep paragraphs (and sentences and words) short
Surfers, whose first language may not be English or, for native English speakers, whose time is precious, will not be able to skim-read the type of convoluted paragraph construction that, notwithstanding the necessity of multiple sub-clauses, requires the reader’s patience and indulgence in order to deconstruct, analyse and interpret complex phraseology within his or her own mind in order to abstract and assimilate the central point that you are trying to communicate throughout your literary creation (This paragraph has a Flesch-Kincaid score of 34.8!).
Make it easy for your reader. Say what you mean using a few well-chosen words.
Make it practical and useful
When you write your article, try to make it an information reference or a checklist of ‘how to’. If something needs further explanation, put it in a separate article. Make that new article short, simple and direct.
Start off with your key points
Make your main points in the first sentence. The rest of the article should then expand on those points.
Make it easy to read
Microsoft Word can provide readability statistics. Press F7. If the statistics don’t appear, check “show readability statistics” under Tools / Options / Spelling & Grammar.
We recommend you aim for a Flesch-Kincaid score of 8.0 or lower, and a readability score of 60% or higher. (This page has a Flesch-Kincaid score of 7.6 and readability of 63.6 %.)
These targets may seem unrealistically low. You may be tempted to think that your article makes sense to you, so it will be OK. However, rewriting your article to achieve better scores will almost certainly make it a better internet article.
You can improve your readability scores by:
breaking long sentences into shorter sentences
replacing long sentences with bullet points
rewriting passive sentences
using shorter words
using headings to organise the text
As the old saying goes,
there is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time there is only one way to publish on the internet: one small article at a time.
The evidence from our web statistics suggests that surfers prefer a series of shorter, sharper articles to long ones. These types of articles also generate more leads for consultant authors and/or advertising income.
Prior to publication of your articles, you can get some feedback from other members, authors or editors at this site. Publish a draft article in the sandbox and post the link (from the details page) in the members’ forum.