Article Writing: The Basics

Article Writing BasicsArticle writing is a popular pastime for many people, but sometimes we need a little nudge in the right direction to help us really perfect our online articles. We'll take a look at the most important aspects of article writing that you'll need to understand before you really get down to writing and publishing your online articles.

Choosing your subject

First things first: What are you going to write about? There are an endless number of subjects which make perfect fodder for article writing - it's impossible to even begin to list them here! The best advice I can give here is that, when possible, you should always write about something that actually interests you. While there are plenty of reasons why you might be writing an article about a topic that you find boring at best, writing about what you find interesting really is one of the best ways to ensure a better article. But if you are stuck writing about something you have no interest in, don't worry: there are still plenty of ways to turn that article into something enjoyable or worthwhile to read.

Once you have a general idea of the subject you want to write about, you'll have to narrow it down to a more manageable topic. For example: Let's say you've decided to write an article about books. That's great! But what exactly are you going to write about? "Books" is a very broad topic and it can be difficult to write an article based on the prompt "books" alone. You'll need to narrow this subject down until it is at least somewhat specific. Using the books example, you could choose to write about the benefits of reading books, or the top 10 banned books in the United States, or about different types of binding. The topic needs to be narrow enough that you can write a cohesive article.

Researching for content

Now that you've narrowed down your subject, you will probably need to do a little - or a lot - of research, depending on the topic and how much you already know about the subject. The best way to start your research is to jot down what knowledge you have on the subject already and then ask yourself questions about what you need to know for the article.

For example: Let's say you're writing about different types of book binding (not a super thrilling topic, I admit) - what do you know about book binding already? There are hardcovers and softcovers. From there, you can get an idea of what kind of research you'll need to do. Are there more types of book binding? What are the differences between the book bindings? What techniques are there for making hardcover binding, softcover binding, etc.?

Where you research will all depend on how much work you need or want to do and again, the topic. You can generally find a wealth of information on the internet, but remember to check any website's sources before committing to use that info for an article… you never know when something's simply been made up! You can also research the old-fashioned way by heading down to your local library.

Writing your article

Once you've got your subject and research completed, it's time to start writing! This part of the article writing process can be difficult or even stressful, but it doesn't have to be. One of the most important things to remember when you are writing is to think about your intended audience. Are you writing for casual readers? Professionals? If you're writing for more casual readers, you can keep your writing tone easy, loose and more fun. The more professional the audience, the more objective - or at least, professional - your writing needs to be.  Regardless of who you are writing for, always remember to keep your writing relatively concise - you shouldn't be writing about the benefits of hardcover binding, then suddenly go off on a rant about the time your dog jumped up on your favorite bookshelf and grabbed a book with his teeth and took it to the store - well, you get the idea! Be concise and make sure your writing is relevant to the topic at hand.

Choosing your title

The title is one of the most important aspects of our article. It is what will (hopefully) draw readers in at first glance and needs to be eye-catching, descriptive and yet still succinct. Accordingly, titles can be difficult to think up! Again, it's important to consider your intended audience when thinking up appropriate title ideas. For example: "What the Heck is a Hardcover?" may be appropriate for casual readers while it probably won't be well received on a website frequented by readers that expect professionalism.

Now that you have the basics about article writing down, it's time to start writing! Good luck!