A lot of writers think that if you can successfully write for print publication, then you can write for web publication equally well. In fact, some writers think that Internet writing is of lesser quality so it's less demanding. They think it's something you can slog together and so easy that a dog can do it.
Of course, those writers dip their pens in the arrogance inkwell, but many writers really are ignorant of the differences between print writing and Internet writing. And I don't mean a difference in quality because you can find inferior and superior print writing just as you find inferior and superior web writing. Lack of knowledge about the differences may keep someone from succeeding at web writing no matter how well-published they are in print.
People who read online actually read differently than if they were reading a printed book, magazine, or newspaper. Online reading is tiring to the eyes.
When reading online, one doesn't usually read every word. The eye skims across the presented text, picking out the most interesting part and reading that. Most people don't read every word of online text. They just go for the interesting parts.
Therefore, the text must be formatted a little differently as well as be a little different in content.
5 Web Writing Rules
1. Don't write flowery prose. Web readers want to find what they came to the webpage for. Give them the facts. Sure, make it creative and interesting but don't get bogged down in minutia or too much description or the reader will just move on.
2. Don't write like an erudite college professor. Save your twenty dollar words for your thesis. Use the words everyone uses. In other words, keep the tone casual as if you were having a conversation with someone.
3. Don't create huge long blocks of text. Write short paragraphs.
4. Break up the flow of text with Sub-headings.
5. If possible, give bullet or number lists. Short lists are best.
Give Them Value
Rather than get bogged down with explanations about some things you may mention or reference, insert links into your text. That way the reader can click the link and follow it straight to the horse's mouth if they want more in depth information about something.
Similarities In Both Types of Writing
Of course, there are similarities between web writing and print writing.
1. Both forms call for creating content that will hold a reader's interest.
2. Both demand good grammar and spelling with an adequate vocabulary.
3. Print and online both require absolute integrity so that the work you present is your work, not stolen from another writer.
4. All writing requires excellent research skills, not just looking at one source online i.e. Wikipedia. Don't forget there are real library books, periodicals, encyclopedias, and so much more that can be accessed. Don't depend only on Google for finding information.
5. Good writing is still good writing, whether you do it for print or online.
Set high standards for yourself so that you never let readers down, but more importantly, so you don't let yourself down.