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Are You Writing Well for the Living Web?

There are some articles on the web that I classify as timeless, and this marvelous article written by Mark Bernstein for A List Apart called “10 Tips on Writing the Living Web” is one of those classics.

Some of these sites change every week; many change every day; a few change every few minutes. Daypop’s Dan Chan calls this the Living Web, the part of the web that is always changing.

Every revision requires new writing, new words that become the essence of the site. Living sites are only as good as today’s update. If the words are dull, nobody will read them, and nobody will come back. If the words are wrong, people will be misled, disappointed, infuriated. If the words aren’t there, people will shake their heads and lament your untimely demise.

Writing for the Living Web is a tremendous challenge.

Bernstein goes on to list the 10 tips for writing for the living web:

  1. Write for a reason
  2. Write often
  3. Write tight
  4. Make good friends
  5. Find good enemies
  6. Let the story unfold
  7. Stand up, speak out
  8. Be sexy
  9. Use your archives
  10. Relax

This make so much sense. And even more sense today with so many people writing so much that the face of the written word has changed dramatically.

Writing For the Living Web

Your words matter. Your blog matters. Your comments matter, on and off your blog. They are all part of the content that makes up the words on the web, so shouldn’t we give them more power, more attention, and definitely more care?

Make your words matter. Treat them carefully. After all, they are going to be around for a very long time, even if your site no longer exists. Your words will live.

All because you hit Publish on your blog’s Administration Panels.

I’d like to add these tips to help you write for the living web.

  1. Write as if this blog post will matter in 10 or 25 years.
  2. Edit for spelling, grammar, and intent, making sure each word, each sentence, and each statement says what you want it to say, the way you intend to say it.
  3. Blog for yourself first, then your audience. When you blog for your needs, you are speaking for you and your experience, which allows the reader to enter your world, your thoughts, and your feelings on the subject. Then write to help your audience understand the issue even more, from your point of view.
  4. Write as if your readers aren’t mind readers. Write as if you are telling them the story for the first time. Make sure a new visitor understands what you are writing about, and why, and that they are new to the whole issue.
  5. Write for the future. It’s not just about you stumbling across this blog post 20 years from now, and cringing, but write for anyone and everyone, maybe even archaeologists, who will stumble across your blog 100 or 1000 years from now. What will they learn from your words? Will they understand what you were writing about and why?
  6. Take you and your blogging seriously. Too many blog for the wrong reasons, peer pressure, money, or attention. Blog for a purpose, and your audience will take you, and your blog, seriously.
  7. Care. Care about your blog. Care about what and how you write. Care about what you are writing about. Too many people go around saying “I don’t care” when they mean something else. Make “care” a priority on your blog.
  8. Remember, you never know who is reading.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted February 5, 2006 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Truly the article you point to is timeless as the author follows his own advice. Thanks for pointing us to this article as it is a great example of passionate writing that is both interesting and useful.

  2. Posted February 5, 2006 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic advice, Lorelle!

  3. Posted February 5, 2006 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Who are your good enemies? I challenge everyone to clearly define their enemies. It’s harder than you think.

  4. Posted April 5, 2008 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    This is spectacular! Some of this I’ve been doing, some I need to do more of. Thank you.

10 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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