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If you have recently made the switch from print writing to Internet writing, you might notice there are a few differences between the two. Though good writing skills and interesting topics are popular anywhere you go, Internet readers do have different expectations online than they do when reading a newspaper or magazine article. Be sure to keep the following facts in mind when writing for the web:

1.) Be Concise


concise2ndlarge1This is one of the web writing rules I sometimes struggle with, but it makes sense. People go online to get things done; they are typically looking something up and want to find the answer ASAP. When a Google search takes them to your page, you’d better have their answer staring them in the face or they will hit the “back” button within a few seconds. If you can say it in a short, sweet sentence, do it.

2.) Illustrate Your Point


1172286_pen_and_lineI never used to believe it, but pictures do help when writing for the web. They break up your page into sections, which makes it easier to scan. That means it is more Internet reader-friendly. Even if you can’t find a picture that refers to your content directly, throw in a few icons, or perhaps a pretty image of your logo.

3.) Use Informative Subheadings


1Adding subheadings also breaks up your content into scannable sections. Whether you’re writing your own blog or providing content writing services for another website, remember to use subheadings that clearly summarize in a few words what that section is about.

4.) Stop Using Buzzwords


Recent studies have shown that readers can easily see through much of the marketing jargon that populates the web. I have heard that one of the most overused words in the corporate world within buzzword_largethe last few years was “synergy.” According to many tales, the very hint of this word now causes most employees to spin into an Office Space-inspired rage involving an on-the-fritz copier. Other severely disliked terms now include “win-win,” “solutions,” “paradigm,” and “value-added.” Feel free to add your own terms, but you get the idea. If your content writing services ever lead you to write for a professional website, please be sure to banish those words from your vocabulary.

5.) Use Facts


1117094_basic_math_1Use facts as often as possible, and when you do, make it obvious. For example, rather than write out a number under 10 like we were all taught to do, use the numeral. Linked sources are also good, as readers love both facts and the proof to back them up.

Just consider the websites you visit when you’re in a hurry. Think about what you like to see on the sites you actually stop to read, whether you’re looking for a way to prove a friend wrong on a point or just researching for an article. Have any other web reader-friendly ideas? Post them up!

Those with full-time jobs often have ways of dealing with their day so that it is more enjoyable, particularly if they are not happy with their career. Though many freelancers are quite happy with their choice of jobs, work is work, and they therefore still need some help in getting through their day. I love writing, but there are definitely days I can’t seem to get started, or perhaps can’t finish what I did start before my break. I have a few ways of making both my jam-packed and more boring days a little more fun (and not to mention more organized).

1.) Desk Calendar


Though I am always on the computer, I find I prefer to make notes and appointments by hand. It is probably more time-consuming and less 601035_sk_lg1organized than simply making a Notepad document full of notes. However, it’s just how I work. I decided to compromise and clean up my desk a little with a giant desk calendar. Not only can I write deadlines and things to do on each day, but I can also take notes about writing assignments. In fact, before I write any business guide for a particular company, I jot down the three main points to write about on some area on my desk calendar. By the end of the month there is so much chicken scratch on the calendar it’s ridiculous, but it definitely beats the piles of Post-it Notes covering my desk.

2.) A Good Monitor


I was getting along fine with my 15-inch monitor for years (actually, 6 years to be exact). But when my husband bought me a 22-inch monitor for 1046708_881141321Christmas, my vision seemed to improve enormously. I can now put two web pages side-by-side on my monitor and still read them easily, which helps when researching while providing content writing services. I could have chugged along for a few more years on my old monitor, but this one just makes my job a little easier. My eyes are thanking me, as well.

3.) BlackBerry


Though I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, I do appreciate the increased mobility my BlackBerry has brought to my business. I can email clients from the pink-blackberry-pearlstore, or even when I’m out with friends. I have also done research for projects while waiting for my car’s oil to get changed. The only issue I’ve found is that it makes it a bit more difficult to separate work from free time. However, when you have your own business, you likely find that sometimes personal issues come up during your normal business hours, as well, so it usually evens out.

4.) Music


I listen to much more music now than ever before, thanks to being alone in my office all day. I find that many people that provide content writing services do the same. I usually alternate between Pandora and the 1151325_listening_to_music2500 or so songs on my PC. I find my favorite artists to listen to while I write are Jack’s Mannequin, Something Corporate, Death Cab for Cutie, Mae, Splender, Lifehouse, Jimmy Eat World, and Keane (to name a few). Of course everyone has different taste, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that some of my favorite authors listen to many of the same bands as I do when they write. Maybe listening to these bands enough will inspire me to write the next great novel. If not, at least I have some good music to listen to while I work.

5.) Caffeine


I don’t know if it is a mental thing or I am just addicted to caffeine, but I typically have some sort of caffeinated drink before I write. 1154374_coffee_preparation_11Last year the drink of choice was Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, but it was recently discontinued. Since then, I have taken up drinking coffee instead, and I am pretty sure I am not alone on this. I can get through the day without it, but a tasty drink that happens to boost energy doesn’t hurt.

What are your pick-me-ups throughout the day? Whether you’re a freelancer, a business owner, or work the typical 9 to 5 shift, I want to know what gets you through your day.

More Gamer Help

inv_misc_head_dragon_011Find how you can improve your WoW rep with Wyrmrest Accord after reading my Bright Hub article. It will also tell you how a good rep will be be beneficial to you in this game.

I recently wrote a blog about how to prepare to write a great sales letter. Most of those tips were based on both experience and the research I dug up prior to writing one. Along the way, I also found more specific tips about what to put in an eye-catching sales letter. The following are the tips I found to be the most helpful when writing:

1.) Abide by the WIIFM Factor


decisionsBusiness owners are too busy to search your sales letter to find out why they should go with your company. Make it obvious by stating why they should buy from you in either the headline or the first sentence of your letter. This is referred to as the WIIFM concept, because most people reading your letter will be thinking “That’s great, but what’s in it for me?”

2.) Build Trust


143066_hold_my_hand1This might sound difficult to do through a sales letter that’s obviously meant to, well, sell the potential client on your product or service. However, most salespeople build trust without their audience even knowing. The simplest way to do this in a letter is use the words “you” and “your” often. Using the words “I” or “we” can alienate the reader, so keep them to a minimum. Use your words wisely, addressing the reader by name at the beginning of the letter when possible, and speaking directly to their needs.

3.) Promote Your Company


9853_54270506If you have testimonials or endorsements from large companies or recognizable clients, use them to your advantage. You can sprinkle them throughout your sales letter, or have a separate section for them. Either way, make sure they stand out so that even readers who skim your letter will notice them.

4.) Show How You Can Be Useful


28987981_15115946Once you’ve established what’s in it for the reader, throw in why your company can solve the reader’s problem. The second paragraph is a good place to explain your company, specifically how you have helped other clients and what you could do for this reader. Be concise and unique.

5.) Make it Pretty


dsc02065_copy3As much as many providers of content writing services prefer to focus only on the words, other details do matter. Pay attention to formatting, colors, font size, and even paper type. Chances are, once you print out your letter, you will realize your paragraphs are too big, your font is too small, or your logo looks out of place. When you are satisfied with the look, walk away from this project and come back to it a few hours later. Take note of your first impression after your first glimpse at it in hours; you will probably notice some other details that bother you. The formatting and overall look should catch the reader’s attention, and the quality content should keep it.

6.) Include a Call to Action


nokia-60701Now that you have the reader’s attention, you need to tell them what you want from them. Include a sentence towards the end of the letter that requests for them to call or email you. If you plan to follow up with them in a few days, mention that so they can be prepared.

7.) Include Incentives


Though you might hate coupons and special discounts when 1-1198868561ji9a1it comes to your business, most consumers love them. How many times have you decided to get pizza from a particular place just because you had a coupon? A discount could be the final push the customer needs to choose your company over another one, especially in this economy.

8.) Create a Sense of Urgency


1163743_important_letterThe best way to present special pricing is to mention that the reader will get a particular percentage off if they contact you by a certain time. Don’t make the deadline too soon or too far in the future. A month is a good amount of time to expect a response from a reader for them to receive the discount.

9.) Include a P.S.


It seems like most sales letters have a P.S. at the end. You might wonder why they didn’t just throw that bit of information into the33722631_43484502 body of the letter; you’d think by now they’d realize they kept forgetting it. However, a postscript is a great way to keep your main point fresh in the reader’s mind. Usually it has to do with the deadline to receive their discount. This section also works well for those who skim letters; studies have shown that many people read the postscript even if they don’t read the rest of the letter.

10.) Write Appropriately


29992_marking_on_the_cyberbus_1You probably already have an idea of how to write professionally, but that is not all there is to it. Your sales letter introduces potential clients to your company. Therefore, you need to write in a style that matches your company. If you are a somewhat hip web design company, your sales letter should reflect that style. If your company image is very corporate, don’t sound too casual or trendy in your letter. On the flip side, if you sell clown noses or bounce houses, an overly serious letter might seem out of place.

These were the major ideas I gleaned from several websites and my own experience. Got any other tips for writing sales letters, or something to say about my list? Let me know!

Info for Gamers

inv_jewelry_talisman_07If you play WoW, you might be interested in finding out what the Argent Dawn group can do for you, even at level 80. Check out my article at Bright Hub for tips on improving your Argent Dawn reputation!

If you are at all like me and constantly have to research while you work, you likely have a few resources bookmarked that help you get through the day. While I do love to Google, I also tend to get sidetracked when I create a new Google search. I usually can’t just stay on the assigned topic for some reason, and when I do somehow finish an article without doing so, I have to go back and investigate something new I saw. Some of these resources help with writing, and some are simply great for finding writing jobs. So without further ado, here are the resources that I always check at least a few times per week:

1) Thesaurus.com



untitledWhen you write about several similar subjects in one day, both you and your reader run the risk of getting bored if you continually use the same few words repeatedly. For this reason, Thesaurus.com (or any similar site full of words) is a content writing services provider’s best friend. An honorable mention in this category goes to the “synonyms” feature of Word, as it always has me right-clicking and perusing their list of unique words.

2) About Freelance Writing



Not only is this blog fun to read, but the author also gathers up all the writing jobs she sees on the Internet and posts them three days per week. This is one of the first writing blogs I read when I started out as a freelance writer, so I seem to have a soft spot for it.

3) Craigslist



I think this place is often underrated. This is another of those invaluable resources that I started using when I took the leap to become a writer last year. Sure, a lot of the posts are people wanting writers to provide content writing services for pennies, but these types of post are merely there for entertainment (or at least I assume they’re joking). One particular post had me chuckling all day; the poster mentioned that his ideal candidate had to have newspaper publishing experience, as well as a master’s degree, and he would pay them $10 per hour. The truly sad part is that he just might have found his perfect writer with this economy, but it seemed an odd request for Craigslist, nonetheless.

Anyway, I did pick up many of my first jobs through this site, and still do browse it. My web designing friends over at Webflo Studios have attested to the same experience through Craigslist. Some of their first and largest clients found them through a Craigslist ad. I think the fact that you can find just about anything and anyone on there makes it both useful and entertaining.

4) AP Stylebook



ap_stylebook_cover I have a few jobs that require me to use AP style, and since I haven’t written consistently in this style since junior year of college, I typically have a few questions. I find that clicking on over to APStylebook.com is much easier than pulling out my bruised and battered 2004 version of the AP Stylebook (and this site is probably a lot more updated). I love the question-answer format, as it is almost as cool as the “cache” feature on Google (actually I admit to using the very similar “Find” function in the browser whenever I visit this page).

5) Common Errors in English Usage



Okay, this website is actually more of a personal site for me than a business resource, but I think that’s justcover because I’m weird. I cannot get enough of this website! When I found it, I wondered if the authors had expected people to read it like a book, because I was. There have been so many times when I muttered some well-known but weird phrase, thought about it for a second, and decided to mosey on over to this site to see if the phrase was even correct.

For example, I wrote “fit the bill” last week in an article, and then stopped, remembering that the previous day a character in a book had said “fill the bill.” I wondered…was this character wrong, or was I wrong? I looked it up and found that, yep, the original phrase is actually “fill the bill,” but like many things in America, it has been slowly changed until it no longer make literal sense. Anyway, I have toyed with the idea of having a “phrase-a-day” feature on my blog in which I write an often misused phrase alongside the real one, but I am assuming not too many people care as much I do. If I’m wrong, let me know!

Either way, I hope these resources can help at least a few writers out there. If you have any you’d like to share, let’s hear them.

twitter-bird1Har har…anyway, you can follow me on Twitter if you want to be alerted when I post a blog…or a particularly interesting horoscope from The Onion.