What Is Scannable Content and How to Write It If You Publish Online

scannable copy

©Laura Spencer

Do your posts and articles look like college term papers? If they do, you’re making a big mistake (and your web traffic probably shows it).

Not writing scannable content just may be the number one rookie writer mistake new writers make.

Don’t worry. If you’re making this mistake, you’re not alone. I made it myself years ago when I transitioned from technical writing to web writing.

Learning how to make your articles and posts scannable is not difficult.

In this post, I share ten elements that will help make your online posts and articles more scannable.

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Why You Should Get Out of Your Pajamas and Out of Your House Today

©iStock.com/erikreis

©iStock.com/erikreis

Ahh, the freelance writer.

Bleary eyed, day after day he or she sits at home staring at the computer, clad only in a pair of scruffy (and somewhat smelly) pajamas. Alone.

If the freelancer is a guy, it’s been at least a week since he shaved. And of course, a female freelancer wears no makeup.

That is the stereotype anyway. Everyone knows that freelance writers rarely leave home and have poor personal hygiene, right?

If truth be told, there have been days when I’ve worked in my pajamas. But I don’t do that often, do you know why?

I’ve found that I feel more professional and do better work when I dress for my workday–even when I work from home. My guess is that the same is true for you.

(By dressing for my day, I don’t mean formal attire. Most days I don a clean tee-shirt and a pair of jeans. I’m still all about comfort.)

In this post, I share three reasons why you should get out of your pajamas and out of your home office.

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What Is the Difference Between an Article and a Blog Post? (Revisited)

article-blog-posts

©iStock.com/marekuliasz

Do you write articles, blog posts, or both?

Many writers and their clients don’t know how to answer this question. That’s because the line between an article and a blog post has become blurry over the past decade.

Some online publications started as blogs and some publish blog posts and articles side by side. No wonder there’s such confusion.

If writers and publishers don’t fully understand the difference between the two, imagine the confusion in the mind of the average consumer.

As writers, we need to understand which type of piece we are being asked to write.

I first explored the difference between articles and blog posts four years ago. Since I first wrote about the topic, the line between the two types of writing has become even more blurry.

In this post, I’ll take another look at the differences between an article and a blog post. I’ll also share my opinion on what that difference means for writers and what writers should do about it.

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10 Freelance Writing Money Traps and How to Avoid Them

Freelance Money Traps

©iStock.com/ziquiu

What causes a freelance writer to go out of business?

There are many answers to that question, but money problems are high on the list. Lots of freelance writers struggle with their finances.

Freelancing is different than working for an employer. Those differences take many freelancers by surprise. They can lead to some unpleasant financial situations.

I call those unpleasant financial surprises money traps. A freelancer experiencing financial difficulty can feel trapped.

In this post, I share ten common freelance writing money traps and explain how freelance writers can avoid them.

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6 Steps for Managing Your Time as a Writer

Writer Time Management

©iStock.com/sezer66

Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.

So why do some writers accomplish so much more than others?

The answer is better time management.

If you’re a new freelance writer, the demands on your time may surprise you. You expect to have more time as freelancer. What you don’t expect is that you have to manage your time well to achieve that goal.

Of course, if you’ve been a freelance writer for a while you already understand the demands freelancing can place on your time.

Freelance writing is about more than just writing all day. It’s also about running a business.

In this post, I provide six easy steps for writers to manage their time.

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Has Your Content Strategy Lost Its Focus? Here’s How to Tell

content-focus

©Laura Spencer

You used to have a great blog. You received several thousand views every day and dozens of comments on every post.

But something happened. Your audience has left. And so has your enthusiasm for your blog.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Great blogs become good blogs, then okay blogs, and then fade away. That’s one of the reasons I publish blogging tips here on WritingThoughts.

I’m sure you can think of a few blogs that you once loved, but now no longer exist. It’s sad, because it doesn’t have to happen.

The reason blogs decline is often a lack of focus in content strategy. (Yes, your blog needs a content strategy.)

In this post, I’ll share eight of the ways that a blog’s content strategy can go wrong.

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4 Types of Creative Block and How to Overcome Each

©iStock.com/ismagilov

©iStock.com/ismagilov

It’s the day before the deadline, and you’re stuck. You need help fast.

Whether you’re a writer or some other type of creative professional, you’ve probably experienced creative block. (It’s also called writer’s block). It strikes both seasoned professionals and those who are new to their field.

There are many posts on how to deal with creative block (I know I’ve written several). Most of the tips you’ll read are helpful, but they don’t deal with the root causes behind creative block.

In this post, I list four causes of creative block and explain how to deal with each cause. This post is for writers, but other creative professionals may find it helpful as well.

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6 Winning Blog Post Ideas for Your Small Business

Business Blogging

©iStock.com/Ximagination

Your small business needs a blog. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Blogging lets you build a relationship with your customers. You can answer questions and otherwise interact with them.

Your business blog demonstrates that you really know what you’re talking about.

Best of all, you control what is published. It’s a unique opportunity and not one to be wasted. Besides, if you don’t have a business blog, your competitor probably does.

But many small businesses get hung up with producing content. They don’t have time to do it or they don’t do it well.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In this post, I share six content ideas that most small business can use. I also share an easy fix for the problem of producing quality content.

If you liked this post, you may also like 4 Types of Blog Posts That (Almost) Anyone Can Write.

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10 Useful Posts You May Have Missed

©Laura Spencer

©Laura Spencer

For the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on spending time with friends and family. I’m looking forward to the rest.

But I don’t want to take the break without first leaving you with some good reading material.

So, I’ve sifted through the posts to find some of the best and most relevant posts for you to read.

Here are ten classic WritingThoughts posts that you might have missed. Feel free to comment on or share any of these posts. (Or use the comments here to list your own favorite WritingThoughts posts.)

Enjoy! I’ll see you in 2015.

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