When writing for the digital media, the author is not just the writer, but also the publisher, the editor, the graphic designer, and the marketer. Therefore when writing for the digital media, there are more mechanics that the author needs to consider than when writing for traditional publishing where usually the sole job of the author is to write. Issues that might usually be the concern of an editor or proofreader-Good Writing, Identification, and Expertise-must be the concern of the author.
When writing for any type of media, whether it be traditional print or online, there is generally a basic standard the writer must adhere to if the for attracting readers. In web based digital media, “good writing” typically has a higher standard than traditional print. Though the standard varies, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep readers interested from the moment a potential reader clicks on the page.
When writing for digital media, identify the audience and consider who is reading what the writer is trying to say. An article aimed at college students will read much different from an article aimed at elementary students even if the same basic information is being conveyed. As a result, it is always best to focus on a small, targeted community when writing online.
When writing for the screen, important aspects to consider include layout and content. These elements create expertise. The layout determines whether or not a potential reader stops and peruses the information displayed. Subheadings, links, and color scheme create the first impression. The writing, the author's informational expertise, is an afterthought.
Layout is the visual and technical aspect of web based writing. The site's design must include high-quality images. Personal web pages and sites must also be usable and include contact information that is accessible on each page. Not only does site layout include visual elements, it also involves the navigation bar used to travel through the website, the headers and footers used for scanability, and the references supplied by links and other relevant support.
The design of a webpage layout is important when writing for the web. In digital writing, design pertains to the look of the website and arrangement of the text, graphics, and other objects that make up the site. A website's design must be consistent, usable, and navigable.
Photos assist in providing information to the audience visually and attracting readers. Unprofessional or broken links to photos can result in loss of credibility for the site and site owner. File formats in photos differ, typically falling into categories such as:
Contact information should be included on every website because it suggests credibility and accountability. When including contact information in a website, navigation should always be considered. Student's can include contact information by creating a page located on the main menu or at the bottom of each page. Contact information should incorporate:
- First and last name
- Email address
- Business telephone number
- Business address
Making content usable is important for a good webpage layout. Keeping the webpage scannable and redundant will help a user understand the points presented. By using links, search engines, and relevant sources, the writer adds to the overall usefulness.
Scanability is one of the key tools to online layout. "Web users scan content rather than reading word for word. Scanners need clues, signposts and highlights, so content should be shaped for scanning. " Tools for adding scanability to layout include:
Relevant sources and links are essential for adding credibility to a webpage. Sources that are well-known or have high credibility can increase the professionalism of a webpage. Content uses three key topics that ensure a resourceful webpage:
- Dated Pages
- Outside Web Sources
- Relevant Content Links
Digital and Social Media
Digital and social media sites are changing the way that we interact with the world both professionally and personally. Students who can proficiently utilize socially based networks as well as other digital writing mediums have an edge in their future career endeavors. Ideally, student-based environments that employ good writing can communicate optimally online. Students who use good web writing skills developed in college can take those learned skills and apply them to their career search. Because an online presence is becoming an employer's first impression of an applicant, it is essential to create an effective personal brand. Online résumés sites, social media sites, and blogging sites provide platforms that support professional presence, personality, and perspective.
LinkedIn is a website geared toward professionals, and persons ready to enter the professional job market. Users can connect with other people in their respective industries, tout their skills, and find answers to their questions. LinkedIn gives users the opportunity to build a network, a very important aspect of careers in the digital age.
VisualCV is a free Internet-based platform that allows users to create online resumes . Students can customize a personal portfolio with their skills and qualifications and build a portable, professional online presence. VisualCV can be modified to showcase keyword pop-ups, audio, video, pictures and links, to network and share resume data securely within the VisualCV community.
About Me pages are the cover pages of the digital world. By using an About Me page, college students are able to keep all social media outlets in one place. It also allows for others to access all the users interests on one page. About Me pages can be designed by the user in order to better describe the person in his or her own way. As with all writing for the web the basics of usability, scanability, and design should be used.
Twitter is an excellent example of good writing for the screen because of its use of brief and concise information. In addition to communicating with followers and gaining information about the changing world, twitter allows its users to create a personal presence online. Twitter not only provides more contact information when applying for a job, it also provides a platform to create a professional brand. By having a twitter account, students who are searching for a career can add a personal aspect to their résumés.
With online blogging sites such as WordPress and Blogger college students can easily publish their thoughts in a professional way. Blogs are a great way for students to practice their writing for the screen. The writing can be personal, but by publishing to a blogging the entires seem more professional. WordPress and Blogger are extremely easy to use with step by step set-up instructions. These online blogging sites are also very customizable with many backgrounds and templates to choose from.