Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Format an Article for the Web

Writing for the web is a lot different than writing for a college course or an essay scholarship. With internet writing, you have to keep the search engines and the readers in mind at the same time. While there is no set formula you have to abide by, there are some things you can do to structure an effective article online. I have developed a rhythm to my writing over the years that makes constructing articles incredibly easy. If you develop a similar rhythm, you may find yourself pumping out articles much quicker than you used to. Here is a guide to help you properly format an article for the web.


Every good article has some sort of introduction. It allows the reader to get prepared for the information that is about to come, rather than getting slammed with it right away. A lot of writers try to throw facts, steps, or other information like that in the intro of their articles, but that doesn't allow for a good flow in their writing. Try to come up with a way to lead into the body of your article without spending a ton of time introducing it. Define a term, ask a question, or do something else to bring up the topics you are about to discuss. Then you can bring on the facts in the body of the article.

I usually make my introductions about 100 words, depending on the size of the article itself. If there is a keyword that my clients want me to use in my article, I try to put it in the first sentence or the thesis sentence of my introduction. That is something I've learned from just about every internet marketer I've worked with, so there's obviously a positive SEO effect from that.

Finally, I conclude my intro with some sort of summary of what is to come in an article. "Here is a look at…" "Listed below are…" "The guide below will…" All of those little sentences make my articles easier to read. Check out my previous posts and you'll see that I do this almost every time. You probably didn't even notice it.


I'm a huge fan of subheadings, so I try to use them in everything I write. I had one client long ago that actually wouldn't allow me to use subheadings, and it drove me nuts. If you have the chance to use subheadings in the body of your articles, do so. This makes the articles easier to read. If you have a keyword for the article, use it in at least one of the subheadings. If you're writing a how to guide, make sure you write "Step 1 - Bla Bla…" or something along those lines. Just break down the article in a way that it will be easiest to glance through on the reading end.

I typically make my body paragraphs 75 to 125 words a piece, depending on the content I need to cover in them. If you see yourself getting to that 160-ish word count, you may want to consider breaking the paragraph in two. Try to incorporate your keyword at least once in the body of the article, preferably toward the middle. Then you will be able to move on to the conclusion.


Not every web article needs a conclusion, but it is nice to throw one at the end to sum everything up. Insert your keyword one more time, and leave the reader with a farewell message to keep in mind. This will probably only take about 50 words, but you can make it up to 100. Then read over your writing to make sure everything flows well. If you structured your article correctly, you should have a reader- and internet-friendly piece of work that your clients can immediately post on the web.

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