Writing for the Web: The Difference Between Print and Web Content For Freelance Writers

Writing for Print vs. The Web

Writing for a magazine or newspaper can be considered a tougher market than freelancing online. But what’s really so different about writing for print and the web?


Technical Finesse of Print Publications

Writing for magazine or newspaper publications requires a lot more technical finesse than web. With print you are giving all the information to the reader at once. There are no links, back pages, or videos to do half the work for you. Requiring a great deal of research, citing, and even interviewing.

Writing for the Web is very different from writing for print:

79% of users scan the page instead of reading word-for-word
• Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper
• Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent.

Baked Design: Writing for the Web Fact Sheet

“F-Motion” for Freelance Writing Encourages Shorter Web Content

It is said that when viewing websites readers skim the material in an “F”-motion (left to right, left to right, and then scrolling down). Which is why Freelance Bloggers or Writers are encouraged to keep web content short.

Advantage of Freelance Writers with Journalism Experience

imageFreelance Writers with journalism experience will thrive in these cases. Freelance journalist format their work to fit the Inverted Pyramid; placing the most crucial information with in the first few sentences and expanding upon it later on in the article. This greatly affects the tone of your writing. Try writing several pieces using the pyramid if you’re not familiar with it. It’s a great portfolio tool.

It’s also no secret that print writing is more profitable per word, but unless you’re Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, you’ll most likely to work hard and wait for a lot of time to see your work in print. It isn’t even remotely easy.

Print Publications Pay More Per Word Than Web

Writing online you have various blog platforms that allows any one to publish anything at any moment… and another writer is born. In print it is not so. Often times you write up to a hundred article proposals with only four ever being published. It can be considered worth the wait with print paying nearly three times/word than its counterpart.

Web Prints Emphasize Need of SEO

There is also the emphasis on SEO in web content. Often times writers are observed abandoning the quality in favor of higher ratings through keyword placement. This is a major mistake. Of course you want to deliver a “keyword rich” article to please your clients needs; however you want to deliver quality first!

While print publications are dying across the country—magazine readership, even, is at an all-time low—the move toward writing online is not only a smart decision, but a good investment for your future career.

Writing for print vs. web publications, By Penny Smith, Expert Career Writer

Print Harder Market Than Web

Because of cost and lack of subscribers most publications closed down and starting websites. This is great for us freelancers because this calls for more jobs that can be done remotely.

Writing for print publication is definitely a harder market, requires a lot more research than writing for the web, and often times will result in a multitude of dead ends.

Writing for the Web offers limitless job opportunities for growing business’, flexible hours depending on projects, and the ability to work from home.

Further Reading on Web vs Print with Gab Brand

There is so much more to cover:

· 6 Ways Writing Online is Different than Print by Jason Steele
· A fact sheet by Kerry.net to get you going. Find out more about the statistics of web writing.
· Web vs. Print: 5 Key Writing Differences, By Tim Morral, Public Relations
· Get a technical understanding of web writing from an educational standpoint with Web Writing Versus Print by Dey Alexander.

Gab Brand Wants to Hear From You!

How do you feel about freelancing for Web vs. Print Publications? Do you feel that it requires additional or formal training in order to be successful?

Let’s hear your feedback on Facebook. Make sure to use hashtag #GabBrand- Can’t wait for you to share your gift of gab!


Gab Brand


4 thoughts on “Writing for the Web: The Difference Between Print and Web Content For Freelance Writers”

  1. There are many truths in this post. Can “print” writing survive when younger generations are more scanners than deep readers? How does that affect information exchange?

    I will say that ANY writing, if done well, is hard work.

    Great post! (Thanks for following my blog!)


    1. Thank you for following up. Major print publications like NY Times and Magazine prints such as Martha Stewart’s living definitely have the potential longevity. If encouraged, more young writers could create smaller hubs based off of these prints to increase print popularity, however when everything is so accessible online immediately, it will increase amount of information being exchanged (truthful or not). And I agree, any writing is hard work, and with the boost in available information and sources who knows where writing will go next?


  2. Thank you, I try to keep it professional, leaving my saucy style on my creative wing blog, but above all I am happy to be here. Being able to share everything I am learning as a Freelance Writer & SAHM.

    I found another avenue to support my family and stay close to my children. So, I’m into encouraging others who might have felt intimidated by the idea.


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