In August, Associated Content hosted a Yahoo! Style Guide contest encouraging AC Contributors to publish articles about the writing tools and resources available in the style guide. Winners of the contest received a hardbound copy of the writing guide and recognition for their work via the Associated Content blog.
The Yahoo! Style Guide is available online to all writers. It provides a wide range of writing resources, editing guides, keyword list building tools, Web writing information, and the opportunity to ask an editor questions pertaining to Web writing.
Fifteen AC contributors were chosen from a group of 150 entries. Each provided unique and helpful information regarding how to use the Yahoo! Style Guide. Today, I’d like to congratulate the winners and share what I learned from them.
THE ART OF WEB WRITING
1. Research and Organization: Laine Broxton discusses the importance of keyword research; article organization through eye tracking strategies; and establishing a personal writing style. My favorite quote from Laine’s article, How to Write for Yahoo! and Associated Content is, “There is a fine line between seeming uneducated vs. brilliant.”
Laine is a Featured Business and Finance Contributor and offers an abundance of small business and personal finance advice. Anyone who wants to have a better understanding of business and finance should spend time visiting Laine Broxton’s profile page.
2. Headlines: Michelle Starkey’s title, Headlines Should Whet the Appetite of a Hungry Web World grabbed my attention. She compares writing articles to running a restaurant and states, “The Web is like a full house of starving customers – what is your menu offering?” As a food writer, I completely connected with her voice. Michelle’s article provided me with an “Ah Ha!” moment and turned on my ‘writing titles’ light bulb.
Michelle’s bio states she is an “Optimist who enjoys writing, laughing and spreading good news.” Read her witty, informative, and optimistic articles via Michelle Starkey’s profile page.
3. Formatting and Search Engine Optimization: Marie Anne St. Jean simplifies the art of formatting articles for ease of reading in her article, Simple Techniques Put the Optimization in SEO. Once I hit a certain age, I found it increasingly difficult to read run-on paragraphs. Marie demonstrates how including subtitles and using bold and italics can bring attention to important aspects of the content, as well as improving search engine rankings.
Marie Anne is a Featured Crafts and Hobbies Contributor who offers over 200 unique articles. If you need help with SEO, LSI, and Web writing advice visit Marie Anne St. Jean’s profile page.
4. Formatting and Eye-Tracking: Sylvia Cochran reveals crucial information about eye-tracking in her article, Online Reading Format Fundamentals from the Yahoo! Style Guide. I once read an article about eye-tracking software, but failed to comprehend the concept. Sylvia explains it in layman’s terms and tells us exactly what to do. I used her tips while writing this piece.
Sylvia is a Featured Home Improvement, Local, Parenting, and Pets Contributor, Community Guide, and PV Millionaire. With over 1,700 articles, Sylvia Cochran’s profile page offers something for everyone.
5. Precise and Concise: Cornelius Fortune reveals powerful secrets in Writing for the Web. He discusses the mindset of Internet users and their need for fast, concise information. Keeping articles concise is something I continue to struggle with. Thanks to Cornelius, I now have a better grasp on how to get to the point.
Cornelius offers an eclectic collection of articles ranging from Rexdell, the Super Dog to the Michigan Lottery. Get to know this Detroit-based writer and editor at Cornelius Fortune’s profile page.
DEFINE YOUR WRITING VOICE
6. Writer Confidence: Cathy A. Montville’s article, Build Writer Confidence – Expert Advice for Yahoo! Style Guide Word List not only provided great advice, but also a few chuckles. I love a writer that can educate and entertain at the same time. One blundering error I frequently make is using the word ‘alright’. After reading Cathy’s article, I won’t be doing that again. On the flip side, I’ve always been a bit anal retentive about using the word ‘OK’ for okay. Thanks to Cathy, I can let it go and be perfectly OK using the two-letter version.
Cathy is a Featured Food and Wine Contributor and AC Community Guide. In addition to being a wonderful writer, she comes up with the best article titles on the planet! You’re certain to be inspired when visiting Cathy A. Montville’s profile page.
7. Keep It Simple: Tonya Hillukka reminded me to keep things simple in her article, Web Writing: Develop Your Voice. I was deemed, Chatty Kathy, years ago and often struggle with keeping sentences short. Tonya also reminded me that when people search for information online they aren’t interested in reading a book. They want quick snippets that are easy to read and understand.
Tonya is a Featured Home Improvement, Local, and Pets Contributor offering over 400 articles. I’m not certain how I missed meeting Tonya, but I’m glad to have connected with her. You can connect with her too via Tonya Hillukka’s profile page.
8. Quick Tricks and Tips: Joy Smith’s article, Quick Tips and Tricks for Online Writing lived up to its name. She managed to provide four crucial writing elements on one page. Keeping things short is an art I have yet to master. Joy’s article motivated me to work harder at providing concise snippets and stop being so long-winded.
Joy has been publishing articles at AC since April and offers up a great menu of article titles, including, “Shoe Lovers Bare Their Soles at the Hello Stiletto Shoe Club.” You are certain to find joy at Joy Smith’s profile page.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
9. Avoid Bias: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen discusses the subject of bias writing in her article, Know Your Audience and Avoid Bias in Your Writing. She offers a gentle reminder that Web articles are read by people of all ages, colors, socioeconomic status, and cultures.
I have followed Rose for a few years and always learn something new from her. She’s a walking encyclopedia on health issues, alternative medicine, and technology. R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen is a Featured Health and Wellness Contributor, Local Contributor, and AC Community Guide. She is always the voice of reason in the AC forum.
10. Communication: Barbara Kellum-Scott focuses on the importance of communication and considering your audience when choosing the right words. Her article, Yahoo! Style Guide: Writing for the World covers sensitive subjects such as labeling people and using “insider” jargon. I appreciated her advice on how to avoid “straying into self-defined subcultures.”
I sometimes forget that a person residing in Portugal, Paris, or Africa may stumble across an article I have published online. Barbara’s tips helped me understand how to ensure I don’t unintentionally offend someone. Read more of her work at Barbara Kellum-Scott’s profile page.
ARTICLE EDITING RULES
11. Verbs: Chelsea Baldwin introduced me to ‘to-be’ verbs. While I hate to admit my ignorance in public, I had never heard of to-be verbs. I’m not going to spill the beans on what ‘to-be’ verbs are. Chelsea explains it much better than I ever could in her article, ‘To-Be’ Verbs: An Online Writing Tutorial.
Chelsea’s article library includes a must-read, Dear Economy; an open letter describing her frustration with the American economy, along with a heartwarming, Thanks Mom poem. I like her writing style and encourage you to visit Chelsea Baldwin’s profile page.
12. Punctuation: Nancy Tracy shed light on proper punctuation in her article, Punctilious About Punctuation? Her article included ‘not so good’ and ‘better’ examples which helped me understand the proper use of commas to separate adjectives. My favorite quote from Nancy’s article is, “A writer who overuses exclamation points is like the woman who wears too much eye shadow – more garish than glamorous.”
Nancy is a Featured Arts and Entertainment and Health and Wellness Contributor. Her topics include local politics, senior health, prescription drug health warnings, and the SEC porn scandal. Visit Nancy Tracy’s profile page to become uplifted, educated, and obtain comic relief.
13. Quotation Marks: Patti Walden cleared up my ongoing question of where to place quotation marks in her article, Quotation Marks (” “): A Writing and Editing Tutorial Inspired by Yahoo! Style Guide. I bookmarked this article because I know I will need to refer to it often.
Patti offers a unique collection of articles ranging from genetic testing to garden nurseries, and politics to personal stories. She possesses nearly twenty years experience as a professional freelance writer and news content provider. Grab a cup of coffee and head over to Patti Walden’s profile page.
14. Capitalization: Linda Ann Nickerson cleared the confusion on proper capitalization; particularly for individuals’ professional titles. Do you contemplate if you should capitalize Doctor or Reverend? What about when you’re referring to your mom or Uncle Bob? Linda’s article, Web Writing Wonders – an Easy Tutorial on Titles for People will guide you in the right direction.
Linda is a Featured Arts and Entertainment, and Pets Contributor. Discover over 1,700 informative, educational, and entertaining articles at Linda Ann Nickerson’s profile page.
15. Numbers: Heather Laurendeau is a new contributor and joined AC in July 2010. Her article, Guidelines for Writing Numbers on the Web from the Yahoo! Style Guide was invaluable to me because I write food articles which contain measurements. I’m always torn between using T, TSP, or tablespoon. Now I know which style is correct!
Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts, Communication (Public Relations emphasis) and Sociology minor. Please give her a warm welcome and subscribe to her articles by visiting Heather Laurendeau’s profile page.