Writing: Online Vs. Print

Friday, March 23, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 2 Comments

Writing online and writing for print are oceans apart from each other. As promised days ago, I shall elaborate on writing for an online audience and writing for print publications. But why is there such a great divide? And how do you bridge the gap?

Writing Online Vs Print

People who write online often find themselves fumbling when they write for print publications, while those who contribute often to print magazines write ineffective internet articles the first time they do. Let’s all find out why.

Writing Internet Articles versus Writing Print Articles

To understand why writing online is different from writing print articles, think of how both are accessed, presented, and read. The target audience for both online and print platforms are different, both in terms of demographics and numbers. Read on to find out some of the differences between writing internet articles and print articles.

  • Citing references online means using links. Effective referencing when writing online articles mean linking sources to their source URLs, then mentioning all the sources at the end of the article. Print articles, on the other hand, use different referencing styles. In addition, citing online sources for print articles means publishing the entire URL instead of simply linking to it.
  • Writing online articles necessitates a knowledge of basic SEO terms, such as anchor text, relevant keywords, keyword density, and keyword saturation. Effective online article writing is possible only if you know your way around search engine optimization (SEO) basics. Even if your article is the stuff that great novels are made of, if they do not possess the right keywords and white hat SEO tactics, then your article will not reach the readers it is meant for.
  • Online articles are shorter than print articles. Online readers have a shorter attention span. They will most likely skim your article instead of reading it in-depth. It is best to write shorter articles with headings, bullets, and highlights rather than a “grey page”. After all, readers can open different browser windows and tabs online and discard uninteresting websites. Print article readers, on the other hand, can only hold on to one print material at a time. This is why print articles are read for a longer period of time.
  • Internet articles require more controversial headlines and titles that “hook” the audience. For instance, the title “New Cancer Approach in the Philippines?” will be appropriate for an online article. (I actually wrote this article for Yahoo! Voices.) Notice the question mark, making the title a question that readers will want the answer for. If I had to write this for a print magazine, the title above would have been labeled as too sensational. I would make a more conventional title that newspapers and formal magazines would respect, such as “Philippines Introduces New Cancer Approach”.

These are just a few differences between writing online vs. writing for print publications. When writing articles, make sure you know how to write for your platform. With the above tips on how to write online articles and print articles, you know better than writing an article of thousand words for an online audience. Did you learn something new? Bookmark this page and follow me (Stef dela Cruz on Facebook) to get updates on writing tasks and tips! And if you are looking for writing gigs, you might want to read Wanted: Health Article Writers.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!


  1. great share.
    every time i read your posts, i learn something new. :)


    Zoie's Mom Blogging

  2. Thanks for the comment, Bonz! I like visiting your blog as well, which I'm doing now. :)