When It All Began: The First Web Writings
While there weren't many online writers in formative years of web, if you were around then, you know what it was like. What I remember most about web back then (the Al Gore days?) was plain text, 10-point courier font that was consistent with 90% of websites I encountered. Searching web was a pain, but reading web on-screen was impossible. By end of day I was completely nuts and half-blind. I would print out what looked to be a thousand pages of text and take it home to read and highlight. Even on paper, font caused my eyes to be squinty and my head to ache. I probably drank two liters of coffee a day to keep my eyes moving across page. The next day I would return to school computer and begin again. The web was a pain, but it was still a fascinating source of information that was free and at my fingertips.
A year or two later, web design evolved into flashing text and moving GIF's that danced across page. Words were scarce, and oftentimes, filled with unbelievable claims and brazen, nothing's-too-wild hype. There are still a few of these sites up on web today, but consumers shy far away from them when it comes to online shopping. Thank you, Jakob Neilson! While Jakob didn't change writing itself, really, he DID change way it was displayed and warned that blatant commercialism sent customers running for cover. Because of his research (available at useit.com) millions of websites changed way they did business, and learned about relationship building and credibility building. Web designers and writers began to learn and understand nature of web and process of converting website visitors into loyal readers. Web text became readable, scannable, and interesting. By 1998, I was using web on a regular basis again. While I still encountered many ugly, unreadable websites, I discovered a few gems and I was hooked on "free information" movement again.
Web Writing Markets Today
Between web designers and web writers, web has evolved into a medium that is not only scannable, but also readable. Thousands of websites hire content writers to create interesting, compelling, emotional content for their customers. While it is true that online business has lulled, truth is that online content is here to stay. As you may know from a statistics class, there is really no way that 100% of online businesses will crash and burn. For every website that is on web today, there will be two online tomorrow. Web business moves at a quick pace; but as one dot-com crashes and burns, another is submitting their press release to online venues around world.
Understanding web writing markets is crucial to success for online writers. Many writers get frustrated because they can't find work or don't know where to start. An understanding of term "content" is a good start to understanding companies that need content.
Online content today consists of: *Web sales copy *Filler *Articles *Online tutorials *Online user manuals *Newsletter writing *Online press releases *Online journalism *Flash movie scripts *Online game scripts *Online ads