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Presented By
Jamie Smith
The Beginner’s Guide to Writing in
WordPress
Your Presenter
Jamie’s Notebook
Jamiesnotebook.com
@JamiesNotebook
jamie@jamiesnotebook.co
m
Jamie
Smith
Don’t worry about writing this all
down word for word. I will tweet
out a copy of my presentation
later or I can email it ...
• Good writing should go relatively
unnoticed.
• Bad writing stands out and diminishes
credibility.
• A few people will re...
Writing for the web includes a
multitude of considerations that
aren’t a factor in print:
• SEO
• Effective layout and sty...
SEO is important for getting your
content found. So why talk about it
in a writing class? A part of SEO is
in how you writ...
Writing for search engines and people
 Traditional writing is for one audience: the
reader.
 Online writing is for two a...
What is SEO? How do I get it?
 SEO is more than just a subject of spam
email you receive.
 SEO increases the search engi...
Keywords
Tips Keywords are the
words people
might use to find
something on your
topic.
 Keywords can be
singular or
phra...
Links
Tips: Hyperlinks provide
additional
information for your
reader on the topic.
 Hyperlinks enhance
credibility.
 H...
Behind the scenes
Plugins and formatting help!
Tips:
 SEO in WordPress is
easy because there
are built-in tools for
enhan...
Layout and design of your writing affects
SEO but it more deeply affects the reader.
Layout, design and formatting
A few formatting tricks to help
readers/spiders
Format helps spiders and
readers
Tips: In each post, different tools help...
A few more technical “stuffs”
 Categories vs tags-categories are a way of
dividing all of your content and tags describe ...
We read online content much differently
than print. Here are tips for a successful
post.
Online reading habits
Online readers have short attention
spans
 When we read online, we really just skim. This
means you need to make it easie...
Writing the blog post
 Key components of a blog post:
 350 – 700 words
 Attention-getting, key-worded title
 Open para...
Better writing is easier to read
 Use strong, active sentences
 Cut out “there are” and “it is.”
 Avoid using “crutch” ...
 Cut out wordiness, which is sometimes hard to
spot.
For example:
Okay: The website content writers are
accustomed to wri...
 Ditch the qualifiers! Be assertive!
 Consider the difference between these three
statements:
 We believe that customer...
 Use respectful, inclusive word choices
 Extreme political correctness will irritate most
readers but remember to be kin...
 Punctuate effectively
 Do not use semi-colons at the end of each list point
 Journalism rule of commas applies online:...
 Avoid fallacies of logic or inappropriate “if then”
type statements
Example: If you are hungry, there’s food in the kitc...
A few more miscellaneous ideas to
remember when writing online in
WordPress.
A few more things to consider
What is an editorial calendar?
 An editorial calendar is a schedule of who writes
each post, the post topic, the blog cat...
What are editorial guidelines?
 An editorial style guide is a list of “rules” that
are followed when writing to provide
c...
Stay out of trouble
Avoid plagiarism (even copying and
pasting your own work-messes with
SEO). This includes only using
i...
Resources
Reputable sources for finding ideas, help and other
resources:
 Hubspot.com
 Grammarist.com
 Socialmediaexami...
#WCFay 2015 Writing online for beginners (WordPress emphasis)
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#WCFay 2015 Writing online for beginners (WordPress emphasis)

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Writing for online audiences is different than any other kind of writing. This presentation was for WordCamp Fayetteville 2015 and discusses online writing with a WordPress emphasis.

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#WCFay 2015 Writing online for beginners (WordPress emphasis)

  1. 1. Presented By Jamie Smith The Beginner’s Guide to Writing in WordPress
  2. 2. Your Presenter Jamie’s Notebook Jamiesnotebook.com @JamiesNotebook jamie@jamiesnotebook.co m Jamie Smith
  3. 3. Don’t worry about writing this all down word for word. I will tweet out a copy of my presentation later or I can email it to you. I make them wordy so you can understand the notes later.
  4. 4. • Good writing should go relatively unnoticed. • Bad writing stands out and diminishes credibility. • A few people will read a good bit of the content. • Google frequently changes its algorithms to make sure legitimate content ranks higher in its search results. • Even if your SEO is great, many people won’t come back if the writing is bad. Good writing always matters
  5. 5. Writing for the web includes a multitude of considerations that aren’t a factor in print: • SEO • Effective layout and styles for the online environment • People’s online reading habits How is online writing different?
  6. 6. SEO is important for getting your content found. So why talk about it in a writing class? A part of SEO is in how you write including the format and words you choose. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  7. 7. Writing for search engines and people  Traditional writing is for one audience: the reader.  Online writing is for two audiences: the reader and the search engines, like Google. This is where SEO becomes vital because it’s the food for the search engines.  Without good search engine food, the human readers will never find your content.
  8. 8. What is SEO? How do I get it?  SEO is more than just a subject of spam email you receive.  SEO increases the search engine’s ability to find your site and its content compared to all the other “stuff” out there.  Certain techniques both in your writing and behind the scenes will improve your SEO, thus meaning the chance for more people to see your site.
  9. 9. Keywords Tips Keywords are the words people might use to find something on your topic.  Keywords can be singular or phrases (long-tail keywords)  Keywords should be used frequently, but artfully. Don’t just repeat it a bunch of times.  Make a list of potential keywords before writing.  Think of terms and words your target audience would most likely use when searching for what you offer.  During editing, add keywords where they make sense.  Use keywords in the main copy, in the headlines, subheads and in the SEO plug-in (we’ll get to that in a minute).
  10. 10. Links Tips: Hyperlinks provide additional information for your reader on the topic.  Hyperlinks enhance credibility.  Hyperlinks increase SEO.  Link to the website of an organization or company if you mention it.  Link to your own blog posts or website pages if you refer to a topic you’ve already written about.  Use the hyperlink tool (looks like a sideways 8) instead of listing the actual link.  Don’t feel the need to link to every single thing. It is irritating to the reader’s eyes and will tell the search engines that you’re trying too hard.  If you put links too close together Google will probably read that as not “mobile ready” and knock you down in the rankings.
  11. 11. Behind the scenes Plugins and formatting help! Tips:  SEO in WordPress is easy because there are built-in tools for enhancing SEO.  Keywords are easily seen but a few “tricks of the trade” help you get the most out of your SEO.  Use plug-ins like “All in One SEO Pack” or “Yoast” and make sure you keep it updated.  Actually take the time to fill out the information on every page and every post for the plug-in.  Pay attention to character limits (160 for description). Use keywords in the description.
  12. 12. Layout and design of your writing affects SEO but it more deeply affects the reader. Layout, design and formatting
  13. 13. A few formatting tricks to help readers/spiders Format helps spiders and readers Tips: In each post, different tools help increase SEO and make the content easier human readers. These tools are located at the top of the page in the dashboard.  Remember the outlines you had to do in high school? It’s the same concept, but easier. Using subheads and lists can help you organize your writing.  Features like the bulleted/number lists and changing the format style make great spider food.  Using a picture increases SEO and makes the post more interesting to look at.  Break up the copy into sections using subheads (use keywords!)  Use bold print and at least one of the headline html options for subheads.  Use number or bulleted lists instead of long sentences.  Use numbers when the order matters, bullets when it does not.
  14. 14. A few more technical “stuffs”  Categories vs tags-categories are a way of dividing all of your content and tags describe the specific post. (Example: in a catalog you have “housewares” and then you can choose items by color or brand, etc.)  Never “shout” online by using ALL CAPS. Use italics and/or bold instead.  Readers read from left to right and their attention span fades the farther to the right they go. So generally set your copy (words) to the left instead of the right or center. An exception would be poetry.
  15. 15. We read online content much differently than print. Here are tips for a successful post. Online reading habits
  16. 16. Online readers have short attention spans  When we read online, we really just skim. This means you need to make it easier to skim the content and have the readers still absorb the information.
  17. 17. Writing the blog post  Key components of a blog post:  350 – 700 words  Attention-getting, key-worded title  Open paragraph has to go immediately to the point  Relevant image(s) with keyworded names when possible  Main body – make it easy to skim using subheadings, bullet points, etc.  Close with a discussion question/call to action (what do you want them to do with this new info?)
  18. 18. Better writing is easier to read  Use strong, active sentences  Cut out “there are” and “it is.”  Avoid using “crutch” words such as “OK,” “So,” and “anyways.” We see this in social media and it’s not necessary, especially in a blog post or webpage.  Make sure the subject of the sentence is a noun doing the action indicated in the verb. (This forces the writer to find interesting verbs!)  Avoid passive voice For example: Okay: There are many ways to get to the store. Better: Many routes to the store exist.
  19. 19.  Cut out wordiness, which is sometimes hard to spot. For example: Okay: The website content writers are accustomed to writing for search engines and robots. Better: Content developers often write for search engines.
  20. 20.  Ditch the qualifiers! Be assertive!  Consider the difference between these three statements:  We believe that customer service is our most important value.  Customer service is our most important value.  Our company values customer service. You don’t have to qualify that it’s your opinion. It’s your blog or your company’s website. It’s obviously your opinion. Own it! However….
  21. 21.  Use respectful, inclusive word choices  Extreme political correctness will irritate most readers but remember to be kind and inclusive.  Remember simple considerations such as people- first language, gender neutral where appropriate, and using audience-appropriate titles/labels Examples: Person with a disability vs handicapped person Firefighter vs Fireman
  22. 22.  Punctuate effectively  Do not use semi-colons at the end of each list point  Journalism rule of commas applies online: do not use a comma before the last item in a series (no Oxford comma)  For example: I like trees, butterflies and flowers.  Exclamation points – perhaps the most overused punctuation mark online. Very few occasions actually call for an exclamation point  Contractions: not acceptable in formal writing; acceptable for less formal, especially in a personal blog or writing that sounds personal. Whether or not you use contractions is part of establishing your online voice.
  23. 23.  Avoid fallacies of logic or inappropriate “if then” type statements Example: If you are hungry, there’s food in the kitchen. Better: There’s food in the kitchen for anyone who wants to eat. The first implies that if a person isn’t hungry that the food magically doesn’t exist. Example: Are you going to the concert? Because I’m going. Better: I’m going to the concert, are you? The first implies that the answer to the question has something to do with whether or not the second part is true. If the two are correlated, then it should be: “I’ll go to the concert if you’re going.”
  24. 24. A few more miscellaneous ideas to remember when writing online in WordPress. A few more things to consider
  25. 25. What is an editorial calendar?  An editorial calendar is a schedule of who writes each post, the post topic, the blog category, the resources needed, images needed (and where they’re coming from), deadlines involved, and publish date. Examples are available online or you can create your own. I like using Google Calendar or the project management system Trello.
  26. 26. What are editorial guidelines?  An editorial style guide is a list of “rules” that are followed when writing to provide consistency. This is especially important when more than one person is writing for the site. Examples of what to consider are how to refer to people in regards to titles, how to refer to a location or program on first reference, or how to list dates and times of events. Most guidelines start with a major guide such as the AP style guide or Chicago style then the guideline outlines the deviations from that major style.
  27. 27. Stay out of trouble Avoid plagiarism (even copying and pasting your own work-messes with SEO). This includes only using images with permission Represent yourself or your company professionally Avoid vague or false claims
  28. 28. Resources Reputable sources for finding ideas, help and other resources:  Hubspot.com  Grammarist.com  Socialmediaexaminer.com  MichaelHyatt.com  Zemanta.com (has an extension you can use to get free pics)  Commons.Wikimedia.org (free pics)  Canva and Picmonkey are great for editing, creating graphics The WordPress forums also provide great information and help.

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