10 Tips on Writing an Online Article

Quite a few of us have our own blogs and write all the time – that is NOT what this post is about. There are some people who are authors, publishers, or website owners that have been asked to write an online article for others. Here are 10 great tips that can help you do just that!

  1. Ask about the format & Content – first it is nice to know if they have one and simply try to adhere to it both in style, length and content. As for content, be relevant to what their readership is or what they content they want of you.  If it is a spa magazine don’t send an article on motorcycle maintenance because You want to write one unless of course you describe after fixing that bike what you enjoy most is a spa treatment!
  2. Copying from a word processor – Remove the format if possible. Keep it single line spacing and 6pt between paragraphs. Word allows you to do that. Anything other than that the publisher has to spend more time “taking out” these kinds of formatting.
  3. Color – Don’t try to make it pretty using different colors. Black is best.
  4. Style – It is best to use only bold, italicize, capitalize or quotations to make your point.
  5. Font – Use only Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, Tahoma, or Verdana type fonts. These are the most common for BOTH PC and MAC. They also transfer well to online format. Your publisher may still change that font for the look of their venue.
  6. Spacing – Single line spacing and extra space between paragraphs. Do not indent paragraphs. Note to authors – This is not a published book and wastes online space. Keep it left justified for the paragraph and the whole article. The publisher will justify if they want. Also, do not double space at the end of a sentence.
  7. Bullets and Lists – Please use the simple bullet (disc) or list 1.2.3 or a.b.c. Do not add dashes or fancy bullets. They will be taken out and usually are not used. Again waste of programmers or publishers time.
  8. Length – Most of the time the length will be specified either so many characters or words. See what other articles in the magazine are like. Most articles are between 250 – 500 words. Lance Winslow, an online article writer, says it best “Today’s online Internet surfers seem to read the shorter, quick stuff more, which is simply the way things are really. I would say that over time one does get better with things like spelling, grammar and or sentence structure too.”  If you want people to read it, keep it simple and short but to the point. Longer articles are usually between 600-1200 words.
  9. Pictures – You don’t have to include pictures. Make sure you can first include pictures. It is nice to use them especially if it is a picture of you, what you are promoting or what you are describing. Use web or Low resolution, 72 dpi is best. Size? Small – 100×150 pixels, Medium – 200×250 pixels, Large – 400×500 pixels. Max if for full page would be 600×800 pixels. Mostly I would stick with the Medium size. The most pictures I would submit would be 4. If you have them in your article, because they are for explanation, make sure you note that in the email. Be  sure to ATTACH all pictures to your email separately in jpg format. Much easier to deal with than having to extricate them from your article.
  10. Bio – Don’t forget your bio and links! Now limit this to one paragraph come on… if your bio is longer than the article get a grip! Yes you have done a lot or maybe you haven’t. Just make a couple of statements about what you are currently doing and links to your website and where to purchase your book.

Hope this helps to give you a good beginning to publishing articles online. Start small and build up. Over time people will then get to know who you are and will then begin to “follow” you or read your articles.