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    Web Page Content: A Different Approach to Writing

    The Internet is loaded with websites. Thousands are added every month. And the beauty of this fact is the World Wide Web is still in its infancy. This is great news for freelancers. With a little homework, a lot of persistence, and a thick hide (if you've been writing awhile, you should have achieved the armor plating necessary to survive in the business), the world of Web Page writing can be a good source of checks in the mail.

    Web page content is not articles, columns, or fillers webmasters use to provide fresh content for their readers. So, what is it? Simply put, it is copy explaining what a website is about. Think Home, About Us, FAQ, Contact Us. These are pages every website has in common. While some webmasters do a fine job at writing their own page content, there are those who are terrified at the thought of writing copy that sounds intelligent. If you cruise the web, you will run across many examples of those who tried, and failed miserably at the effort.

    Fortunately, many webmasters realize that writing isn't as easy as some believe it to be. And there are quite a few who have attempted to write their own content, but only accomplished the senseless slaughter of the English language. So, they seek freelancers to write or rewrite their pages for them.

    Here are a few tips:

    Learn The Basics

    Get to know a little about the mechanics of web design. Have a basic understanding of HTML, site navigation, design considerations, and factors involving web page readability. A smidgen of java script is also a good idea. There are many books and Internet based tutorials covering these subjects.

    Before you go screaming that I'm mad, let me assure you these subjects are not as difficult to understand as people are led to believe.


    Ask a Gazillion Questions

    Have a thorough understanding of what your client wants. How many pages need content? What is the desired length for each page? What important information has to be relayed to site visitors? What voice or style of writing does your client want?

    Some clients will not to be able to answer all of your questions. If this is the case, be prepared to get creative. Once you have an understanding of what is needed, place yourself in your clients' shoes and view the website as if it was yours. Then ask yourself what each page should say, and how to say it.


    Web Page Readability

    Writing for the web is different than writing for print publications. Web content is more strenuous on a reader's eyes than copy in a magazine. In addition, website viewers are usually looking for quick information. They do not want to search for what they want.

    This dictates how web page copy is written: informative, and in as few words as possible. Many times, this is not easy to accomplish. Information should be delivered in short blocks, rather than long paragraphs.

    It is also important to embed keywords in the text that relate to the website's topic. This assists in search engine placement when the site is rated. Be careful not to overload a page with keywords, though. Search engine 'spiders' are programmed to detect deliberate attempts at high list placement. The practice will work against the website, and probably make your client severely irate at you.


    Be a Subtle Consultant

    Based on your knowledge of websites, don't be afraid to make suggestions about site navigation, graphic placement and size (this is a major factor in page download time), font choice, use of white space and colors, adding or deleting pages and/or content, etc.

    You will find many clients welcoming suggestions. Just be sure you know what you are talking about before doing this. If you are web savvy, you are a step ahead of most writers. If you are not, you had better learn. Freelancing for the web demands it.


    Hit Them Up For More

    Once you have proved your skills at writing page content, it's time to don the writer's marketing hat again. Don't let your relationship with a client end. Offer other services such as articles and newsletter content for their site. You will be surprised where this may lead you.

    Copyright © 2001 Jim Soos

    Jim Soos discovered writing at the age of 34, when a story refused to leave his head. Drawing on his background as a former police officer, Jim transformed his idea into a novel length police thriller. Never seeking publication, he keeps the manuscript on his desk as a reminder to his discovery of writing. Today, Jim freelances, concentrating on business writing. Specializing in website content, he also writes press releases, newsletters, articles, and offers ghost writing and editing services to businesses. Jim is a contributing writer to suite101.com, writing about his favorite topic, Alaska. He is also retained as the Public Relations writer for HomeJobsOnline.com, and as the site's senior writer for its newsletter. No stranger to rejection letters, (he collects them as a hobby), Jim may edit his novel one of these days and seek publication.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from Amazon.com and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)

    FOR JOURNALERS

    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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