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FAQ on life as a professional web writer

Q: I'd like to write for the Web, but all of my writing experience is for print publications. How should I approach the Web sites for work?

A: The good news is that many magazines and newspapers now operate their own Web site, and many of these sites use original content, as well as reprinting articles from their print publication. If you've worked with such a publication, or one like it, start there.

Q: Do I need to put up my own Web site if I want to write for the Web?

A: No, but it helps if you have a lot of online clips. This way instead of typing in long, laborious URLs in your query, you can just point the editor to your Web page where you'll have links to your online clips.

Resources

Advice on web writing and editing

Finding a job as a web writer or editor

 

Q. Do I need to know HTML or XML to write for the Web?

A. No, but a basic understanding helps.

It's easier to edit text that isn't littered with HTML codes, so most editors prefer raw text that has no formatting, no tags, no nothing--so it's easy to fold into a template, or sprinkle with tags.

Some editors like plain vanilla Word files, with an absolute minimum of formatting. Many writers avoid tagging altogether and submit raw ASCII files.

But if you find you like experimenting with tags for format (HTML) and content (XML), you'll have plenty of opportunities to play with these, on your own site, at startups, and in teams building new templates on large sites with content management systems.

Q. How do I go about getting work for business Web sites?

A. Online job boards have a lot of jobs for Web writers, even during the downturn in the economy. When looking for work, it pays to do a number of things.

First, make sure that you have a great resume. Send it out to any place that you'd like to work. (You should also check their company Web site, to see if they list a job board.)

Second, network. Let everyone know that you're looking for work, Third, call up a professional recruiter, or headhunter. Here are some particularly good job lists that will help you find a job as a web writer or editor.

 

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