Technical Writing and Writing for the Web

The following are the workshop notes for a presentation I gave recently to Portland Community College’s Technical Writing class. The topic was on web writing and writing for the web.

The main topics I covered in the workshop included:

  • Web platforms
    • Web publishing
    • Online personas
  • Writing for the Web
    • Web writing structure and format
    • Myths and Facts
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Demographics
    • Writing for your audience


The following are terms and jargon used in blogging and social media.

  • Blogging: Publishing on the web through websites (blogs) and social media. Facebooking and Twitter are blogging, specifically microblogging.
  • Photoblogging: Publishing photography and words on the web through websites and social media.
  • Vlogging: Publishing video on the web.
  • Podcasting: Publishing scheduled and syndicated multimedia content on the web.
  • Social Media: Online marketing and community building.
  • SEO: (Search Engine Optimization) The process of making a site search engine friendly through code and content. Modern term for developing a site for search engine attention and distribution, aka marketing.
  • Web Publishing: Publishing on the web, sharing multimedia content in the virtual community.
  • Syndication: The distribution of content on the web through feeds.
  • Blog: A blog is a website with content displayed in reverse chronological order.

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What You Must Know About Writing on the Web


While that number might mean different things to you, like your birthday, an anniversary, graduation year, part of a lottery number – to me it represents a quota.

Several years ago, a fan counted up all the articles I wrote every year and came up with an estimate of 1,975 articles published annually across multiple sites.

I was stunned. No, staggered. I now had a number. I didn’t know what to do with it. It freaked me out. That’s 164 articles a month. Thirty-eight articles a week. Five and a half a day. That’s a lot.

Don’t even ask to add up the word count. I couldn’t. Yet, the same person estimated that I wrote 2,370,000 words annually.

It took a long time for me to come to grips with that number. I worried when I became smarter with my time and dropped some of the online columns and magazines to concentrate on more influential sites. What if I couldn’t keep up with the numbers?

After a while I gave up and realized it was just a number. Like a random phone number or birth date. Another number not to worry about. Much.

Along the way to generating all those words every year for many years on end, I learned a few things worth sharing. Continue reading