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How to write an article for website publication

If you’re not familiar with content writing, you might not realise that there are completely different approaches depending on whether you’re writing a press release, sales copy, a website page, or an article for a website.

There are many reasons for that, but one of the main reasons is that every piece of content you write should have a particular content goal. For example, the goal of a press release will be very different than the goal of an article.

In fact, you really shouldn’t write any content at all for either a client’s site or your own until you know what the aim is for the piece. Which brings us nicely to the first point in this article on how to write an article for website publication.

Follow these steps and you will have a professional article to pitch or submit:

1. Follow the brief and house style

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If you don’t get a brief and you’re not sure what to do, check out Copify’s blog post on how to write the perfect brief . Take a look at the post and then you can work out what questions to ask your client. Some companies you're pitching to or writing for may also specify a house style in their submission guidelines. 

Once you have your brief, pay particular attention to the goal the client has for the article, and keep that in mind as you write. You’ll write a whole different article if it’s aimed as a promo article to get the client’s audience to buy than you will if you’re writing epic content to establish your client as an expert in their field.

Top Tip: If your potential client doesn’t give you a proper brief and won’t sign a contract that covers your fee, how many edits, and other important terms and conditions, consider very quickly dropping them like a particularly dodgy, hot potato!

2. Keep the target audience top of mind

After establishing the goal of the article, the most important thing is who the target audience is. The more you know about the audience for the piece, the more you can shape what you write to suit them.

Think that doesn’t matter? Imagine writing an article that’s aimed at millennials who are into rap music and think about what language you’d use and what popular references. Then imagine the same article but this time it’s aimed at retirees who are downsizing.

You’d use completely different language, wouldn’t you? You’d know that both of those audiences have a different outlook, different problems and different aims in life, and you’d write accordingly.

That’s why knowing your target audience thoroughly really matters. You need to know what their problems are, their likes and dislikes, what kind of language they use, what solutions they want, and what really matters to them.

3. Think about language and tone of voice

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They might cover that in their brief, or they might give you a copy of their brand manual so you can follow their guidelines.

If you look at the content on Ash Ambirge’s site (language warning!), for example, you can see it’s vibrant, fun, humorous, and definitely not shy and retiring. If you wrote for that site, you know you wouldn’t get away with sounding like a stereotypical accountant with the word ‘procedure’ stamped all the way through him like a stick of rock!

The contrast in tone of voice between different sites and types of business can be marked, so you really do need to stick to the client’s preferences.

4. Write a great headline

There are almost 2 billion websites on the internet right now. And counting!

That means you need to get attention in a very crowded arena, and the way you do that is by writing an amazing headline that your target market can’t ignore.

We’re back to knowing your audience as you’ll need to know exactly the right language to appeal to them. But there are some other tips to consider when writing an eye-catching headline:

• Use active voice, rather than passive voice, and use strong and emotional verbs and words. You’ll give your writing more energy that way, and your audience is more likely to click.

• Put a benefit in your headline. Why should your audience click through?

• Don’t use a ridiculous click-bait headline to get attention, unless that’s the type of thing that will appeal to your audience. And if you do that, make sure the content matches your headline or your audience will feel cheated and click away.

• Use at least one keyword that you want your article to rank for in the headline. It’s great for SEO!

• Numbers written as digits are very eye-catching, and more likely to make people click. You can use them to highlight benefits, such as ‘15% off today’, or to tell the audience exactly what they’re getting, for example, ‘7 steps to baking the perfect cake’. That way, they know the article isn’t going to be pages and pages long, and they know exactly what it will do for them.

5. Have a linking strategy

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Internal linking is when you link to other posts and pages on your own site, and external linking is linking to other websites.

Internal linking is brilliant for your search engine optimisation as it helps the search engines find their way around your site and map it. They also look at how many internal links a page has to weigh how important it is.

External linking also helps with SEO. Linking to helpful material on another site is a good way for you to come across as an authority, both to your audience and the search engines. And external links can also help the search engines work out what your content and your site are about. You can also tag sites that you’ve mentioned in your articles on social media, and you may get some likes and shares from that, and also start building a relationship with them.

6. Add an attention-grabbing call to action (CTA)

Remember that you have a goal for your piece of content? This is where you can guide the audience to take the action to meet that goal.

You might want them to sign up to the client’s newsletter, read more information, get a quote, download a freebie, or even buy something, and a call to action can make that happen, if it’s well written.

Writing a great CTA is similar in many ways to writing an eye-catching headline, so follow the tips above to create a strong CTA that will get attention.

In addition, make sure you allow plenty of white space around the CTA and use a colour that stands out on the page to draw attention.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to create attention-grabbing articles that deliver for both your client and their audience.

Main image credit:  Tirachard Kumtanom

Internal image credits: rawpixel.com ,  meo ,  Vojtech Okenka

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  • How to Write a Web Article

write an article for website

Dave Schools , Former Digital Strategist

Article Category: #Strategy

Posted on April 18, 2016

Follow this simple and proven framework to organize your writing for effective delivery on the web.

F o l l o w t h i s s i m p l e a n d p r o v e n f r a m e w o r k t o o r g a n i z e y o u r w r i t i n g f o r e f f e c t i v e d e l i v e r y o n t h e w e b .

write an article for website

When I first started writing on the web, I knew nothing. I was scared of the gavel-wielding, faceless, Redditesque crowd (whom I now love). But I found my first footing when I submitted an article to a niche blog I liked and followed (more below).

Since then, I’ve been able to write several top stories on Medium, including my best one: I sat down with a millionaire who operates 10 businesses while sailing around the world with his family , which has 7.2k recommends and has been picked up by several publications including Business Insider, The Observer, Quartz, et al.

I’m not trying to be boasty (intentional new word — trying it out), I’m just saying there is a structure that works for single-topic web articles. My hope is that it will help new writers take the leap as I did.

Credit for this structure goes to Crew and to Andrea Ayres Deets , who is an amazing writer and inspired me to write several years ago.

The first time I ever freelanced, I submitted an article to the Crew Blog and Andrea replied with the loose and simple formula they use for structuring their posts — one that I still use today and the one I am about to show you now.

Let it be known, there is no perfect formula for a successful blog post . It takes more than words and pictures — a lot of which is out of our control (i.e., network algorithms, timing, audience, etc.). But sometimes you need a good framework (the one below built up a 1 million+ visitors) to get started. I did. So here it is.

write an article for website

(Anecdote) Start with an experience from your own life. Write a story in the first person. Be vulnerable. My favorite writer, James Altucher , says to “ Bleed in the first sentence .” This builds personal connection with your reader, even if you are representing a big brand. To me, this is where the good writers distinguish themselves from average writers; the best writers can tell a short, gripping, and humorous story in less than five sentences.

(Transition) After the opening anecdote, you need to transition to the thesis. Tie the personal story to the thesis by writing a sweeping statement with broad application.

(Thesis) Answer the reader’s question: why should I read this? You’ve cast your net widely with the transition, hoping to catch as many readers as possible, now laser in to a specific and compelling case. Make the time they spend reading your article a rewarding experience.

Your thesis should be damn similar to your title. The reader clicked the title because they thought it sounded interesting; if they leave the article after reading your thesis, then it means you mistitled your post (click-baiter!). The title-to-thesis relationship should be monozygotic.

II. Main argument 1   Lose yourself here. Now that the reader has agreed to listen, quote experts, cite research, and draw from history. Do not insert your own opinion here. Rely on the authority and experience of big names. 

This needs to be a research-backed argument. Bring in science to support your claims. No one can argue with science.

[show chart or diagram graphic]

Also, its super helpful to give readers a 1–3 sentence description of the research you cite, just in case people don’t have the time to go to another link to read it themselves. 

III. Main argument 2   Continue building momentum. Except this time use case studies from various sources. You’ve stated your point and given facts to back it up, now tell a story showing it worked for someone.

[show picture of person/people in story]

Once you’ve told the story, knit argument 1 and argument 2 together. Show how the scientific proof manifested in the story. This congruence creates a neural connection between the right and left brain of the reader, resulting in the foundation of a memory .

IV. Takeaways (3–5 depending on length)

  • Use a bulleted or numerical list
  • to give the user specific and
  • actionable ways to implement the thesis

Remember, takeaways should be backed by examples and research for why these ways and methods are superior (or why these will get readers the results they desire).

V. Conclusion Circle back to your beginning anecdote. Finish the story, or mention how you would do it differently now that you know the thesis. This has a satisfying “bookend” effect on the article.

Finally, zoom out to a bird’s eye view and show the macro-impact of the thesis. The goal is to leave the reader inspired.

So there it is. I hope that makes it easier for you to write your next web article. It helped me. 

But can I be honest for a moment?  I don't always use this format. And actually, I hope you don't always use this format. How boring would that be? Use it as a guide. As Pablo Picasso said:

"Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist."

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write an article for website

How to Write an Amazing Article In 10 Simple Steps

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Writing articles is like waving a magic wand to create ripples in a vast ocean. With each stroke of your pen, you conjure waves of inspiration that reach shores far and wide, touching the hearts and minds of people worldwide. Whether you’re just starting out or enhancing your writing skills, mastering the art of article writing can open doors to endless possibilities. 

Make your mark on the web. Create on WordPress.com

In this guide, we’ll cover the essential steps and techniques to help beginner bloggers, journalists, and freelance writers craft compelling articles. You’ll learn:

  • The basics of article writing
  • Structuring your content effectively
  • Refining your writing style
  • Polishing your work through editing and proofreading

With these tips and templates in your toolset, you’ll be ready to showcase your work to a vast audience, connect with like-minded individuals and establish a professional online presence. We’ll show you how WordPress.com’s user-friendly platform makes the process seamless.

Ready to get started?

In this article:

Informative Articles

Opinion pieces, how-to guides, feature articles, news articles, interview articles, 1. how to identify your target audience , 2. how to choose a topic, 3. how to write a headline, 4. how to conduct quantitative and qualitative research, 5. how to craft an angle , 6. how to write an outline, 7. how to write an intro, 8. how to write the body section , 9. how to write a conclusion , 10. how to edit the article , web writing best practices , best tools for writing articles, 1. the problem-solution template, 2. the listicle template, 3. the step-by-step guide template, 4. the comparative analysis template, write amazing articles and publish them on wordpress.com, types of articles .

Articles can be of different types that serve different purposes and cater to various reader interests. Let’s look at some of the most common types of articles: 

These aim to provide readers with valuable information, facts, or explanations on a particular topic. They focus on educating the audience and are typically well-researched.

Example: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?

write an article for website

These express the writer’s personal viewpoint or perspective on a specific subject. These articles allow writers to share their thoughts, insights, and arguments while encouraging readers to think critically and engage in discussions.

Example: define: Brand

write an article for website

These provide step-by-step instructions to help readers accomplish a specific task or learn a new skill. They break down complex processes into easy-to-follow steps, enabling readers to achieve their goals.

Example: How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Website

write an article for website

These are presented in a list format, featuring a series of items or points related to a specific theme. They offer readers a convenient and organized way to consume information. Listicles are often used to highlight top items, tips, or recommendations.

Example: Best Small Website Builder: The Top Options Compared (2020)

write an article for website

These are in-depth and extensively researched pieces that explore a topic or profile of a person or event. They go beyond basic facts and delve into the nuances and details, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding.

Example: Meals for One

write an article for website

These report on recent events, developments, or noteworthy stories. They aim to provide readers with factual information objectively and concisely. News articles typically adhere to journalistic principles.

Example: ‘Breakthrough’ geothermal tech produces 3.5 megawatts of carbon-free power

write an article for website

These feature conversations or discussions with individuals of interest or expertise in a particular field. These articles often include quotes or insights from the interviewee, providing readers with unique perspectives and valuable insights.

Example: Automattic Women: Selena Jackson

write an article for website

Depending on your goals, target audience, and subject matter – you can choose the appropriate type of article to communicate your message and engage readers effectively.

How to write an article in 10 steps 

The basic structure of an article contains 4 parts:

  • Opening paragraphs (introduction)
  • The main discussion (body section)
  • Closing paragraphs (conclusion) 

write an article for website

However, there are more than just 4 steps to writing an amazing article. Doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a pro; following a structured approach can help you create better articles faster. You can follow this proven 10-step process for that. 

  • Identify target audience
  • Choose a topic 
  • Write a headline 
  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research
  • Craft an angle 
  • Write an outline
  • Write an introduction
  • Write body section
  • Write conclusion 
  • Finish editing 

Let’s discuss each step briefly. 

write an article for website

Target audience refers to the person or group you are writing for. If you’re writing for everyone, you’re writing for no one. You need to identify who you are writing for to ensure you effectively communicate your message to the audience. 

Understanding your target audience is crucial for creating content that resonates with them. Consider their demographics, interests, and needs. Research their preferences, pain points, and what they expect from your article. This knowledge will help you tailor your writing style, tone, and content to appeal directly to your intended readers.

Once you’ve researched the audience, create a user persona with common traits and then write for that one person.  Creating a user persona is not just a list of data points. It’s like an imaginary person with a name and specific characteristics that help you understand their needs.     

By focusing on your target audience, your content will speak directly to them, which will help you increase engagement and build a loyal readership base.

Before you embark on the exciting journey of article writing, you must first conquer the challenge of finding the perfect topic. The topic you choose sets the foundation for your entire piece, influencing its success and impact.

First, select a topic that interests you and aligns with your goal of writing. You don’t want to write about everything and anything. Start by considering something that aligns with your knowledge and expertise. Writing about something you’re passionate about or have expertise in makes the process more enjoyable and lets you provide valuable insights to your readers. 

Or you can also focus on solving specific or common problems in your niche. Identifying common challenges or problems and providing practical tips, step-by-step guides, or sharing personal experiences can make your content highly valuable and relevant to readers.

Researching trending topics is another easy way to find a suitable topic. Stay updated with the latest trends and discussions in your industry or niche. Explore popular blogs, news sites, and social media platforms to identify topics currently gaining traction. This ensures your article addresses timely issues and captures readers’ attention.

Lastly, take a data-driven approach through keyword research. Use keyword research tools like keyword planner or SEMrush to look for keywords with decent search volume and low competition. It ensures organic traffic.

write an article for website

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” David Ogilvy, copywriting legend

The headline is the first component someone reads. One single word can attract or repel them.

The first step in crafting a great headline is to analyze every word. Is every word necessary? If you remove a word, will the headline still make sense? No removable word in the headline is considered a tight headline, with nothing extra to distract from the meaning. So, keep a headline direct and persuasive so the reader is engaged.

Next, aim to craft headlines that are:

  • Ultra-specific

Including all these elements in one headline might not be possible, so aim for at least one or two. Doing so will strengthen the headline and encourage readers to read on.

Here are a few more insights on keeping your readers engaged:

  • Use proven headline formulas to upgrade your headline to a better level
  • Keep the main idea and the keywords of the headlines relevant
  • Focus on benefits. Benefit-driven headlines get more clicks
  • Inject power words to command attention
  • Trim unnecessary words

Solid research strengthens the credibility of your article. When you use the right data, it makes your article stronger and more convincing. 

What is quantitative data?

Quantitative data is objective data that can be measured and assigned a numerical value.

What is qualitative data?

Qualitative data cannot be measured or assigned a numerical value. Instead, it is information that is referenced not by numbers but by concepts, feelings, characteristics, and emotions. Qualitative data is subjective.

For quantitative research, you can use Google to dig out data, statistics, and surveys to support your claims and add credibility.

For qualitative research, you can conduct interviews, gather anecdotes, or explore case studies to provide valuable insights and real-life examples.

To stand out against multiple articles on a similar topic, find a unique angle that sets your piece apart. Consider what makes your article different or special. It could be a fresh perspective, a unique approach, or new insights. Determine your article’s unique selling point and emphasize it throughout your writing. Maybe it’s an expert opinion, an authentic recipe, a top-secret method, or a completely new discovery. 

For example, instead of writing a generic article on “how to deal with depression,” – write:

write an article for website

By offering something distinct, you’ll capture readers’ attention and give them a reason to choose your article over others.

An article outline is a structure that guides your writing process and ensures your article stays focused and well-structured. Once you start using outlines, you’ll find writing articles become much easier.

Start by listing the main points or sections you want to cover based on your research and angle. Then, under each section, jot down the sub-points or supporting details. Don’t hesitate to revise and refine your outline as you progress. Whenever you find something new, add it in its respective position. 

Google Docs is great for creating an outline for your article. Or you can also use Workflowy to organize your ideas into sections and subsections. 

Here’s an example outline I made for my article on ‘how to write an amazing article.’

write an article for website

Click for more tips and templates for creating outlines .

The introduction sets the tone for the entire article by grabbing the reader’s attention. The introduction is your opportunity to hook the readers and provide them with a clear understanding of what your article is about. 

Begin with a compelling opening sentence that grabs attention and sparks curiosity. Then, give a bit of background information and context to set the stage for your topic. Finally, conclude the introduction by stating your article’s main objective or thesis, giving readers a preview of what they can expect.

Example: “Did you know that humans can actually hold their breath for more than 20 minutes underwater? By following some techniques and enough practice, you, too, can extend your underwater breathing time. This article will equip you with seven expert tips to enhance your underwater breathing and unlock the wonders beneath.”

When structuring your article, it’s important to divide it into well-organized sections or paragraphs that delve deeper into the key points you want to convey. By using subheadings, you can break up the text and provide readers with a clear roadmap, making it easier for them to navigate and understand the content.

Each section should begin with a concise topic sentence that introduces the main idea or focus of that particular section. This is a signpost for readers, helping them anticipate what they will learn or explore next. 

For instance, if you’re writing an article about the benefits of exercise, one section could be titled “Improved Mental Health,” with a topic sentence like: “Engaging in regular exercise has been shown to have profound effects on our mental well-being.”

Support your statements with evidence, examples, and relevant data to ensure credibility and engagement. This adds depth and persuasion to your article. For instance, if you claim that exercise reduces stress levels, cite scientific studies or share personal anecdotes that illustrate how exercise has helped individuals manage their stress effectively.

To maintain a seamless flow of ideas, use smooth transitions between paragraphs. This allows readers to easily follow your train of thought as you progress from one point to another. Transitions can be achieved through the use of transitional words or phrases, such as “in addition,” “furthermore,” or “on the other hand.” These help establish connections and guide readers through the logical progression of your article.

This is where you end your article. A good conclusion can leave a lasting impression on the readers. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion and summarize the key points discussed in the body of your article, emphasizing their significance and relevance. Avoid naming their conclusion “Conclusion.” 

Avoid generic headings for your conclusion heading. Be specific like:

  • Learn more about [topic]
  • Why is [topic] important?
  • Does [topic] make sense for your business?

If you must be generic in the conclusion’s heading, then go for:

  • Closing Thoughts
  • Final Words
  • To Sum It Up
  • To Wrap It Up

Recapping the whole article helps the reader remember the list of tips. After the recap, tell them what to do next. If someone reads your whole piece, chances are, they’re invested and will take action on your Call to Action ( CTA ). Don’t let that power and impact go to waste. Guiding them to bookmark the page or follow a link to another relevant article is 100x better than stopping at the recap.

The conclusion should be short and should give the reader a clear sense of finality. Ensure you don’t leave the reader confused about the information presented or your stance on a particular topic. 

Once the draft is finished, you’re well on your way, but there’s still a bit more to do – editing. It’s a vital part of good writing. It shapes a piece of raw coal into a glittering diamond.

No matter how good you are, the first draft is always full of mistakes, and there is usually room for improvement.  

When you have the draft, take a break from writing so you can start editing with fresh eyes again. You’ll see a lot of things that you missed earlier. Review your article for clarity, coherence, grammar, and spelling errors. Ensure your writing flows smoothly and effectively communicates your ideas. To make things easier, use some tools to help you edit; I’ll discuss those in a later section.

Next, remove anything unnecessary from your article. Anything that doesn’t add any value to your article shouldn’t be there. Then, check to see if you’ve missed any necessary information. Add statistics and relevant information to solidify your writing. 

If you have the option, have a friend read the draft. A new perspective can usually detect problems. Make necessary revisions and proofread multiple times until you are confident in the quality of your final piece.

By following these ten steps, you can create a well-crafted and engaging article that captivates your audience from start to finish. 

  • Stay true to your unique perspective:   As a writer, your unique perspective and voice are your most valuable assets. Embrace your individuality and bring your authentic self into your writing. Avoid replicating existing content or mimicking other writers. Instead, focus on expressing your thoughts, opinions, and experiences. Your distinctive viewpoint will set your article apart from others and create a personal connection with your readers. Be confident in your voice and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
  • Offer valuable insights: To engage your audience and leave a lasting impression, your article must provide genuine value. Research your topic thoroughly to unearth valuable insights, fresh data, or unique angles that haven’t been extensively covered before. Share your expertise, research findings, or personal experiences to enrich the reader’s understanding. Offering something new and valuable establishes you as a reliable source of information and keeps readers coming back for more of your content.
  • Strive for clarity and coherence in your writing: Clear and coherent writing is the hallmark of an effective article. Ensure your ideas flow logically and smoothly from one paragraph to another. Use clear and concise language to convey your message without ambiguity. Avoid using jargon or overly complex terms that might confuse your readers. Utilize transition words and phrases to create seamless connections between sentences and paragraphs. When your writing is clear and coherent, readers can easily follow your train of thought, making the reading experience enjoyable and memorable. 
  • Keep it short and simple: Use simple and easily understandable words to communicate your ideas effectively. Break down complex concepts into smaller, digestible chunks. Short sentences are easier to read and comprehend, allowing readers to grasp your message quickly. Also, don’t stretch your paragraphs too much. A paragraph should contain 3 to 4 lines maximum. Longer paragraphs create a wall of text that discourage readers from continuing.
  • Do not copy/plagiarize: Originality is key when creating web content. Plagiarism is unethical and can have severe consequences. Always credit and properly cite any sources or references you use in your article. Provide your unique insights and perspectives to add value to the reader’s experience. Plagiarism damages your credibility and hinders your growth as a writer.
  • Use subheadings and make it scannable: Web readers often skim through articles rather than reading them word by word. Help them navigate and grasp your content easily by using informative subheadings. Subheadings break up the text, making it scannable and allowing readers to find the information they are interested in quickly. Use clear and descriptive subheadings that accurately represent the content of each section.
  • Use pictures and tables: Visual elements such as pictures, infographics, and tables can enhance the overall reader experience. Images can help illustrate your points, make your article visually appealing, and provide a welcome break from the text. Tables are useful for presenting data or comparisons in a structured and organized manner. Ensure that your visuals are relevant, high-quality, and appropriately sourced.

There are many tools out there to help your writing journey. Let’s introduce you to some of the most useful tools you can get for free to take your article writing to the next level. 

write an article for website

  • ChatGPT:   ChatGPT is an AI-powered writing tool that helps writers generate ideas, write sections, conduct research, and fix grammar. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, a technology that allows machines like ChatGPT to understand human language and respond with natural-sounding text. While AI is powerful, it’s essential to fact-check its outputs since it can sometimes make mistakes in providing accurate information. Use ChatGPT wisely, and it can be your helpful writing companion!
  • Grammarly: It’s a popular writing tool that helps writers improve their grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It works as an automated proofreader and editor, checking your text for errors and offering suggestions for improvements. The pro version also has a built-in plagiarism checker. 
  • Wordtune: It’s an AI-powered writing tool that assists in rephrasing and improving your sentences. It offers alternative wordings and suggestions for stronger vocabulary and can even rewrite entire sentences to improve readability and style. Wordtune can be especially useful when you want to convey your message more engagingly and concisely. 

These tools can greatly support your writing and editing process, making it easier to produce high-quality articles. However, it’s important to note that while AI tools like ChatGPT, Grammarly, and Wordtune offer valuable assistance, they are not substitutes for human creativity and critical thinking. Reviewing and revising your work personally is essential to ensure that it aligns with your unique voice and meets your intended goals for the article.

Article templates 

Templates can serve as a helpful starting point to structure your content effectively. Here are four commonly used article templates:

This template is ideal for addressing a specific problem or challenge and providing a solution to your readers. It consists of the following sections:

  • Introduction: Present the problem or challenge, and explain its significance or impact.
  • Problem Analysis: Dive deeper into the issue, providing relevant facts, statistics, or examples to support your claims.
  • Solution Presentation: Introduce your proposed solution(s), explaining how they can address the problem effectively.
  • Implementation and Benefits: Discuss how readers can implement the solution and the potential benefits they can expect to achieve.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the problem, restate the solution, and leave readers with a call to action or a final thought.

Listicles are popular for their easy-to-read and scannable format. This template organizes content into a numbered or bulleted list, providing concise information or tips. It typically includes the following sections:

  • Introduction: Present the topic and explain its relevance or importance.
  • List Items: Present each point on the list, with a brief description or explanation for each.
  • Elaboration: Provide further details, examples, or insights for each list item.
  • Conclusion: Recap the main points covered in the list and offer a closing thought or a call to action.

This template is useful for providing a detailed process or instructions on how to accomplish a specific task. It follows a sequential structure and includes the following sections:

  • Introduction: Introduce the task or process and explain its significance or benefits.
  • Step 1: Describe the first step of the process, including any necessary background information.
  • Step 2: Detail the second step, and continue with subsequent steps until the process is complete.
  • Tips and Considerations: Offer additional tips, tricks, or important considerations to enhance the reader’s understanding or success in following the steps.
  • Conclusion: Recap the steps covered, emphasize key takeaways, and provide a closing remark or call to action.

This template is suitable when comparing and contrasting two or more subjects, products, or ideas. It follows a structured approach and consists of the following sections:

  • Introduction: Present the subjects being compared and explain the purpose or context of the analysis.
  • Comparison Criteria: Identify the specific criteria or factors used to evaluate and compare the subjects.
  • Comparison Sections: Dedicate separate sections to each criterion, providing a detailed analysis and comparison of the subjects based on that criterion.
  • Overall Assessment: Summarize the main findings and provide an overall assessment or conclusion based on the comparisons made.
  • Conclusion: Reinforce the main points, highlight any recommendations or conclusions, and encourage readers to share their thoughts or experiences.

Other than these short templates, you can find millions of examples online. Simply search for a similar article you want to write, and click on the first few links to see the structure they’ve used. 

Congratulations! You’ve now gained a comprehensive understanding of how to write amazing articles. By following the steps and techniques in this guide, you are well-equipped to embark on your writing journey and captivate your target audience.

Remember, writing articles is not only about conveying information; it is also about connecting with readers on a deeper level, inspiring them, and sparking meaningful conversations. 

The next step is to find a good place to publish your amazing articles now that you have the tools to get started. You can easily get started with a website from WordPress.com. It’s quite simple to get started once you follow some super simple guidelines from WordPress.com support.    

So, what are you waiting for? Start creating your WordPress.com account today, unleash your writing prowess, and let the world discover your remarkable talent!

Happy writing!

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About the author, mehedi hasan shoab.

Mehedi is a freelance writer for SaaS, marketing and finance businesses. He's the founder of PowerhouseBlogger.com. Mehedi is growing businesses with sizzling writing, one piece at a time.

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How to Write an Article: A Proven Step-by-Step Guide

Tom Winter

Are you dreaming of becoming a notable writer or looking to enhance your content writing skills? Whatever your reasons for stepping into the writing world, crafting compelling articles can open numerous opportunities. Writing, when viewed as a skill rather than an innate talent, is something anyone can master with persistence, practice, and the proper guidance.

That’s precisely why I’ve created this comprehensive guide on ‘how to write an article.’ Whether you’re pursuing writing as a hobby or eyeing it as a potential career path, understanding the basics will lead you to higher levels of expertise. This step-by-step guide has been painstakingly designed based on my content creation experience. Let’s embark on this captivating journey toward becoming an accomplished article writer!

What is an Article?

what is an article

An article is more than words stitched together cohesively; it’s a carefully crafted medium expressing thoughts, presenting facts, sharing knowledge, or narrating stories. Essentially encapsulating any topic under the sun (or beyond!), an article is a versatile format meant to inform, entertain, or persuade readers.

Articles are ubiquitous; they grace your morning newspaper (or digital equivalents), illuminate blogs across various platforms, inhabit scholarly journals, and embellish magazines. Irrespective of their varying lengths and formats, which range from news reports and features to opinion pieces and how-to guides, all articles share some common objectives. Learning how to write this type of content involves mastering the ability to meet these underlying goals effectively.

Objectives of Article Writing

Objectives of Article Writing

The primary goal behind learning how to write an article is not merely putting words on paper. Instead, you’re trying to communicate ideas effectively. Each piece of writing carries unique objectives intricately tailored according to the creator’s intent and the target audience’s interests. Generally speaking, when you immerse yourself in writing an article, you should aim to achieve several fundamental goals.

First, deliver value to your readers. An engaging and informative article provides insightful information or tackles a problem your audience faces. You’re not merely filling up pages; you must offer solutions, present new perspectives, or provide educational material.

Next comes advancing knowledge within a specific field or subject matter. Especially relevant for academic or industry-focused writings, articles are often used to spread original research findings and innovative concepts that strengthen our collective understanding and drive progress.

Another vital objective for those mastering how to write an article is persuasion. This can come in various forms: convincing people about a particular viewpoint or motivating them to make a specific choice. Articles don’t always have to be neutral; they can be powerful tools for shifting public opinion.

Finally, let’s not forget entertainment – because who said only fictional work can entertain? Articles can stir our emotions or pique our interest with captivating storytelling techniques. It bridges the gap between reader and writer using shared experiences or universal truths.

Remember that high-quality content remains common across all boundaries despite these distinct objectives. No matter what type of writer you aspire to become—informative, persuasive, educational, or entertaining—strive for clarity, accuracy, and stimulation in every sentence you craft.

What is the Format of an Article?

What is the Format of an Article?

When considering how to write an article, understanding its foundation – in this case, the format – should be at the top of your list. A proper structure is like a blueprint, providing a direction for your creative construction.

First and foremost, let’s clarify one essential point: articles aren’t just homogenous chunks of text. A well-crafted article embodies different elements that merge to form an engaging, informative body of work. Here are those elements in order:

  • The Intriguing Title

At the top sits the title or heading; it’s your first chance to engage with a reader. This element requires serious consideration since it can determine whether someone will continue reading your material.

  • Engaging Introduction

Next comes the introduction, where you set expectations and hint at what’s to come. An artfully written introduction generates intrigue and gives readers a compelling reason to stick around.

  • Informative Body

The main body entails a detailed exploration of your topic, often broken down into subtopics or points for more manageable consumption and better flow of information.

  • Impactful Conclusion

Lastly, you have the conclusion, where you tie everything neatly together by revisiting key points and offering final thoughts.

While these components might appear straightforward on paper, mastering them requires practice, experimentation with writing styles, and a good understanding of your target audience. 

By putting in the work to familiarize yourself with how to create articles and how they’re structured, you’ll soon discover new ways to develop engaging content each time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!). Translating complex concepts into digestible content doesn’t need to feel daunting anymore! Now that we’ve tackled the format, our focus can shift to what should be included in an article.

What Should Be in an Article?

What Should Be in an Article?

Understanding that specific items should be featured in your writing is crucial. A well-crafted article resembles a neatly packed suitcase – everything has its place and purpose.

Key Information

First and foremost, you need essential information. Start by presenting the topic plainly so readers can grasp its relevance immediately. This sets the tone of why you are writing the article. The degree of depth at this point will depend on your audience; be mindful not to overwhelm beginners with too much jargon or over-simplify things for experts.

Introduction

Secondly, every article must have an engaging introduction—this acts as the hook that reels your audience. Think of it as a movie trailer—it offers a taste of what’s to come without giving away all the details.

Third is the body, wherein you get into the crux of your argument or discussion. This is the point at which you present your ideas sequentially, along with supporting evidence or examples. Depending on the nature of your topic and personal style, this may vary from storytelling forms to more analytical breakdowns.

Lastly, you’ll need a fitting conclusion that wraps up all previously discussed points, effectively tying together every loose thread at the end. This helps cement your main ideas within the reader’s mind even after they’ve finished reading.

To summarize:  

  • Critical Information: Provides context for understanding
  • Introduction: Sheds further light on what will follow while piquing interest  
  • Body: Discusses topic intricacies using narratives or case studies
  • Conclusion: Ties up loose ends and reemphasizes important takeaways

In my experience writing articles for beginners and experts alike, I found these elements indispensable when conveying complex topics articulately and professionally. Always keep them at hand when looking to produce written material.

How should you structure an article?

How should you structure an article?

Crafting a well-structured article is akin to assembling a puzzle – every piece has its place and purpose. Let’s look at how to create the perfect skeleton for your content.

The introduction is your article’s welcome mat. It should be inviting and informative, briefly outlining what a reader can expect from your writing. Additionally, it must instantly grab the readers’ attention so they feel compelled to continue reading. To master the art of creating effective introductions, remember these key points:

  • Keep it short and precise.
  • Use compelling hooks like quotes or intriguing facts.
  • State clearly what the article will cover without revealing everything upfront.

Moving on, you encounter the body of your piece. This segment expands on the ideas outlined in the introduction while presenting fresh subtopics related to your core story. If we compare article writing to crossing a bridge, each paragraph represents a step toward the other side (the conclusion). Here are some tips for maintaining orderliness within your body:

  • Stick closely to one idea per paragraph as it enhances readability.
  • Ensure paragraphs flow logically by utilizing transitional words or sentences.
  • Offer evidence or examples supporting your claims and reinforce credibility.

As you approach the far side of our imaginary bridge, we reach an equally essential section of the article known as the conclusion. At this point, you should be looking to wrap your message up neatly while delivering on what was initially promised during the introduction. This section summarizes the main points, providing closure and ensuring readers feel satisfied.

Remember this golden rule when writing the conclusion: follow the  “Describe what you’re going to tell them (Introduction), tell them (Body), and then summarize what you told them (Conclusion).”  It’s a proven formula for delivering informative, engaging, and well-structured articles. 

One final tip before moving on: maintaining an active voice significantly enhances clarity for your readers. It makes them feel like they’re participating actively in the story unfolding within your article. In addition, it helps ensure easy readability, which is vital for keeping your audience engaged.

Tips for Writing a Good Article

Tips for Writing a Good Article

A persuasive, engaging, and insightful article requires careful thought and planning. Half the battle won is by knowing how to start writing and make content captivating. Below are vital tips that can enhance your article writing skills.

Heading or Title

An audience’s first impression hinges on the quality of your title. A good heading should be clear, attention-grabbing, and give an accurate snapshot of what’s contained in the piece’s body. Here are a few guidelines on how to create an impactful title:

  • Make it Compelling: Your title needs to spark interest and motivate readers to delve further into your work.
  • Keep it concise: You want to have a manageable heading. Aim for brevity yet inclusiveness.
  • Optimize with keywords: To boost search engine visibility, sprinkle relevant keywords naturally throughout your title.

By applying these techniques, you can increase reader engagement right from the get-go.

Body of the Article

After winning over potential readers with your catchy title, it’s time to provide substantial content in the form of the body text. Here’s how articles are typically structured:

Introduction:  Begin by providing an appealing overview that hooks your audience and baits them to read more. You can ask poignant questions or share interesting facts about your topic here.

Main Content:  Build on the groundwork set by your introduction. Lay out detailed information in a logical sequence with clear articulation.

Conclusion:  This reemphasizes the critical points discussed in the body while delivering a lasting impression of why those points matter.

Remember that clarity is critical when drafting each part because our objective here is to share information and communicate effectively. Properly understanding this approach ensures that the writing experience becomes creative and productive.

Step By Step Guide for Article Writing

Step By Step Guide for Article Writing

How do you write an article that engages your readers from the first line until the last? That’s what most writers, whether beginners or seasoned pros are trying to achieve. I’ll describe a step-by-step process for crafting such gripping articles in this guide.

Step 1: Find Your Target Audience

First and foremost, identify your target readers. Speaking directly to a specific group improves engagement and helps you craft messages that resonate deeply. To pinpoint your audience:

  • Take note of demographic attributes like age, gender, and profession.
  • Consider their preferences and needs.
  • Look into how much knowledge they are likely to possess concerning your topic.

Knowing this will help you decide what tone, language, and style best suits your readers. Remember, by understanding your audience better, you make it much easier to provide them with engaging content.

Step 2: Select a Topic and an Attractive Heading

Having understood your audience, select a relevant topic based on their interests and questions. Be sure it’s one you can competently discuss. When deciding how to start writing an article, ensure it begins with a captivating title.

A title should hint at what readers will gain from the article without revealing everything. Maintain some element of intrigue or provocation. For example, ‘6 Essentials You Probably Don’t Know About Gardening’ instead of just ‘Gardening Tips’.

Step 3: Research is Key

Good research is crucial to building credibility for beginners and experts alike. It prevents errors that could tarnish your piece immensely.

Thoroughly explore relevant books, scholarly articles, or reputable online resources. Find facts that build authenticity while debunking misconceptions that relate to your topic. Take notes on critical points discovered during this process—it’ll save you time when creating your first draft.

Step 4: Write a Comprehensive Brief

Having done your research, it’s time to write an outline or a brief—a roadmap for your article. This conveys how articles are written systematically without losing track of the main points.

Begin by starting the introduction with a punchy opener that draws readers in and a summary of what they’ll glean from reading. Section out specific points and ideas as separate headings and bullet points under each section to form the body. A conclusion rounds things up by restating key takeaways.

Step 5: Write and Proofread

Now comes the bulk of the work—writing. Respect the brief created earlier to ensure consistency and structure while drafting content. Use short, clear sentences while largely avoiding jargon unless absolutely necessary.

Post-writing, proofread ardently to check for typographical errors, inconsistent tenses, and poor sentence structures—and don’t forget factual correctness! It helps to read aloud, which can reveal awkward phrases that slipped through initial edits.

Step 6: Add Images and Infographics

To break text monotony and increase comprehension, introduce visuals such as images, infographics, or videos into your piece. They provide aesthetic relief while supporting the main ideas, increasing overall engagement.

Remember to source royalty-free images or get permission for copyrighted ones—you don’t want legal battles later!

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing

Regarding article writing, a few pitfalls can compromise the quality of your content. Knowing these and how to avoid them will enhance your work’s clarity, depth, and impact.

The first mistake often made is skimping on research. An article without solid underpinnings won’t merely be bland – it might mislead readers. Therefore, prioritize comprehensive investigation before penning down anything. Understanding common misconceptions or misinterpretations about your topic will strengthen your case. 

Next, sidestep unnecessary jargon or excessively complex language. While showcasing an impressive vocabulary might seem appealing, remember that your primary objective is imparting information efficiently and effectively.

Moreover, failing to structure articles effectively represents another standard error. A structured piece aids in delivering complex ideas coherently. Maintaining a logical sequence facilitates reader comprehension, whether explaining a detailed concept or narrating an incident.

A piece lacking aesthetic allure can fail its purpose regardless of the value of its text. That’s where images come into play. Neglecting them is an all-too-common mistake among beginners. Relevant pictures inserted at appropriate junctures serve as visual breaks from texts and stimulate interest among readers.

Lastly, proofreading is vital in determining whether you can deliver a well-written article. Typos and grammatical errors can significantly undermine professional credibility while disrupting a smooth reading experience.

So, when pondering how articles are written, avoiding these mistakes goes a long way toward producing high-quality content that embodies both substance and style. Remember: practice is paramount when learning how to write excellent material!

How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer?

How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence has been a major step in many industries. One such significant tool is SEOwind AI Writer, which is critical for those curious about how to write an article leveraging AI. In this section, I’ll cover how you can effectively use SEOwind AI writer to create compelling articles.

Step 1: Create a Brief and Outline

The first step in writing an article revolves around understanding your audience’s interests and then articulating them in a comprehensive brief that outlines the content’s framework.

  • Decide on the topic: What ideas will you share via your article?
  • Define your audience: Knowing who will read your text significantly influences your tone, style, and content depth.
  • Establish main points: Highlight the key points or arguments you wish to exhibit in your drafted piece. This helps create a skeleton for your work and maintain a logical flow of information.

With SEOwind:

  • you get all the content and keyword research for top-performing content in one place,
  • you can generate a comprehensive AI outline with one click,
  • users can quickly create a title, description, and keywords that match the topic you’re writing about.

As insightful as it might seem, having a roadmap doubles as a guide throughout the creative process. SEOwind offers a user-friendly interface that allows the easy input of essential elements like keywords, title suggestions, content length, etc. These provide an insightful outline, saving time with an indispensable tool that demonstrates the practicality of article writing.

Step 2: Write an AI Article using SEOwind

Once you have a brief ready, you can write an AI article with a single click. It will consider all the data you provided and much more, such as copywriting and SEO best practices , to deliver content that ranks.

Step 3: Give it a Human Touch

Finally, SEOwind’s intuitive platform delivers impeccably constructed content to dispel any confusion about writing an article. The result is inevitably exceptional, with well-structured sentences and logically sequenced sections that meet your demands.

However, artificial intelligence can sometimes miss the unique personal touch that enhances relatability in communication—making articles more compelling. Let’s master adding individualistic charm to personalize articles so that they resonate with audiences.

Tailoring the AI-generated piece with personal anecdotes or custom inputs helps to break the monotony and bolster engagement rates. Always remember to tweak essential SEO elements like meta descriptions and relevant backlinks.

So, whether it’s enhancing casual language flow or eliminating robotic consistency, the slightest modifications can breathe life into the text and transform your article into a harmonious man-machine effort. Remember – it’s not just about technology making life easy but also how effectively we utilize this emerging trend!

Common Questions on how to write an article

Delving into the writing world, especially regarding articles, can often lead to a swarm of questions. Let’s tackle some common queries that newbies and seasoned writers frequently stumble upon to make your journey more comfortable and rewarding.

What is the easiest way to write an article?

The easiest way to write an article begins with a clear structure. Here are five simple steps you can follow:

  • Identify your audience: The first thing you should consider while planning your article is who will read it? Identifying your target audience helps shape the article’s content, style, and purpose.
  • Decide on a topic and outline: Determining what to write about can sometimes be a formidable task. Try to ensure you cover a topic you can cover effectively or for which you feel great passion. Next, outline the main points you want to present throughout your piece.
  • Do the research: Dig deep into resources for pertinent information regarding your topic and gather as much knowledge as possible. An informed writer paves the way for a knowledgeable reader.
  • Drafting phase: Begin with an engaging introduction followed by systematically fleshing out each point from your outline in body paragraphs before ending with conclusive remarks tying together all the earlier arguments.
  • Fine-tune through editing and proofreading: Errors happen no matter how qualified or experienced a writer may be! So make sure to edit and proofread before publishing.

Keep these keys in mind and remain patient and persistent. There’s no easier alternative for writing an article.

How can I write an article without knowing about the topic?

We sometimes need to write about less familiar subjects – but do not fret! Here’s my approach:

  • First off, start by thoroughly researching subject-centric reliable sources. The more information you have, the better poised you are to write confidently about it.
  • While researching, take notes and highlight the most essential points.
  • Create an outline by organizing these points logically – this essentially becomes your article’s backbone.
  • Start writing based on your research and outlined structure. If certain aspects remain unclear, keep investigating until clarity prevails.

Getting outside your comfort zone can be daunting, but is also a thrilling chance to expand your horizons.

What is your process for writing an article quickly?

In terms of speed versus quality in writing an article – strikingly enough, they aren’t mutually exclusive. To produce a high-quality piece swiftly, adhere to the following steps:

  • Establish purpose and audience: Before cogs start turning on phrase-spinning, be clear on why you’re writing and who will likely read it.
  • Brainstorm broadly, then refine: Cast a wide net initially regarding ideas around your topic. Then, narrow down those areas that amplify your core message or meet objectives.
  • Create a robust outline: A detailed roadmap prevents meandering during actual writing and saves time!
  • Ignore perfection in the first draft: Speed up initial drafting by prioritizing getting your thoughts on paper over perfect grammar or sentence compositions.
  • Be disciplined with edits and revisions: Try adopting a cut, shorten, and replace mantra while trimming fluff without mercy!

Writing quickly requires practice and strategic planning – but rest assured, it’s entirely possible!

Tom Winter

Seasoned SaaS and agency growth expert with deep expertise in AI, content marketing, and SEO. With SEOwind, he crafts AI-powered content that tops Google searches and magnetizes clicks. With a track record of rocketing startups to global reach and coaching teams to smash growth, Tom's all about sharing his rich arsenal of strategies through engaging podcasts and webinars. He's your go-to guy for transforming organic traffic, supercharging content creation, and driving sales through the roof.

Table of Contents

  • 1 What is an Article?
  • 2 Objectives of Article Writing
  • 3 What is the Format of an Article?
  • 4 What Should Be in an Article?
  • 5 How should you structure an article?
  • 6 Tips for Writing a Good Article
  • 7 Step By Step Guide for Article Writing
  • 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing
  • 9 How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer?
  • 10 Common Questions on how to write an article

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10 Easy Steps: How to Write an Article on Your Website

10 Easy Steps How to Write an Article on Your Website

Step 1: Choose a Topic

step 1  choose a topic

When writing an article for your website , the first step is to choose a topic that is relevant to your audience. Consider what your readers are interested in and what information they may be seeking. It's important to select a topic that you are knowledgeable about and passionate about, as this will make the writing process easier and more enjoyable.

How to choose a topic for your article

Choosing a topic for your article can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Start by brainstorming ideas and jotting down any topics that come to mind. Consider what questions your audience may have and what problems they may be facing. Research popular trends and current events in your industry to find inspiration. Once you have a list of potential topics, narrow it down to the one that you feel most confident and excited to write about .

Step 2: Conduct Research

step 2  conduct research

Before you start writing your article, it's important to conduct thorough research on your chosen topic. This will ensure that your article is accurate, informative, and valuable to your readers. Look for reputable sources such as books, scholarly articles , and industry experts to gather information and data to support your points.

How to conduct research for your article

When conducting research for your article, start by creating a list of keywords related to your topic. Use these keywords to search for relevant information on search engines and online databases. Take notes on the key points and arguments made by different sources, and make sure to properly cite any information that you use in your article. Remember to critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of your sources to ensure that you are providing accurate information to your readers.

Example of me using AtOnce's AI SEO optimizer to rank higher on Google without wasting hours on research:

AtOnce AI SEO optimizer

Step 3: Outline Your Article

step 3  outline your article

Before you start writing your article , it's helpful to create an outline to organize your thoughts and structure your content. An outline will serve as a roadmap for your article, making it easier to write and ensuring that you cover all the necessary points.

How to create an outline for your article

Creating an outline for your article is simple and can be done in just a few steps. Start by identifying the main points that you want to cover in your article. These main points will serve as the headings for each section of your article. Under each main point, jot down the sub-points or supporting details that you want to include. This will help you stay focused and ensure that your article flows logically from one point to the next.

Step 4: Write an Engaging Introduction

step 4  write an engaging introduction

The introduction of your article is crucial as it sets the tone for the rest of the piece and captures the reader's attention. It should be engaging, informative, and make the reader want to continue reading.

How to write an engaging introduction

To write an engaging introduction, start with a hook that grabs the reader's attention. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a compelling anecdote. Next, provide some background information on the topic and explain why it is important or relevant. Finally, end your introduction with a clear thesis statement that outlines the main points you will be discussing in your article.

Step 5: Write the Body of Your Article

step 5  write the body of your article

The body of your article is where you will provide the main information, arguments, and evidence to support your thesis statement. This is the meat of your article and should be well-structured and organized.

How to write the body of your article

When writing the body of your article, start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point of that paragraph. Use supporting evidence such as facts, examples, and quotes to back up your claims. Make sure to use clear and concise language , and break up your content into smaller paragraphs to make it easier to read. Use headings and subheadings to further organize your content and make it more scannable for your readers.

Step 6: Craft a Compelling Conclusion

step 6  craft a compelling conclusion

The conclusion of your article is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your readers. It should summarize the main points of your article and provide a sense of closure.

How to craft a compelling conclusion

To craft a compelling conclusion, start by restating your thesis statement and summarizing the main points you discussed in the body of your article. Avoid introducing any new information or arguments in your conclusion. Instead, leave your readers with a thought-provoking question, a call to action, or a final piece of advice. End your conclusion on a strong note to leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Step 7: Edit and Proofread Your Article

step 7  edit and proofread your article

Once you have finished writing your article, it's important to edit and proofread it to ensure that it is free of errors and flows smoothly. This will help you maintain a professional and polished image for your website.

How to edit and proofread your article

When editing and proofreading your article, start by checking for grammatical and spelling errors. Use a spell-check tool and read through your article carefully to catch any mistakes. Pay attention to sentence structure, punctuation, and word choice to ensure that your article is clear and concise. Consider asking a friend or colleague to read your article and provide feedback. They may be able to catch errors or suggest improvements that you may have missed.

Step 8: Optimize Your Article for SEO

step 8  optimize your article for seo

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for ensuring that your article ranks well in search engine results and attracts organic traffic to your website. By optimizing your article for SEO , you can increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.

How to optimize your article for SEO

When optimizing your article for SEO, start by conducting keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular keywords related to your topic. Incorporate these keywords naturally throughout your article, including in the title, headings, subheadings, and body text. Use descriptive meta tags and alt tags for images to provide search engines with more information about your article . Additionally, make sure your article is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and has a clean and user-friendly design.

Example where I'm using AtOnce's AI SEO writer to generate high-quality articles that actually rank in Google:

AtOnce AI SEO writer

Step 9: Publish and Promote Your Article

step 9  publish and promote your article

Once you have edited, proofread, and optimized your article, it's time to publish it on your website and promote it to your audience. Publishing and promoting your article effectively will help you reach a wider audience and drive traffic to your website.

How to publish and promote your article

To publish your article, log in to your website's content management system and create a new post . Copy and paste your article into the post editor, making sure to format it correctly with headings, subheadings, and images. Preview your article to ensure that it looks good on your website. Once you are satisfied, click the publish button to make your article live.

To promote your article, share it on your social media channels , send it to your email subscribers, and reach out to other websites or bloggers in your industry to see if they would be interested in featuring your article. Consider repurposing your article into other formats such as videos or infographics to reach a wider audience. Monitor the performance of your article using analytics tools and make adjustments as needed to improve its reach and engagement.

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Get more traffic and sales — without wasting months of your time.

How do I start writing an article for a website?

To start writing an article for a website, first, choose a topic that is relevant to your website's niche. Then, conduct thorough research on the topic to gather information and ideas. Next, create an outline to organize your thoughts and structure the article. Start writing the introduction to grab the reader's attention, followed by the main body paragraphs that provide valuable information. Finally, conclude the article by summarizing the key points and offering a call-to-action or further resources.

What are some tips for writing engaging website articles?

To write engaging website articles, consider the following tips: 1. Use a catchy headline to grab the reader's attention. 2. Write in a conversational tone to connect with the audience. 3. Break the content into shorter paragraphs and use subheadings for easy readability. 4. Incorporate relevant images, videos, or infographics to enhance the visual appeal. 5. Include statistics, examples, or personal anecdotes to make the content more relatable. 6. Use bullet points or numbered lists to present information in a concise and organized manner. 7. Proofread and edit the article for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors before publishing.

What SEO techniques should I consider when writing website articles?

When writing website articles, it's important to consider SEO techniques to improve visibility and organic traffic. Some key techniques include: 1. Conducting keyword research to identify relevant and high-ranking keywords to incorporate into the article. 2. Optimizing the article's title, meta description, and URL with targeted keywords. 3. Using header tags (H1, H2, etc.) to structure the content and include keywords. 4. Incorporating internal and external links to reputable sources for additional information. 5. Writing high-quality and original content that provides value to readers. 6. Optimizing images with descriptive alt tags and appropriate file names. 7. Promoting the article through social media and other online channels to increase visibility and backlinks.

Asim Akhtar

Asim Akhtar

Asim is the CEO & founder of AtOnce. After 5 years of marketing & customer service experience, he's now using Artificial Intelligence to save people time.

How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates]

Review a step-by-step guide plus useful templates to learn how to write an effective blog post for your target audience and customers.

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6 FREE BLOG POST TEMPLATES

Save time creating blog posts with these free templates.

Computer showing marketers how to write a blog post step by step to start a successful blog website

Updated: 01/31/24

Published: 01/31/24

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Anyone can connect with their audience through blogging and enjoy the myriad benefits that blogging provides: organic traffic from search engines, promotional content for social media, and recognition from a new audience you haven’t tapped into yet.

If you’ve heard about blogging but are a beginner and don’t know where to start, the time for excuses is over. Not only can you create an SEO-friendly blog , but I’ll cover how to write and manage your business's blog as well as provide helpful templates to simplify your blogging efforts.

What is a blog post?

How to start a blog, writing your first blog post, what makes a good blog post, blog post examples, how to write a blog post.

Let's get started with an important question.

Blogging may mean different things depending on your niche — so let’s begin with this definition.

A blog post is any article, news piece, or guide that's published in the blog section of a website. A blog post typically covers a specific topic or query, is educational in nature, ranges from 600 to 2,000+ words, and contains other media types such as images, videos, infographics, and interactive charts.

Blog posts allow you and your business to publish insights, thoughts, and stories on your website about any topic. They can help you boost brand awareness, credibility, conversions, and revenue. Most importantly, they can help you drive traffic to your website.

But in order to begin making posts for a blog — you have to learn how to start one, first. Let’s dive in.

  • Understand your audience.
  • Check out your competition.
  • Determine what topics you'll cover.
  • Identify your unique angle.
  • Name your blog.
  • Create your blog domain.
  • Choose a CMS and set up your blog.
  • Customize the look of your blog.
  • Write your first blog post.

1. Understand your audience.

Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. To do so, take the following steps.

Ask yourself exploratory questions.

To discover your audience, ask questions like: Who are they? Are they like me, or do I know someone like them? What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them?

Jot down your notes in a notepad or a document. This is the time to brainstorm audience attributes from scratch, no matter how out of left field they may feel. You should also think about your audience's age, background, goals, and challenges at this stage.

write an article for website

6 Free Blog Post Templates

  • "How-to" Post
  • "What is" Post
  • Listicle Post

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Carry out market research.

Doing market research sounds like a big task, but in truth, it can be as simple as accessing a social media platform and browsing user and blog profiles that match with your potential audience.

Use market research tools to begin uncovering more specific information about your audience — or to confirm a hunch or a piece of information you already knew. For instance, if you wanted to create a blog about work-from-home hacks, you can make the reasonable assumption that your audience will be mostly Gen Zers and Millennials. But it’s important to confirm this information through research.

Create formal buyer personas.

Once you’ve brainstormed and carried out market research, it’s time to create formal buyer personas . It’s important because what you know about your buyer personas and their interests will inform the brainstorming process for blog posts.

"Buyer personas aren’t just for direct marketing. They can be a handy way to keep a human in mind while you’re writing. If you’ve got other marketing or sales teams handy, coordinate your personas," says Curtis del Principe, user acquisition manager at HubSpot. "Chances are that your existing customers are exactly the kind of people you want to attract with your writing in the first place. Your sales and service teams can also have great insight into these people’s needs and pain points."

For instance, if your readers are Millennials looking to start a business, you probably don't need to provide them with information about getting started on social media — most of them already have that down.

You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their social media approach (for example — from what may be a casual, personal approach to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach). That kind of tweak is what helps you publish content about the topics your audience really wants and needs.

Don't have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:

  • Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]
  • Guide: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business
  • [Free Tool] Make My Persona: Buyer Persona Generator

2. Check out your competition.

What better way to draw inspiration than to look at your well-established competition?

It’s worth taking a look at popular, highly reviewed blogs because their strategy and execution is what got them to grow in credibility. The purpose of doing this isn’t to copy these elements, but to gain better insight into what readers appreciate in a quality blog.

When you find a competitor’s blog, take the following steps:

Determine whether they’re actually a direct competitor.

A blog’s audience, niche, and specific slant determine whether they're actually your competitor. But the most important of these is their audience. If they serve a completely different public than you, then they’re likely not a competitor. That is why it’s important to define your buyer personas before taking other steps in the blog creation process.

Look at the blog’s branding, color palette, and theme.

Once you determine that they’re your competitor, it’s time to take note of their techniques so that you can capture a similar readership. Colors and themes play a huge role in whether you seem like part of a niche — for instance, a blog about eco-friendly products should likely use earthy tones instead of bright, unnatural colors such as neon yellow or pink.

Analyze the tone and writing style of the competition.

Take note of your competition’s copywriting. Is it something you feel like you can successfully emulate? Does it ring true to the type of blog you’d like to create? What do readers most respond to? For most, creating a tech blog might be an excellent idea, but if journalistic, review-based writing doesn’t work for you, then that might not be a good fit. Be aware of what you can feasibly execute or hire freelance writers.

3. Determine what topics you’ll cover.

Before you write anything, pick a topic you’d like to write about. The topic can be pretty general to start as you find your desired niche in blogging .

Here are some ways to choose topics to cover.

Find out which topics your competitors often cover.

One easy way to choose topics for your blog is to simply learn what other blogs are writing about. After you determine your competitors, go through their archive and category pages, and try to find out which topics they most often publish content about. From there, you can create a tentative list to explore further. You might find, for instance, that a competitor only covers surface-level information about a subject. In your blog, you can dive more deeply and offer more value to readers.

Choose topics you understand well.

No matter what type of blog you start, you want to ensure you know the topic well enough to write authoritatively about it. Rather than choosing a topic you’ll need to research as you write, think about those that come most naturally to you. What has your professional experience been like so far? What are your hobbies? What did you study in college? These can all give rise to potential topics you can cover in depth.

Ensure the topics are relevant to your readership.

You may find that you hold deep expertise in various topics, but how relevant are they to the audience you understood back in step one?

Del Principe suggests checking in with sales and service teams as well. "What kinds of things do they wish customers already knew? What kinds of questions do they get asked a thousand times? What kind of objections come up from potential customers, and how do they address them?"

If you’re not serving their needs, then you’d be shouting into a void — or, worse, attracting the wrong readership. For that reason, after identifying the topics you can feasibly write about, ask yourself whether those are subjects your audience would like to explore.

Do preliminary keyword research.

Keyword research is the process of searching for topics using a keyword research tool , then determining whether there is demand by looking at each topic’s (or keyword’s) search volume. If you found the perfect topics that are the perfect cross between your expertise and your reader’s needs, you’ve struck gold — but the gold will have no value unless people are searching for those terms. Only then can you capture the audience that is waiting out there.

4. Identify your unique angle.

What perspective do you bring that makes you stand out from the crowd? This is key to determining the trajectory of your blog’s future, and there are many avenues to choose in the process.

Here’s how you can find your unique selling proposition in crowded blogging niches:

Write a professional and personal bio.

Knowing your own history and experience is essential to determine your unique slant. To get started, write a professional bio that explains, at length, who you are and which experiences most inform your blogging efforts. While I could write a lengthy exposition about my childhood, that history isn’t essential unless I’m launching a blog about raising children.

What unique experience makes you a trusted expert or thought leader on the topic? You can use your answers to that question to find your angle. Use this information to populate your “About me” page on your blog and share more about yourself.

Determine the special problem you will solve for readers.

Your readers won’t trust you or return to you unless you actively help them solve a problem. As you try to find your angle, think about ways you can help your audience surmount challenges typically associated with the topics you’ve chosen for your blog. For instance, if you’re creating a blog about sustainability, then you might help readers learn how they can compost organic materials in their home.

Choose an editorial approach.

Will you share your opinions on trending debates? Teach your readers how to do something? Compare or share original research? The editorial approach you choose will in part be informed by the topics you cover on your blog and the problems you’re helping your readers solve. If your blog is about marketing trends and your goal is to keep marketers up-to-date on the latest changes, then your editorial approach should be journalistic in nature. This is only one example of how to choose a technique.

5. Name your blog.

This is your opportunity to get creative and make a name that gives readers an idea of what to expect from your blog. Some tips on how to choose your blog name include:

Keep your blog name easy to say and spell.

No need to get complicated at all with your name, though it might be tempting, since there are so many blogs out there. While choosing a unique name is essential, it’s also important to choose one that is easy to memorize for readers. It should also be simple to remember as an URL (which will come into play in the next step).

Link your blog name to your brand message.

The more related your blog’s name is to the topics you cover, the better. For instance, DIY MFA is all about writers doing their own Master of Fine Arts in writing at home. The brand’s message is all about delving deep into one’s writing practice without needing a formal degree. Try to do something similar for your own blog name: Alluding to your blog’s message, value proposition, and covered topics in one sweep.

Consider what your target audience is looking for.

Your blog name should tie directly into what your readers want to achieve, learn, or solve. DIY MFA is about writers who don’t have the money for graduate school, but who still want to develop their writing skills. The HubSpot Marketing blog is — you guessed it — about marketing trends and tips.

It’s okay if your blog name feels “too straightforward.” Straightforward names accurately communicate what you’re about and effectively attract the right audience.

If you still need more assistance, try using a blog name generator . One last tip: Make sure the name you come up with isn’t already taken, as it could lessen your visibility and confuse readers looking for your content.

6. Create your blog domain.

A domain is a part of the web address nomenclature someone would use to find your website or a page of your website online.

Your blog‘s domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn’t yet exist on the internet.

Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog's subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.

Some CMS platforms offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business's website. For example, it might look like this: yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com. However, to create a subdomain that belongs to your company website, register the subdomain with a website host .

Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month when you commit to a 36-month term.

Pro Tip: You can connect your custom domain to free hosting with HubSpot’s free CMS or in premium editions of CMS Hub. This includes access to built-in security features and a content delivery network.

Here are five other popular web hosting services to choose from:

7. Choose a CMS and set up your blog.

A CMS (content management system) is a software application that allows users to build and maintain a website without having to code it from scratch. CMS platforms can manage domains (where you create your website) and subdomains (where you create a webpage that connects to an existing website).

HubSpot customers host web content via CMS Hub . Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on a hosting site such as WP Engine . Whether you create a domain or a subdomain to start your blog , you'll need to choose a web hosting service after you pick a CMS.

Pro Tip: You can get started for free with HubSpot’s free blog maker . Our free CMS offers everything you need to get started– including hosting, a visual editor, and hundreds of free and paid themes to choose from.

Screenshot 2024-01-22 at 3.10.53 PM

Start using HubSpot's Free Blog Making tool to publish blog posts.  

8. customize the look of your blog..

Once you have your domain name set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating and your brand.

For example, if you're writing about sustainability and the environment, green might be a color to keep in mind while designing your blog.

we are wildness blog appearance

Image Source

If you already manage a website and are writing the first post for that existing website, ensure the article is consistent with the website in appearance and subject matter. Two ways to do this are including your:

  • Logo : This can be your business‘s name and logo — it will remind blog readers of who’s publishing the content. (How heavily you want to brand your blog, however, is up to you.)
  • “About” Page : You might already have an “About” blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog‘s "About" section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog’s mission statement, which serves to support your company's goals.

9. Write your first blog post.

Once you have your blog set up, the only thing missing is the content. While the design and layout are fun and functionally necessary, it's the content that will draw your readers in and keep them coming back. So how do you actually go about writing one of these engaging and informational pieces?

You’ve got the technical and practical tidbits down — now it’s time to write your very first blog post. And nope, this isn’t the space to introduce yourself and your new blog (i.e. “Welcome to my blog! This is the topic I’ll be covering. Here are my social media handles. Will you please follow?”).

Start with “low-hanging fruit,” writing about a highly specific topic that serves a small segment of your target audience.

That seems unintuitive, right? If more people are searching for a term or a topic, that should mean more readers for you.

But that’s not true. If you choose a general and highly searched topic that’s been covered by major competitors or more established brands, it’s unlikely that your post will rank on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). Give your newly born blog a chance by choosing a topic that few bloggers have written about.

Let’s walk through this process.

1. Choose a topic you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.

Before you write anything, pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start. For example, if you're a company that sells a CRM for small-to-enterprise businesses , your post might be about the importance of using a single software to keep your marketing, sales, and service teams aligned.

Pro tip : You may not want to jump into a “how-to” article for your first blog post.

Your credibility hasn’t been established yet. Before teaching others how to do something, you’ll first want to show that you’re a leader in your field and an authoritative source.

For instance, if you‘re a plumber writing your first post, you won’t yet write a post titled “How to Replace the Piping System in your Bathroom.” First, you’d write about modern faucet setups, or tell a particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded a customer's house.

Here are four other types of blog posts you could start with:

  • List (“Listicle”) : 5 ways to fix a leaky faucet
  • Curated Collection : 10 faucet and sink brands to consider today
  • SlideShare Presentation : 5 types of faucets to replace your old one (with pictures)
  • News Piece : New study shows X% of people don't replace their faucet frequently enough

If you're having trouble coming up with topic ideas, a good topic brainstorming session should help. In the post I’ve linked, my colleague walks you through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the “leaky faucet” examples above, you would “iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics.”

This can be done by:

  • Changing the topic scope
  • Adjusting your time frame
  • Choosing a new audience
  • Taking a positive/negative approach
  • Introducing a new format

And if you’re still stuck, let’s take a look at some first blog post idea examples.

First Blog Post Ideas

The difference between [niche topic] and [niche topic], explained by a [niche expert].

  • The Difference Between SEM and SEO, Explained by a Marketing Expert
  • The Difference Between Sedans and Coupes, Explained by a Car Mechanic
  • The Difference Between Baking and Broiling, Explained by a Professional Baker

The 10 Best and Worst [Niche Tools] for [Niche Activity]

  • The 10 Best and Worst Writing Software for Fiction Writing
  • The 10 Best and Worst CRMs for Nurturing Prospects
  • The 10 Best and Worst Family Cars for Cross-Country Roadtrips

8 [Niche Activity] Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)

  • 8 Non-Fiction Writing Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
  • 8 Salmon Broiling Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
  • 8 Car Maintenance Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)

9 Proven Tips for [Niche Activity]

  • 9 Proven Tips for Checking Plumbing Problems under Your Kitchen Sink
  • 9 Proven Tips for Writing a Non-Fiction Bestseller
  • 9 Proven Tips for Doing DIY Car Maintenance

Why We/I Switched from [Niche Tool] to [Niche Tool] (Comparison)

  • Why We Switched from Pipedrive to HubSpot (Comparison)
  • Why I Switched from Microsoft Word to Scrivener (Comparison)
  • Why We Switched from iMacs to Surface Studio (Comparison)

[Niche Tool] vs [Niche Tool]: Which [Tool] is Best for You?

  • Zendesk vs Freshcaller: Which Call Software is Best for You?
  • Air Fryer vs Convection Oven: Which One is Best for You?
  • Mazda Miata vs Toyota Supra: Which Sports Car is Best for You?

The Ultimate Roundup of [Niche Activity] Tips and Tricks

  • The Ultimate Roundup of Novel Writing Tips and Tricks
  • The Ultimate Roundup of Macaroon Baking Tips and Tricks
  • The Ultimate Roundup of Solo Traveling Tips and Tricks

Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like based on the topic you choose and the audience you're targeting.

2. Target a low-volume keyword to optimize around.

Finding a keyword with low searches in Google (I recommend sticking to about 10 to 150 monthly searches). These topics offer less competition and should therefore allow your new blog post to rank more easily.

To choose a topic, you can either do a traditional brainstorming session or carry out keyword research. I suggest the latter because you can actually see how many people are looking for that topic.

Now, don’t be intimidated by the term “ keyword research .” It’s not just for marketers, but for new bloggers, too. And it’s really easy to do.

To jumpstart your keyword research, first begin by identifying the general topic of your blog.

Say you’re a plumber. Your general, high-level topic might be “plumbing” (67K monthly searches).

Next, put this term into a keyword research tool such as:

  • Ubersuggest
  • Wordtracker

When you run this term through the tool, a list of related keywords will appear. Scan the list and choose one with a lower search volume. For this example, we’ll use “under sink plumbing” (1.4K monthly searches).

Run that keyword in the keyword research tool again. Look at the related keywords. Find one with a lower search volume. Do that again.

For this example, we’ll settle on “plumbing problems under kitchen sink” (10 monthly searches). That’s the topic for our first post.

TLDR ; Choose a low-volume, low-competition keyword that will ensure your first post ranks.

For more help on keyword research, here are more resources you can use:

  • How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner's Guide
  • How to Perform Keyword Research and Rank
  • Top Tools For Finding Long-Tail Keywords

3. Google the term to understand your audience’s search intent.

You’ve got your topic — now, you need to check that the user’s search intent would be fulfilled by a blog post.

What does that mean?

If someone is looking for “plumbing problems under a kitchen sink,” they might be looking for a tutorial, a diagram, an article, or a product that can fix the issue. If they’re looking for the first three, you’re good — that can be covered in a blog post. A product, however, is different, and your blog post won’t rank.

How do you double-check search intent?

Google the term and look at the results. If other articles and blog posts rank for that term, you’re good to go. If you only find product pages or listicles from major publications, then find a new topic to cover in your first post.

Consider the term “under sink plumbing bathroom” (30 monthly searches). It seemed like a perfect fit because it had low monthly searches.

Upon Googling the term, I found product carousels, product pages from Home Depot and Lowes, and guides written by major publications. (You’ll also want to avoid topics that have been covered by major publications, at least for now.)

TLDR ; Before writing your first blog post about a low-volume topic, double-check the user intent by Googling the keyword. Also, don’t forget to take a look at who’s written about that topic so far. If you see a major brand, consider writing about another topic.

4. Find questions and terms related to that topic.

You’ve got a highly unique topic that’s been covered by just a few people so far. It’s time to flesh it out by covering related or adjacent topics.

Use the following tools:

  • Answer the Public : When you place your keyword into this tool, it will give you a list of questions related to that term.
  • Google : Google is your best friend. Search for the term and look under “People also ask” and “People also search for.” Be sure to touch upon those topics in the post.

You can also use these keyword research tools we mentioned above in step one.

5. Come up with a working title.

You might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing.

For example, you may decide to narrow your topic to “Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets” or “Common Causes of Leaky Faucets.” A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.

Let's take a real post as an example: " How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post ."

Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably “blogging.” Then the working title may have been something like, “The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic.” And the final title ended up being “How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post.”

See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.

6. Create an outline.

Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info in a way so readers aren‘t intimidated by length or amount of content. This organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips — whatever’s most appropriate. But it must be organized!

Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

blog post template

Download These Templates for Free

Let's take a look at the post, " How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy. " There‘s a lot of content in the piece, so it’s broken up into a few sections using descriptive headers. The major sections are separated into subsections that go into more detail, making the content easier to read.

To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. This way, before you start writing, you'll know which points you want to cover and the best order to do so. And to make things even easier, you can download and use our free blog post templates , which are pre-organized for six of the most common blogs. Just fill in the blanks!

7. Write an intro (and make it captivating).

We've written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post " How to Write an Introduction ," but let's review, shall we?

First, grab the reader‘s attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they’ll stop reading (even before they've given your post a fair shake). You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.

Then, describe the purpose of your post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be experiencing. This will give the reader a reason to continue reading and show them how the post will help them improve their work or lives.

Here‘s an example of an intro I think does a good job of attracting a reader’s attention right away:

“Blink. Blink. Blink. It's the dreaded cursor-on-a-blank-screen experience that all writers — amateur or professional, aspiring or experienced — know and dread. And of all times for it to occur, it seems to plague us the most when trying to write an introduction.”

8. Build out each section of your outline.

The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We can't forget about that, of course.

Now that you have your outline or template, you're ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and expand on all points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, conduct additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, while providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. When you do, always try to find accurate and compelling data to use in your post.

If you‘re having trouble stringing sentences together, you’re not alone. Finding your “flow” can be challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:

  • HubSpot's AI Blog Writer : Tools like HubSpot's AI Blog Writer can be a valuable asset for beginners and seasoned bloggers alike. It simplifies the process of creating SEO-friendly and engaging blog content, which is crucial for connecting with your audience and enjoying the benefits of blogging.
  • Power Thesaurus : Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a number of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
  • ZenPen : If you're having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist “writing zone” designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.
  • Cliché Finder : Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.

You can also refer to our complete list of tools for improving your writing skills . And if you're looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:

  • Copywriting 101: 6 Traits of Excellent Copy Readers Will Remember
  • How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That Converts
  • How to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your Message
  • The Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to Anyone
  • Your Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More Interesting

9. Publish and promote your first post any way you can.

As a new blogger, you likely don’t have a social media following yet. Thankfully, you don’t need a huge following before you can create a promotion strategy.

A promotion strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content. It helps you take advantage of social and digital technologies to share your business, or in this case, your content. Having a solid promotional strategy offers your audience from different marketing channels more ways to find your blog posts.

Here are more blog post promotion resources:

  • 12 Tried-and-True Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts
  • 10 Sites You Can Use for Free Blog Promotion
  • 9 Link Building Email Outreach Templates That Actually Work
  • Inbound Link Building 101: 34 Ways to Build Backlinks for SEO
  • 11 Creative (But 100% White Hat!) Ways to Earn Backlinks

Before you write a blog, make sure you know the answers to questions like, “Why would someone keep reading this entire blog post?” and “What makes our audience come back for more?”

To start, a good blog post is interesting and educational. Blogs should answer questions and help readers resolve a challenge they're experiencing — and you have to do so in an interesting way.

It‘s not enough just to answer someone’s questions — you also have to provide actionable steps while being engaging. For instance, your introduction should hook the reader and make them want to continue reading your post. Then, use examples to keep your readers interested in what you have to say.

Remember, a good blog post is interesting to read and provides educational content to audience members.

Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business?

Check out HubSpot Academy's free content marketing course .

Now, let's dive into some formatting guidelines to use before you publish your blog posts.

Blog Format Guidelines

  • Include H2s to arrange ideas.
  • Center your Images.
  • Add alt text.
  • Keep your sentences clear and concise.
  • Use media with purpose.

1. Include H2s to arrange ideas.

When you begin typing your blog content, it’s important that you divide paragraphs into sections that make it easier for the reader to find what they need.

If you’re just starting out, then focus on the overarching H2s you want to talk about, and you’ll be able to branch off into subheaders and more naturally as you continue.

2. Center your images.

This is a simple practice that can help your content look more professional with little effort. Centering your images keeps the reader’s attention drawn to the subject — not searching for elsewhere.

Centering also looks better when translating from PC to mobile devices. As formatting transitions to small screens or windows, a centered image will remain the focal point.

3. Add alt text.

So those images you centered earlier, make sure you have descriptive alt text for them, too.

Image alt text allows search engines, like Google, to crawl and rank your blog post better than pages lacking the element. It also leads readers to your blog post if the keywords included are what they searched for in the first place.

Besides SERP features, image alt text is beneficial to readers by providing more accessibility. Image alt text allows people to better visualize images when they can’t see them, and with assistive technology, can be auditorily read aloud for people to enjoy.

4. Keep your sentences short and concise.

When you begin working on the body of your blog post, make sure readers can clearly understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

You shouldn’t feel pressure to elongate your post with unnecessary details, and chances are that if you keep it concise, readers will derive more value from your work.

5. Use media with a purpose.

Break up the monotony of your blog post with some multimedia content where seen fit.

Your reader will enjoy visiting a blog page with images, videos, polls, audio or slideshows as opposed to a page of black and white text.

It also makes it more interactive and improves your on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

Now, do you want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like based on the topic you choose and the audience you're targeting.

  • List-Based Post
  • Thought Leadership Post
  • Curated Collection Post
  • SlideShare Presentation
  • Newsjacking Post
  • Infographic Post
  • How-to Post

1. List-Based Blog Post

List-based post example: 17 blogging mistakes to avoid in 2021, according to hubspot bloggers.

list based blog post example

List-based posts are sometimes called “listicles,” a mix of the words “list” and “article.” These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses sub-headers to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily.

As you can see in the example from our blog, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.

2. Thought Leadership Post

Example: how hubspot's customers are shaping the next normal.

thought leadership blog post example

Thought leadership posts allow you to share your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers.

These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.

3. Curated Collection Post

Example: 8 examples of evolution in action.

An example blog blog post featuring a curated collection

Curated collections are a special type of listicle blog post. Rather than sharing tips or methods for doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common in order to prove a larger point.

In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.

4. Slide Presentation

Example: the hubspot culture code.

Example slides presentation, HubSpot Culture Code

HubSpot Slides is a presentation tool that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, SlideShare blog posts help you promote your SlideShare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.

Unlike blogs, slide decks don't often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your SlideShare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.

Need some slideshow ideas? In the example above, we turned our company's “Culture Code” into a slides presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and then promoted it in a blog post.

5. Newsjacking Post

Example: ivy goes mobile with new app for designers.

An example of a newsjacking blog post

“Newsjacking” is a nickname for “hijacking” your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers' attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, prove your blog is a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.

The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that was launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn‘t launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz’s audience.

6. Infographic Post

Example: the key benefits of studying online [infographic].

An example from an infographic blog post

For example, when you're looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even engaging infographic can keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.

7. How-to Post

Example: how to write a blog post: a step-by-step guide.

For this example, you need not look any further than the blog post you‘re reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They’re like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject.

The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.

8. Guest Post

Example: your bookmarkable guide to social media image sizes in 2021 [infographic].

Example of a guest blog post

Additionally, these posts give your blog variety in topic and viewpoint. If your customer has a problem you can't solve, a guest post is a great solution.

If you begin accepting guest posts, set up editorial guidelines to ensure they're up to the same standards as your posts.

So we’ve gone through the different types of blog posts you can make, but how do you consistently make quality blog posts that your viewers will enjoy?

How to Write a Blog Post Graphic

  • Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.
  • Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.
  • Identify what's missing from the existing discourse.
  • Choose what type of blog post you're writing.
  • Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.
  • Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.
  • Write your blog post!
  • Proofread your post.
  • Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.
  • Upload your post into your CMS.
  • Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).
  • Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.
  • Link to other relevant blog posts within your content.
  • Optimize for on-page SEO.
  • Publish and promote the blog post.
  • Track the performance of the blog post over time.

1. Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.

Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience.

Ask questions like: What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them?

This is where the process of creating buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you're coming up with a topic for your blog post.

For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start a business, you probably don't need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down.

If you haven’t developed buyer personas yet, I’ve found that it’s easiest to get started by gathering the information you already have about your audience and looking for trends. Sending out feedback surveys and interviewing followers can also be helpful.

Does your blog attract a specific age group? Does your audience live in a certain region? How do readers typically discover your content? Finding answers to these questions can help you get a better idea of who your buyer persona is.

2. Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.

If you already have a pre-existing portfolio to look back on, it would benefit you to pull from those brainstormed post ideas or previous content strategy.

One thing that’s been helpful for me is specifically looking at content performance data when brainstorming ideas. In doing this, I’ve discovered which topics tend to resonate with my audience (and which ones don’t) and created content around them.

By focusing on your core blog topics, or clusters , you can establish yourself as a thought leader, gain the trust of your audience, rank better on search engines, and attract new readers.

3. Identify what’s missing from the existing discourse.

Fill in the gaps of the existing discourse in the topic of your choosing.

You want to meet a need that hasn’t already been met in your topic cluster. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing content for topics that are already over-saturated.

It’s hard to beat saturated search queries when you’re trying to rank against high authority publications — but not impossible if your content is answering the queries the competition hasn’t.

To discover what’s missing within a topic, I conduct a competitive analysis to see what my competitors offer in their content and how I can make my blog post better. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Unanswered user queries
  • Content depth
  • Content freshness
  • Media richness
  • User experience

If your competitors are lacking in any of these areas, you can use that to your advantage and focus on them when writing your blog post.

Another way to differentiate your blog is by offering original data, quotes, or perspectives. Some of my best performing posts have come from getting a unique quote from an industry expert.

4. Choose what type of blog post you’re writing.

There are several types of blog posts you can create, and they each have different formats to follow.

Six of the most common formats include:

  • The List-Based Post
  • The “What Is” Post
  • The Pillar Page Post (“Ultimate Guide”)
  • The Newsjacking Post
  • The Infographic Post
  • The “How-To” Post

Save time and download six blog post templates for free.

5. Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.

Your blog title should tell readers what to expect, yet it should leave them wanting to know more — confusing, right?

This is why when you’re coming up with a blog post title that you should brainstorm multiple ones instead of just one. I find it helpful to share these titles with a couple coworkers to get their feedback and see which one is most engaging to them.

I’ve also enlisted the help of ChatGPT to generate sample blog post titles by inputting a prompt like, “Write a list of blog titles about [topic].” Even if it doesn’t give you exactly what you want, it can still get ideas flowing.

6. Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.

When outlining, you need to center your main ideas with keyword-rich H2s and H3s. These are going to be your headers and subheaders that readers typically search for, and the information that Google crawls when indexing and ranking content.

I use keyword research tools, like Ahrefs and Semrush , to find the best words for my blog post. To find the right keywords, I focus on the following elements:

  • Relevance to topic and search intent
  • How authoritative my blog is on the topic
  • The amount of search traffic my blog could gain

Remember, your outline should serve as a guide to make writing your blog post easier, so make sure you include all the important points you want to discuss and organize them in a logical flow.

7. Write your blog post!

I already told you how to build out your outline earlier in the post, so we'll quickly go over the main points once more.

You‘ve already outlined your main headings and subheadings, so now’s the time to add the body.

Write about what you already know, and if necessary, conduct additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, while providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. When you do, always try to find accurate and compelling data to use in your post.

This is also your opportunity to show personality in your writing. Blog posts don‘t have to be strictly informational, they can be filled with interesting anecdotes and even humor if it serves a purpose in expressing your ideas. It also factors into creating and maintaining your blog’s brand voice .

Don‘t be discouraged if you’re having trouble stringing sentences together, you're not alone. Finding your “flow” can be challenging, but there are many tools to ease the process. Software such as HubSpot's Free AI Blog Writer can help you generate copy for your blog post. You can even use it to outline and generate title ideas.

8. Proofread your post.

The editing process is an important part of blogging — don't overlook it. I tend to self-edit while I write, but it’s essential to get a second pair of eyes on your post before publishing.

Consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist and ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy edit and proofread your post. I also really enjoy free grammar checkers, like Grammarly , to help proofread while I’m writing.

If you're looking to brush up on your self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:

  • How to Become a (Better) Editor: 13 Editorial Tips
  • How to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process
  • 10 Simple Edits That'll Instantly Improve Any Piece of Writing

9. Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.

When you're finished checking for grammar, shift your focus to adding other elements to the blog post than text. There’s much more to making a good blog post than copy, here’s some following elements to add in support of your ideas:

Featured Image

Choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content.

An example of a featured image on a blog post

For help selecting an image for your post, read " How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post " and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.

Visual Appearance

No one likes an unattractive blog post. And it‘s not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it’s the formatting and organization of the post, too.

In a well-formatted and visually-appealing blog post, you'll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently.

Here's an example of what that looks like:

Visual appearance example in a blog post

Screenshots should always have a similar, defined border so they don‘t appear as if they’re floating in space — that style should stay consistent from post to post.

Maintaining this consistency makes your content look more professional and easier on the eyes.

Topics and Tags

Tags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a blog tagging strategy.

Think of tags as “topics” or “categories,” and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.

10. Upload your post into your CMS.

You filled out your blog post with all the optimized content you can, now is the time to publish it in your content management system.

I also use this step as an opportunity to double check my post for any errors that were potentially missed during the proofreading process. It’s especially important to preview your post before publishing to make sure there aren’t any formatting issues.

You can opt to post your content immediately, save it as a draft, or schedule when you want it to be posted live in case you adhere to a posting schedule.

11. Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).

A conversion path is a process by which an anonymous website visitor becomes a known lead. It sounds simple enough, but creating an effective conversion path requires a clear understanding of your target audience and their needs.

Having a conversion path is important because when you share your content on the web, you should have an idea of what your audience should do next, or in other words, provide them with a path forward.

The HubSpot Flywheel model is a great example of this as it shows how our organization gains and maintains leads.

HubSpot Flywheel Model

12. Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.

Call to action (CTA) are a part of a webpage, advertisement, or piece of content that encourages the audience to do something. You can add them to your blog post to guide your reader with “next steps” or a conversion path.

Different types of call to actions include asking readers to:

  • Subscribe to your newsletter to see when you publish more content.
  • Join an online community in your blog domain.
  • Learn more about a topic with downloadable content.
  • Try something for free or discount to convert readers to customers.

To get a better idea of how to make a CTA that readers want to click, we have a whole list of effective call to action examples for you to check out.

13. Link to other relevant blog posts within your content.

When you’re completing your blog post, you should link relevant content throughout it. An effective way to do this is to link within the same content cluster.

One thing I do to make finding relevant links easier is going to my search browser and typing “site:website.com: keyword.” By doing this, you can find all the posts you have published on that topic.

Keeping relevant content throughout your post can provide your readers with more helpful information, and potentially boost search engine rankings with corresponding longtail keywords .

But we’ll talk more about how to improve your ranking in the next step.

14. Optimize for on-page SEO.

After you finish writing, go back and optimize the on-page elements of your post.

Don‘t obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you’re targeting, and it won‘t impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don’t cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google's smarter than that!

Here's a little blog SEO reminder about what you should review and optimize:

Write your meta description.

Meta descriptions are the descriptions below the post‘s page title on Google’s search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover.”

While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google‘s keyword ranking algorithm, they give searchers a snapshot of what they’ll get from reading the post and help improve your clickthrough rate from search.

Optimize your page title and headers.

Most blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you've followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords or phrases your target audience is interested in.

Don‘t over-complicate your title by trying to fit in keywords where they don’t naturally belong. With that said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you‘re targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don’t get truncated in the search engine results.

"The first component of a good title is that it needs to be scannable. People aren’t reading every word of your thoughtfully crafted headline. If you’re following a search-focused strategy, make sure to include the keyword at the beginning," Del Principe says.

Consider anchor text best practices as you interlink to other pages.

Anchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.

It‘s also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking pages that you want to rank for a specific keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google’s first page of results instead of its second page — and that isn’t small potatoes!

Write alt text for all of your images.

Alt text conveys the “why” of an image as it relates to the content of your blog post to Google. By adding alt text correlating to the topic clusters and keywords of the post, Google can better direct users’ searches to you.

Check that all images are compressed for page speed.

When Google crawls different websites, a page’s load speed holds weight in page ranking. Make sure the images you include throughout the page aren’t unnecessarily large to shorten the duration it takes to load.

Use apps like Squoosh to minimize the size of your images without losing the quality.

Ensure that your blog post is mobile friendly.

More than 60% of organic visits are carried out on a mobile device. As such, having a website with a responsive design is critical. In addition to making sure your website‘s visitors (including your blog’s visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.

15. Publish and promote the blog post.

Share your post across all the marketing channels in your repertoire. The further the reach, the more of a possibility that readers will find it.

Channels to expand your blog post promotion strategy include:

  • Social Media Marketing : Sharing your content on the most popular social media networks like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • Email Marketing : Sharing the newest post with your email subscribers to find.
  • Boosted Posts or Paid Ads : Allocating budget toward advertisement on search engines inorganically.
  • Word of Mouth Marketing : Actively influencing people to read your content organically.

16. Track the performance of the blog post over time.

Your post is published for the world to see, make sure you’re keeping an eye on its performance over time so you can see if your blog post strategy is working well enough for your goals.

Here are some blog KPIs I like to keep track of:

  • Total traffic per post
  • Average CTR
  • Average SERP position
  • Traffic source breakdown
  • Number of search queries per post
  • Average comments per post
  • Social shares per post
  • New blog leads
  • Conversion rate

There’s a plethora of website traffic analysis tools that you can take advantage of to better understand your audience’s behavior on your blog posts.

Quick Blog Writing Tips

If you’re feeling stuck as a new writer, don’t give up. It gets easier with practice. Whether you’re struggling with writer's block or wanting some ways to add depth to your content, here are some quick tips I compiled to help take your blog writing to the next level:

If you don’t know where to start, start by telling a story.

When you’re facing writer’s block, start with what you know. Not only will sharing personal anecdotes help you get ideas flowing, but it can also keep your readers engaged with what you’re saying.

Stories can simplify complex concepts and make your content more relatable. Plus, they add a human touch and help set the tone for the rest of your blog post.

Include interesting quotes or facts for emphasis on the subject.

When you back up your ideas with unique, expert quotes or share facts from reliable sources, it shows that your blog post is well-researched and trustworthy.

If you don’t know where to start with finding quotes, think about the people you know and their expertise. For example, I’m lucky enough to have incredibly knowledgeable coworkers here at HubSpot that I can reach out to if I need a quote.

I’ve also reached out to connections on LinkedIn to see if they can provide a quote or know someone who can. HARO can also be a great resource if you need a quote in a pinch.

Make your content skimmable; break it into digestible chunks.

There’s nothing that turns readers off more than opening an article and seeing a large wall of text. Think about it: most internet users have a short attention span and tend to skim through content rather than reading every word.

That’s why I recommend breaking up your blog post into smaller chunks to make it more digestible. You can do this by utilizing subheadings (H2s, H3s, H4s, etc.), bullet points, and short paragraphs.

Not only does breaking up your content make your blog post more visually appealing, it also helps readers quickly find the information they’re looking for without getting lost in a sea of text.

Paint a full picture with images, graphics or video.

Aside from aesthetic appeal, visuals can help convey complex ideas in an easier way and help readers remember the information you share.

I recommend reading through your blog post and putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. Is there anything you wrote about that would be better explained with the support of an image or graphic?

For instance, whenever I write about the pros and cons of something, I like to create a graphic that shows those pros and cons in a side-by-side comparison.

I also look at search engines results when determining what images to add to my post. Does the SERP for the keyword you’re targeting have an image pack? See if you can add in images and optimize them with alt text to increase the chances of appearing in those results.

Each sentence should convey a single idea.

Keep it simple, stupid. There’s no reason to write overly complex sentences that confuse your readers. Instead, opt to convey your message in a simple and accessible manner. At the end of the day, readers just want to find the answers they’re looking for, and writing in a straightforward manner can effectively meet this need.

I like to use the Hemingway App to make sure that my writing doesn’t get too dense.

Use active voice.

Although your writing should captivate the reader, you should avoid overwhelming them with fluff. Using active voice can help keep your writing clear, concise, and energetic while still getting your point across.

For example, instead of saying something like “the product was loved by customers,” write “customers loved the product.”

Ready to blog?

Blogging can help you build brand awareness, become a thought-leader and expert in your industry, attract qualified leads, and boost conversions. Follow the steps and tips we covered above to begin publishing and enhancing your blog today.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Improve Your Web Content

Advice and information on improving your written web content

The 6 Steps to Writing Great Online Articles

6 Steps to Writing Great Online Articles

When it comes to web article writing, creating a high quality article for online publishing may appear a fairly easy task – until you actually have to do it. Writing for an online audience is quite a bit different from writing a school term paper, a business report, or even a novel or short story. If you can learn to do it well, writing for an online audience can be a very productive pursuit. Plenty of people make a full-time living doing so. In the rest of this post, I offer 6 steps that you can utilise to create great online articles.

1. Find Great Topics to Write About

We all need some inspiration when it comes to article writing, particularly when it comes to writing web articles. We sit down with all the best intentions in the world, but once we have cracked our knuckles and are ready to start pounding upon our trusty keyboard, that great idea that we thought we had for our next article all of a sudden does not feel like such a good idea anymore. What now? Maybe the article wasn’t for a personal website or blog but for a client instead. This means that, on top of losing that great idea we had, we are now on a schedule as well! But where can we find some great ideas or topics to write about? Never fear, as there are ways and means around everything – as long as you know where to look. Below are just a few ideas to help you search for that hot topic when you most need it.

Blog Comments

If you have an idea of the general niche you are to be writing about, try visiting some blogs or websites of a similar theme. When you are on these sites, check out the comments left by visitors on the various posts. The more comments you notice on a particular post, the more popular or thought provoking you know the post must have been (spam comments notwithstanding, obviously). What is the topic of this post? What is it trying to convey? Could you take a relevant point from this post and create an insightful article from it? Indeed, was there a certain comment that tweaked your interest – did it contain something you could write about? You see, with just this tip alone, the scope is huge when it comes to unearthing those hot topics.

Are you into social media? If so, Twitter is a great place to find some really hot topics. It is a wonderful source of up-to-date information – so much so that, more often than not, you will learn the latest news happenings via Twitter before it makes it through to the rest of the internet or mainstream news media such as TV, radio, or newspapers. To this end, on the right-hand side of the Twitter screen there is a ‘trends for you’ box. This is the place that all the hottest topics currently on Twitter are located; just this little area is a goldmine of ideas.

Finally, one of the best methods of garnering ideas for an article topic is through good-old Google. Open up a Google search page and start typing in a query (your general niche). As you type, you will notice that Google starts automatically suggesting ideas as you go along. These lists can cover everything related to the particular niche topic you have queried. Try it – it is fascinating to see.

These are just a couple of pointers for you and barely scratch the surface when it comes to looking for great topics to write. It does, though, give you an idea of the sort of things you can do when stuck for a good topic to write about. Just use your imagination, and the sky is the limit.

2. Article Writing – Write for the Audience

When you set out to write an article or piece of content for your website or blog (or indeed, for a client), make sure you do so with one aim in mind – to satisfy your  human readers. What do I mean by this statement? Well, many, many article writers still make the mistake of writing their articles with just search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind. Here’s the deal though – search engine algorithms have evolved tremendously over the last few years and what once was considered the norm (i.e. writing with a specific keyword density in mind, placing keywords in specific areas of the article, etc., etc.), is now very much outdated, antiquated even. Think about it – search engines really do want to present the very best search results to their users; this means results being as related as possible to the query that was input into the search box by the user. Search engines will not present a result based solely on the keyword density of a page or whether the main keyword has been presented as near to the beginning or as near to the end of the article – results will be presented in a way that these search engines feel can benefit the user the most.

Write Naturally

Bearing the above in mind then, it would make sense to write an article as naturally as possible, letting it flow smoothly and allowing the reader to effortlessly devour the information contained therein. In other words, write an article that speaks directly to your audience, one that offers value in relation to the topic covered. At the end of the day, content that is deemed useful will engage the person reading it and will therefore meet the reader’s requirements (the reason for reading the article in the first place).

On top of all this, surely an article writer will find it much easier to write naturally rather than write something specifically with SEO in mind. When you are looking to write a piece to be proud of, the last thing you want to be doing when the creative juices are flowing is stressing over keyword placements and density and other such distractions. Any experienced content writer will tell you that they cannot produce their best work if they are weighed down with outdated SEO related issues.

So when you sit down to write an article for your blog, website, or client, focus on the topic at hand and make sure you write the article for the reader – not for some search engine bot!

3. How to Write Your First Online Article

Now you have decided to give web articles a go for the first time, you might have some additional questions about how to actually get started. Like how to write an online article, for starters. Every writer has his or her own way of doing things, but there is plenty of good advice that can help those just starting out. Once you become accustomed to online article writing, you will then find your own way of doing things. Below I have listed a couple of tips when it comes to writing your first article.

If you do not have a specific topic to write about then there is no point in starting to type – you will just waffle. Some experienced writers do this as a way of generating ideas, but this will be too slow and ineffective for the beginner writer. In the section titled Find Great Topics to Write About above, I listed some great ways to generate ideas. At least one of these methods should ensure that you write something that people will be interested in reading about. Later, when you become skilled, you can write about those topics that you feel passionate about and this will be your best writing.

First Draft

The point of a first draft is to get things down on paper. You should do this quickly and not worry about editing – correcting grammar and spelling mistakes, etc. Only when you have put all your thoughts down on paper do you need to go back and polish everything in terms of structure, tone, style, spelling, grammar, etc. The reason for doing things this way is that you do not want to interrupt the flow of ideas. Do not worry; nobody needs to see your first draft.

Use subheadings to break up the text and do not have huge blocks of text; this can be very off-putting for readers and may even cause some to abandon the article, and hence your website or blog, entirely (more on this in the below sections).

The most important thing of all though is enjoy writing and feel proud of the work you create.

4. The First Paragraph

As anyone in the business will tell you – when it comes to all things on the internet, content is definitely king. However, you cannot just throw a few words together and hope that you come up with something credible that your readers (or your client’s website visitors) will enjoy and relate to. There has to be some structure, some cohesion. Once the topic has been chosen and the research has been conducted, the time has come to start writing. You have to start somewhere, and this start is the first paragraph.

The first paragraph is most definitely king when it comes to the readers – it will either make or break the content as a whole. A badly structured first paragraph will have readers leaving your website in record time.

To start with (and this is extremely important), the first paragraph of any article has to very clearly state what the article is trying to convey. When it comes to articles for the online world, more often than not this will take the form of summarising what the problem at hand is, following that by explaining how the article is going to describe or help with how to deal with this particular problem.

If you manage to convey this as clearly and concisely as possible in your first paragraph, you are then well on your way to completing an engaging piece of content.

5. The Common Mistakes When Writing Online Articles

You do not have to search hard to find examples of bad writing on the web. I am not just talking about bad grammar and spelling here; I am talking online articles that just make no sense or are difficult to read. When this happens, it will usually be enough to drive readers away. In fact, having just one badly written piece of content on an otherwise professional website can do a lot of damage. In light of this, below we have listed some of the most common mistakes made when writing online articles.

Issues with the Title

The title is misleading . It is understandable that writers want their articles to appear exciting and interesting; this is important for attracting attention. However, many writers go to the extreme and place misleading titles at the head of their writing. This can be a source of irritation for readers who may well feel they have been ‘cheated’ into reading something that would not have otherwise interested them. Titles do need to grab attention; they should not, however, mislead.

Focus on the Reader

The focus of the writing seems to be on impressing the search engines . Most writers appreciate the need to have their content optimised in a specific way; after all, this will ensure that the content does well in the search results, yes? Well, no. The problem starts when SEO efforts start to detract from the readability of the article. As mentioned in one of my previous paragraphs, this is not the way of things anymore. You can still find many blogs and websites with content so stuffed with keywords that they are just unreadable.

Unfamiliar Topics

Writing about subjects that you do not know much about . It becomes obvious rather quickly when a writer has penned something he or she really knows nothing about or, at the very least, does not understand. Even if the reader knows nothing about the subject themselves, they can still spot when a writer has tried bluff his or her way through the subject. The availability of so much information on the internet means there is really no excuse for not researching subjects properly before writing about them.

6. Additional Mistakes You Will Want to Avoid with Article Writing

Today there is so much content available online that readers need to be discerning. It is not possible to read every article, so most tend to make their minds about a web article with just a quick glance. Only when seeing the ‘right’ things on the page will the reader be drawn into the content. Unfortunately, many who create web content do not do the right things that convince readers to investigate further; the content might be first rate but the reader will never know because he or she has been put off for some reason. Below I have listed some of the mistakes to be avoided to not drive potential readers away.

  • Go easy on the advertisements. Pop-up ads in particularly can be annoying; it is understandable that website owners may want to make a bit of money with some onsite advertisements, but moderation is the key. Unless, of course, the website owner is so famous or well known in their particular niche that readers will want the content no matter how many ads are on the page.
  • If there are just large blocks of text on a page then it can look a little intimidating to website visitors; they may conclude that it would just be too much hard work reading it to try to find the information they are looking for. Adding some images to the page not only breaks up the text making it appear more manageable, but it also acts as a hook for the text. Choosing the image carefully will pique the interest of the visitor and make them curious about what it all means.
  • Long paragraphs and sentences that go on forever do not do well in web articles. People want snappy writing and do not usually want to read every word on the page. Therefore, the article will be more appealing if it contained short paragraphs, bullet points or lists, and subheadings. Adding quotes to your text while making use of CSS elements can introduce some of the main points of the article. These really do work because they stand out from the rest of the text and can draw the attention of the reader just skimming the page.

Be careful with post titles when thinking about SEO. Writing titles is a real art and it can be difficult to get the balance right between using keywords that will ‘impress’ the search engines and titles that will appeal to human visitors. It is possible to create article titles that will help with SEO while still attracting readers; it is not easy though. Some web writers spend almost as much time fretting over the title as they do on the article itself. One thing is for sure: the wrong title will turn many folk off reading an article.

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Writing for the Web: A Beginner’s Guide

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Strong web writing skills are a key component of successful digital marketing strategy and effective search engine optimization (SEO). Though writing for the web encompasses a wide variety of different content, crafting the right kind of content is especially important for blog and website platforms. Writing for the web has its own set of best practices and style guidelines, especially because readers interact with web content differently than traditional text. For example, only around 16 percent of site visitors read web content in full . And according to the Nielsen Norman Group, about 80 percent of site visitors scan web content rather than reading it word by word.

How to Write for the Web

Add to these statistics the fact that most only scroll to the halfway point on a webpage , and brands have their work cut out for them in terms of connecting with the reader through content marketing. Why spend the time and resources to craft high-quality content if no one is reading it? This is the challenge facing marketers today. The good news is that there are ways to effectively reach modern readers — and hold their attention. It all starts with keeping copy concise, scannable and objective. The following are some of the key features of successful web writing.

Inverted Pyramid Structure

Arguably the most important element of writing for the web is presenting information in a way that makes sense for the reader. Inverted pyramid structure, long used by journalists because it gets to the point quickly, puts the primary information first. Supporting information comes after, and the least important elements are at the end of the text. “Journalists have long adhered to the inverse approach : start the article by telling the reader the conclusion … readers can stop at any time and will still get the most important parts of the article,” the Nielsen Norman Group says. This means that writers should leave “deep content” for the relatively small number of readers who make it to the end of a piece, Moz says. This approach allows writers to prioritize information, and readers to choose how much detail they need on the topic: “Very interested readers will scroll, and these few motivated souls will reach the foundation of the pyramid and get the full story,” the Nielsen Norman Group explains.

Inverted pyramid shape indicating where primary, secondary and deep content should live on a webpage.

Scannable Content

In addition to presenting the most important information first, web content should be easy to scan. Users rarely read to the end of content, so it is important to format text in a way that allows them to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. Elements like headers, bold and highlighted text, bulleted lists, graphics, captions and more accomplish this. Enchanting Marketing offers the following (helpfully, bulleted) list of questions to evaluate whether your content is scannable to readers :

  • Does your headline communicate what you’re about?
  • Does your image caption communicate a message?
  • Do your sub headlines summarize your key points?
  • Do easy-to-scan bullet points reduce wordiness?

In general, “Your web visitor is hunting for information or products. Ensure he can understand your most important information by just glancing at your web page,” the same post says.

Concise Text

Because readers are looking to find information as quickly as possible, writing concise text is another key component of successful web writing. Users don’t stay on a page for very long. This is why marketers measure “bounce rate,” or the percentage of visitors who navigate away from content. To hold reader interest as well as maximize time on site, be as concise as possible. According to Buffer, the ideal length for a blog post is seven minutes , or 1,600 words. And for posts that incorporate many photos or other graphic elements, the average word count should be closer to 1,000. Though research varies from site to site , this gives content creators a good idea of what to aim for. Once again, Enchanting Marketing has provided a helpful checklist for keeping content short and sweet:

  • Use short paragraphs
  • Use short sentences
  • Skip unnecessary words
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid the passive [voice]
  • Avoid needless repetition
  • Use the word “you”

Aside from actually writing less content, a good way to keep readers’ attention is to break up text into short paragraphs that can be easily scanned and digested. This works in tandem with concise text to ensure the user views as much content as possible.

Objective Language

Users want content to be easy to understand, and another way to accomplish this is by writing in a conversational, informal tone. Ensuring that your tone is objective makes information easier to process. Avoid overly promotional messaging because it makes users question the credibility of the content itself : “questioning the credibility of promotional statements seems to distract users from processing the meaning,” the Nielsen Norman Group says. This is also why Enchanting Marketing warns against using “clever phrasing.” Web writing should be as simple and easy to follow as possible. “Web visitors quickly glance at your web page before guessing whether they’re in the right place or not,” Enchanting Marketing says. “They just want to make a quick decision.”

One way to make your content more readable without sacrificing valuable information is to incorporate hypotext. According to Dejan Marketing, hypotext is “a way of revealing content on-demand. It acts like a traditional link, but it doesn’t interrupt user experience by sending readers to another page. Once clicked, the extra information is injected into a desired spot in the page. Another click hides it away.” By showing the most important parts of the content, readers can create their own experience. The same article provides several benefits of hypotext:

  • Supports easy scanning and better content overview by removing visual clutter
  • Encourages content consumption through low word count
  • On-demand information retrieval enables interactivity and personalization
  • Users stay on the page they’re reading, which minimizes interruption

From a content strategy perspective, hypotext also allows the writer to include more detailed information as an option while remaining concise.

As effective web writing becomes more and more important to overall marketing strategy, the volume of content being created is increasing at an unprecedented rate, according to Dejan Marketing. From blog posts to advertorials, opinion pieces and lists, the web is home to a wide variety of content competing for user attention. But if marketers can incorporate the best practices covered here, they stand to benefit from the world of opportunity that content marketing presents.

Creating optimized, high-quality content is one of the foundations of modern marketing strategy. If you are interested in topics like these that are relevant to the marketing industry, consider Concordia University, St. Paul’s online marketing degree program.

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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Starting Your Website Content

Pamela wilson.

How to write website content, even if you're a beginner

You have a brand-new website. Congratulations!

You may be wondering exactly how to write website content, though.

It’s a big job. Where do you start?

If you’d like tools and tips for how to make your writing faster and easier, scroll to the bottom of this post for a helpful video.

If you’re ready to write your website content, let’s get going!

First, it’s important to understand the difference between static, unchanging website pages like your: 

  • Contact page
  • Commerce-style pages like Store, Products, Services, or Work with Me

And website pages that update frequently like your:

  • Blog or podcast content

As we tackle this topic of how to write your website content, we’re going to focus on getting your static pages created first. We’ll get them done, published, and working for you, and then we’ll work on how to write a blog post and other frequently published content.

First, a reality check, my friend. If you’re feeling slightly terrified at the thought of writing all that website content, I get it.

There are few things more intimidating than looking at a big, blank website that you have fill with content. 

Never fear: This post will cover how to write a content for your website, even if it’s brand-spanking new.

How to write website content when your site is new (and blank!)

The way to tackle this job is to prioritize what you’ll focus on.

Here’s how to write website content, in order of priority:

  • Create a Home page where people can land.
  • Create an About page so visitors know who’s behind the website.
  • Create a Contact page so people have a way to reach you.

Once these three pages are complete, you’ve covered the basics.

Now you can focus on adding pages that take longer to create.

The next website content you’ll focus on writing depends on where you are in your business growth.

If you already have products or services to sell, you could create what I call a Commerce page. This is a page that offers links to your products or services. It can take a variety of forms. It might be:

  • A Store page which displays all of your available products with links to purchase them
  • A Services page which explains the services you provide with links to find out more
  • A Work with Me page which details the kind of clients you help, how you work, and shares a way to take the first step toward working with you

If you don’t have anything ready to offer, no worries! You can skip directly to the next area of focus, your Content section.

By definition, this is the part of your website that will be updated frequently.

The most common content type (and the easiest kind to start with) is a blog.

If you’re wondering how to write a blog post, you have come to the right place! I’m going to cover that in detail in the next section.

What should be included in a blog post?

If you’ve never written a blog post before, the process can feel like a big mystery.

You may know a good blog post when you read one, but you may not be sure how to re-create it yourself.

I’ve written blog posts consistently since 2010. My work has appeared on some of the most high-traffic sites on the web, like Copyblogger , Duct Tape Marketing , Smart Blogger , and Problogger .

And I’ve written two much-loved books on content marketing, Master Content Marketing and Master Content Strategy .

I’ll let you in on a little secret that might surprise you …

For decades, I didn’t think I could write.

I was a graphic designer by trade.

I was naturally drawn to the visual side of marketing and became very good at creating logos, publications, brochures, annual reports, and newsletters.

But I was determined to build an online presence. To do that, I knew I had to figure out this “content marketing thing.”

That meant learning to write, even though I didn’t think I’d ever be good at it.

In order to learn from the masters, I started paying attention to the best blog content on the web. Over time, I began to see a pattern emerge.

I discovered that great blog posts — and effective content marketing — contained the same seven elements, over and over.

You can learn to master these seven essential elements of content marketing and use them in all the content you create for your website.

I’ll use a blog post as an example, but the same seven elements can be used to structure a podcast episode, a video (vlog) piece, and other frequently updated content.

Master these seven elements and you’ll know how to write website content that performs well and helps to grow your online business.

How to write a blog post: The 7 essential elements of effective content marketing

The best blog content contains all seven of the elements below.

Each section needs to be strong so it pulls its own weight and does the job it needs to do in your content.

How to write website content: Headline tips

1. Write a compelling headline

Want your blog to be clicked on and read?

Spend lots and lots of time (way more than you think) working on an engaging headline.

My favorite tools to use when I’m working on headlines are:

  • A plain text document where I can brainstorm 10-25 headline ideas
  • A site that allows me to “grade” and compare my best headline ideas. I like the Sharethrough headline analyzer .
  • Coffee! (Or tea). Seriously — writing headlines is hard work. Caffeinate as needed.

Headline resources:

  • My book Master Content Marketing has a whole chapter on writing headlines and includes 50 fill-in-the-blank formulas to help you create winning headlines. Get Master Content Marketing .
  • Read How to Write Magnetic Headlines on Copyblogger.
  • Register and download Headline Hacks from Smartblogger.

How to write website content: First sentence tips

2. Craft an inviting first sentence

The very first sentence of your blog post is a make-or-break moment.

Keep it short, snappy, and casual. Write it like you’re writing to your best friend.

It needs to be inviting. It should be intriguing.

If it’s not, readers will click away and look elsewhere for their information.

First sentence resources:

  • 10 Ways to Hook Blog Readers With Your Opening Line by my friend Amy Harrison .
  • My book Master Content Marketing has a whole chapter on writing your first sentence. Really! Get Master Content Marketing .

How to write website content: Intro section tips

3. Add an intro section

You may not have noticed that most blog posts have an intro section.

The intro section serves as a transition between your first sentence and your main content.

This is the first place on the page where you’re asking the reader to settle in and commit to reading what you’ve written.

Use it to summarize what they’re about to learn. Give them a preview of why you’ll make it worth their while to consume your content.

Intro section resources:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Post Introductions by Neil Patel
  • Master Content Marketing has a chapter on crafting blog post introductions. Get Master Content Marketing .
  • 7 Ways to Write Better Opening Paragraphs for Your Blog Posts by Barry Feldman on Orbit Media.

How to write website content: Subhead tips

4. Write attention-getting subheads

Subheads are one of the most important ways you can make your online content easier to consume.

They serve as “signposts” that move the reader through your blog content.

(The podcast or video equivalent to subheads is the short introduction to a new section of the information being presented.)

In written content, subheads give people who are skimming through your written content a general idea of what it contains.

Subhead resources:

  • How to Write Subheads that Hook (and Re-hook) Your Readers on Copyblogger
  • The No-Nonsense Guide to Writing Online Headlines and Subheads by Enchanting Marketing
  • My book Master Content Marketing includes a chapter on writing subheads, too. It includes information on how to format subheads and shares a compelling reason to write your headline and subheads before you write the rest of your content. Get Master Content Marketing .

How to write website content: Main copy tips

5. Fill in your main copy

What do I mean by the “main copy?” It’s everything else.

It’s all the writing outside of the sections above and the sections below.

It’s the heart of your content, where you deliver the value you’ve promised.

Main copy resources:

  • The best tip for writing your main copy from my book Master Content Marketing ? Write it fast. When you’re working on the first draft of your content, get your ideas down as fast as possible. Don’t re-read, edit, or polish. Get Master Content Marketing .
  • Day Two: How to Fill in the Details of Your Winning Piece of Content on Problogger

How to write website content: Summary tips

6. Wrap it up with a summary

Here’s another content section you may not have noticed before, but the best content features it.

Toward the end of your content, it’s smart to summarize the topic you covered and move readers to the final content element — the call to action.

Your content summary is a way to look back and say, “Here’s what we covered.”

It’s a last opportunity to reinforce the information you shared so your reader retains it.

Summary resources:

  • How to Summarize an Article on WikiHow
  • Here’s what I share about writing a summary in Master Content Marketing . First, refer back to something mentioned at the beginning. Remind your reader about what they learning. Reinforce how they’ll benefit from having consumed the content. Get Master Content Marketing .

How to write website content:Call to action tips

7. Add a call to action

Content marketing and blogging serve a business purpose.

Creating content helps your website get found on search engines. It attracts prospects to your business and it gives you a way to develop a trust-based relationship with them.

But if you don’t ask your readers to take action, you might as well skip the whole exercise!

Your call to action — placed at the very end of your content — will do this for you.

Call to action resources:

  • Powerful Calls to Action: How to Get Your Reader to Take the Next Step on Copyblogger
  • In Master Content Marketing I say “Your call to action is where business happens.” Your “CTA” doesn’t have to ask for a sale — you can request that people leave a comment or share your content on social media. Either way, make sure your call to action is convincing and direct, like this: Get Master Content Marketing .
  • Call to Action: Five resources to help improve your CTA on MainWP

How to write website content like a pro

I hope that this simple breakdown was helpful. You don’t become a content pro overnight.

Take it day-by-day and build your website content in this order:

First, create the foundational pages that won’t change often

  • Build a Home page that explains who you help and how you help them
  • Create an About page so visitors can learn more about the person or people behind the website
  • Build a Contact page so people can reach out

Have something ready to sell?

Have something to offer? Build a Commerce page next.

Use this page to offer your products or services. You can add to it over time. And if you haven’t developed any offers yet, skip this step and get started with the next one.

Finally, begin publishing regular content

Once you have the basics in place, focus on creating and publishing content on a regular basis. The seven essential elements to include in each piece of content are:

  • A compelling tagline
  • An inviting first sentence
  • An intro section
  • At least three subheads
  • Your main copy
  • A call to action

Now that you know how to write website content, do me a favor? (And yes, this is a call to action!)

Click one of the colorful social sharing buttons here and share this content on your favorite social platform.

Improve your online business writing skills — 5 favorite tools and tips

When I started my online business in 2010 I didn’t consider myself a writer.

I taught myself how to write for an online audience by learning and practicing — writing web copy and blog posts. Lots of blog posts!

Since those early days I’ve written three books and many thousands of words on my own site and sites like Copyblogger. If I can do it, so can you, my friend.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get all my latest videos, hot off the digital press! Here’s the list of tools I mention in the above video:

  • 750Words.com
  • Hemingway Editor
  • SendCheckIt Subject Line Tester
  • Sharethrough Headline Grader
  • Writesonic (affiliate link)

Remember, they’re only pixels

You may have always wondered how to write content for a website that’s brand new.

Staring at those blank web pages can feel incredibly daunting. But think of it like this — a blank page is an opportunity to carve out your own little corner of the web.

Remember, pixels are easy and fast to update. Don’t be afraid to create content and hit publish with the website content creation tips here.

NOTE: The illustrations in this post are taken directly from Master Content Marketing and were created by the brilliant D.J. Billings .

  • Content Marketing & Copywriting , Online Business , Website Best Practices

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Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses

I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.

Master Content Marketing and Master Content Strategy, Second Edition covers

The Master Content Series

4 thoughts on “the complete beginner’s guide to starting your website content”.

Oh my goodness, such a comprehensive article! Not only are your seven steps so easy to follow, but the extra resources for each provide so much content. I’m away to craft better CTAs. I know all my content needs them, but I always find it hard to find one that packs a punch. Thanks for the read!

Sounds like I need to write an article about how to craft a call to action — thanks for the idea! I appreciate your comment, Storm.

Great read Pamela! There definitely should be consistency in terms of what brands and businesses post on their website. The content they share needs to be aligned with what they’re selling, it’s a great way to generate leads and most importantly to stay relevant in their industry.

Yes! Consistency is key. We need to stay on-theme so we’re sending a clear message about who we help and how. Thanks for the comment!

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Writing informative and user-friendly content for your web audience.

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By CDH Guest Author on October 17, 2018

Written by Megan Reusche

Knowing how to write for the web is a very important skill to have in today’s tech-based society. By understanding your target audience, formatting the article for readability and creating informative headlines, you can create a very user-friendly article for your readers. The higher the readability of your website, the higher your credibility.

Know Your Audience

Whether you’re working on a conference blog post or uploading your latest research onto your website, it is important to know who your reader is, what information they are hoping to find and how to phrase your content in a way that makes sense. Not only does writing with keywords and everyday language help your readers understand your copy, it will also increase your SEO.

Some tips on writing for your readers include:

  • Using everyday language and jargon
  • Addressing the reader as “you”
  • Referring to the company or organization as “we”

Remember that your web article could be read by anyone from around the world, so using everyday language is important in order to increase the amount of people who can read and understand your writing.

Format the Article for Your Reader

While we often stress about filling up the white space of Word documents when formatting academic papers or newspaper articles, website writing is the exact opposite. It’s better to leave more white space on your article because it encourages readability and allows readers to scroll down for the information they need.

Some ways to maximize white space and increase the readability of your website include:

  • Using bullets/lists to increase user scrolls
  • Breaking up segments with headings
  • Writing shorter sentences
  • Starting your lists with a verb
  • Including important information in the first paragraph  

The inverted pyramid will help you organize your thoughts in a way that is accessible to your readers. Include broad, need-to-know facts in your introduction paragraph and place specific, nice-to-know details in your following paragraphs. This ensures that the reader will know the main intention of your article before they continue scrolling or leave the page.

Create Catchy and Informative Headlines

Take the time to create a functional and eye-catching title because it will tell your reader what your article is about and will encourage them to click on the article. When brainstorming headlines for your articles, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid broad headlines
  • Tell the reader something useful
  • Focus on clarity
  • Place strong keywords in the front

By creating front-load headings , the reader knows the main purpose of the article right off the bat. It helps increase your SEO ranking and ensures that people click on your article. For example, Improve SEO Ranking Through Article Readability is a more effective title than Fix Article Readability to Increase Your SEO Ranking .

If you combine these three strategies in your web content writing, you will increase the number of viewers on your page and your articles will be more user-friendly and credible. If you want to learn more about which words you should avoid using in your articles, or if you want to learn more about SEO, you can find some additional resources below:

  • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/cringeworthy-words/
  • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/seo-and-usability/
  • https://www.intechnic.com/blog/50-tips-for-writing-for-the-web/  

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Home > How To & Tools > Writing for the Web

When writing for the web, using plain language allows users to find what they need, understand what they have found, and then use it to meet their needs. It should also be actionable, findable, and shareable.

It’s important to understand how what you are writing fits into the overall content strategy , what the content lifecycle entails, and who is involved in the process. 

Why it Matters

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Identify Your Users’ Top Tasks

People come to your website with a specific task in mind. When developing your site’s content, keep your users’ tasks in mind and write to ensure you are helping them accomplish those tasks.  If your website doesn’t help them complete that task, they’ll leave. Conduct market research, perform a task analysis and other types of user research, and analyze metrics to better understand what users are looking to accomplish.

Knowing your users’ top tasks can help you identify:

  • Content to feature on your homepage or landing pages
  • Page headers and sub headers
  • A logical structure to each page’s content

How to Write User-Friendly Content

It’s important to target your audience when writing for the web . By knowing who you are writing for, you can write at a level that will be meaningful for them. Use the personas you created while designing the site to help you visualize who you are writing for.

  • Use the words your users use.  By using keywords that your users use, you will help them understand the copy and will help optimize it for search engines.
  • Chunk your content.   Chunking makes your content more scannable by breaking it into manageable sections.
  • Front-load the important information . Use the journalism model of the “inverted pyramid.” Start with the content that is most important to your audience, and then provide additional details.
  • Use pronouns . The user is “you.” The organization or government agency is “we.” This creates cleaner sentence structure and more approachable content.
  • Use active voice . “The board proposed the legislation” not “The regulation was proposed by the board.”
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs . The ideal standard is no more than 20 words per sentence, five sentences per paragraph. Use dashes instead of semi-colons or, better yet, break the sentence into two. It is ok to start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or “or” if it makes things clear and brief.
  • Use bullets and numbered lists . Don’t limit yourself to using this for long lists—one sentence and two bullets is easier to read than three sentences.
  • Use clear headlines and subheads . Questions, especially those with pronouns, are particularly effective.
  • Use images, diagrams, or multimedia to visually represent ideas in the content. Videos and images should reinforce the text on your page.
  • Use white space.  Using white space allows you to reduce noise by visually separate information.

It’s also important to create an editorial calendar. You can encourage visitors to return to your site by keeping your content fresh and up-to-date, especially when working with blogs, social media, or dynamic content websites.

Remember that developing web copy in plain language in the federal government is the law. Learn more about the government’s plain language standard and find a checklist   to help you in your projects.

Testing Your Document’s Readability

Use Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics feature—part of the Spelling & Grammar check—to measure your progress as you write and edit copy. Try to make your reading ease number go up and your grade level go down. You can improve your readability by using active voice and short words, sentences, and paragraphs.

  • Document Checklist for Plain Language on the Web

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The Top 12 Best Free Online Publishing Platforms For All New Writers

Free publishing platforms For writers to publish articles online

Are you a new writer looking to publish your articles online? It might be a little confusing at first trying to choose the right digital publishing platform to use.

Before looking for the best publishing options, you need to decide which platforms are suited to your topic or writing style. Are you interested in writing opinion pieces, sharing personal experiences, providing expert advice, or publishing on academic topics?

Every platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about finding one that aligns best with your writing style, topics, and intended audience.

You can check the suggestions in this article to help you decide which platforms will offer you the best chance of finding new readers.

You can publish articles online right now

With digital publishing, it is easy for anyone to learn how to write and publish articles online.

There are many online publishing platforms for writers, so you can publish your writing in a matter of minutes.

What works for one writer might not work for the other. Are you writing essays or how-to guides ? It is also important to know who your audience is when choosing article publishing sites.

Do you want to reach teens, young adults, or adults? Are you trying to reach young entrepreneurs or established business owners?

Are you writing poems? There are also many free sites where you can publish your poetry .

Consider the types of articles you want to write and the audience you want to write for. Then you can go ahead and find the best online publishing platforms.

There are also plenty of free writing apps to help you write great content that readers will love. But you should always use a reliable online grammar checker to make sure your writing is as perfect as possible.

Then, you can bring your vision and ideas to the world with digital content. With so many people reading articles and online content on laptops, smartphones, and tablets, there is always an audience for new writers.

There are many online magazines and sites that accept articles for free. It’s up to you to find the best digital publishing solution to suit your needs.

To get you started, here is a list of platforms offering free article publishing.

publish you articles on medium

Medium is a very popular free publishing site where you can share your writing. You can connect with more sophisticated and dedicated readers than you might find on other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

However, it is similar to a social network in its ease of connecting with other Medium users. But it is best suited to long-form writing.

It is very easy to create and set up your Medium account. Then, take a quick tour and read the FAQs. You are now ready to be published online with your first article.

The publishing tools are super easy to use with click and edit or drag and drop to move elements.

Your content on Medium should be full-length articles that are highly informative. Using original images is highly recommended.

Be aware, though, that it is not a publishing platform suited to short and obvious promotional blog posts.

You can read our how to use Medium guide for more detailed information about the submission guidelines. But they are quite straightforward.

2. Linkedin Articles

publish you articles on linkedin

You are probably already on Linkedin. So why not publish your articles there?

Follow the instructions for publishing Linkedin articles , and you are ready to go.

With so many people on the site, you are bound to find readers for professional articles.

It has to be one of the best places to easily publish your articles.

3. Publish PDF

Publish a PDF

This really is the easiest way to publish your writing online.

You don’t even need to have a website or blog.

All you need is a PDF file and your Google account.

Best of all, Google indexes PDF documents , so there’s a good chance that yours will appear on Google Search.

Read our quick tutorial on how to publish a PDF article online , and you will be ready to publish your articles online immediately.

4. Scoop.It

publish you articles on scoop.it

Scoop.It is one of the most popular free publishing platforms for new writers.

You can publish great magazines on this website, and it does what it promises.

There is a function where you can find great content to help as inspiration.

Simply use appropriate keywords, and you will be flooded with information.

publish you articles on issuu

You can find some excellent content on Issuu  and some entertaining writing as well.

It is a user-friendly platform where anyone can create digital publications.

You don’t need to use any publishing software.

You can also sell your digital magazine directly from the website, making it possible to earn some money.

Issuu is definitely one of the leading platforms for anyone who has something worthwhile to say.

With more than 15000 updates daily, you can see why it is so popular with writers who are publishing articles online.

It also gives you the opportunity to reach a lot of people with your writing. It doesn’t matter what your passion is; there is a place for you on this platform.

Your magazine can be about anything from cats to basketball, so there are no boundaries.

publish you articles on Yudo

If you are a photographer who wants to share your multimedia with the world, you might find that Yudo is for you.

On this platform, you can mix your writing, videos, photographs, and audio.

Who wouldn’t like to read a digital magazine that offers all of these features?

It makes for a more exciting read, so it could be worth a shot.

All you need to have is a passion and start working hard at it.

7. ArticleSeen

publish you articles on articleseen

ArticleSeen  prefers original content. But that is what you should do when posting your articles online.

If you want free exposure for your writing, this is a good site to help you on your way.

There is a good choice of categories, which means you are sure to find one that suits your writing topic.

8. PUB HTML5

publish you articles on pub html5

PUB HTML5 is free of charge, so you can see if it is the right digital publishing tool for you.

The design is sleek and simple, which is what you want as a beginner.

You don’t want websites that are confusing to use.

But the great thing about this platform is that your publications will appear professional on all devices.

It can be a computer or a mobile device. The results are the same.

You can publish interactive elements in magazines, catalogs, and brochures and create rich-media flipping books.

If you are trying to get your name out there as an influential writer, you might want to give this website a try.

Joomag publishing

With over 500,000 publishers using this website, you can understand why I included Joomag  in this list.

You can manage your subscribers on this platform and add more when you please.

It gives you full control over your publications.

Use might want to use a good grammar checker to help you write flawless articles. Then you can launch your own campaign.

You can use your mailing list to notify all of your subscribers when you publish a new article.

You can send emails that you write for your subscribers to make them feel part of the team.

It is an easy way to promote your work.

10. ArticleBiz

ArticleBiz logo

ArticleBiz offers you the chance to get your articles picked up by online publishers.

It’s very easy to submit your articles.

When you do, you will also complete a resource box. It is a short bio about yourself. You can include your email and website address information.

You can choose from a huge range of categories for your articles.

It has an Alexa ranking of 210,908. So it certainly gets a lot of traffic and readers.

If you are new to article writing, it is a great site to make a start with your online publishing.

11. Substack

substack logo

For writers open to a different approach in publishing, Substack is well worth investigating.

It’s a free platform you can join to publish your articles. But the big focus with Substack is on getting readers to subscribe to your writing.

Your articles will certainly be available online. But if your sole aim is to get your articles to rank high on search engines, Medium might be a better option.

However, if you want to build a loyal readership, there’s no better way than to attract email subscribers.

You can start by offering your articles for free. But if you can build some traction and your mailing list, there is an option to monetize your writing later.

There are a lot of high-profile writers already earning money from paid subscribers. But many new writers are succeeding too.

If you only want to publish one or two articles, it’s not the platform for you.

But if you want to make writing your passion and publish regular articles on your topic, Substack might be precisely the right publishing option for you.

12. Google Sites

Google Sites

When you want to have more control over your articles, you might consider using Google Sites .

It’s a simple website builder from Google. The two big advantages are that it’s free and very easy to use.

All you need is your Google account to log in and get started.

You can set up your new site in only a few minutes. Just make sure you make it available online.

Once you start adding your articles, you then have a chance of them being indexed by Google.

Like other website platforms, you can add gadgets to create interest. But they are basic.

Submitting your articles to a lot of different sites can be time-consuming and difficult to track.

But with your own site, you are in control of all your content.

Google Sites is a great option when all you want is a free, simple, and easy way to publish articles online in one place.

When you see the choices you have, there are no limits today on interactive content creation and digital publishing.

Anyone can learn to publish articles online once they decide to start. All you need to do is find new topic ideas .

With all these fantastic platforms available to you, all you have to do is get to work and start writing.

Many have native apps for iOS, Android, and Google Play. Check your App stores.

Before you know it, you are going to be writing for free article submission sites .

All you need is to use your drive and passion to get you heading toward your goals.

Give one of these websites a try, and you will be publishing your fantastic articles in no time at all.

Related reading: Where To Publish Short Stories Online

About The Author

Avatar for Derek Haines

Derek Haines

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52 thoughts on “the top 12 best free online publishing platforms for all new writers”.

Avatar for Phil Langlotz

I am a retired man with a technical background. I have written many articles on varied subjects but have never published. The subject matter includes science, religion, political and current events. The articles vary in length from one page to 20 pages. Have you ane suggestions for an appropriate posting site?

Avatar for Derek Haines

You cover a lot of topics, and different lengths, Phil.

It might be difficult to find one platform for them all.

Perhaps setting up a free blog, such as with Blogger or WordPress, might be a better move.

Thanks, I’ll look into that.

Avatar for Uma Gupta

I have written quite a few articles, most of them being inspirational. Some are in the form of messages learnt from incidents in everyday life. I also feel that as a citizen on this planet, it is my duty to share the good things I have learnt, so others can benefit too. Am wondering where would be a good place to begin publishing. Thanks.

Avatar for Ms. Anonymous

Derek, I am a decent lady, not available for romance, but just want you to know that I like your way; I just like your website & the way you make your comments and respond to questions. There’s just something about you. I like you.

Thank you. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the content of the site.

Avatar for Rachel

I think writing story’s and publishing them and seeing how people comment, will help me when i get older and see what I want to be. I haven’t chosen yet I’ve always wanted to be a journalist or a media worker, honestly, I don’t yet…

Avatar for Dzeani

I notice that as a new writer, I have strong passion to publish. But I believe there is the need to learn to make my writing ‘clean’, mistake-free and perfect for my readers before publishing. What writing training apps would you recommend to help me ‘sanitize’ my writing?

I would suggest Prowritingaid for a new writer. It’s got everything you need to edit and improve your writing.

Avatar for Victoria

Will be paid for publishing articles on this platform listed above?

Avatar for Wycliffe Obiero

Will try this

Avatar for Michael L. Ball

I’m seventy-two and have been writing for a long time. I have a folder full of articles and I also have a folder full of science fiction stories. I have poetry and comics. I need a platform that allows me to publish as I please.

Avatar for Samuel Mathore

I’m an unpublished writer with several manuscripts. Do these platforms here publish novels?

No, Samuel. These sites are only suitable for publishing articles.

If you want to publish novels, try Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Draft2Digital.

Avatar for Paul Amupitan

Hello Derek, I’m new to writing articles, but I wasn’t to write articles focusing on Young People and their struggles. I would like to build some readership for my article. What site do you recommend? Thank you.

You can use any site, Paul. But before you do, make sure your writing is perfect. In your comment, I’m sure you meant, wanted to write, and not wasn’t to write. You can’t expect to find readers if you make errors like this. Always, always check your writing before you hit the button.

Avatar for Paoletta

Dear Derek, I would like to write articles about personal awareness and development. I am a new writer and I would like to reach a large odience eventually .. which platform would you recommend, please?

The best platform is always the one that you feel will work for you, Paoletta. But if you are looking at building a readership, Medium and Substack are two you might consider.

Avatar for Francis Ekongang Nzante

I’m really grateful to have stumbled on this site which I believe will greatly help me in publishing my articles. I do news articles that focus much more on culture. But I sort of publish stuff that is newsworthy so I also write on crisis in Africa.

Avatar for Anna

Be aware that on Medium your articles and you as an author won’t be searchable until you get a critical mass of readers and followers/claps. Which means that you need to actively promote your writing, for strangers to find your page on any given day (except the few first hours of the publication). Very disappointed.

Medium is no different from any other form of publishing articles. You need a certain amount of traction before it can rank in Google Search.

For a blog post, you need backlinks. On Medium, you need followers and claps.

It’s pretty standard stuff, but not disappointing if you know how to promote what you post.

There are no free rides at getting articles to rank. You still need to work on it to be successful.

Avatar for Joyce A Valley

i need to publish my story about chronic kidney disease and kidney transplants, the need for kidney donors and how this need is affected by the Covid pandemic.; and my personal need for a transplant to save my life. Where is the best place to submit my article?

Use any of the sites listed in this article. But I would try Medium first.

Avatar for Serenee Osman

I need to publish my article which are explain about lidar technology. Where can I publish my article?

Avatar for sisay kelemu

Dear sir I need to publish my paper which concerns on climate. so how can I publish it?

Avatar for Bhaswati

Really grateful to get these platforms to publish my article. Thanks to you for gifting us such information for these platforms.

Avatar for erum

how I can publish the article ??

Avatar for Tzvi

Good information but why did you not include Substack?

Avatar for mary kawira Kithinji

this is great where do i publish my scholarly articles and class modules

Avatar for Muvro

Hi Derek, Impressive Collection shared on Free Publishing Articles. Would like to know where we can share technical content.

Avatar for Emily

Ok how can I publish

Avatar for Simeone Nkosi

Hey this is Simeone here. I already participate in the Medium corporative community, it is a good platform for publishing your stories online. I only have a technical problems with the platform. I’m hoping to enjoy my writing of articles with these other platforms.

Avatar for Ishika Agrawal

According to me the best usage of time is writing. It makes an individual to think widely on every aspect. Writing enable person to do brainstorming over the topic. This improves the writing work of writer.

Avatar for Edina Back

Thank you very much! I spent about 2-3 hours and looked at these sites. Medium appears to be educational and very helpful for beginning writers! I will use it and promote it! See where I am with it by the end of the year! Thank you again! Edina Back, Executive Establishment Officer, Personnel Efficiency Foundation

Avatar for Paul Ayinbuomwan

Good morning. Please I am a prolific writer. I write on a broad range of topics and areas ranging from Marriage, Relationship, Politics, amongst others. How do I publish my articles please?

Avatar for Dinah Modipa

Fine, thank you.

Avatar for Akanshi Mittal

I want to publish my poetries. Where I can get it published?

Avatar for C R PETTY

I have 200 pages of musings and poetry in RHYMING format. Deep thoughts and shallow—-should it be published? C R Petty Col USMC Ret.

Avatar for Sizwe Mhlungu

I’m looking for free publishing platform. I want to publish an article I wrote while I was in college. This an academic article for educators (teaching profession). What is the appropriate website for that.

Avatar for Diksha kumari

Hlo sir/mam, we are the students of masters. Sir we want to publish our research article in your site. So sir please give us the details regarding publication criteria or fees. We shall be thankful to you for this kind of purpose.

Avatar for Tshepo Motlou

As they say always seek knowledge I would like to seek knowledge and become one of the best poets ever in history by explaining to people about what’s love

Avatar for Ved Vineet Gautam

Kindly please keep providing me the work related to writing . Iam hard working and dedicated.

Avatar for Maseipone Jacqueline

“Life is my teacher and living is my lesson.” I believe everyday you live, you learn alot from life. When you stop living is when the lessons stop. Article is informative and useful. Reading it has set me in motion. I now know how to proceed. The lessons are a step forward in the right direction.

Avatar for Darealprisonart

Very valuable information. Lot of secrets, thank you.

Avatar for Ubai

Hello Lisa, Great article. Thanks for bringing these tools on one platform for the world. Keep up the good work. Regards

Avatar for Nsigaye Andrew

Hello we are publishing house based in Rwanda Africa, we would like to get in touch with you for more information on the on how we can work with you in publishing working in have books for kids both fiction and non fiction kindly tell me how we can work together. Waiting from you soonest Best Regards Andrew.

Please use our site contact form if you wish to get in touch with us.

Avatar for ABRAHAM JOHNSON

I want to publish a book. What is the process ? Can I contact you ?Nearest office ?

We only offer advice articles on our site, Abraham. Sorry, but we do not offer personal support or coaching.

Avatar for Monali Elwatte

Is it possible to publish a small article regarding medical science

Avatar for Jembi Lokou

Frankly speaking, and as human beings, we always learn from one another. You may good in x and I’m good at y, for that reason I may need your help and you may need my help. It’s a mutual learning.

Hi Derek Haines, I would like to publish my short gospel articles, Where do I start?

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Writing an article

Topic outline.

The purpose of an article is often to inform and persuade the reader. 

Articles give the reader information about a certain topic, bringing together and discussing different perspectives to provide a balanced argument which lets the reader make up their own mind about the topic. 

Articles can also be used to persuade the reader that a certain viewpoint is correct. For example, articles in newspapers or magazines might express a particular viewpoint or perspective; this may be positive or negative depending on the topic. 

The ways you use language and organise your ideas when writing an article will depend on the audience and the purpose you are writing for.

  • think about the audience that the article is for – w hen writing an article, you do not usually know your readers personally and so you will need to think about their likely interests and experience before you write
  • how you expect, or want, your audience to react – re member that the tone of most articles should be semi-formal, so before deciding on your tone imagine your article being read out loud and how that might sound to your reader. For example, an article reviewing a film may be humorous, even sarcastic, but that would not work well for more serious readers or topics
  • the purpose for the article – is th e purpose, or reason, for writing your article to persuade your readers to agree with you or to invite your readers to think about different points of view and decide for themselves? For example, do you need to sound reliable and well informed, or choose words that strongly convey a particular emotion?
  • how to keep your readers interest – ima gine how boring it would be for your reader if you used the same kind of sentences and simple repetitive vocabulary all the way through your article. Try to include a range of grammatical structures and relevant vocabulary to make sure that your reader wants to keep reading.
  • Plan a route through your article before you start writing it – th e structure of an article is usually in three parts. For example:
  • An introduction – engage your reader’s interest and introduce your argument or the main points of the topic to be discussed.
  • A middle – develop relevant and interesting points about the topic to interest and/or convince your readers to think about a particular perspective.
  • An end – d raw your points together and leave your reader with a clear impression of the argument you want them to believe or the viewpoints you would like them to consider.
  • Organise your ideas into paragraphs as appropriate – this will help you to develop and support your points convincingly, to build your argument and/or offer a full explanation of a particular point of view.
  • Show your reader at a glance what your article is about – articles usually have a suitable headline to attract their readers’ attention and you can choose to use subheadings (a bit like mini headlines) to help break your article up and move your reader on. Do not overdo these, but well-chosen subheadings can help to catch and keep your reader’s attention, as well as sum up the main points you are making.
  • Show the connections between ideas in sentences and paragraphs – for example, where a new point or idea follows on from what you have already said you might use linking words or phrases such as, 'in addition’, ‘likewise’ or ‘similarly’.
  • Example of an article

write an article for website

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  • How to Cite a Website | MLA, APA & Chicago Examples

How to Cite a Website | MLA, APA & Chicago Examples

Published on March 5, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 17, 2024.

To cite a page from a website, you need a short in-text citation and a corresponding reference stating the author’s name, the date of publication, the title of the page, the website name, and the URL.

This information is presented differently in different citation styles. APA , MLA , and Chicago are the most commonly used styles.

Use the interactive example generator below to explore APA and MLA website citations.

Note that the format is slightly different for citing YouTube and other online video platforms, or for citing an image .

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Table of contents

Citing a website in mla style, citing a website in apa style, citing a website in chicago style, frequently asked questions about citations.

An MLA Works Cited entry for a webpage lists the author’s name , the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the site (in italics), the date of publication, and the URL.

The in-text citation usually just lists the author’s name. For a long page, you may specify a (shortened) section heading to locate the specific passage. Don’t use paragraph numbers unless they’re specifically numbered on the page.

The same format is used for blog posts and online articles from newspapers and magazines.

You can also use our free MLA Citation Generator to generate your website citations.

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Citing a whole website.

When you cite an entire website rather than a specific page, include the author if one can be identified for the whole site (e.g. for a single-authored blog). Otherwise, just start with the site name.

List the copyright date displayed on the site; if there isn’t one, provide an access date after the URL.

Webpages with no author or date

When no author is listed, cite the organization as author only if it differs from the website name.

If the organization name is also the website name, start the Works Cited entry with the title instead, and use a shortened version of the title in the in-text citation.

When no publication date is listed, leave it out and include an access date at the end instead.

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An APA reference for a webpage lists the author’s last name and initials, the full date of publication, the title of the page (in italics), the website name (in plain text), and the URL.

The in-text citation lists the author’s last name and the year. If it’s a long page, you may include a locator to identify the quote or paraphrase (e.g. a paragraph number and/or section title).

Note that a general reference to an entire website doesn’t require a citation in APA Style; just include the URL in parentheses after you mention the site.

You can also use our free APA Citation Generator to create your webpage citations. Search for a URL to retrieve the details.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Blog posts and online articles.

Blog posts follow a slightly different format: the title of the post is not italicized, and the name of the blog is.

The same format is used for online newspaper and magazine articles—but not for articles from news sites like Reuters and BBC News (see the previous example).

When a page has no author specified, list the name of the organization that created it instead (and omit it later if it’s the same as the website name).

When it doesn’t list a date of publication, use “n.d.” in place of the date. You can also include an access date if the page seems likely to change over time.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, footnotes are used to cite sources. They refer to a bibliography at the end that lists all your sources in full.

A Chicago bibliography entry for a website lists the author’s name, the page title (in quotation marks), the website name, the publication date, and the URL.

Chicago also has an alternative author-date citation style . Examples of website citations in this style can be found here .

For blog posts and online articles from newspapers, the name of the publication is italicized. For a blog post, you should also add the word “blog” in parentheses, unless it’s already part of the blog’s name.

When a web source doesn’t list an author , you can usually begin your bibliography entry and short note with the name of the organization responsible. Don’t repeat it later if it’s also the name of the website. A full note should begin with the title instead.

When no publication or revision date is shown, include an access date instead in your bibliography entry.

The main elements included in website citations across APA , MLA , and Chicago style are the author, the date of publication, the page title, the website name, and the URL. The information is presented differently in each style.

In APA , MLA , and Chicago style citations for sources that don’t list a specific author (e.g. many websites ), you can usually list the organization responsible for the source as the author.

If the organization is the same as the website or publisher, you shouldn’t repeat it twice in your reference:

  • In APA and Chicago, omit the website or publisher name later in the reference.
  • In MLA, omit the author element at the start of the reference, and cite the source title instead.

If there’s no appropriate organization to list as author, you will usually have to begin the citation and reference entry with the title of the source instead.

When you want to cite a specific passage in a source without page numbers (e.g. an e-book or website ), all the main citation styles recommend using an alternate locator in your in-text citation . You might use a heading or chapter number, e.g. (Smith, 2016, ch. 1)

In APA Style , you can count the paragraph numbers in a text to identify a location by paragraph number. MLA and Chicago recommend that you only use paragraph numbers if they’re explicitly marked in the text.

For audiovisual sources (e.g. videos ), all styles recommend using a timestamp to show a specific point in the video when relevant.

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

  • APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities.
  • Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history.
  • Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

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If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

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MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

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Creating effective technical documentation

Author avatar

Effective feature documentation is important in enhancing a user's experience with the feature. Good documentation is like a piece of the puzzle that makes everything click — the key for encouraging feature adoption.

To support you in creating effective technical documentation, this article provides an overview of the core principles of technical writing. It also highlights the best practices for creating clear and accessible documentation. Applying these technical writing principles helps us maintain the high quality of content on MDN. Whether you're documenting your own project or product or contributing to technical content in various settings, you can improve the quality of your work by following these best practices.

Adopt clarity, conciseness, and consistency

These three Cs form the core principles of technical writing. They can take you a long way in producing quality documentation.

For achieving clarity in your writing, apply the following guidelines:

  • Use simple words and clear language. Keep in mind the audience, especially if it includes non-native English speakers.
  • Be clear about who needs to perform the action. Writing in active voice is not strictly required. However, you should use it when you want to be clear about who needs to perform the action. For example, clarify whether a function is triggered by an event or if the user needs to explicitly call the function.
  • Clearly introduce and explain new terms. This helps to lay the foundation for concepts that are covered later in the documentation.
Tip : Replace "it", "this", and "these" with proper nouns if they can refer to more than one thing in the given context.
  • Aim for one idea per sentence to improve readability.
  • Stick to one main idea per paragraph. Each sentence in a paragraph should logically connect to the one before it. Imagine if each sentence in a paragraph was a link in a chain. If you pick up the first link, the other links in the chain should follow, forming a continuous sequence. This is how the sentences should connect to each other, ensuring a seamless flow of a single idea.

Conciseness

Keep sentences short. This automatically increases the readability and clarity of your document. It also helps in quick comprehension. Long sentences can be more challenging to understand quickly due to their complex structures.

Tip : Based on common readability standards, aim for 15-20 words per sentence.

For additional insights on sentence length and readability strategies, see Simple sentences (on https://readabilityguidelines.co.uk ) and Popular readability formulas , including the Flesch-Kincaid index, on Wikipedia.

Consistency

Use the same terminology throughout your documentation to ensure a seamless reader experience. For example, if you start referring to "user agents" as browsers, stick with that term consistently. This avoids confusion that can arise from using words interchangeably, even when they share the same meaning.

Additionally, maintain consistent word casing and follow a uniform formatting style throughout your documentation. These practices not only enhance readability but also contribute to a professional presentation of your documentation.

Organize your content for maximum impact

Apply the same principles for organizing your content as you would for organizing your code: spend some time setting a clear goal and thinking about the desired structure for your documentation. Ensure that each subsection contributes to this goal incrementally.

Start with an introduction

In the introduction, first describe the feature you're documenting. Next, set the context by explaining why learning about the feature would be beneficial to the readers. This can include describing real-life scenarios where the feature can be useful. The more relevance you add to the topic, the easier it will be for readers to understand and engage with the content.

Progress logically

The following questions can help you ensure that your content is progressing logically:

  • Is your document structured to guide readers from foundational concepts to more advanced ones? Are there sections to introduce the " what " to establish a base before delving into the " why " and " how "? Consider whether the document structure mirrors the natural learning path for the topic. Aligning the document's structure with the natural progression of learning helps readers build their knowledge step-by-step and also enhances the overall learning experience.
  • Are there sufficient how-to guides or examples following the conceptual sections?
  • Consider the flow of the content. Is it following a logical sequence — from one sentence to the next, from one paragraph to the next, and from one section to the next? Does each section logically build on the information presented previously, avoiding abrupt jumps or gaps in the content?

Additionally, as you work on the draft, always ask yourself:

  • What reader questions am I addressing with this sentence?
  • Can I add a simplistic or real-life use case to explain this concept?

Include examples

Imagine sitting next to someone as you explain the concepts to them. Preempt their questions and address them in your writing. Use this approach to add as many relevant examples as possible.

When adding examples, don't restrict yourself to only code; include non-code scenarios to demonstrate a feature's utility. This helps readers understand the concepts better and also caters to different learning styles. Consider providing real-world scenarios or use cases to illustrate how the feature or concept applies in practical situations.

Optimize the document structure and length

Evaluate your documentation's structure to ensure it maintains a logical and balanced hierarchy.

  • Ensure that each section and subsection has a clear purpose and sufficient content.
  • Look for instances where a main section contains only one subsection (orphan), such as a single H3 section under an H2 section. This indicates that you need to reorganize your content or make some additions.
  • Check if there are lower-level headings such as H4 . Too many subsections can be overwhelming for readers, making it difficult for them to grasp the information. In such cases, consider presenting the content as a bulleted list instead to help readers retain the key points more effectively. This approach helps to simplify the hierarchy and also contributes to easier navigation.
  • While there should be sufficient content for each section, pay attention to the overall length. If any section becomes too extensive, it can be overwhelming for readers. Split large sections into multiple logical subsections or restructure the content into new sections and subsections. Grouping content into digestible pieces helps maintain focus and improve navigation for readers.

Proofread your writing

One aspect that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of self-reviewing and proofreading what you've written. Whether you're creating a large document or a short paragraph, this step is crucial.

Taking the time to fully review your work will help you identify sections that don't flow well or can be improved for clarity. During self-review, aim to spot and remove redundancy (repetition of ideas without adding value) and repetitiveness (overuse of words or phrases). These refinements will ensure your documentation is clear and coherent and conveys your ideas as intended.

Proofread and then take a break before you review again. Only then submit your work. While spell checkers can flag spelling errors, they might not flag incorrect use of words, such as an unintended use of "he" instead of "the". It's best to take a break and return with fresh eyes to catch any errors you might have missed. Pay close attention to identify inconsistencies in tone, style, tense, or formatting and make the necessary adjustments.

Additional tips

To improve the clarity and accessibility of your documentation, also keep the following guidelines and tips in mind. To go in-depth into any of the topics, feel free to consult our Writing style guide .

  • Bulleted vs numbered lists : Lists, in general, make documentation easier to scan. Use bulleted lists when there is no specific order of the items. Use numbered lists when the steps need to be followed in the specific order. Always include a lead-sentence before beginning a list to provide context.
  • Commas : Use a comma after an introductory clause to improve readability and to clarify the sentence structure. Use a comma to separate items in a list to ensure clarity.
  • Alt text : Always provide an alternative text for the images you add to content. This makes your documentation accessible to people using screen readers. In addition to images, ensure that video and audio files have accompanying descriptive texts.
  • Descriptive link text : Make sure each link text is clear even out of context and clearly indicates where the link leads. Descriptive link texts also help people using screen readers understand the destination of links. For example, use "Read our writing style guide to learn more" instead of "Click here to learn more".
  • Inclusive language : Make your documentation welcoming to everyone. Strive to use words that respect and acknowledge the diversity of your audience.

That's it for this article. I hope you found these tips helpful as a quick refresher on technical writing best practices. Remember that learning how to create effective and easy-to-use documentation is an ongoing process. It starts with understanding your audience and the goals of your documentation. By applying these technical writing principles and tips, you'll certainly be able to enhance the clarity and overall quality of your documentation.

Let me know if you learned something new or if there's any idea that resonated with you. I'd also like to hear if there are any best practices you use in your technical documentation workflow. Share with us on Mastodon or Discord .

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A glacier calving makes a huge splash.

Atlantic Ocean is headed for a tipping point − once melting glaciers shut down the Gulf Stream, we would see extreme climate change within decades, study shows

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Postdoctoral Researcher in Climate Physics, Utrecht University

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Professor of Physics, Utrecht University

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Climate Model Specialist, Utrecht University

Disclosure statement

René van Westen receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC-AdG project 101055096, TAOC).

Henk A. Dijkstra receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC-AdG project 101055096, TAOC, PI: Dijkstra).

Michael Kliphuis does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Superstorms, abrupt climate shifts and New York City frozen in ice. That’s how the blockbuster Hollywood movie “ The Day After Tomorrow ” depicted an abrupt shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation and the catastrophic consequences.

While Hollywood’s vision was over the top, the 2004 movie raised a serious question: If global warming shuts down the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is crucial for carrying heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes, how abrupt and severe would the climate changes be?

Twenty years after the movie’s release, we know a lot more about the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation. Instruments deployed in the ocean starting in 2004 show that the Atlantic Ocean circulation has observably slowed over the past two decades, possibly to its weakest state in almost a millennium . Studies also suggest that the circulation has reached a dangerous tipping point in the past that sent it into a precipitous, unstoppable decline, and that it could hit that tipping point again as the planet warms and glaciers and ice sheets melt.

In a new study using the latest generation of Earth’s climate models, we simulated the flow of fresh water until the ocean circulation reached that tipping point.

The results showed that the circulation could fully shut down within a century of hitting the tipping point, and that it’s headed in that direction. If that happened, average temperatures would drop by several degrees in North America, parts of Asia and Europe, and people would see severe and cascading consequences around the world.

We also discovered a physics-based early warning signal that can alert the world when the Atlantic Ocean circulation is nearing its tipping point.

The ocean’s conveyor belt

Ocean currents are driven by winds, tides and water density differences .

In the Atlantic Ocean circulation, the relatively warm and salty surface water near the equator flows toward Greenland. During its journey it crosses the Caribbean Sea, loops up into the Gulf of Mexico, and then flows along the U.S. East Coast before crossing the Atlantic.

Two illustrations show how the AMOC looks today and its weaker state in the future

This current, also known as the Gulf Stream, brings heat to Europe. As it flows northward and cools, the water mass becomes heavier. By the time it reaches Greenland, it starts to sink and flow southward. The sinking of water near Greenland pulls water from elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and the cycle repeats, like a conveyor belt .

Too much fresh water from melting glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet can dilute the saltiness of the water, preventing it from sinking, and weaken this ocean conveyor belt . A weaker conveyor belt transports less heat northward and also enables less heavy water to reach Greenland, which further weakens the conveyor belt’s strength. Once it reaches the tipping point , it shuts down quickly.

What happens to the climate at the tipping point?

The existence of a tipping point was first noticed in an overly simplified model of the Atlantic Ocean circulation in the early 1960s . Today’s more detailed climate models indicate a continued slowing of the conveyor belt’s strength under climate change. However, an abrupt shutdown of the Atlantic Ocean circulation appeared to be absent in these climate models.

This is where our study comes in. We performed an experiment with a detailed climate model to find the tipping point for an abrupt shutdown by slowly increasing the input of fresh water.

We found that once it reaches the tipping point, the conveyor belt shuts down within 100 years. The heat transport toward the north is strongly reduced, leading to abrupt climate shifts.

The result: Dangerous cold in the North

Regions that are influenced by the Gulf Stream receive substantially less heat when the circulation stops. This cools the North American and European continents by a few degrees.

The European climate is much more influenced by the Gulf Stream than other regions. In our experiment, that meant parts of the continent changed at more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) per decade – far faster than today’s global warming of about 0.36 F (0.2 C) per decade. We found that parts of Norway would experience temperature drops of more than 36 F (20 C). On the other hand, regions in the Southern Hemisphere would warm by a few degrees.

Two maps show US and Europe both cooling by several degrees if the AMOC stops.

These temperature changes develop over about 100 years. That might seem like a long time, but on typical climate time scales, it is abrupt.

The conveyor belt shutting down would also affect sea level and precipitation patterns, which can push other ecosystems closer to their tipping points . For example, the Amazon rainforest is vulnerable to declining precipitation . If its forest ecosystem turned to grassland, the transition would release carbon to the atmosphere and result in the loss of a valuable carbon sink, further accelerating climate change.

The Atlantic circulation has slowed significantly in the distant past . During glacial periods when ice sheets that covered large parts of the planet were melting, the influx of fresh water slowed the Atlantic circulation, triggering huge climate fluctuations.

So, when will we see this tipping point?

The big question – when will the Atlantic circulation reach a tipping point – remains unanswered. Observations don’t go back far enough to provide a clear result. While a recent study suggested that the conveyor belt is rapidly approaching its tipping point , possibly within a few years, these statistical analyses made several assumptions that give rise to uncertainty.

Instead, we were able to develop a physics-based and observable early warning signal involving the salinity transport at the southern boundary of the Atlantic Ocean. Once a threshold is reached, the tipping point is likely to follow in one to four decades.

A line chart of circulation strength shows a quick drop-off after the amount of freshwater in the ocean hits a tipping point.

The climate impacts from our study underline the severity of such an abrupt conveyor belt collapse. The temperature, sea level and precipitation changes will severely affect society, and the climate shifts are unstoppable on human time scales.

It might seem counterintuitive to worry about extreme cold as the planet warms, but if the main Atlantic Ocean circulation shuts down from too much meltwater pouring in, that’s the risk ahead.

This article was updated on Feb. 11, 2024, to fix a typo: The experiment found temperatures in parts of Europe changed by more than 5 F per decade.

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  • 05 February 2024

First passages of rolled-up Herculaneum scroll revealed

  • Jo Marchant 0

Jo Marchant is a science journalist based in London.

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Three rows of yellow papyrus with black writing in columns, on a black background.

Text from the Herculaneum scroll, which has been unseen for 2,000 years. Credit: Vesuvius Challenge

A team of student researchers has made a giant contribution to solving one of the biggest mysteries in archaeology by revealing the content of Greek writing inside a charred scroll buried 2,000 years ago by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The winners of a contest called the Vesuvius Challenge trained their machine-learning algorithms on scans of the rolled-up papyrus, unveiling a previously unknown philosophical work that discusses the senses and pleasure. The feat paves the way for artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to decipher the rest of the scrolls in their entirety, something that researchers say could have revolutionary implications for our understanding of the ancient world.

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AI reads text from ancient Herculaneum scroll for the first time

The achievement has ignited the usually slow-moving world of ancient studies. It’s “what I always thought was a pipe dream coming true”, says Kenneth Lapatin, curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. The revealed text discusses sources of pleasure including music, the taste of capers and the colour purple. “It’s an historic moment,” says classicist Bob Fowler at the University of Bristol, UK, one of the prize judges. The three students, from Egypt, Switzerland and the United States, who revealed the text share a US$700,000 grand prize.

The scroll is one of hundreds of intact papyri excavated in the eighteenth century from a luxury Roman villa in Herculaneum, Italy. These lumps of carbonized ash — known as the Herculaneum scrolls — constitute the only library that survives from the ancient world, but are too fragile to open.

The winning entry, announced on 5 February, reveals hundreds of words across 15 columns of text, corresponding to around 5% of a scroll. “The contest has cleared the air on all the people saying will this even work,” says Brent Seales, a computer scientist at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and co-founder of the prize. “Nobody doubts that anymore.”

Twenty-year mission

In the centuries after the scrolls were discovered, many people have attempted to open them, destroying some and leaving others in pieces. Papyrologists are still working to decipher and stitch together the resulting, horribly fragmented, texts. But the chunks with the worst charring — the most hopeless cases, adding up to perhaps 280 entire scrolls — were left intact. Most are held in the National Library in Naples, Italy, with a few in Paris, London and Oxford, UK.

A carbonized scroll rests on weighing scales.

This Herculaneum scroll was burnt and buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Credit: Vesuvius Challenge

Seales has been trying to read these concealed texts for nearly 20 years. His team developed software to “virtually unwrap” the surfaces of rolled-up papyri using 3D computed tomography (CT) images. In 2019, he took two of the scrolls from the Institut de France in Paris to the Diamond Light Source particle accelerator near Oxford to make high-resolution scans.

Mapping the surfaces was time consuming, however, and the carbon-based ink used to write the scrolls has the same density as papyrus, so it was impossible to differentiate in CT scans. Seales and his colleagues wondered whether machine-learning models might be trained to ‘unwrap’ the scrolls and distinguish the ink. But making sense of all the data was a gigantic task for his small team.

Seales was approached by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Nat Friedman, who had become intrigued by the Herculaneum scrolls after watching a talk by Seales online. Friedman suggested opening the challenge to contestants. He donated $125,000 to launch the effort and raised hundreds of thousands more on Twitter, and Seales released his software along with the high-resolution scans. The team launched the Vesuvius Challenge in March 2023, setting a grand prize for reading 4 passages, of at least 140 characters each, before the end of the year.

Key to the contest’s success was its “blend of competition and cooperation”, says Friedman. Smaller prizes were awarded along the way to incentivize progress, with the winning machine-learning code released at each stage to “level up” the community so contestants could build on each other’s advances.

The colour purple

A key innovation came in the middle of last year, when US entrepreneur and former physicist Casey Handmer noticed a faint texture in the scans, similar to cracked mud — he called it “crackle” — that seemed to form the shapes of Greek letters. Luke Farritor, an undergraduate studying computer science at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, used the crackle to train a machine-learning algorithm, revealing the word porphyras , ‘purple’, which won him the prize for unveiling the first letters in October . An Egyptian computer-science PhD student at the Free University of Berlin, Youssef Nader, followed with even clearer images of the text and came second.

A team of researchers used machine learning to image the shapes of ink on the rolled-up scroll. Credit: Vesuvius Challenge

Their code was released with less than three months for contestants to scale up their reads before the 31 December deadline for the final prize. “We were biting our nails,” says Friedman. But in the final week, the competition received 18 submissions. A technical jury checked entrants’ code, then passed 12 submissions to a committee of papyrologists who transcribed the text and assessed each entry for legibility. Only one fully met the prize criteria: a team formed by Farritor and Nader, along with Julian Schilliger, a robotics student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The results are “incredible”, says judge Federica Nicolardi, a papyrologist at the University of Naples Federico II. “We were all completely amazed by the images they were showing.” She and her colleagues are now racing to analyse the text that has been revealed.

Music, pleasure and capers

The content of most of the previously opened Herculaneum scrolls relates to the Epicurean school of philosophy, founded by the Athenian philosopher Epicurus, who lived from 341 to 270 bc . The scrolls seem to have formed the working library of a follower of Epicurus named Philodemus. The new text doesn’t name the author but from a rough first read, say Fowler and Nicolardi, it is probably also by Philodemus. As well as pleasurable tastes and sights, it refers to a figure called Xenophantus, possibly a flute-player of that name mentioned by the ancient authors Seneca and Plutarch, whose evocative playing apparently caused Alexander the Great to reach for his weapons.

Lapatin says the topics discussed by Philodemus and Epicurus are still relevant: “The basic questions Epicurus was asking are the ones that face us all as humans. How do we live a good life? How do we avoid pain?” But “the real gains are still ahead of us”, he says. “What’s so exciting to me is less what this scroll says, but that the decipherment of this scroll bodes well for the decipherment of the hundreds of scrolls that we had previously given up on.”

There is likely to be more Greek philosophy in the scrolls: “I’d love it if he had some works by Aristotle,” says papyrologist and prize judge Richard Janko at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Meanwhile, some of the opened scrolls, written in Latin, cover a broader subject area, raising the possibility of lost poetry and literature by writers from Homer to Sappho. The scrolls “will yield who knows what kinds of new secrets”, says Fowler. “We’re all very excited.”

The achievement is also likely to fuel debate over whether further investigations should be conducted at the Herculaneum villa, entire levels of which have never been excavated. Janko and Fowler are convinced that the villa’s main library was never found, and that thousands more scrolls could still be underground. More broadly, the machine-learning techniques pioneered by Seales and the Vesuvius Challenge contestants could now be used to study other types of hidden text, such as cartonnage, recycled papyri often used to wrap Egyptian mummies.

The next step is to decipher an entire work. Friedman has announced a new set of Vesuvius Challenge prizes for 2024, with the aim of reading 90% of a scroll by the end of the year. But in the meantime, just getting this far “feels like a miracle”, he says. “I can’t believe it worked.”

Nature 626 , 461-462 (2024)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-024-00346-8

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