Introduction to web writing: what you need to know

Holding a pen and making it speak on a blank page, is that a complex thing? As long as you have done a few years of schooling and have a few grammatical and syntactical rules in your bag, shouldn’t web writing be as simple as drinking water? So why book a whole course there? Why does it deserve learning, discipline and method? In this article you will find the answer to each of these questions. Plus, you’ll learn about the cognitive skills required to become a web writer.

Web writing, what is it?

Like a good pedagogue, we will first dissect the expression web writing to strip it of its apparent banality, but also of its mystery.

Understanding the term “web writing”

In “web writing”, there are two terms: “writing” and “web”. In the middle, we should have added “for the” or perhaps “intended for the public of”, and everything would have been clearer. 

We would therefore speak of “writing for the web” or rather of “writing intended for the public of the web”. Isn’t that simpler? However, it is precisely because it is “for the web” or “intended for the public of”, that we had to reduce the length of the expression. 

Let’s define the expression

Web writing business consists of writing, on specific themes provided by the owner of a website, texts that will serve as content for his site. It is therefore a provision of services for the benefit of the owner or manager of a site. 

As soon as the web editor receives payment for the texts ordered, making sure to have respected the client’s instructions, they are no longer his property. He systematically loses the right of ownership over the texts he has written, unless otherwise decided.

That said, what is really the use of web writing in the crowd of professions? What added value does it bring to the world and to society?

Why web writing?

In the same way that you are reading this article, hundreds of thousands of Internet users are researching thousands of topics. 

Some would like to know, for example, “where to buy” the best watches, while others want to “have an opinion on” a data storage provider. The themes are as many as they are varied.

The ultimate goal of web writing is therefore to provide appropriate answers to all the searches that an Internet user can do. 

Web writing is therefore the source that allows search engines to have information to offer to Internet users.

But who are the stakeholders?

Web writing, for whom?

Web writing serves a wide variety of audiences. 

For nearly 4.4 billion Internet users 

The web editor’s audience is the average Internet user. So it’s you, your parents, your friends and all those people you’ll never know. And according to the latest statistics, we are now nearly 4.4 billion people on the internet, even if we do not all speak French.

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It is therefore a question of anticipating, on the basis of empirical data, the needs for answers of Internet users, and of providing these answers at the appropriate time. For example, during Valentine’s Day, a lot of research is done on topics such as “gifts to give to your partner”, “tips for a successful candlelight dinner”, etc. 

The topics covered by web writing therefore vary according to the seasons, solemn holidays and special occasions, the idiosyncrasies of peoples, political, economic and social news, and several other factors. 

If we must therefore write for 4.4 billion Internet users with constantly changing needs, it is clear that web writing is an “eternal” profession.

But we don’t just write for men. 

For search engines

Beyond the Internet user who is looking for an answer, web writing allows website owners to attract potential customers to their online sales site, service provider, their blog, and other Internet platforms. 

By providing relevant and appropriate content on their websites, the owners of these sites increase their chances of being preferred by Internet users, with the ultimate goal of retaining them and converting them into buyers. 

But to be able to attract traffic, the content must comply with certain standards. 

In general, these standards are formulated by the client in the form of guidelines or instructions when ordering the texts to be written. The instructions relate in particular to:

  • the length of the text to be written;
  • the writing style;
  • at the various angles to be traveled;
  • the frequency of use of the keywords;
  • when inserting links. 

These parameters make it possible to write texts in conformity with the identity and the image of the site. And that is not given. A connection and a computer are not enough; much more is needed.

Skills needed for web writing 

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Although it seems banal, web writing is not within the reach of all fools. Those who do the most are usually those who have a natural disposition to the thing. The skills needed for web writing can be summarized as follows.

The ability to find and synthesize the right information

Let’s talk a little, let’s talk well: the web editor does not create the information. Rather, he is looking for sources that will allow him to deal with his subject. 

He will often have to do enough research to find the most useful and relevant information in relation to the subject he has been given to treat. We won’t blame him for being very curious.

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However, for a single subject launched in the search bar of Google for example, the search engines of which Google first generally serve you an astronomical quantity of results. Even though these are often ranked in order of relevance, there is no evidence that the first results are always more relevant than those on the second search page.

The web editor will therefore have to know how to sniff out the most reliable and relevant sources. 

Moreover, web writing is not an exercise in plagiarism. The writer must know how to process the information gleaned here and there to produce new and relevant content. 

Ability to communicate information

If having the information is one thing, communicating it to an invisible Internet user is another. The writer must therefore know how to present the information in a concise manner. 

As we have at the beginning of this article, we could have spoken of “writing intended for the web public” or “writing for the web”, but the reduction of the expression to its ultimate essential is the proof par excellence that on the web, brevity is king.

The web editor must know how to make himself understood on the first reading and even in the case of a diagonal reading. For this, he will have to write following a well-structured plan and with a fluid expression, since it is not a parade. 

The Internet user has only a few seconds to devote to an article; it must therefore be lured by the quality of the writing. Even if the mistake is human, the web writer must be able to write his texts in correct French, in a dynamic style and without sinning against the grammatical and syntactic rules.

Similarly, diversions and other filling strategies will only serve to prove to the Internet user that he is on the wrong site. 

Ability to write on a wide variety of topics

It is true that over time, the web editor develops a fondness for a particular area. In this case, his expertise allows him to be considered as a consultant in this field. However, this does not produce after a few years. 

Before specializing in a field, the web editor must learn to walk on the boulevard of diversity. He must be able to write on all subjects: science, philosophy, marketing, politics, technology, cooking, religion, etc. 

And to get there, he needs to have some skills up his sleeve.

The skills of a good web designer

Even if some people show a natural disposition to web writing, it is possible to become a good web editor if you develop the skills related to the job. 

planning and organization

On each subject, the web editor must be able to define a work plan. Not only will this allow the reader to better follow the progress of the information, but it will allow the writer himself to better organize his research. 

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The stakes here are not only related to the need to understand the subject but also to the optimization of time management. Indeed, this service provider that is the web editor often has a deadline to deliver orders from several sources. 

He must therefore learn to organize his time and his research to be not only effective, but also and above all efficient.

Knowledge of the subject

Nothing allows you to progress in your writing as quickly as a preliminary knowledge of the subject. When he already knows things about the subject to be covered, it is easier for the writer to design a work plan and produce quality information. 

But man is born ignorant at first. It is therefore necessary that the web editor trains himself in certain areas that he will choose according to demand. 

He must, in his spare time, consciously study certain technical fields in order to develop his editorial dexterity. Thanks to this, he no longer wastes too much time in research when he obtains an order. 

Search Engine Optimization

On the internet, SEO (Search Engine Optimization or natural referencing) is a magic word, the pillar of visibility

SEO rules allow websites to benefit from a better ranking on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page). And for online stores, this is very important.

Any serious web editor must therefore master the operating rules of SEO in order to know how to produce texts that meet the requirements of search engines. 

What to remember? 

Briefly, let’s already remember that web writing is a job that consists of writing on specific themes provided by the owner of a website, texts to animate said site. 

The web editor serves a variety of websites by producing relevant articles on various themes, thus allowing these sites to gain traffic. However, generating traffic requires that the text be written by a good copywriter.

He will have to know how to find the right information, process it and present it in correct, fluent and concise French. He must also know how to avoid plagiarism, organize his research to meet deadlines, learn and train on various topics in order to be effective on any topic. And even better, he will have to learn to write according to the principles of natural referencing.

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