March 26, 2009

Web/blog writing vs. academic writing

Although the general term «writing» refers to the process of creating both academic papers and web articles, the end products of such writing process are significantly diverse. Website article or blog post writing differs in that it must comply with the search engine and usability standards, while academic essays must, most importantly, show academic knowledge, reason and various skills to the professor.

Articles on the web can be classified as news articles, blog posts, encyclopedia articles, tutorials, reviews and much more, and the writing tone and style of each type will differ from one another. However, all of these types have a list of common features which differentiates them from any other type of writing. Features, in which web content article and blog post writing is different from academic essays writing include:

  • very severe length requirements
  • always keep to the point
  • use simple and straighforward wording and explanations
  • keep paragraphs short
  • privide images and other supportive media
  • pay very close attention to text structure
  • separate paragraphs with relevant captions as much as possible
  • spend much time on formatting such as bold, italics, hyperlinks etc. (unlike in academic essays)
  • begin the article by stating the conclusion (provide abstract)
  • pay close attention to the first 2 words in each heading, link, and paragraph
  • pay attention to keyword density for search engine optimization

The entire list is much bigger, but these are the main distinguishing features.

Difference of audiences of web articles (blog posts) vs. academic essays

The differences listed above are stipulated by the significant differences in the audience, readers of the texts. While academic essays are written for no more than 1-2 people (rarely more) who would definitely read the entire text, web content articles and blog posts are written to virtually unlimited number of readers who are in a hurry and might leave the text at any second. Thus, one of the functions of web content article and blog post writing is to keep the readers on the page by providing them with what they expect and keeping the page content very usable and accesible.