Web writing with Johannes VermeerI get this question a lot.

And I find the answer is a lot like those for “What do I need to be a video (or film) writer?”

  1. Great vocabulary
  2. Great writing skills
  3. Economical writing
  4. Ability to write to visuals
  5. Key word savvyness
  6. Compelling writing (you need to get readers off of the home page! And, the most important!
  7. A willingness (nay, furious need) to rewrite

Can everyone become a web writer? No. It’s just the way the world works. We can’t all be rocket scientists, either.

If you’re writing your own web copy, and you’ve never been paid to write, chances are you’re fouling things up. Writers are trained to be objective, and if you’re running a company and doing your own web writing, you’re not objective.

Something else you need to be a web writer: stamina when quoting your prices. $25 an hour is not enough, no matter where you live. $50 — phooey. Don’t you deserve to make at least as much as your plumber?

My prices begin at $100 an hour and go as high as $150, depending on complexity, research, and a few other factors.

If I could go through the rest of my life, subsidized, I would spend my time letting people know that writing is a skill much more subtle than construction, or banking, or even lawyering. People need to spend years learning it, and even then they will spend the rest of their lives working at it. That’s the challenge and appeal of writing — every task is different and fascinating.

Can’t say that about plumbing, either.



"What do I need to be a web writer?"

by susan time to read: 1 min

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