Basic Principles of Online Writing

In recent years, there’s been a surge in the number of people accessing news and opinions from online publications, blogs, and microblogs (Facebook and Twitter). As such, writers at all levels of experience have taken great interest in learning how to write more effectively using online media. Writing for online audiences represents a huge opportunity for all writers and journalists.

Although the number of print journalism subscribers continues to wane with each passing year—much to the chagrin of Old Media juggernauts like The Washington Post and Time magazine—digital subscriptions are on the rise. For instance, according to The Alliance for Audited Media, in the United States during the second half of 2013, average print circulation for the top 386 magazines was down 1.7 percent. Digital subscriptions, however, were up 36.7 percent and totaled 10.8 million copies. Encouragingly, there’s still room for digital growth because digital subscriptions represent only 3.5 percent of total circulation, a number that will likely increase as more digital natives (children of the Internet) come of age.


The point of this assignment is to reinforce the descriptive nature of a link. Find a picture on the Internet, and in 250 words, describe it with a theme in mind. For example, you may choose to describe the charred remains of a building fire that killed six people. Begin your description with a topic sentence and describe details that are readily apparent from the picture. Next, in as few words as possible, summarize your 250-word description and provide a link to the picture.


Find a magazine or newspaper article online and summarize the main points in a list. Provide a link to the article for the instructor.


Use Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations or some other source to find a lengthy quotation. Present this quotation in three different ways.

These creative exercises came from the course Writing Online Content

In this course you will learn:

  • basic principles applicable to all types of online article writing—news, feature articles, opinion articles, alternative story forms, and blog postings;
  • how to write effective and engaging blog postings;
  • more about alternative story forms such as charticles, listicles, Q&As, and more;
  • how to establish a blog and online platform;
  • how to pitch online writing assignments;
  • how to promote your article writing using free and premium tools.

Learn More About our Writing Online Content Workshop!

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