Tell me about writing for the commercial web!
November 15, 2008 7:04 AM Subscribe
What do I need to know about writing for the web?
posted by Miko to media & arts (9 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm talking to some people who run a wonderful, small, independent web-development and design firm. They have had great success doing websites for regional and national companies and local businesses, updating image as they go with fresh design and new messaging. They do everything from toy stores and book stores to hospitals, advocacy groups, professional service firms, etc. Their business is increasing rapidly and they will probably be asking me to do some writing for them soon, on contract. They've seen my writing, which at this point is a very occasional moonlighting activity for me, in local newspapers (features, reviews) and magazines (food writing for the city mag). So they're confident I can put words together and deliver clean copy on a deadline.
However, I feel like there are some real specifics about writing for commercial web sites that I could stand to learn, and having some guiding principles going in would be really helpful.
So I'm asking a very, very open-ended question: what would you tell someone who has written for print, on mostly arts and culture topics, and for professional reasons (grant applications and museum labels and training manuals) about writing for the web on contract for a client who is trying to convey a specific image and message?
What jargon will I hear? What basic questions would I, as a content writer, need to ask at the beginning of a project?
What web resources would you direct a content writer to?
What is the range of fees for this service? How should I start the negotiations? I honestly have no idea what to offer here - print pays by the publication, usually a flat fee in a fee structure giving a range of compensation for type of article and word count. With web projects, do writers charge by the hour? By word count? By type of feature? By package? I have absolutely no idea what to ask. Of course I'm sure the range goes from 'peanuts/free' to 'sky high for the best companies,' but this company is doing very well and growing, they intend to pay, and I am a professional writer looking at this as an income source, not a hobby. So I would love some examples of fees and fee structures that web writers use for different situations and different levels. What are the industry standards?
What other advice do you have that I don't know enough to ask yet?
Thanks a lot. Writing/developing websites could be a really wonderful skill to add to my career bag-of-tricks, so I'm eager to be successful at it.