You may have written some articles for printed publications such as magazines and newspapers. Therefore you think you can follow the same writing rules when writing for the internet, but it's not that simple. However, don't let that put you off. There is plenty of advice available. However, my suggestion is don't read too much or you may get overwhelmed.
Some of the things we are encouraged to do when writing for an online audience are the opposite of what I was taught at school back in the sixties and seventies. For example I was told a paragraph couldn't be a single sentence. In fact, I think it had to be more than two. These days the dictionary defines a paragraph as one or more sentences dealing with the same topic.
If you are new to online writing here are a few tips to get you started:
The way people read online is different from how they read hard copy materials
Readers skim the information instead of reading every word
They scan to find what they are searching for and don't read the rest
Keep it simple Write in a simple style to make it easy for readers to find the information they want.
Cut out unnecessary words
Use simple words
Write short sentences
It's okay to write a one sentence paragraph
Include bullet point or numbered lists
Make it easy to read
Include plenty of white space
Include plenty of clear headings
Use bold to make it easy for readers to find what they are looking for
Images help to break up the text and sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes
Images also help you, 'Show, don't tell'
Instead of trying to describe a waterbird in a pond full of water lilies at the botanic gardens, add an image. Marie Vonow
Remember who you are writing for This is also important when writing for magazines, newsletters or newspapers
Think about the education level and background of your readers
Adapt your style to your anticipated audience
Keep in mind people from all over the world have access to the web
Even people who can read complicated material appreciate an easy to read article
Get readers engaged
'Talk' to your readers in a personal way rather than feed them facts
Gain your readers' trust
Give readers a chance to make comments and interact with you
Be up to date
Information changes very quickly these days so use current sources
Remember attitudes change quickly in the modern world
Proof read your work Be sure to check
The meaning is clear
The article is broken up into small chunks of text
I hate it when I read over one of my online articles and then notice a glaring error I missed before hitting 'submit'. Spelling is tricky these days and I sometimes get confused as to whether I have used the correct spelling for Australia.
Not every word I want to use is in my trusty Aussie approved dictionary. Double letters often trip me up. I do my best to get it right.
Beyond the basics There is plenty of advice on topics such as SEO (search engine optimisation), writing titles that attract attention, use of images and much more on the web and also in books.
When you feel ready to take the next step with online writing read a few articles. You will probably find yourself looking for easy to follow articles that use short sentences, short paragraphs and numbered points or bullet points. Have fun writing.