An article published here detailing tools and methods for composing articles on Publish0x. This was a great article, but I had some thoughts about certain aspects.
Yet, upon leaving a comment discussing this, the discussion got halted. So, in response to that article, (which unfortunately is no longer available) I would like to post my own - with my own opinions. Please feel free to post your thoughts, and opinions; I welcome new methods and ideas.
With this article in mind, where to start. We all come from such a broad base. Our devices PCs, Macs, laptops, phones, tablets. The different operating systems, and let alone the choices of software we then use on them. So where possible I will try to remain open to all, but I am a developer who is stuck on Windows (please don't shout at me!). So, let us start, and please follow through.
Rules for writing a good article
Rule 1 - make it easy for your reader to be pulled in
This sounds silly, I know. We all know snazzy images and tempting language catches peoples eyes. However, it is not as simple as this. Try looking at your opening paragraph, is it too big? A large opening paragraph requires the reader to invest effort and time into the article straight away. Often before they know they want to. Make your opening paragraph short and punchy, get your reader to buy-in. A one or two sentence paragraph to prove to the reader you provide value is the way to go.
Rule 2 - keep your paragraphs short and appealing
Large blocks of text are imposing - it immediately makes the reader feel like this task is hard. Keep your paragraphs short and potent, make it easy to read "one more".
Rule 3 - show substance
A fluff based article might have a catchy title, but the content will cause people to bounce away from you. I have done it myself, quick posts, notices, letting people know these quick ideas. But it is easy to waffle - stop!
Rule 4 - produce a story
Humans always respond to a compelling story. Capture them with a plot leading them through.
Rule 5 - show and then tell
Ah my greatest enemy - do as I say and not as I do! It is always best to "show it", "describe it" and then "explain it". A neat little flow, ending with why it works for you - lovely.
Article Optimisation - get that search result
This would be a very large section targeting a wide manor of topics - but lets keep this focused.
- Optimise that title
Your articles title is not there to catch eyes. Your title is used in the summary title, the browser tab title, and the H1 tag on its page. It is the most important item. So make sure it is what people type into search engines, and in the language they use.
- Use Heading Tags correctly and in order
Work on the principal that there should only ever be one H1 or Heading 1 title on the page. This is your main title. H2 should be your section dividers, and between these use H3 for your sub headings, and so forth. Greater relevance weight is placed on these headings in order.
- Accessibility - use imagery and ALT text
Images provide great value, but not if you cannot see them. Blind people use the web, so that ALT text helps them know what that image is. Accessibility plays an important role in search ranking.
- Key phrases
Keep your article on a single related topic. Use of consistent language and words related to your key phrase focus the bots attention.
- Cross linking
Much of the internets perceived value is on votes. Votes you ask? A link to a page or website is a vote for them - you are saying this is a worthwhile article or website. Cross linking your articles (in relevant ways) is a great way to enhance this. Off site link building will help too. Social linking is also of great value, and a great way to reach targeted audiences.
Article Writing - tools of the trade
This section is less about you and more about me. We all have our preferences, these are mine that work with my flow.
- Note taking - start the plan
I always start with a notebook. I tend to use 1/3 A4 school exercise books! Yes, I am a cheapskate - but a moleskin or fieldnotes book work as well!
I like Trello - it is free, quick to use, great for changing structures fast. It also allows for collaboration if you want opinions.
We all know where we go for that! But use your favourite search engine!
- Text editor
This can be a simple plain text editor such textEdit, Notepad, or editors such as Atom, Sublime Text or Brackets. Or a more advanced version such as iA Writer for Mac which has a great focus mode. If you want to have a little more control your favourite office suite will have a great Word, Document, Pages, etc. Yet, many of you here, producing HTML for the web will use simple WYSIWYG editors such as this.
- Spelling punctuation and grammar
Most web browsers come with spell checking built in these days. Wonderful, by my biggest Achilles heel, grammar. Please, please, please make use of tools such as Hemingway or Grammarly.
- Image sourcing and editing
Listing a bunch of professional tools here with likely help very few. If you feel this way too, try Fotor, Pixlr, or Adobe Spark Online. Great tools, and a little more screen space than your Mobile phone for editing! Also note the Publish0x choices below of canva. Publish0x also recommend Pexels for free stock images, but I am an Unsplash fan !
This is the basics for me. If any questions or comments come up in the below, I will try and update this article where possible.
Thanks to you all, and hopefully it was worth it.