How to Write an Article: A Proven Step-by-Step Guide

Tom Winter

Are you dreaming of becoming a notable writer or looking to enhance your content writing skills? Whatever your reasons for stepping into the writing world, crafting compelling articles can open numerous opportunities. Writing, when viewed as a skill rather than an innate talent, is something anyone can master with persistence, practice, and the proper guidance.

That’s precisely why I’ve created this comprehensive guide on ‘how to write an article.’ Whether you’re pursuing writing as a hobby or eyeing it as a potential career path, understanding the basics will lead you to higher levels of expertise. This step-by-step guide has been painstakingly designed based on my content creation experience. Let’s embark on this captivating journey toward becoming an accomplished article writer!

What is an Article?

what is an article

An article is more than words stitched together cohesively; it’s a carefully crafted medium expressing thoughts, presenting facts, sharing knowledge, or narrating stories. Essentially encapsulating any topic under the sun (or beyond!), an article is a versatile format meant to inform, entertain, or persuade readers.

Articles are ubiquitous; they grace your morning newspaper (or digital equivalents), illuminate blogs across various platforms, inhabit scholarly journals, and embellish magazines. Irrespective of their varying lengths and formats, which range from news reports and features to opinion pieces and how-to guides, all articles share some common objectives. Learning how to write this type of content involves mastering the ability to meet these underlying goals effectively.

Objectives of Article Writing

Objectives of Article Writing

The primary goal behind learning how to write an article is not merely putting words on paper. Instead, you’re trying to communicate ideas effectively. Each piece of writing carries unique objectives intricately tailored according to the creator’s intent and the target audience’s interests. Generally speaking, when you immerse yourself in writing an article, you should aim to achieve several fundamental goals.

First, deliver value to your readers. An engaging and informative article provides insightful information or tackles a problem your audience faces. You’re not merely filling up pages; you must offer solutions, present new perspectives, or provide educational material.

Next comes advancing knowledge within a specific field or subject matter. Especially relevant for academic or industry-focused writings, articles are often used to spread original research findings and innovative concepts that strengthen our collective understanding and drive progress.

Another vital objective for those mastering how to write an article is persuasion. This can come in various forms: convincing people about a particular viewpoint or motivating them to make a specific choice. Articles don’t always have to be neutral; they can be powerful tools for shifting public opinion.

Finally, let’s not forget entertainment – because who said only fictional work can entertain? Articles can stir our emotions or pique our interest with captivating storytelling techniques. It bridges the gap between reader and writer using shared experiences or universal truths.

Remember that high-quality content remains common across all boundaries despite these distinct objectives. No matter what type of writer you aspire to become—informative, persuasive, educational, or entertaining—strive for clarity, accuracy, and stimulation in every sentence you craft.

What is the Format of an Article?

What is the Format of an Article?

When considering how to write an article, understanding its foundation – in this case, the format – should be at the top of your list. A proper structure is like a blueprint, providing a direction for your creative construction.

First and foremost, let’s clarify one essential point: articles aren’t just homogenous chunks of text. A well-crafted article embodies different elements that merge to form an engaging, informative body of work. Here are those elements in order:

  • The Intriguing Title

At the top sits the title or heading; it’s your first chance to engage with a reader. This element requires serious consideration since it can determine whether someone will continue reading your material.

  • Engaging Introduction

Next comes the introduction, where you set expectations and hint at what’s to come. An artfully written introduction generates intrigue and gives readers a compelling reason to stick around.

  • Informative Body

The main body entails a detailed exploration of your topic, often broken down into subtopics or points for more manageable consumption and better flow of information.

  • Impactful Conclusion

Lastly, you have the conclusion, where you tie everything neatly together by revisiting key points and offering final thoughts.

While these components might appear straightforward on paper, mastering them requires practice, experimentation with writing styles, and a good understanding of your target audience. 

By putting in the work to familiarize yourself with how to create articles and how they’re structured, you’ll soon discover new ways to develop engaging content each time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!). Translating complex concepts into digestible content doesn’t need to feel daunting anymore! Now that we’ve tackled the format, our focus can shift to what should be included in an article.

What Should Be in an Article?

What Should Be in an Article?

Understanding that specific items should be featured in your writing is crucial. A well-crafted article resembles a neatly packed suitcase – everything has its place and purpose.

Key Information

First and foremost, you need essential information. Start by presenting the topic plainly so readers can grasp its relevance immediately. This sets the tone of why you are writing the article. The degree of depth at this point will depend on your audience; be mindful not to overwhelm beginners with too much jargon or over-simplify things for experts.


Secondly, every article must have an engaging introduction—this acts as the hook that reels your audience. Think of it as a movie trailer—it offers a taste of what’s to come without giving away all the details.

Third is the body, wherein you get into the crux of your argument or discussion. This is the point at which you present your ideas sequentially, along with supporting evidence or examples. Depending on the nature of your topic and personal style, this may vary from storytelling forms to more analytical breakdowns.

Lastly, you’ll need a fitting conclusion that wraps up all previously discussed points, effectively tying together every loose thread at the end. This helps cement your main ideas within the reader’s mind even after they’ve finished reading.

To summarize:  

  • Critical Information: Provides context for understanding
  • Introduction: Sheds further light on what will follow while piquing interest  
  • Body: Discusses topic intricacies using narratives or case studies
  • Conclusion: Ties up loose ends and reemphasizes important takeaways

In my experience writing articles for beginners and experts alike, I found these elements indispensable when conveying complex topics articulately and professionally. Always keep them at hand when looking to produce written material.

How should you structure an article?

How should you structure an article?

Crafting a well-structured article is akin to assembling a puzzle – every piece has its place and purpose. Let’s look at how to create the perfect skeleton for your content.

The introduction is your article’s welcome mat. It should be inviting and informative, briefly outlining what a reader can expect from your writing. Additionally, it must instantly grab the readers’ attention so they feel compelled to continue reading. To master the art of creating effective introductions, remember these key points:

  • Keep it short and precise.
  • Use compelling hooks like quotes or intriguing facts.
  • State clearly what the article will cover without revealing everything upfront.

Moving on, you encounter the body of your piece. This segment expands on the ideas outlined in the introduction while presenting fresh subtopics related to your core story. If we compare article writing to crossing a bridge, each paragraph represents a step toward the other side (the conclusion). Here are some tips for maintaining orderliness within your body:

  • Stick closely to one idea per paragraph as it enhances readability.
  • Ensure paragraphs flow logically by utilizing transitional words or sentences.
  • Offer evidence or examples supporting your claims and reinforce credibility.

As you approach the far side of our imaginary bridge, we reach an equally essential section of the article known as the conclusion. At this point, you should be looking to wrap your message up neatly while delivering on what was initially promised during the introduction. This section summarizes the main points, providing closure and ensuring readers feel satisfied.

Remember this golden rule when writing the conclusion: follow the  “Describe what you’re going to tell them (Introduction), tell them (Body), and then summarize what you told them (Conclusion).”  It’s a proven formula for delivering informative, engaging, and well-structured articles. 

One final tip before moving on: maintaining an active voice significantly enhances clarity for your readers. It makes them feel like they’re participating actively in the story unfolding within your article. In addition, it helps ensure easy readability, which is vital for keeping your audience engaged.

Tips for Writing a Good Article

Tips for Writing a Good Article

A persuasive, engaging, and insightful article requires careful thought and planning. Half the battle won is by knowing how to start writing and make content captivating. Below are vital tips that can enhance your article writing skills.

Heading or Title

An audience’s first impression hinges on the quality of your title. A good heading should be clear, attention-grabbing, and give an accurate snapshot of what’s contained in the piece’s body. Here are a few guidelines on how to create an impactful title:

  • Make it Compelling: Your title needs to spark interest and motivate readers to delve further into your work.
  • Keep it concise: You want to have a manageable heading. Aim for brevity yet inclusiveness.
  • Optimize with keywords: To boost search engine visibility, sprinkle relevant keywords naturally throughout your title.

By applying these techniques, you can increase reader engagement right from the get-go.

Body of the Article

After winning over potential readers with your catchy title, it’s time to provide substantial content in the form of the body text. Here’s how articles are typically structured:

Introduction:  Begin by providing an appealing overview that hooks your audience and baits them to read more. You can ask poignant questions or share interesting facts about your topic here.

Main Content:  Build on the groundwork set by your introduction. Lay out detailed information in a logical sequence with clear articulation.

Conclusion:  This reemphasizes the critical points discussed in the body while delivering a lasting impression of why those points matter.

Remember that clarity is critical when drafting each part because our objective here is to share information and communicate effectively. Properly understanding this approach ensures that the writing experience becomes creative and productive.

Step By Step Guide for Article Writing

Step By Step Guide for Article Writing

How do you write an article that engages your readers from the first line until the last? That’s what most writers, whether beginners or seasoned pros are trying to achieve. I’ll describe a step-by-step process for crafting such gripping articles in this guide.

Step 1: Find Your Target Audience

First and foremost, identify your target readers. Speaking directly to a specific group improves engagement and helps you craft messages that resonate deeply. To pinpoint your audience:

  • Take note of demographic attributes like age, gender, and profession.
  • Consider their preferences and needs.
  • Look into how much knowledge they are likely to possess concerning your topic.

Knowing this will help you decide what tone, language, and style best suits your readers. Remember, by understanding your audience better, you make it much easier to provide them with engaging content.

Step 2: Select a Topic and an Attractive Heading

Having understood your audience, select a relevant topic based on their interests and questions. Be sure it’s one you can competently discuss. When deciding how to start writing an article, ensure it begins with a captivating title.

A title should hint at what readers will gain from the article without revealing everything. Maintain some element of intrigue or provocation. For example, ‘6 Essentials You Probably Don’t Know About Gardening’ instead of just ‘Gardening Tips’.

Step 3: Research is Key

Good research is crucial to building credibility for beginners and experts alike. It prevents errors that could tarnish your piece immensely.

Thoroughly explore relevant books, scholarly articles, or reputable online resources. Find facts that build authenticity while debunking misconceptions that relate to your topic. Take notes on critical points discovered during this process—it’ll save you time when creating your first draft.

Step 4: Write a Comprehensive Brief

Having done your research, it’s time to write an outline or a brief—a roadmap for your article. This conveys how articles are written systematically without losing track of the main points.

Begin by starting the introduction with a punchy opener that draws readers in and a summary of what they’ll glean from reading. Section out specific points and ideas as separate headings and bullet points under each section to form the body. A conclusion rounds things up by restating key takeaways.

Step 5: Write and Proofread

Now comes the bulk of the work—writing. Respect the brief created earlier to ensure consistency and structure while drafting content. Use short, clear sentences while largely avoiding jargon unless absolutely necessary.

Post-writing, proofread ardently to check for typographical errors, inconsistent tenses, and poor sentence structures—and don’t forget factual correctness! It helps to read aloud, which can reveal awkward phrases that slipped through initial edits.

Step 6: Add Images and Infographics

To break text monotony and increase comprehension, introduce visuals such as images, infographics, or videos into your piece. They provide aesthetic relief while supporting the main ideas, increasing overall engagement.

Remember to source royalty-free images or get permission for copyrighted ones—you don’t want legal battles later!

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing

Regarding article writing, a few pitfalls can compromise the quality of your content. Knowing these and how to avoid them will enhance your work’s clarity, depth, and impact.

The first mistake often made is skimping on research. An article without solid underpinnings won’t merely be bland – it might mislead readers. Therefore, prioritize comprehensive investigation before penning down anything. Understanding common misconceptions or misinterpretations about your topic will strengthen your case. 

Next, sidestep unnecessary jargon or excessively complex language. While showcasing an impressive vocabulary might seem appealing, remember that your primary objective is imparting information efficiently and effectively.

Moreover, failing to structure articles effectively represents another standard error. A structured piece aids in delivering complex ideas coherently. Maintaining a logical sequence facilitates reader comprehension, whether explaining a detailed concept or narrating an incident.

A piece lacking aesthetic allure can fail its purpose regardless of the value of its text. That’s where images come into play. Neglecting them is an all-too-common mistake among beginners. Relevant pictures inserted at appropriate junctures serve as visual breaks from texts and stimulate interest among readers.

Lastly, proofreading is vital in determining whether you can deliver a well-written article. Typos and grammatical errors can significantly undermine professional credibility while disrupting a smooth reading experience.

So, when pondering how articles are written, avoiding these mistakes goes a long way toward producing high-quality content that embodies both substance and style. Remember: practice is paramount when learning how to write excellent material!

How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer?

How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer

Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence has been a major step in many industries. One such significant tool is SEOwind AI Writer, which is critical for those curious about how to write an article leveraging AI. In this section, I’ll cover how you can effectively use SEOwind AI writer to create compelling articles.

Step 1: Create a Brief and Outline

The first step in writing an article revolves around understanding your audience’s interests and then articulating them in a comprehensive brief that outlines the content’s framework.

  • Decide on the topic: What ideas will you share via your article?
  • Define your audience: Knowing who will read your text significantly influences your tone, style, and content depth.
  • Establish main points: Highlight the key points or arguments you wish to exhibit in your drafted piece. This helps create a skeleton for your work and maintain a logical flow of information.

With SEOwind:

  • you get all the content and keyword research for top-performing content in one place,
  • you can generate a comprehensive AI outline with one click,
  • users can quickly create a title, description, and keywords that match the topic you’re writing about.

As insightful as it might seem, having a roadmap doubles as a guide throughout the creative process. SEOwind offers a user-friendly interface that allows the easy input of essential elements like keywords, title suggestions, content length, etc. These provide an insightful outline, saving time with an indispensable tool that demonstrates the practicality of article writing.

Step 2: Write an AI Article using SEOwind

Once you have a brief ready, you can write an AI article with a single click. It will consider all the data you provided and much more, such as copywriting and SEO best practices , to deliver content that ranks.

Step 3: Give it a Human Touch

Finally, SEOwind’s intuitive platform delivers impeccably constructed content to dispel any confusion about writing an article. The result is inevitably exceptional, with well-structured sentences and logically sequenced sections that meet your demands.

However, artificial intelligence can sometimes miss the unique personal touch that enhances relatability in communication—making articles more compelling. Let’s master adding individualistic charm to personalize articles so that they resonate with audiences.

Tailoring the AI-generated piece with personal anecdotes or custom inputs helps to break the monotony and bolster engagement rates. Always remember to tweak essential SEO elements like meta descriptions and relevant backlinks.

So, whether it’s enhancing casual language flow or eliminating robotic consistency, the slightest modifications can breathe life into the text and transform your article into a harmonious man-machine effort. Remember – it’s not just about technology making life easy but also how effectively we utilize this emerging trend!

Common Questions on how to write an article

Delving into the writing world, especially regarding articles, can often lead to a swarm of questions. Let’s tackle some common queries that newbies and seasoned writers frequently stumble upon to make your journey more comfortable and rewarding.

What is the easiest way to write an article?

The easiest way to write an article begins with a clear structure. Here are five simple steps you can follow:

  • Identify your audience: The first thing you should consider while planning your article is who will read it? Identifying your target audience helps shape the article’s content, style, and purpose.
  • Decide on a topic and outline: Determining what to write about can sometimes be a formidable task. Try to ensure you cover a topic you can cover effectively or for which you feel great passion. Next, outline the main points you want to present throughout your piece.
  • Do the research: Dig deep into resources for pertinent information regarding your topic and gather as much knowledge as possible. An informed writer paves the way for a knowledgeable reader.
  • Drafting phase: Begin with an engaging introduction followed by systematically fleshing out each point from your outline in body paragraphs before ending with conclusive remarks tying together all the earlier arguments.
  • Fine-tune through editing and proofreading: Errors happen no matter how qualified or experienced a writer may be! So make sure to edit and proofread before publishing.

Keep these keys in mind and remain patient and persistent. There’s no easier alternative for writing an article.

How can I write an article without knowing about the topic?

We sometimes need to write about less familiar subjects – but do not fret! Here’s my approach:

  • First off, start by thoroughly researching subject-centric reliable sources. The more information you have, the better poised you are to write confidently about it.
  • While researching, take notes and highlight the most essential points.
  • Create an outline by organizing these points logically – this essentially becomes your article’s backbone.
  • Start writing based on your research and outlined structure. If certain aspects remain unclear, keep investigating until clarity prevails.

Getting outside your comfort zone can be daunting, but is also a thrilling chance to expand your horizons.

What is your process for writing an article quickly?

In terms of speed versus quality in writing an article – strikingly enough, they aren’t mutually exclusive. To produce a high-quality piece swiftly, adhere to the following steps:

  • Establish purpose and audience: Before cogs start turning on phrase-spinning, be clear on why you’re writing and who will likely read it.
  • Brainstorm broadly, then refine: Cast a wide net initially regarding ideas around your topic. Then, narrow down those areas that amplify your core message or meet objectives.
  • Create a robust outline: A detailed roadmap prevents meandering during actual writing and saves time!
  • Ignore perfection in the first draft: Speed up initial drafting by prioritizing getting your thoughts on paper over perfect grammar or sentence compositions.
  • Be disciplined with edits and revisions: Try adopting a cut, shorten, and replace mantra while trimming fluff without mercy!

Writing quickly requires practice and strategic planning – but rest assured, it’s entirely possible!

Tom Winter

Seasoned SaaS and agency growth expert with deep expertise in AI, content marketing, and SEO. With SEOwind, he crafts AI-powered content that tops Google searches and magnetizes clicks. With a track record of rocketing startups to global reach and coaching teams to smash growth, Tom's all about sharing his rich arsenal of strategies through engaging podcasts and webinars. He's your go-to guy for transforming organic traffic, supercharging content creation, and driving sales through the roof.

Table of Contents

  • 1 What is an Article?
  • 2 Objectives of Article Writing
  • 3 What is the Format of an Article?
  • 4 What Should Be in an Article?
  • 5 How should you structure an article?
  • 6 Tips for Writing a Good Article
  • 7 Step By Step Guide for Article Writing
  • 8 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Article Writing
  • 9 How to Write an Article with SEOwind AI Writer?
  • 10 Common Questions on how to write an article

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling Article Introduction

Image of pen writing

Wouldn’t it be great if every single person who clicked on one of your articles read it from start to finish, unable to pull their eyes away from the screen?

We think we both know the answer to that question.

To achieve this goal, however, you must master the art of writing intriguing introductions.

Wait a second , you’re thinking. Writing introductions? Isn’t that kind of a small detail of a 2,000-word article? Unfortunately, no. Your article intro is not a small detail.

The introduction to your article is often the difference between engaging readers and having a bounce rate high enough to make a click-baiter cringe .

Think about it. If you don’t grab your readers right away, you’ll lose them.

You went through all that work of writing a killer article, right? You worked hard at it. You spent a lot of time on it. You did a ton of research but if your introduction sucks, your efforts will be all for nothing. You’ll have lost before you even got started!

If you want to write great content , improve the success of your marketing campaigns, and increase the loyalty of your fans, you must master writing introductions.

Let us show you how.

5 Steps to Write an Article Introduction

Here’s how you write a blog introduction that doesn’t stink:

  • Master the opening line
  • Have something unique to say
  • Keep it simple
  • Speak directly to the reader
  • Explain what the article is about

Step 1 – Master the Opening Line

To have a strong introduction, you need to open with a strong first sentence.

The millisecond your reader hits the page, they have an extremely high likelihood of leaving the page.

Data graph of probability of leave the page vs time visiting the page so far in seconds.

Data says so.

The first sentence has one single purpose: to entice the reader to read the next sentence. In doing so, it sets the tone for the rest of the article, hooking the reader in, one step at a time.

If you fail at this, you readers won’t scroll. That’s why its often best to have your first sentence act as a hook to engage a readers attention. The easiest way to do this is to cite a relevant fact or statistic that you know the reader will be interested in that relates to your article’s topic.

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages.

And if they don’t scroll, they won’t engage.

Check out this article by Dilbert author Scott Adams to see how the first sentence is done. by Scott Adams example.

He writes this:

I went from being a bad writer to a good writer after taking a one-day course in “business writing.”

That’s a great opening line.

Why? Because it makes you want to know  more!

  • How did he become a good writer?
  • What did he learn?
  • Could I benefit from it too?

Adams nailed it. He drew us in by making us ask questions.

If you don’t know how to craft an intriguing first sentence, the remaining words of your article will be a complete waste.

Luckily for you, with a few simple tricks, writing a phenomenal first sentence can be quite easy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep the first sentence short. This makes it easy for the reader to digest the first bits of information and prevents them from losing interest quickly.

But there is more to it than that.

You have to make sure that the first sentence grabs the reader’s attention and holds it for the rest of the article.

Here are a couple of tried-and-true tactics that make for super compelling first lines.

Ask the reader a question

This is an easy way to get the reader’s attention and get them engaged without a whole lot of effort on your part.

For example, if you are writing an article on quitting your job and starting your own company, you could open with the question: “Did you know that almost 70% of Americans report being actively disengaged from their careers?” Remember we mentioned using a statistic earlier?

Why does this work?

It has to do with the brain’s “ limbic reward system .”

The Limbic Reward System lights up when curiosity is piqued.

When this system is activated, dopamine is released. And dopamine gives us a sense of reward and pleasure.

When we are intrigued by a question, i.e., experience a sense of curiosity, the limbic reward system lights up. And that’s why we want to keep reading—it’s rewarding to satisfy curiosity.

Here’s an example. Writer Olga Khazan asks a question that’s on everyone’s mind, causing the reader to be instantly interested:

Making the Brain Less Racist by Olga Khazan introduction to article example

We want to know the answer to that question, so we keep reading.

That’s why a question is a great opening line. You can even use the question as the article title.

Tell a story

The brain also lights up when it encounters a story.

According to the theory of neural coupling , certain portions of the brain are activated when a reader thinks about the same mental and physical activity that a character in a story is doing.

How storytelling affects the brain informational image.

James Clear usually starts his blog articles with a story, often a true story.

How long does it actually take to form a new habit? (backed by science) article by James Clear introduction to article example.

The story makes his readers interested in the article and keeps them reading to the very end.

Use a shocking quote

Another great way to start your article is to use an attention-grabbing quote.

Let’s say you are writing an article on world travel. A great way to introduce the article would be with the quote from Helen Keller:

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Using a quote like this will grab the readers attention and make them want to learn more.

Tell the reader to imagine

Sparking the imagination is an instant way to draw the reader into the experience of the article.

Notice how this article begins:

Example of the word, "imagine" being used in introduction to article.

The reader tries to obey the imperative by imagining. This effort compels the reader to read further, drawing them into the article.

Writers for The Atlantic are experts at their craft. This writer does the same thing—asking the reader to imagine.

Why You Should Believe in the Digital Afterlife by Michael Graziano use of the word "imagine" in introduction to article example.

Share an interesting fact

In a day and age when the Internet is so rife with untrustworthy information and fraudulent “gurus,” people are skeptical. They have every reason to be.

Opening your article with a relevant fact or statistic is a great way to establish trust and authority from the first sentence and let readers know you’ve done your research — like we said before.

Step 2 – Have Something Unique to Say

Okay, so you’ve crafted an excellent first sentence, and you have your reader’s interest.

Now, you have to hold that interest by having something interesting and uncommon to say.

Very few people take the time and energy to regularly produce new, thought-provoking content. If you do, you’ll set yourself apart from the herd in a big way.

Forget re-purposing of old articles or rewriting stuff from other people’s websites. If you want to have the reader’s respect and attention, you have to say something they’ve never heard before.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff you read today has been regurgitated 28 times before.

Let’s imagine you run a travel blog. Based on our advice, you write a number of 3,000-word comprehensive “How-To Guides.”

Whenever a reader opens your guide on financing their way around the world trip, they’ll expect to read all about airline rewards programs, frugality, and credit card points.

And that information is great, but it is also very generic.

A better introduction would be something like this:

How would you like to save up enough money in the next 6 months to spend all of 2017 traveling the world? That would be pretty epic, right? Well, this is entirely possible, and in today’s article, we’re going to show you how you can do this. It’s not by skipping your morning latte or spending thousands of dollars with your credit cards on a few hundred miles either. We’re going to show you how you can create a life of mobility and freedom by leveraging the skills you already have, tactically selecting your destinations, and using a little known tax secret that will save you thousands of dollars! Sound good? Let’s get to it.

It’s hard to be different. We realize that.

Sometimes, in order to create unique stuff, we simply have to work harder, think longer, and research more than our competition.

Here are some ways you can develop that unique voice in your article introduction:

  • Share a personal story or fact. You’re the only you  there is. You can share a story or experience no one else can. One way to tell such a story is to write, “If you know me…”
  • Get your emotions in it. People have an emotional reaction to emotions. When we convey our emotions in our writing, people tend to respond. Besides, emotion is also a unique and personal thing. How do you communicate this in an introduction? Easy: “Want to know how I feel about it? I feel….”
  • Share your goals or vision. If you have a guiding goal or vision for life, you can communicate this in your introduction. “That’s one of the reasons we wrote this post. Our goal in life is to…”
  • Make a promise. A promise is a personal and attention-grabbing thing. Give your readers a promise, and it will secure their loyalty and their interest. “We promise that we’ll do our dead-level best to….”

Unique isn’t easy . But it’s worth it.

Step 3 – Keep it Simple

We live in a world where most people have an attention span of only a few seconds.

Apparently, our attention span is getting shorter!

Average attention span infographic by Bloomberg.

After a few seconds, we get bored and move on to the next shiny object.

If you want your readers to make time in their days to read what you have to say, make sure you present things as simply as possible .

Longer articles, of course, deserve longer introductions. But it’s important to respect people’s time and attention. You can’t change what is (people’s short attention spans) by writing a long introduction based on what should be (longer attention spans).

Avoid rambling about how great your information is, and just share it already!

Step 4 – Speak Directly to the Reader

Whenever you are writing educational material for other people, you want to use the word “you” as much (and as naturally) as possible.

In this article, We’ve used some variation of the word you more than 100 times. Why? Because we’re talking to you! We want you to know this information. We want you to benefit from it.

By emphasizing the word “you” in your article, you show the reader you are directly addressing them and their situation and not just writing a generic article to the general populace.

But there’s another side to this. I should refer to myself as well. My goal is to convey a personal feel to this article. After all, it’s me talking to you, right? So it’s only natural that I would refer to myself too — although more sparingly.

Step 5 – Explain What the Article is About

The point of an introduction is exactly that: to introduce the content that will be presented in an article.

We cannot tell you the number of times online articles left us confused even after we had read a few of their paragraphs.

We couldn’t tell whether the authors were teaching us how to run successful Facebook ads , or telling us a weird story about their childhood.

That’s why its crucial to take a few sentences, and clearly explain what the article is going to cover without giving away too many details.

This will build suspense around the subject matter while still letting your audience know what they may be in for.

A great example of this comes from the Buffer blog. Notice how the introduction poses a question and then proposes to answer that question.

Example blog by Ash Read introducing a question and then proposing to answer the question in the article.

Your curiosity stays high, but the introduction sets the stage.

Explain the importance of the article

Once you’ve explained what the article is, now it’s time to explain why people should care.

Everyone on the Internet approaches every new piece of information with a simple question: “ What’s in it for me ?”

Image of man holding a card that has WIIFM? written on it.

If you want to write introductions that hook the reader and help your content go viral , you have to master the art of explaining what the reader stands to gain from the information you are sharing.

How will it benefit your readers’ lives? How will it solve a problem they are facing? How will it cure a pain they are feeling?

If you understand how to quickly and efficiently answer these questions, you’ll keep your readers glued to your article till the last word.

Few things can make or break your article as easily as an introduction.

If you can master the art of the first few paragraphs, you’ll be able to increase reader engagement, improve sales, and earn a reputation as a phenomenal writer.

It’s not an easy skill to master, but like many things in Internet marketing, it’s fairly straightforward.

If you put in the work, you’ll get results.

What tactics do you use to create a compelling article introduction?

Privacy Overview

how to start writing online articles

How to Write an Article (the Complete Guide)

  • Sarah Neidler, PhD
  • February 9, 2021

Did you just launch your new website and want to fill it with content? Or would you like to work as an article writer  and you’re asking yourself, how do I write an article that actually gets results? 

In both cases, you want to know how to write an article. 

This is a step-by-step guide that shows you how to come up with article ideas, get started with writing, and edit after writing. The guide is intended for online articles, but most points also apply to offline, print articles. Also, note that the difference between an article and a blog post is marginal, so most recommendations also apply to blog posts. 

Because it’s crucial that your article ranks in Google, we also cover some basics about search engine optimization (SEO). For more detailed information, I recommend you reading our 25 Point Blog Post Checklist for SEO .

1. Come up with a topic and a focus keyword

Before you start writing, you have to decide what you want to write about. That should be obvious. But what makes a good idea for an article?

Writing an article takes a lot of time and effort. Your articles should help you to generate traffic to your website. One of the most important factors that decide how much traffic you get is Google ranking.

Ideally, you want your article to rank for a high volume keyword. If 10.000 people per month type a specific keyword into Google and your article is the first to come up, many people will click on it and thereby land on your website.

When it comes to ranking, you should not only consider the search volume but also how difficult it is to rank for this keyword. A huge search volume is useless when your article appears on page number 256 of the search results.

It’s best to use a keyword research tool to find out the keyword difficulty (KD). We recommend Ahrefs because it provides you with accurate keyword data and many other functions that help you rank in Google.

how to start writing online articles

There are two main ways to come up with article ideas:

  • You have some ideas in mind; then you use a keyword research tool to find out if there are good keywords for these topics.
  • You do a keyword search, come up with a list of suitable keywords and then decide which ones to cover in an article.

The focus keyword reflects the topic of your article. It can consist of one or two words or multiple words. As an example, the focus keyword of this article is “how to write an article.”

If you struggle to find good ideas, I recommend you read my article about how to find blog topics .

2. Find the search intent behind the keyword

When typing keywords into Google, you have a problem that you want to solve. You might want to learn more about a particular topic, you have a specific question, or you are looking for products to buy. The content of your article has to match the user’s search intent behind the keyword.

“How to” keywords make it easy: They phrase a question, and your article should answer this question. When someone searches for “best Italian restaurant in town,” the person doesn’t want to know what an Italian restaurant is, but how to find the best one.

Google knows this and will display local Italian restaurants with the best reviews. Also, rating websites like Tripadvisor make it to the top search results because they deliver the information the user is looking for: A short review about the best Italian restaurants, explaining why they are the best ones.

Because Google has, in most cases, a good idea about the search intent behind keywords, googling the keyword you want to rank for is always a good idea.

how to start writing online articles

3. Find out how long your article needs to be

How long your article should be, depends on the topic and the competition. Some topics can be covered comprehensively in a short article. There is always the possibility to write more, but more is not always better. Again, keep the search intent in mind.

If the keywords indicate that the user looks for a simple, short answer, it’s better to keep it short. A long, detailed article would instead repel those readers. Take as an example: “How many strings does a guitar have.” This is a very basic question, and the person typing this into Google expects a short, simple answer. He or she doesn’t want to read a 1000-word article to find out.

But many topics are worth covering in detail. Someone who searches for “How to find the best electric bass guitar” would be thankful for a long, comprehensive article that answers all his questions. For these kinds of topics, you need to find out how long your article should at least be to have a realistic chance to rank for it. Googling your focus keyword is the easiest way to find out. Just check how long the top-ranking articles are and write one that is at least that long.

When you notice that your article is getting much longer than planned, decide if the added points are that important. If they truly add value, keep them. Check if they are highly related to the topic. If not, you can always cover them in a separate article.

4. Read competing articles

Take a close look at the articles that rank for your focus keyword. See if you can find good ideas in there and take some notes. This is not about copying your competition. It’s about getting inspired to make your article better.

5. Research the topic

Do deep research about the topic you want to write about. And simply googling your focus keyword and reading the top-ranking articles does not count as research. Ideally, you should already be knowledgeable about the topic.

The less you know, the more research you have to do. But even if you already know the subject in and out, check if there is new information available. For instance, when you write about CBD oil for anxiety, you may already know that CBD oil can help with anxiety and why. But there may still be a new study that you don’t know about. Covering the latest research that your competition hasn’t written about gives you a leading edge.

6. Brainstorm information to include

Once you know what you want to write about and gathered all the important information, you should do some brainstorming about what you want to cover in the article. There may be many points, likely, you won’t keep all of them. But writing them all down helps you to make sure that you don’t forget any vital information.

how to start writing online articles

7. Come up with unique ideas

When you’re done with brainstorming, make sure that you have ideas with unique content that you cannot find anywhere else. If your article summarizes the top 5 ranking articles, you’re not providing value to your readers.

There are many ways to make a text unique, and it depends on the kind of article. If you’re an expert on the topic, you can give an expert opinion with unique insights. When it’s an informational article, try to find information you cannot find anywhere else.

And even if there’s no additional information, you can still provide value. For instance, by explaining a complex problem better than anyone else does. Or by illustrating a point with a story. There are many ways, be creative!

8. Write an outline

Before you start writing, write an outline to give the article some structure. It is not set in stone, and you can change it while writing. But it makes the writing process much more manageable.

No matter what kind of article you write, it should always have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Further, each article should answer three questions in the following order:

  • What (is it about)?
  • Why (is it important)?
  • How (to implement it)?

Answering these three questions gives your article a logical flow.

First, you have to let your readers know what the article is about. When you write about something that not everybody is familiar with, you’ll also have to explain what it is and give background information. For instance, when you write an article about magnesium, you should first mention that it is an essential mineral and review its role in the body.

The next step is then to explain why it’s important and why people should care. You would mention how common a magnesium deficiency is and what symptoms it causes. 

In the last step, you would address the how and tell your readers how they can prevent a magnesium deficiency.

In how much detail you answer each of these questions is very individual and depends on the kind of article you write. When you write a “How to …” article, like the one you are currently reading, answering the “How” is the main part. Readers looking for “How to do something” already know what it is and why it’s important. So you can briefly answer the first two questions in the introduction and then spend the rest of the article answering the “How.”

But you can also have articles focusing on the “Why.” After briefly answering the “What,” you explain in detail why it is important. The “How” can then be a simple call to action, leading the reader to an article addressing the “How” or to a product that is solving the problem.

If you wrote about the detrimental health consequences of eating too much sugar, this would answer the question, “Why too much sugar is bad for you.” After your readers are convinced that too much sugar is very unhealthy, you can end the article with a call to action to your article about how to eat less sugar.

The What, Why and How questions can serve as a template that you can apply to any article.

9. Follow the rule of one

Following the rule of one is probably the most important advice when writing an article, and most writers don’t follow it. Yet, articles that fulfill this rule are the most successful ones. So when you apply it, you write better articles than most others.

The rule sounds simple but is not easy to follow. It means that you should dedicate the content to one single topic and don’t deviate from it. For instance, in the article you are currently reading, I stick to advice about how to write an article. I don’t tell you how to write an ebook .

You might think that many people who write articles also write ebooks, and this information might be of interest to them. This might be true. But it’s also true that people who don’t know how to get started with an article are probably not ready to write an ebook yet. That’s why I don’t include any advice about ebook writing and instead would link to an article about how to write an ebook.

You have to put yourself into the shoes of your readers. Keep the search intent of your focus keyword in mind. Someone who types these words into Google is looking for specific information. By deviating from it, you risk boring your readers and losing them.

That’s the last thing you want. And the good thing when writing online articles is that linking to other articles is very easy. So if you are not 100% sure if the information is of interest to all article readers, leave it out and simply link to the content with further information.

10. Avoid the curse of knowledge

It’s good to write about something you’re knowledgeable about. In the end, you have something to tell and to teach.

But when you write about a topic that you are very familiar with, you quickly fall into the trap of the curse of knowledge.

This can have two negative consequences, and you should avoid both like the plague.

  • You tell your readers everything you know about the topic, or even worth, everything that is even loosely related to it

This is related to the rule of one. Many writers throw too much information at their readers, mostly because they want to demonstrate how much they know about a certain topic. They think that this signals credibility. What it really does is deviating from the subject and boring your readers.

  • You don’t write in a way that your audience easily understands

The second danger is that you are using words your audience isn’t familiar with and assume your readers know something they don’t. Simply because you know so much about a certain topic, you cannot imagine how it is not knowing it. As an author, this problem can be very hard to spot. This is why editing is so important (see point 20)

But you’re losing people that way. Your readers might think that you’re smart, but they will nevertheless stop reading your content because they either find it not interesting or because they don’t understand it.

11. Include references from reliable sources

You should try to provide sources for the information you include. This makes you look credible and also gives your readers the chance to find out more. How many references you have to provide largely depends on the kind of article and the topic.

When you write about a personal experience, you won’t have to provide many sources, and even not mentioning any might be fine. When you write about how CBD oil can help with anxiety, you certainly want to link to some scientific studies proving your point.

how to start writing online articles

12. Link to further information

No matter how long your article is, there is always more information about this topic. An easy way to provide value to your reader is to link to useful information. This can be to another article on your website or an external source.

Linking internally to other articles is also a valuable tool to stick to the point. When you catch yourself covering something that is not directly related to the topic, write a separate article about it and link to it.

Here’s an example of a link from one article to another.

how to start writing online articles

13. Make it “snackable”

People who read online are often looking for quick information. They don’t sit down for three hours to read about a specific topic as they might do with a book. When they click on a Google search result, they skim through the article to see if it provides the information they are looking for. And even if they decide that the article is worth reading, they don’t want to read large text blocks.

For these reasons, you should

  • Write short paragraphs
  • Use many subheadings (as a rule of thumb, you should have at least one subheading every 300 words)
  • Use bullet points where it makes sense
  • Bold important information
  • Use supporting infographics and pictures
  • Summarize the most important points after a paragraph covering a lot of information

how to start writing online articles

14. Make it an easy read

This point is related to the advice to make the content “snackable.” Furthermore, you should use uncomplicated language. Try to keep your sentences short and simple. Write in an active voice.

And avoid technical terms unless you’re 100% sure that your audience is familiar with them.

How “easy” the content is, depends, of course, on your audience’s background knowledge. To be precise, it should be an easy read for your audience, not necessarily for everyone.

15. Use the language of your audience

When you write an article for medical doctors, your tone and language differ from when you write for laypeople. Always keep your audience in mind and try to adopt their language. This way, your content relates to them, and it is easier to connect to them and build trust.

16. Write a compelling introduction

The introduction should explain why the article is relevant and how it solves the reader’s problems. You should keep it short and come straight to the point. The intro helps readers decide whether the article answers their question and it’s worth reading or whether they should look further.

For this reason, your introduction should raise the reader’s interest, but it should also reflect the content of the article. If you make false promises in your intro, you’ll disappoint your readers, and you risk that they won’t read your content in the future.

Mentioning a statistic, a quote, or an interesting, relevant fact is also an excellent way to start an article.

I personally prefer to write the introduction after writing the body of the article. I may write some notes before writing the article and then write it out later. Once the article is written, you have a clearer picture of the article’s content and how to lead into it.

17. End with a strong conclusion

It is a good idea to write the conclusion last. But when writing the article, you should already know what the conclusion is so that you can build up to it. As for the introduction, you can write down the points you want to mention and write them out later.

There are many different ways to write the conclusion. In many cases, it’s a good idea to summarize the article and emphasize the main takeaway. A call to action is also an excellent way to end an article.

I n the end, your article has a purpose, and you want your readers to do something after reading it.

You can guide them to further content, your products or ask them to sign-up for your newsletter, enquire about a product, service, or read an article. These are just a few examples; there are many more!

Here’s an example of a clear call to action for ketogenic meal plans.

how to start writing online articles

18. Remove non-important and redundant information

Some people say that they try to shorten their text by one third once they are done writing. How much you have to shorten your text depends on your writing style. If you tend to write very wordy, include non-relevant information, and even repeat information, you’ll have to shorten a lot. When you already write concisely, removing a little bit here and there will be enough. But in general, shortening your text during the editing process will make your article a better read.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot write long articles. But they should be packed with information. That means that to fill a long article, you need a lot of information. Take this article as an example. It’s 3,500 words +, but it provides 21 useful tips, and every single one is valuable. So, your article should have substance. The worst thing is reading an article that says nothing. It’s a waste of time for your readers (and also a waste of time writing it).

19. Edit, edit, edit

Once you’re done writing, the editing starts. Editing can take as long as the writing itself or even longer. You often find the advice not to edit while writing because writing and editing are two separate processes. I don’t think this applies to everyone and largely depends on your writing style.

When you try to get everything perfect in the first draft, writing takes much longer, but you save time editing. When you write everything down as fast as possible, you’re done writing in no time, but editing will probably take longer than writing.

20. Ask someone for feedback

Having someone to edit your article and to provide feedback will always improve your article. This person will likely notice a few language flaws, even if you are a native speaker and your grammar and writing is very good.

The person can also tell you if the article’s structure makes sense and if the transitions are easy to follow. Most importantly, the editor can tell you whether everything is easy to understand. For this reason, it can be an advantage to have a non-expert. This is especially important when writing for lay people.

21. Make a final grammar check

Once the article went through some rounds of editing, you should do a final grammar check. Grammarly is a popular choice that detects most grammar flaws, suggests synonyms, and also checks punctuation. This is especially important when you’re not a native English speaker. But even if you’re native, a grammar checking program can make the text better.

how to start writing online articles

The bottom line

Writing an article may seem simple, but it involves many steps. It’s not only about the writing; it’s also about finding ideas, doing research, and editing the article. Altogether, they can take more time and effort than the writing itself. 

Outsourcing articles can save you a lot of time and lets you focus on other parts of your business. Writing Studio has expert writers who can take care of all these steps. They know how to write articles that rank in Google and drive high-value traffic to your website.

Don’t forget to share this article!

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How to Get Started with Article Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Compass in flat illustration style, colorful purple gradient colors

So you've always had a way with words, and you've finally decided to dip your toes into the realm of article writing. Congratulations, my friend! Whether you're itching to express your thoughts and insights or aiming to make a career out of crafting captivating content, writing articles can unlock a world of creativity. But where do you begin? Fear not, for this step-by-step guide is here to help you embark on your journey as a budding wordsmith.

From finding your niche to perfecting your writing skills, let's dive in and uncover the secrets to kickstarting your article-writing adventure. Get ready to unleash your inner storyteller and captivate readers one word at a time!

What is Article Writing?

Article writing is the craft of creating written content for various purposes. It involves conveying information clearly and engagingly to a specific audience . Starting with a compelling introduction, an article provides valuable insights and knowledge on a given topic. It is essential to include relevant facts and examples to support your ideas. A well-structured article typically comprises of short paragraphs and uses headings and subheadings to guide readers.

Strong article writing requires good research skills, excellent grammar, and proper formatting. By mastering the art of article writing, beginners can effectively share their ideas and opinions with a broader audience.

Benefits of Article Writing for Beginners

Start for free

Article writing is an excellent starting point for beginners. It helps develop writing skills and boosts creativity. Writing articles enhances critical thinking by requiring research and analysis . It also enables the writer to share knowledge and ideas with others. The process of writing articles improves communication skills and helps build a writer's portfolio. Moreover, article writing allows beginners to explore different topics, positioning them as experts in a specific area.

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Finding a topic that interests you.

Finding a topic that interests you is crucial when starting your article writing journey. Think about subjects you enjoy or have knowledge about. Consider your hobbies, passions, or areas where you excel. It's important to choose a topic that you genuinely care about, as it will make the writing process more enjoyable and help you connect with your readers. Don't be afraid to explore different angles or niches within your chosen topic to make it more unique and engaging.

Remember, the more interested you are in your topic, the more likely it is that others will be interested too. So, choose wisely and have fun!

Researching Popular Topics

Researching popular topics is an essential step in article writing. It not only helps you stay updated with current trends but also enables you to create content that resonates with your target audience . Here are some tips to streamline your research process:

  • Identify your target audience : Define the demographic and interests of your readers to understand what topics are most likely to engage them.
  • Utilize online tools : Leverage search engines, social media platforms, and keyword research tools to identify popular topics in your niche.
  • Analyze competition : Explore articles and blogs written by competitors to gain insights into what topics have performed well for them.
  • Stay updated : Follow news websites, industry publications, and influencers in your field to keep up with the latest trends and topics that are gaining traction.
  • Engage with your audience : Pay attention to comments, feedback, and questions from your readers to identify what they're interested in and shape your content accordingly.

By conducting thorough research, you can ensure that your articles are relevant, engaging, and resonate with your target audience.

Narrowing Down Your Topic

When choosing a topic for your article, it's important to narrow it down to something specific. Start by brainstorming all the potential ideas and then consider which ones interest you the most. Once you have a general idea, try to make it more focused by asking yourself questions like "Who is my target audience?" or "What aspect of this topic do I want to explore?" This will help you create a clear and concise angle for your article, making it easier to write and more engaging for your readers.

Remember, specificity is key!

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

Identifying your target audience.

Identifying your target audience is crucial when writing an article. Who are you trying to reach? Start by defining their demographics - age, gender, location. Dive deeper to understand their interests, needs, and pain points. Are they tech-savvy or more traditional? What challenges do they face? Consider their motivations and desires. By analyzing their behavior and preferences, you can tailor your content to resonate with them.

This will help you engage and connect with your readers on a morepersonal level. Remember, understanding your target audience is the key to creating impactful articles. So, take the time to do your research and get to know them well.

Understanding Audience's Needs and Preferences

In order to be an effective article writer, it is crucial to understand the needs and preferences of your audience. This means taking the time to research and analyze your target readers, their interests, and what they are searching for. By doing so, you can tailor your content to meet their expectations, making it more engaging and relevant.

Whether it’s providing informative guides or entertaining stories, remember to keep your writing concise, easy to understand, and free of unnecessary fluff. By doing this, you will attract and retain your audience's attention, building a loyal readership over time.

Step 3: Conduct Thorough Research

Gathering information from reliable sources.

When writing an article, it is crucial to gather information from reliable sources. This ensures that your content is accurate and trustworthy. Start by identifying reputable sources, such as reputable websites, academic journals, or expert interviews. Use multiple sources to get a well-rounded perspective on the topic. Check for citations and references in the sources you find, as this indicates the information has been substantiated by other experts.

Avoid using sources that lack credibility or have a biased agenda. By gathering information from reliable sources, you can provide valuable and accurate content to your readers.

Organizing Your Research Findings

When it comes to organizing your research findings, it's crucial to have a systematic approach. Here are some tips to help you make sense of all the information you've gathered:

  • Create a clear and logical structure for your article, outlining the main points you want to cover.
  • Determine the most relevant and valuable findings from your research and highlight key data or evidence to support your claims.
  • Categorize your findings into different sections or subheadings, making it easier for readers to navigate through your article.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to present concise information or important details.
  • Consider creating an annotated bibliography or reference list to keep track of your sources and ensure correct citations.

By organizing your research findings effectively, you'll be able to present your ideas in a coherent and structured manner, enhancing the clarity and impact of your article.

Step 4: Create an Outline

Structuring your article.

Structuring your article is essential for effective communication. Start with a compelling title that grabs attention. Divide your article into clear sections using subheadings to guide the reader. In the introduction, present the main idea and provide context. Keep paragraphs short and focused, each discussing one key point. Use bullet points or numbered lists for easy comprehension. In the conclusion, summarize the main points and conclude with a thought-provoking statement.

Remember to edit and proofread for clarity and coherence. A well-structured article enhances readability and ensures your message is conveyed effectively.

Outlining Main Points and Subtopics

When starting an article, it is crucial to outline the main points and subtopics you want to cover. This helps you maintain focus and structure throughout your writing. Begin by identifying the main idea or argument you want to convey. Then, list the key points that support or elaborate on this idea. Make sure each point flows logically and sequentially.

Next, break down these key points into subtopics that provide further details or examples. This way, you can organize your thoughts in a clear and coherent manner, ensuring your readers will easily follow your train of thought.

Step 5: Start Writing

Developing a strong body.

Developing a Strong Body is essential for article writing beginners. Regular exercise is key. Start with simple activities like walking or jogging to improve stamina and overall fitness. Include strength training exercises to build muscle and boost metabolism. Focus on workouts that target different body areas such as squats for legs, push-ups for upper body, and planks for core. Consistency is crucial, so aim for at least 3-4 times a week.

Alongside exercise, eat a balanced diet rich in proteins, vegetables, and whole grains to fuel your body and aid in muscle recovery. Hydrate adequately to stay focused and energized during writing sessions. Prioritize self-care and get enough rest for optimal physical and mental performance. With a strong body, writing will become effortless.

Creating an Engaging Conclusion

In order to create an engaging conclusion for your article, consider leaving the reader with something to think about or a call to action. A thought-provoking question or a compelling statement can keep your readers engaged and encourage them to explore the topic further.

Additionally, you can summarize your main points briefly and end on a strong note. Remember, a good conclusion should leave a lasting impression and leave the reader wanting more.

Step 6: Edit and Revise

Checking for grammar and spelling errors.

When you finish writing your article, take a moment to check for grammar and spelling errors. Read it aloud or use a spell-check tool to catch any mistakes. Pay attention to punctuation, capitalization, and word choice. Double-check names, dates, and statistics to ensure accuracy. If possible, ask someone else to proofread your work. Give yourself time between writing and proofreading to identify errors more effectively.

Taking these simple steps can greatly improve the quality of your article and make it more professional.

Improving Sentence Structure and Clarity

To enhance your article writing, focus on sentence structure and clarity. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Avoid lengthy, convoluted sentences that confuse readers. Use active verbs to make your writing more engaging and dynamic. Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks to improve readability. Use transition words to create smooth transitions between ideas. Lastly, always proofread your work to eliminate any grammatical errors and ensure clarity. By improving sentence structure and clarity, you can make your article more concise, engaging, and enjoyable for your readers.

Ensuring Coherence and Flow

Ensuring coherence and flow in your article is crucial for keeping the reader engaged. Start by using clear and concise language to express your ideas. Break your article into short paragraphs and vary their lengths to maintain a smooth flow. Use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and guide the reader through the article.

Additionally, make sure each paragraph focuses on a single point to avoid confusion.

Finally, read your article aloud or ask someone to read it to ensure it flows naturally and is easy to understand. Remember, coherence and flow are keys to effective article writing.

Step 7: Proofread and Finalize

Reading and re-reading your article.

Once you finish writing your article, take a moment to step back and give it a read. Look for any typos, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. This initial read-through allows you to catch any obvious mistakes or areas that need improvement.

After this first pass, take a break. Give yourself some distance from the article before coming back to it for a second read. This time, focus on the overall flow and structure of your piece. Does it make sense? Is the information organized logically? Take note of any areas that feel disjointed or confusing.

When you're satisfied with the structure, read it through one final time, paying attention to the details. Check for consistency in verb tenses, formatting, and citation styles. Ensure that your article flows smoothly and that each sentence serves a purpose.

By actively reading and re-reading your article, you can catch errors, improve clarity, and deliver a polished final piece that engages and informs your readers.

Formatting and Styling

Formatting and styling is crucial when it comes to writing an article. A well-structured article enhances readability and grabs the reader's attention. Start with a catchy headline that summarizes your content. Use subheadings to break up the text and make it more scannable. Keep your paragraphs short and to the point. Bullet points and numbered lists are great for conveying information concisely. Incorporate relevant images to engage your readers visually.

Lastly, proofread your article for grammar and spelling errors. Taking the time to format and style your article properly will greatly improve its impact and readability.

Reflecting on Your Article Writing Journey

As you near the end of your article writing journey, take a moment to reflect on how far you've come. Think about the skills you've acquired, the topics you've delved into, and the challenges you've conquered. Remember the moments of frustration and the triumphs that followed. Embrace the growth you've experienced and the knowledge you've gained along the way. Appreciate the progress, no matter how small, and use it as fuel to continue honing your craft. Remember, every step counts and every article is an opportunity to improve. Keep writing, keep learning, and keep pushing yourself to new heights.

Taking Next Steps to Improve as a Writer

Now that you've taken your first steps into article writing, it's time to take the next ones in order to improve as a writer. One way to do this is by reading extensively. Pick up different genres and styles of writing to broaden your horizons. Another crucial step is to write consistently. Make a writing schedule and stick to it, even if it's just for a few minutes each day.

Additionally, seek feedback from others. Join writing groups or ask friends to read your work and provide constructive criticism. Remember, practice, exposure to different writing styles, and feedback are key to becoming a better writer.

Wrapping up

Writing articles can be a daunting task for beginners, but with this step-by-step guide, you'll be well on your way to becoming a proficient article writer.

First, choose a topic that interests you and conduct thorough research to gather all the necessary information. Then, create an outline to organize your thoughts and ensure a logical flow in your writing. When crafting the introduction, aim to grab your readers' attention with a compelling hook. In the body of the article, present your ideas clearly, providing evidence and examples to support your claims. Use subheadings and bullet points to enhance readability. Once the main points are covered, wrap up your article with a conclusion that summarizes your key takeaways and leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Remember to proofread and edit your work to eliminate any errors or inconsistencies. With practice and perseverance, you'll develop your own unique writing style and become an accomplished article writer.

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How to Write Articles

Last Updated: February 20, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Janet Peischel . Janet Peischel is a Writer and Digital Media Expert and the Owner of Top of Mind Marketing. With more than 15 years of consulting experience, she develops content strategies and builds online brands for her clients. Prior to consulting, Janet spent over 15 years in the marketing industry, in positions such as the Vice President of Marketing Communications for the Bank of America. Janet holds a BA and MA from the University of Washington. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,275,720 times.

There are a multitude of different types of articles, including news stories, features, profiles, instructional articles, and so on. While each has specific qualities that are unique to its type, all articles share some common characteristics. From forming and researching your idea to writing and editing your work, writing articles can give you a chance to share compelling and important information with readers.

Forming Your Idea

Step 1 Get familiar with the type of article you want to write.

  • News: This type of article presents facts about something that happened recently or that will happen in the near future. It usually covers the 5 Ws and H: who, what, where, when, why and how.
  • Feature: This type of article presents information in a more creative, descriptive way than a straight news article. It can be an article about a person, a phenomenon, a place, or other subject.
  • Editorial: This article presents a writer’s opinions on a topic or debate. It is intended to persuade the reader to think a certain way about a topic. [1] X Research source
  • How-to: This article gives clear instructions and information about how to accomplish some task.
  • Profile: This article presents information about a person, using information that the writer typically gathers through interviews and background research.

Step 2 Brainstorm your topic.

  • What interests you about this topic?
  • What is a point that people usually overlook?
  • What do you want people to know about this topic?
  • For example, if you want to write about organic farming, you might say to yourself, “I think it’s important to know what organic labeling means on food packages. It can be confusing to know what it all means.”

Step 3 Choose something you’re passionate about.

  • Your goal is to convey enough passion that your readers think the issue in your article is worth caring about.

Step 4 Conduct preliminary research.

  • Enter some keywords into an online search engine. This can lead you to sources that write about your topic. These sources can also give you an idea of different approaches to the topic.
  • Read as much as you can on the topic. Visit your local library. Consult books, magazine articles, published interviews, and online features as well as news sources, blogs, and databases for information. A good place to start looking for data not apparent on the Internet is the Gale Directory of Databases, which exists in both book format (available in libraries) or online .

Step 5 Find a unique angle.

  • For example, for the organic food topic, you might focus on one grocery shopper who doesn’t understand organic food labeling. Use that opening anecdote to lead into your main argument, known as a "nut graph," which summarizes your unique idea or perspective.

Step 6 Hone your argument.

  • For example, if you are writing about how one person learns how to read organic labels, your overall argument might be that the public needs to be aware that many companies misuse organic labeling. This leads to dishonest practices in product advertising. Another topic might be: it’s important to know who owns your local media outlets. If corporate media organizations own your local newspaper, you may get very little media coverage of your area and not know much about your community.
  • Write your argument in one sentence. Post it near your computer or writing area. This will help you stay focused as you start working on your article.

Researching Your Idea

Step 1 Learn about your topic and argument.

  • Primary sources can include a transcript from a legislative hearing, lawsuit filing, county property indexes with folio numbers, discharge certificates from the military, and photos. Other primary sources could include government written records in the National Archives or special collections sections of your local or university library, insurance policies, corporate financial reports, or personal background reports.
  • Secondary sources comprise published databases, books, abstracts, articles in English and other languages, bibliographies, dissertations, and reference books.
  • You can find information on the internet or in a library. You can also conduct interviews, watch documentaries, or consult other sources.

Step 2 Gather supporting evidence.

  • You can make a longer list of evidence and examples. As you gather more evidence, you will be able to prioritize which ones are the strongest examples.

Step 3 Use reliable sources.

  • Don’t assume that one source is completely accurate. You'll need several unrelated sources to get the full picture.

Step 4 Keep track of your research sources.

  • Choose a citation style sooner rather than later, so you can compile citation information in the correct format. MLA, APA, and Chicago are some of the most common citation styles.

Step 5 Avoid plagiarism...

  • Don’t copy any text directly from another source. Paraphrase this text instead, and include a citation .

Outlining Your Idea

Step 1 Decide on the article’s length.

  • For example, if you are writing an article for a specialized academic audience, your tone, and approach will be vastly different from if you’re writing an article for a popular magazine.

Step 3 Outline your article.

  • It’s helpful to start with the five-paragraph essay outline. [4] X Research source This outline devotes one paragraph to an introduction, three paragraphs for supporting evidence, and one paragraph for a conclusion. As you start plugging in information into your outline, you may find that this structure doesn’t suit your article so well.
  • You might also find that this structure doesn’t suit certain types of articles. For example, if you’re doing a profile of a person, your article may follow a different format.

Step 4 Choose quotes and other evidence to support your points.

  • Make sure to fully attribute your quote and use quotation marks around anything that you didn’t write yourself. For example, you might write: A spokesperson for the dairy brand Milktoast says, “Our milk is labeled organic because our cows are only fed organic grass.”
  • Don’t overdo the quotes. Be selective about the quotes you do use. If you use too many quotes, your reader might think you’re using them as filler instead of coming up with your material.

Writing Your Article

Step 1 Write your introduction.

  • Telling an anecdote.
  • Using a quote from an interview subject.
  • Starting with a statistic.
  • Starting with straight facts of the story.

Step 2 Follow your outline.

  • Be flexible, however. Sometimes when you write, the flow makes sense in a way that is different from your outline. Be ready to change the direction of your piece if it seems to read better that way.

Step 3 Give proper context.

  • For example, you might write about the grocery shopper having trouble with organic food labels: “Charlie concentrated on jars of peanut butter on the shelf. The words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ seemed to jump out at him. Every jar said something different. He felt they were shouting at him: ‘Choose me!’ ‘Buy me!’ The words started swimming in front of his eyes. He left the aisle without buying anything.”

Step 5 Include transitions.

  • For example, use words or phrases such as “however…,” “another important point is…,” or “it must be remembered that…”

Step 6 Pay attention to style, structure and voice.

  • For example, a newspaper article will need to offer information in a narrative, chronological format. It should be written with accessible and straightforward language. An academic article will be written with more formal language. A how-to article might be written in more informal language.
  • When writing your article, use a strong "anchoring" sentence at the beginning of each paragraph to move your reader forward. Moreover, vary the length of your sentences, both short and long. If you find all your sentences are about the same word length, chances are your reader will be 'lulled" into a standard rhythm and fall asleep. Sentences which are consistently choppy and short may give your reader the impression you are writing advertising copy instead of a well-thought-out article.

Step 7 Write a compelling conclusion.

  • If you started with an anecdote or statistic in your introduction, think about reconnecting to this point in your conclusion.
  • Conclusions are often strongest when they use a last, brief, concrete example that leads the reader to new insights. Conclusions should be 'forward-thinking' -- point the reader in a direction that keeps his or her "thirst" for knowledge going strong.

Step 8 Think about adding supplemental material.

  • For example, you could include photographs, charts, or infographics to illustrate some of your points.
  • You could also highlight or develop a major point more with a sidebar-type box. This is an extra bit of writing that delves more deeply into one aspect of the subject. For example, if you’re writing about your city’s film festival, you might include a sidebar write-up that highlights one of the films. These types of write-ups are usually short (50-75 words, depending on the publication outlet).
  • Remember, these materials are supplemental. This means that your article should stand on its own. Your writing needs to be understandable, clear and focused without the help of charts, photographs or other graphics.

Finalizing Your Work

Step 1 Edit your work.

  • Look closely at the central argument or point you’re trying to make. Does everything in your article serve this central argument? Do you have a unrelated paragraph? If so, this paragraph should be eliminated or reframed so that it supports the main argument.
  • Eliminate any contradictory information in the article or address the contradictions, showing how the contradictory information is relevant to readers.
  • Rewrite sections or the entire thing as necessary. Revisions like this are common for all types of articles, so don’t feel like you’ve failed or are incompetent.

Step 2 Comb through for grammatical errors.

  • It’s helpful to print out a hard copy of your article. Go through it with a pen or pencil to catch mistakes. Then go back and correct these mistakes on the computer.

Step 3 Read your article out loud to yourself.

  • It is common to be able to identify your mistakes in grammar or writing while reading aloud as well; this could cut down on the feedback that you may receive from someone else.

Step 4 Have someone else read your article.

  • This person may also catch errors and inconsistencies that you have overlooked.

Step 5 Write a headline.

  • If you want to convey slightly more information, write a sub-headline. This is a secondary sentence that builds on the headline.

Article Outline Template

how to start writing online articles

Expert Q&A

Janet Peischel

  • Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to write the article. If you don't, you'll be rushing at the last minute to create something that isn't representative of what you can truly do. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • To find out more about using primary research tools and databases, consult the Investigative Reporters and Editors website or get a copy of The Investigative Reporter's Handbook: A Guide to Documents, Databases and Techniques, Fifth Edition. Authors: Brant Houston and Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's 2009). Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Determine whether you actually have an interest in writing. Try writing 2 paragraphs with as much creativity as possible. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to start writing online articles

  • When writing for a newspaper or magazine, do not do so free. Ask what the freelance fee is beforehand. Your pay will usually be calculated on a per-word basis or per-article basis. Your work is valuable. Writing for free makes making a living more difficult for those who depend on freelance fees to pay the bills. If you're just starting out, volunteering to do some articles for smaller community papers, student publications and trade magazines is a great way to build your portfolio. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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About This Article

Janet Peischel

To write an article, use both primary and secondary sources to gather information about your topic. Primary sources include photos, government records, and personal interviews, while secondary sources include books, abstracts, scholarly journals, other articles, and reference books. When you’re writing, use facts, quotes, and statistics from your sources to support your point, and explain your topic as if the reader has never heard of it before. To learn the different types of articles, including news, features, and editorials, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Online Writing Jobs for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

Of all the things readers ask me to help them with, online writing jobs for beginners is at the top of the list.

Over the years, we’ve built up a huge library of articles about freelance writing. The one you’re reading now is intended to be the very best guide you can find, with lots of honesty, practical advice, and insider tips.

We also cover THE most important thing: where to FIND online writing jobs for beginners .

Why Should You Listen To Me?

Why do you want to be a freelance writer, good reasons to become a writer, bad reasons to become a writer, what do you need to be a freelance writer, skills and traits, software and equipment, do you need a blog to be a writer, how do you get writing jobs with no experience, 1. get reading, 2. brush up on the technical side of writing, 3. consider signing up to a content mill, 4. establish your portfolio, 5. get set up on upwork (or another freelance job board), 6. pitch for (and win) your first few gigs, 7. move towards a speciality, 8. branch out, 9. refine, rinse and repeat, blog article writing, reviews and roundups, press releases, speech writing, business writing, fiction writing, ebook writing,, peopleperhour, other freelance job boards, problogger jobs, freelancewritingjobs, bloggingpro, mediabistro, where to learn more.

In case this is your first visit to HomeWorkingClub and you don’t know me, I’m going to start with the most important question of all:

I’ve been making money from freelance writing for over ten years. I run this site and several others, and I’ve been quoted on many sites including HuffPost, Business Insider and USA Today. I’ve written for well-known sites and publications including A Place in the Sun, The Freelancers Union and Rightmove.

But I’ve also been exactly where you are right now : sitting at a computer feeling overwhelmed, and wondering how on earth to get started with freelance writing.

It’s been a long and challenging journey. I’ve turned out soul-destroying bulk content for content mills, and paid my dues with plenty of low-paid gigs. But I’ve also had those true “living the dream” moments, being paid for things like reviewing restaurants, and earning great rates for writing about subjects I’m genuinely passionate about.

I want to help you do the same, and have no agenda in doing so. All the information here is free – and, in fact, I’m even offering a FREE email course for those of you who want to delve in a little further. More on that shortly.

This is a BIG article.

That’s why there’s a clickable index above – as I realise some readers may wish to zoom forward to specific information.

Here are some of the things you will know about once you’ve read all 7000 words of this guide:

  • The questions you should ask yourself before you start out as a freelance writer.
  • What skills and attributes you need to make it as a freelance writer.
  • What equipment and software you need for freelance writing.
  • What steps you should take, and in what order.
  • What types of writing jobs are out there.
  • How to pitch for your first freelance writing writing gigs.
  • Where to actually find writing gigs.
  • How to get writing jobs with no experience.
  • Whether or not you should start a blog .
  • Where to look for better paying gigs once you have some experience.
  • How to make a full-time living as a freelance writer.

There’s a lot to cover, but you have so much to gain by working through it all. So grab a drink, make yourself comfortable, and settle in! If you have any questions at all about freelance writing jobs for beginners, feel free to contact me personally.

A REALLY Important Question Before We Start

As I said at the start, despite running a site that talks about hundreds of different online jobs , more people ask me about online writing jobs than anything else.

The popularity of freelance writing has led me to ponder why everybody seems to want to be a writer. I even dedicated a podcast to the subject. I’d suggest having a listen if you’re wondering about writing as a career.

I’d encourage you to do a bit of soul-searching and ask why YOU want to be a writer. And to help you explore the subject, here are some good and bad reasons:

  • Freelance writing is something you’ve always wanted to do.
  • It’s something lots of people have told you you’d be great at.
  • You have knowledge about a particular subject that you’re keen to share with the world.
  • You have particular skills that you know are in demand in the writing world (i.e. PR, technical documentation, writing for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)).
  • You’re retired or seeking a second source of income.
  • You love words and language and would genuinely enjoy the work.
  • You want to work from home and think that writing is the only way to do it. (It’s REALLY not).
  • You think it’s easy work.
  • You’ve heard or read that blogging is a way to get rich.
  • An advert or article online has convinced you that you can get high-paid writing job with no experience.
  • You can’t be bothered to hunt for a more suitable remote or freelance job.

Some of these do – I know – come across as a bit harsh. But I can’t emphasise enough that you MUST consider your motivations.

Embarking on a freelance writer career requires grit, persistence, and a willingness to work hard. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons you won’t stick it out and you won’t succeed.

On the other hand, if you’re coming at this from the right place I have good news for you: There IS a ton of freelance writing work out there. With time, you can make a living writing – perhaps even about the subjects you really care about. I’m living proof of that.

This next section splits into two parts:

First we cover writing skills, attributes and knowledge. Then we look at the more practical things you need to get into freelance writing as a beginner.

Writing isn’t for everyone. In many ways it’s a lot more technical (and sometimes more boring!) than people expect.

Here are the qualities you need to make it in freelance writing:

Great Spelling, Grammar and Vocabulary Knowledge

Do you read a lot, and always notice the grammar errors? Do you know how to lay things out clearly, and make your writing both accurate and engaging?

I receive many emails from people asking me for writing work. Depressingly often, they are poorly formatted and littered with spelling and grammar errors.

There’s a lot of online writing work out there, but not so much that clients have to use poor writers.

Writing is a craft as well as a job. You learn more of that craft with every single thing you write, whether it’s a paid article for a client or a post on your personal blog.

If you often read content and think “I could do better than that,” then that’s a good sign (so long as you’re not delusional!) And if you don’t read a LOT of content, I’d once again urge you to look within yourself to ask why you want to be a writer if you’re not an avid reader.

Specialist Knowledge

This isn’t an absolute must, but it gives you a HUGE edge.

What do you know about? What do you know more about that the average person?

If you have a quick answer to that question, that’s a good thing.

It can be literally anything. Between 2009 and 2014 I lived as an expat in Portugal, and wrote a huge amount of content about both expat life and Portugal itself. I’m also a Microsoft and Apple certified techie, so have had many writing gigs around computers and cybersecurity.

Maybe you know about pets, haircare, low-carb cooking, fitness, science fiction, book-keeping.

You get the idea.

While specialist knowledge isn’t essential, it really does help. I hire writers myself, and always look for people with specific knowledge of a particular subject area. Most clients do that too. Sometimes it can be subject-matter experience that wins you a gig, rather than your writing experience.

Strong Research Skills

A lot of online freelance writing involves heavy research. If you’re a seasoned browser tab juggler, that’s a good thing.

Obviously much depends on what you’re writing about, but lots of research is part and parcel of freelance writing. It’s not about sitting in front of a burning fire letting the words flow. Far more often you’ll be trying to find a statistic to support what you’re saying!

A Willingness to “Put Yourself Out There”

We will be talking about places you can find generic (and usually low paid) content writing work later in this article. But generally speaking, if you want good writing gigs, you will need to send out pitches, chat with clients, and market your services .

The “sales part” of freelance writing is something many aspiring writers don’t think about. Furthermore, fear of doing it is what causes many to fall at the first hurdle.

The actual writing is only half the job. You also need to be finding those initial trial gigs, impressing the clients, and working to turn them into regular jobs. Many people sell writing courses that brush over this reality – but a reality it is.

Attention to Detail

We’ve already talked about spelling and grammar, but attention to detail goes way beyond that. It’s about sending in your work on time, in the requested format, and with all the images and supplementary bits and bobs most clients need.

It’s about being your own editor and delighting clients with work that they can just use – without having to send it back lots of time for amendments.

It’s about taking in every little detail of a client’s instructions, internalising guidelines and style instructions so that the people paying you get exactly what they want.

I’m not saying that writers without attention to detail don’t get clients. They often do. But it’s the ones with the attention to detail that keep clients.

Determination and Tenacity

Becoming a freelance writer is NOT an easy career path.

The idea of a struggling writer is a little overblown and romanticised. Plenty of people doing online freelance writing make a VERY good and consistent living. However, it is a life where work tends to come in fits and starts, with lots of periods of uncertainty and anxiety – especially in the early days.

When you first start out, you will bid for loads of gigs that you never hear back from; You’ll end up with clients who want the earth for very little money, and you’ll endure lots of imposter syndrome until you gradually build up your confidence.

Are you prepared to go through all of that?

The next section is rather less intimidating, but no less important.

To get work as a freelance writer, you will need the following:

A GOOD Computer

As a writer, your computer (usually a laptop, these days) is the main tool of your trade. (We have an article on the best laptops for freelancers here ).

I say a “good” computer, because you shouldn’t be trying to undertake a career using something that’s not up to the job.

You don’t need something that costs a fortune, but you do need something that works consistently, and gives you the power and ergonomics to be comfortable and efficient. A good simple way to ascertain if your machine fits the bill is to answer the following questions:

  • Does your computer start up quickly and reliably?
  • Does it do what you ask it to, or does it glitch and slow you down?
  • Is it a pain or a pleasure to use?

The Right Software

You don’t need much software to be a writer. However, you should have – at the very least – a full, legal copy of Microsoft Office. Nowadays people usually get this as part of an Office 365 subscription .

There are other things you might want to think about. A subscription to Grammarly ( review here ) is a good idea. It’s an app that checks your text for errors, plagiarism and bad writing habits. Many companies use this, and some clients even insist that you run your writing through it before submitting articles.

You can get some other ideas of software what could make you more effective and efficient in our guide to the best apps for freelancers .

Other Practicalities

You also need:

  • A rock solid and reliable internet connection (and ideally a backup if it goes down, which could be as simple as a smartphone you can use as a hotspot).
  • A comfortable place to work, ideally with a good desk and chair.

I’m asked this question a lot, so thought it worth answering here.

The simple answer is “no.” You don’t need a blog if you’re looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners. However, there is a whole host of reasons why it’s a good idea:

  • An outlet for your work: A blog gives you a place to write about anything you want and practice your craft.
  • A place to showcase your work: Clients will always want to see examples of your work. A blog gives you somewhere to create some of them.
  • Freedom to write about anything: Often the things we want to write about don’t tally with the things client want to pay us for! But your blog is a place where you can write about anything.
  • Potential to earn money: Many blogs (including this one!) are money-making businesses in and of themselves. A common strategy for freelance writers is to have paid gigs to pay the bills, with slow-burn blogging projects going on in parallel.

If you’re interested in further exploring the blogging side of writing:

  • Check out my guide to how to start a profitable blog .

Let’s be real here: getting writing jobs with no experience isn’t easy. Clients almost always want to see examples of your writing. And that makes sense. If you were hiring a writer, you’d want to see what they could do before offering them money, right?

So there’s a simple answer: You need to GET some experience.

The good news is that that part is easier than you might think. But it means you’re going to need to spend some time building up a portfolio, and that often means writing online without getting paid.

In a moment, I present you with a step by step plan for getting your first writing jobs, based on exactly what I did. First, though, let’s look at some ways you can get some of your writing “out there,” so that you have examples that prove your worth to potential clients:

1. Start a Blog

We’ve already touched on this. My first writing was on a blog of my own. (For those who are interested it was a blog about moving to Portugal, documenting my life in a new country. It morphed into a book that sold over 4000 copies, but that’s definitely for another article!)

Your blog can be about anything at all. However, if you hope to make money from the blog itself, I’d recommend choosing a clear niche.

It’s important to note that clients are unlikely to hire you with no other evidence of your writing ability than your personal blog . However, you CAN include a couple of your very best posts as writing samples in your portfolio.

2. Contribute Guest Articles

Many websites and blogs accept guest articles, and these include plenty of big and well-known media outlets.

You can start off with a simple Google search for “write for us.” You’ll find thousands of sites looking for contributions. Concentrate on sites that fit your knowledge and interests, and make sure you follow their submission guidelines to the letter. Sites typically receive a huge number of submissions, and they don’t accept them all.

You may come across sites that pay for posts. Obviously getting some money for a contribution is a good thing, but I’d advise against making it a priority at this stage. The aim here is to get writing samples out there with your name on – articles that will impress potential clients when you start pitching for “real” work.

3. Volunteer Your Services

Is there a local charity in your area with a poorly written website? Perhaps you could volunteer to help them improve it, and do some good at the same time as boosting your writing portfolio.

4. Write for Content Mills

Content mills (explained in detail in this article ) are – in truth – at the very bottom rung of the paid writing work ladder. Many articles discussing online writing jobs for beginners advise you to avoid them altogether. I have a rather more pragmatic opinion.

Sites like Copify and TextBroker tend to pay low rates for monotonous and soul-destroying work. As if that weren’t bad enough, you often have to comply with very strict guidelines when writing your articles, and it’s rare to get your byline on the content you write.

So why do I suggest you consider them?

The reason is experience. I’d certainly advise writing for content mills for the minimum possible time, but while your other options are limited, they can give you experience of following style guides, interacting with editors and sticking to deadlines. At best, you’re likely to be looking at flipping-burgers-level pay, but you ARE still being paid to write.

I wrote for content mills when I first started writing as a beginner. Do I look back on that time fondly? Absolutely not! But do I value the experience it gave me? Yes.

Content mill work probably won’t give you article examples for your portfolio, but it WILL give you experience.

5. Reach Out to Your Personal Network

Think about everyone you know, both in the business world and in your personal life.

It may seem a little daunting to “go begging” for writing work. But as we’ve already discussed, pitching and putting yourself out there is a fundamental part of being a writer.

So consider who has a blog, who owns a business, and think about what you could offer to do to help them. Remember, the objective here is to put together a portfolio of work , ready for when you start to pitch clients.

6. Write on Medium or LinkedIn

Plenty of sites give you the ability to post your own articles. As with a personal blog, I wouldn’t recommend filling a portfolio only with articles you’ve been able to freely post yourself. However, there’s no harm in including one or two.

These platforms have the added benefit of giving you an opportunity to write about absolutely any subject. In the past, I’ve been known to post an article to Medium when it’s on a subject that doesn’t fit neatly onto any of my own sites.

7. Network!

Join some writing and home working groups (such as our own private advice group on Facebook ). Start reading Reddit threads about freelance writing.

It makes sense to live and breathe the world of freelance writing, even if you’re just getting started. You can read and chat about other writers’ triumphs and challenges and – you never know – you could get some leads too.

A Step By Step Plan for Getting Your First Writing Job

You now know a range of places where you can freely pick up some initial writing experience.

Next, we have a step by step plan for starting to find work.

It’s based on exactly what I did myself. And it took me from being a writer with no experience to somebody making full-time income solely from writing.

Just remember: this isn’t an overnight thing, nor is it entirely linear. If you’re not willing to pay your dues, writing is not a good choice of career!

If you want to be a writer, you should be an avid reader. As Stephen King says in his “On Writing” book , “read a lot…write a lot – is the great commandment.”

Stephen King On Writing Book

Here’s a more specific way to follow that advice: Make sure you read a lot of the kind of content you think you’d like to produce yourself (we discuss various different types of writing work shortly).

Let’s take a random example: Say you’re a car enthusiast and would like to write for motoring blogs. The chances are you already read several of them. The more you read, the more you’ll get an idea of the way these articles are written and constructed.

The same goes for every type of writing. The more you live and breathe it, the more prepared you are to create the kind of output people (and clients) want.

It’s good to learn about the science of the craft too. A lot of adverts for writing jobs will ask for “knowledge of AP style.” This means knowledge of the Associated Press Style Book , where you learn things like whether to spell out or type numbers, which words to capitalise, and other intricacies.

MANY online writing jobs are for website content, and some knowledge of SEO can come in handy. So consider brushing up on that with a book or a course.

Finally, it’s wise to learn about the kind of content that works nowadays, and there are some great books on that.

I remember soaking up all of this information in the early days. It helps to put you in the writer’s mindset. If doing this stuff doesn’t seem interesting to you or worth your time, that’s another sign that you may be considering a writing career for the wrong reasons.

Here are a few suggested resources:

  • Coursera’s SEO Specialisation with the University of California
  • Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley
  • The Associated Press Style Book
  • Strunk and White’s Elements of Style

I don’t want to turn this into an article about content mills, because I already have a huge one on the subject here .

But, I’m explaining how to get started in freelance writing based on what I did . And I DID do some content mill work. It was dull and soul destroying, and not particularly lucrative (although, at times, I found pockets of work that were easy to complete and paid reasonably well).

Content mill writing work is a bit of a rite of passage for many of us. I think it CAN be a valuable learning experience, but plenty of people disagree with me.

Why not read our reviews of TextBroker , Copify and WriterAccess , and see how you feel? It doesn’t HAVE to be your first writing job, but it may work out that way.

You need to think about what you’re going to send those first clients who want to see examples of your work.

We’ve already covered your options: blog posts, guest articles, work you’ve done voluntarily etc. For more on this, check out this article on how to build a writing portfolio .

Upwork is a huge freelancing platform (and there are some other alternatives here ).

Establishing a presence on Upwork allow you to browse through thousands of available freelance gigs and submit proposals. It’s the place where many aspiring freelance writers find their first gigs and start writing.

Upwork is a huge and complex platform, but we have lots of resources to help you understand it. Here are some of them:

  • A detailed review of Upwork .
  • Our guide to getting accepted for Upwork .
  • A list of Upwork tips .

If you want a true head-start in this, my Freelance Kickstarter course , which covers all kinds of freelancing including writing, has an entire module on Upwork, including lessons on things like how to uncover the best clients and jobs, and how to set your rates. You can find it here .

At some point you have to bite the bullet and actually apply for writing work.

Whether you’re doing this on Upwork or via one of the many other sites I recommend below, this generally means sending a fairly short message to the client expressing your interest and showcasing your ability to produce what they want.

We have a dedicated article on how to pitch here .

As mentioned earlier, clients aren’t generally looking for “generic” freelance writers. When they are, it’s usually towards the lower end of the earning scale.

You may well find your first few gigs involve writing about some pretty random stuff. You’ll likely be grabbing whatever work you can, which can take you in some interesting directions!

But as your experience builds, it makes good sense to try to carve yourself a niche. In an ideal world, this will be a niche you love writing about, but it doesn’t always work out that way. As a techie, I’ve had a lot of technical writing gigs. For me, this is perhaps a little more about where knowledge and earning potential collide than genuine passion for the subject.

Regardless, the key thing here is to try to build up a portfolio that’s particularly strong on one or two subjects. Clients look for experts, so it’s wise to make yourself an expert in something.

Later in this guide, we look at a range of different places to find online writing jobs.

Once you gain some momentum, it’s time to broaden your horizons and start looking in more places. You never know where that perfect, quick paying and regular client may come from. It could be somebody you meet on Upwork, a friend of a friend, somebody from a board like ProBlogger Jobs, or a random client from LinkedIn.

Crucially, remember that you need more than one regular client to have a writing career . Things change, personnel move on, and trends and world events can cause work from a specific client to dry up over night. The more baskets you find to spread your eggs into, the better.

There’s no secret formula to growing your writing career once it’s underway. It’s a simple case of repeating the steps in the chart below.

The basic steps of freelance writing for beginners shown as a flowchart

What tends to happen is that a client asks you to write one article. If they’re happy with your work, they may come straight back and ask for five more, or an ongoing commitment to x articles per week or month. That’s how freelance writing gigs tend to work.

Then you just repeat the process: More pieces of work for more clients, with your freelance rates gradually going up as you gain more experience and confidence.

Over the years, I’ve had countless jobs evolve from a quick $50-100 article into a regular, well-paid gig. Essentially you do the same thing over and over again, getting better at it as you go.

How Long Does it Take to Make a Living from Writing?

There are simply too many factors in play to give a simple answer to the question of how long it takes new freelance writers to make a living from writing. For starters, people’s definition of “living” varies wildly. Similarly, so does each writer’s level of skill and experience, and their willingness and determination to hustle for more work.

I think it is reasonable to say that getting to the point where you have solid, “job replacement” income from writing is something that takes months (or years) rather than weeks . Even once you’re established, work can come in fits and starts (which is true of all freelancing).

With this in mind, it does make sense to have a solid plan if you want to become a full-time writer. Perhaps you could begin with having a part-time job in parallel, writing alongside some side gigs, or waiting until you have some savings to carry you through the lean times.

There’s no point in sugar-coating this – it takes time. If anybody tells you otherwise, there’s a good chance they’re trying to sell you something.

Types of Writing Jobs

There are lots of different types of online writing work out there. Some writing opportunities require specific skills and knowledge, and some will likely seem a better fit for you than others.

Lots of people make a living writing doing very different types of work, so let’s look at some of the options. Before we start, I should emphasise that this is, by no means, an exhaustive list.

A lot of today’s online writing work falls into the category of blog article writing.

Blogs can be about all kinds of subjects: dog training, fitness, dieting, home working(!), cookery, travel, antiques and collectables – the list goes on. Then there are the blogs on business websites, talking about subjects related to the products and services companies sell.

While “blog writing” can mean many different things, blog articles do tend to have several things in common, regardless of the niche you’re writing about:

  • They’re written in a fairly short and snappy way, with short sentences and paragraphs.
  • They’re generally designed to be helpful and actionable.
  • They don’t tend to use lots of “flowery” descriptive words.

Despite the above, don’t assume blog articles are always short. On the contrary, Google tends to favour content that’s quite detailed and lengthy. You’re reading a “blog article” right now, and it runs to thousands of words.

The reason I’m being quite specific here is that there’s one demographic of people who can, at least initially, really struggle with blog writing: academics.

The snappy, attention-grabbing style of most modern blog posts goes directly against how many people are taught to write at college. Long, flowing paragraphs that introduce, explore and conclude a subject in one hit are great for academic papers, but they’re the exact opposite of what clients typically want for their blogs .

There are a lot of freelance writing gigs that involve product reviews and roundup articles – such as “the best budget coffee makers,” or “the best email marketing software for small businesses.”

In case you’re wondering why there’s so much of this work, it’s because articles like this are the cornerstone of affiliate marketing, where website owners are paid commission for recommending products and services that customers then go on to buy.

The way to win this work is to have expert knowledge of a particular product niche and (sometimes or!) the ability to research products and services in great depth.

I’ve done a huge amount of writing work along these lines, and there’s always demand for it. It’s also a type of writing work that tends to lead to repeat business. These sites usually publish hundreds of reviews and roundups, not just one. If you impress, there’s probably plenty more work for you.

Press releases are my wife’s specialist area. If you have a background in marketing or PR, they could be a good fit for you. The work itself can be quite lucrative and – in truth – not all that difficult once you have the skill to do it.

PR writing is all about producing stats, hooks and soundbites that are alluring to journalists. In turn these generate coverage and exposure for your clients.

Press release writing is definitely a specialised skill, one that you tend to either have the aptitude for or not. The output you produce is actually quite “small,” with releases often only being a few hundred words. However, they usually conform to a very specific format.

Press release work can morph into pitching stories and working more closely with journalists, but that takes us more into general PR, and is not a subject for this article.

Sales copywriting can be incredibly lucrative – but it’s another type of writing that only some people are naturally good at.

With sales writing, you’re writing copy specifically aimed at persuading people to part with their money. This could mean a sequence of emails to launch a product, or a sales page for a product or service.

The type of writing incorporates a lot of buyer psychology. Depending on what you’re promoting it could seem a tad sleazy too. It pays so well because the results of your work are immediately tangible. If your work on a client’s sales page sees them increase sales by 30%, the client immediately sees a pay-off for it.

If this work appeals to you, don’t assume you need prior experience, you could always take a course like this one to learn the basics.

Another specialised area – speech writing seems set to boom as life returns more to normal. Just think of all the weddings and corporate events that didn’t happen in 2020!

We have a dedicated article on speech writing here .

Business writing encompasses many different things. We’ve already covered blog posts, and many businesses need those. But there are other things like website copy, case studies and white papers.

Sometimes even large companies don’t have a suitable resource for this kind of writing, so they reach out to freelancers to do it. Over the years I’ve written entire websites for everything from pizza restaurants to estate agents and IT firms. There’s lots of demand for case study work too.

New writers emerging from a corporate background could find this work a good fit.

You’ll notice I’ve left this one for quite low down my list.

The truth is, there’s not that much work out there for fiction writers. You do see quite a lot of ads for ghost writers (interestingly, many of them in the erotica category), but generally fiction writers work in other ways.

Self publishing is one option (check out my self publishing guide ). Another is to go the “traditional” route to try to find a publisher. There are also lots of writing contests that allow you to submit fiction.

When people talk about online writing jobs for beginners, they’re not usually talking about fiction. The truth is that most of the paid work is in the business world. This is a disappointing truth for quite a few of the people I speak to.

Another type of writing work you see a lot of demand for is eBook writing. Many websites sell or give away eBooks, and some entrepreneurs create eBooks in bulk to market as Kindle books on Amazon.

If you like the idea of taking on big, lengthy projects, eBook writing might be worth some investigation. However, this is an area where many clients want the earth for an insultingly small amount of money. If this is a type of writing that grabs your attention, prepare to wade through a LOT of ads before you find some worth applying to.

10 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners

We’re nearing the end of this huge freelance writing guide now. Next we have a really important list of 10 places to actually find the writing gigs.

If you want to become a freelance writer, you will need to spend some serious time on these sites, and regularly apply to jobs that you find.

Already mentioned several times in this article. Upwork has its pros and cons, but it’s undeniably a source of plenty of work, and the biggest freelancing platform out there by most metrics. Many people find their first writing jobs on Upwork – and that includes me and many of the people I’ve worked with and coached.

More of the same – is another big online freelancing platform where you’ll find plenty of job listings. There are some subtle differences to how the platforms work (and the fees they charge ) but really there’s little difference between them.

Another freelance job board. PeoplePerHour is UK-based but with global clients and a global workforce of freelancers signed up. We have an in-depth review of PeoplePerHour on the site, written by a writer who’s won plenty of work on the platform.

We’ve mentioned the big three freelance job boards above, but there are plenty of others, with new ones springing up all the time. For some more options, check out this job board list .

I’m a big fan of ProBlogger Jobs. I’ve both found work on the platform AND used it to find writers for my own projects. ProBlogger Jobs charges clients to place adverts, which tends to weed out the worst of the cheapskates and “bottom feeders.” It’s not a place with thousands of jobs, but always worth a browse. We have a ProBlogger Jobs review here .

Freelance Writing Jobs provides a daily posting of new writing gigs. They’re sourced from various places across the web, including big jobs sites such as Indeed. As well as one-off freelance jobs, occasional full-time positions pop up here, if you prefer a model where you get paid the same amount every month.

WriteJobs posts a steady stream of writing gigs, and also provides details of writing contests and requests for submissions. There’s also a (chargeable) Write Jobs Plus service, with some job details kept behind a paywall. I’ve not tried the premium service so can’t vouch for it at the time of writing.

FlexJobs is THE big name in remote and flexible jobs, and freelance writing jobs appear on the platform sometimes. It probably wouldn’t be my first port of call for online writing jobs for beginners, but the subscriptions are very affordable. You’d only need one decent paying gig via the platform for the subscription fee to seem like a very good deal.

Read our full FlexJobs review to find out more.

I’ve not personally picked up a huge number of online writing jobs via LinkedIn, but it has led me to some over the years. A lot depends on how established you are on the platform and how many people you are “connected” to. Don’t ignore LinkedIn as a platform – it could be a place to find writing work.

Another site that lists writing gigs, primarily for freelancers writing blog posts. It doesn’t feel as well-curated as ProBlogger, and doesn’t appear to charge clients for ads – but it could still be where you find your first gig.

Where To Find Freelance Writing Jobs with More Experience

This is a guide to freelance writing jobs for beginners, but perhaps you’re curious about where to head once you have a glowing portfolio and lots of experience under your belt.

The first thing I’ll say here is that, in many cases, the sites listed above are still good places for experienced writers to look for work. On Upwork, for example, there are entry-level freelancers charging $5 per hour and experienced freelancers charging $150 per hour – and there are potential clients for all of them.

That said, there are some sites that are pretty much “off limits” until you have more experience. Here are a few to check out once your writing career gathers momentum. On these platforms, high paying clients are the norm, and it’s common to find yourself seeing brand-names you recognise.

ClearVoice is a content platform you have to apply to join, and you need a decent portfolio to be accepted. Instead of browsing lists of jobs, you are invited to pitch for specific assignments that seem like a good fit for your profile. I’ve been on ClearVoice for several years and found it a good source of well-paying writing clients.

SkyWord is a similarly prestigious platform where you can be selected to write for well-known brands. Pay rates vary, and levels of work aren’t always consistent, but this is one to investigate once you have some good samples and you’re ready to take your writing to the next level.

Contently is an interesting one, because most people know the site as a place to create a writing portfolio. However, Contently also functions as a talent network.

It’s all very much an “invite only” thing. Contently’s site says “if you’re a good match for our clients, you’ll hear from us.” I’ve never personally heard from them(!) but you may as well set up a portfolio there – nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I’m a big fan of nDash because it takes an innovative approach. Lots of brands are set up on the platform, and you’re free to pitch ideas to them at any time, based on some quite detailed information they provide. I’ve been able to find jobs with some good clients on nDash, and most expect to pay good rates. Here’s my nDash review .

MediaBistro lists job opportunities across all areas of media, including writing jobs.

Two important things to note: First off, there are some jobs with big-name companies here, and some that are full-time (employed) positions as well as freelance. There’s also a heavy US-bias to the listings. It’s worth looking an MediaBistro if you get to the point that you want to try your luck with one of the media giants. I saw Hearst and NBC recruiting writers there when I last looked.

As you now know, freelance writing jobs for beginners is a HUGE topic.

However, if you’re willing to work through this methodically and put the work in, you ALREADY know what you need to do after reading this guide.

I’d recommend signing up for my free email course (see the form below). It covers some of the same ground, but also lays things out on a week-by-week basis so you can ease yourself in, and start freelance writing in a structured way.

Returning to what I said at the beginning, freelance writing work is the thing I’m asked about more than anything. In truth, I KNOW that many people ask about it and do nothing to get started on it – and you do NEED to start to get anywhere!

If you manage to migrate from the “thinking” to “doing” stage, there’s no reason why you can’t make a success of it, and get your freelance writing career underway.

  • Get a head start with my Freelance Kickstarter course .
  • Learn more about some of the realities of being a freelance writer .
  • Listen to our podcast on finding your first freelance writing job .

Ben Taylor

Founder of – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.

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How to Start Writing Articles

Last Updated: November 3, 2022

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been viewed 97,297 times.

Maybe you’ve read a wikiHow article and thought to yourself, I could write a better article than this! Or maybe you’re more interested in writing articles for other publications, like your school newspaper or another print publication. Many writers start out by submitting work to local publications to get experience and build up their clips, or number of published articles. Other aspiring writers may go to school to study journalism and writing.

Submitting Work to Local Publications

Step 1 Keep a running list of story ideas.

  • Using a writing prompt, such as "That One Time I..." or a "Day in the Life" of someone you find interesting. You may also consider using every day events at school as jumping off points for possible ideas for an article.
  • Brainstorming different angles on a current topic or subject. For example, police brutality against African American men. Write the current topic or subject in the center of a piece of a paper. Then, write down other related words or terms around the central idea. Continue adding words or terms until you feel you have written down enough. Read over the terms and circle or highlight any terms that seem useful or that could lead to a possible angle or slant on the topic.

Step 2 Write for websites you frequent and enjoy reading.

  • Check the sites for open submissions, or calls for submissions. Some websites, especially online magazines, have themed issues with open calls for work around a certain theme or idea.
  • One of the big pet peeves for editors is receiving submissions from writers who have never read the publication before and are submitting blind. Avoid this by taking the time to read several articles on the site, and get a feel for the voice and tone of the articles.

Step 3 Pitch articles to your local paper.

  • Check out each section of the publication, such as Arts & Lifestyle, Music, or Local News, to see what type of writing you might want to pitch to the publication. If you’re interested in music reviews, look at the byline (which states who the article is written by) to find the music editor of the publication.
  • Contact the editor with a brief email expressing your interests in writing music reviews for the publication. Avoid contacting the editor-in-chief of the publication directly. Always go for the editor of the section you would like to write for.

Step 4 Start a professional blog

  • Use your blog as a way to share your opinions on a topic or to delve into deeper research and investigation on the topic. You may then be able to use posts from your blog to pitch story ideas to publications.

Step 5 Add each article to your portfolio of clips.

  • Many writers have online portfolios. They will then link to their portfolio in their pitch letter or in their initial email to an editor. There are many tools you can use to create an online portfolio with basic computer skills. Platforms like WordPress and Pressfolio are popular and easy to use. You can create a basic site to collect your clips so you look professional to editors and other writers. [3] X Research source

Building Up Your Writing Contacts

Step 1 Reach out to other writers and journalists.

  • If you are looking to get published in the paper the reporter works for, you may ask if they would be willing to pass on a pitch from you to the editor or if they can connect you to a contact that will help you get published.
  • Avoid sending a casual or informal email to a writer or journalist. Always be professional in tone and don't take up too much of the reporter's time by writing a long-winded email or letter.

Step 2 Get involved in your local writing scene.

  • Don't afraid to ask for feedback if you get a rejection on a pitch letter or a first draft of an article, and use the editor's notes to improve your writing. This will serve you well as you move forward in your career, as each article you write will become better and better with each small adjustment or improvement to your writing style.

Going to School for Journalism

Step 1 Research possible programs and schools.

  • Look at the curriculum of each class and program, as well the course descriptions and the length of the program. Some programs will state they are catering to beginning journalists, mid-career professional, or full time working journalists.
  • Focus on programs that offer opportunities for professional growth and resume buildings. For example, internships, speaker series, and apprenticeships can all help to build your portfolio and connections in the industry.
  • You should also consider the physical location of the program. You should be comfortable in the area you will be studying, living, and working in. Think about if you can afford the cost of living in a certain city or town while going to school.

Step 2 Talk to the admissions office.

  • The admissions office can also give you more details on what is required for your application, such as a portfolio, letters of reference, and the necessary transcripts.

Step 3 Apply early for programs.

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How to Write a Research Paper | A Beginner's Guide

A research paper is a piece of academic writing that provides analysis, interpretation, and argument based on in-depth independent research.

Research papers are similar to academic essays , but they are usually longer and more detailed assignments, designed to assess not only your writing skills but also your skills in scholarly research. Writing a research paper requires you to demonstrate a strong knowledge of your topic, engage with a variety of sources, and make an original contribution to the debate.

This step-by-step guide takes you through the entire writing process, from understanding your assignment to proofreading your final draft.

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Table of contents

Understand the assignment, choose a research paper topic, conduct preliminary research, develop a thesis statement, create a research paper outline, write a first draft of the research paper, write the introduction, write a compelling body of text, write the conclusion, the second draft, the revision process, research paper checklist, free lecture slides.

Completing a research paper successfully means accomplishing the specific tasks set out for you. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly understanding the assignment task sheet:

  • Read it carefully, looking for anything confusing you might need to clarify with your professor.
  • Identify the assignment goal, deadline, length specifications, formatting, and submission method.
  • Make a bulleted list of the key points, then go back and cross completed items off as you’re writing.

Carefully consider your timeframe and word limit: be realistic, and plan enough time to research, write, and edit.

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There are many ways to generate an idea for a research paper, from brainstorming with pen and paper to talking it through with a fellow student or professor.

You can try free writing, which involves taking a broad topic and writing continuously for two or three minutes to identify absolutely anything relevant that could be interesting.

You can also gain inspiration from other research. The discussion or recommendations sections of research papers often include ideas for other specific topics that require further examination.

Once you have a broad subject area, narrow it down to choose a topic that interests you, m eets the criteria of your assignment, and i s possible to research. Aim for ideas that are both original and specific:

  • A paper following the chronology of World War II would not be original or specific enough.
  • A paper on the experience of Danish citizens living close to the German border during World War II would be specific and could be original enough.

Note any discussions that seem important to the topic, and try to find an issue that you can focus your paper around. Use a variety of sources , including journals, books, and reliable websites, to ensure you do not miss anything glaring.

Do not only verify the ideas you have in mind, but look for sources that contradict your point of view.

  • Is there anything people seem to overlook in the sources you research?
  • Are there any heated debates you can address?
  • Do you have a unique take on your topic?
  • Have there been some recent developments that build on the extant research?

In this stage, you might find it helpful to formulate some research questions to help guide you. To write research questions, try to finish the following sentence: “I want to know how/what/why…”

A thesis statement is a statement of your central argument — it establishes the purpose and position of your paper. If you started with a research question, the thesis statement should answer it. It should also show what evidence and reasoning you’ll use to support that answer.

The thesis statement should be concise, contentious, and coherent. That means it should briefly summarize your argument in a sentence or two, make a claim that requires further evidence or analysis, and make a coherent point that relates to every part of the paper.

You will probably revise and refine the thesis statement as you do more research, but it can serve as a guide throughout the writing process. Every paragraph should aim to support and develop this central claim.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

A research paper outline is essentially a list of the key topics, arguments, and evidence you want to include, divided into sections with headings so that you know roughly what the paper will look like before you start writing.

A structure outline can help make the writing process much more efficient, so it’s worth dedicating some time to create one.

Your first draft won’t be perfect — you can polish later on. Your priorities at this stage are as follows:

  • Maintaining forward momentum — write now, perfect later.
  • Paying attention to clear organization and logical ordering of paragraphs and sentences, which will help when you come to the second draft.
  • Expressing your ideas as clearly as possible, so you know what you were trying to say when you come back to the text.

You do not need to start by writing the introduction. Begin where it feels most natural for you — some prefer to finish the most difficult sections first, while others choose to start with the easiest part. If you created an outline, use it as a map while you work.

Do not delete large sections of text. If you begin to dislike something you have written or find it doesn’t quite fit, move it to a different document, but don’t lose it completely — you never know if it might come in useful later.

Paragraph structure

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of research papers. Each one should focus on a single claim or idea that helps to establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.

Example paragraph

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” has had an enduring impact on thought about the relationship between politics and language. This impact is particularly obvious in light of the various critical review articles that have recently referenced the essay. For example, consider Mark Falcoff’s 2009 article in The National Review Online, “The Perversion of Language; or, Orwell Revisited,” in which he analyzes several common words (“activist,” “civil-rights leader,” “diversity,” and more). Falcoff’s close analysis of the ambiguity built into political language intentionally mirrors Orwell’s own point-by-point analysis of the political language of his day. Even 63 years after its publication, Orwell’s essay is emulated by contemporary thinkers.

Citing sources

It’s also important to keep track of citations at this stage to avoid accidental plagiarism . Each time you use a source, make sure to take note of where the information came from.

You can use our free citation generators to automatically create citations and save your reference list as you go.

APA Citation Generator MLA Citation Generator

The research paper introduction should address three questions: What, why, and how? After finishing the introduction, the reader should know what the paper is about, why it is worth reading, and how you’ll build your arguments.

What? Be specific about the topic of the paper, introduce the background, and define key terms or concepts.

Why? This is the most important, but also the most difficult, part of the introduction. Try to provide brief answers to the following questions: What new material or insight are you offering? What important issues does your essay help define or answer?

How? To let the reader know what to expect from the rest of the paper, the introduction should include a “map” of what will be discussed, briefly presenting the key elements of the paper in chronological order.

The major struggle faced by most writers is how to organize the information presented in the paper, which is one reason an outline is so useful. However, remember that the outline is only a guide and, when writing, you can be flexible with the order in which the information and arguments are presented.

One way to stay on track is to use your thesis statement and topic sentences . Check:

  • topic sentences against the thesis statement;
  • topic sentences against each other, for similarities and logical ordering;
  • and each sentence against the topic sentence of that paragraph.

Be aware of paragraphs that seem to cover the same things. If two paragraphs discuss something similar, they must approach that topic in different ways. Aim to create smooth transitions between sentences, paragraphs, and sections.

The research paper conclusion is designed to help your reader out of the paper’s argument, giving them a sense of finality.

Trace the course of the paper, emphasizing how it all comes together to prove your thesis statement. Give the paper a sense of finality by making sure the reader understands how you’ve settled the issues raised in the introduction.

You might also discuss the more general consequences of the argument, outline what the paper offers to future students of the topic, and suggest any questions the paper’s argument raises but cannot or does not try to answer.

You should not :

  • Offer new arguments or essential information
  • Take up any more space than necessary
  • Begin with stock phrases that signal you are ending the paper (e.g. “In conclusion”)

There are four main considerations when it comes to the second draft.

  • Check how your vision of the paper lines up with the first draft and, more importantly, that your paper still answers the assignment.
  • Identify any assumptions that might require (more substantial) justification, keeping your reader’s perspective foremost in mind. Remove these points if you cannot substantiate them further.
  • Be open to rearranging your ideas. Check whether any sections feel out of place and whether your ideas could be better organized.
  • If you find that old ideas do not fit as well as you anticipated, you should cut them out or condense them. You might also find that new and well-suited ideas occurred to you during the writing of the first draft — now is the time to make them part of the paper.

The goal during the revision and proofreading process is to ensure you have completed all the necessary tasks and that the paper is as well-articulated as possible. You can speed up the proofreading process by using the AI proofreader .

Global concerns

  • Confirm that your paper completes every task specified in your assignment sheet.
  • Check for logical organization and flow of paragraphs.
  • Check paragraphs against the introduction and thesis statement.

Fine-grained details

Check the content of each paragraph, making sure that:

  • each sentence helps support the topic sentence.
  • no unnecessary or irrelevant information is present.
  • all technical terms your audience might not know are identified.

Next, think about sentence structure , grammatical errors, and formatting . Check that you have correctly used transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas. Look for typos, cut unnecessary words, and check for consistency in aspects such as heading formatting and spellings .

Finally, you need to make sure your paper is correctly formatted according to the rules of the citation style you are using. For example, you might need to include an MLA heading  or create an APA title page .

Scribbr’s professional editors can help with the revision process with our award-winning proofreading services.

Discover our paper editing service

Checklist: Research paper

I have followed all instructions in the assignment sheet.

My introduction presents my topic in an engaging way and provides necessary background information.

My introduction presents a clear, focused research problem and/or thesis statement .

My paper is logically organized using paragraphs and (if relevant) section headings .

Each paragraph is clearly focused on one central idea, expressed in a clear topic sentence .

Each paragraph is relevant to my research problem or thesis statement.

I have used appropriate transitions  to clarify the connections between sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

My conclusion provides a concise answer to the research question or emphasizes how the thesis has been supported.

My conclusion shows how my research has contributed to knowledge or understanding of my topic.

My conclusion does not present any new points or information essential to my argument.

I have provided an in-text citation every time I refer to ideas or information from a source.

I have included a reference list at the end of my paper, consistently formatted according to a specific citation style .

I have thoroughly revised my paper and addressed any feedback from my professor or supervisor.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (page numbers, headers, spacing, etc.).

You've written a great paper. Make sure it's perfect with the help of a Scribbr editor!

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write an Article

how to start writing online articles


Writing is a complex skill. A very complex skill.

Not only do we put students under pressure to master the inconsistent spelling patterns and complex grammar of the English language, but we require them to know how to write for a variety of purposes in both fiction and nonfiction genres.

On top of this, writing is just one aspect of one subject among many.

The best way to help our students to overcome the challenge of writing in any genre is to help them to break things down into their component parts and give them a basic formula to follow.

In this article, we will break article writing down into its components and present a formulaic approach that will provide a basic structure for our students to follow.

Once this structure is mastered, students can, of course, begin to play with things.

But, until then, there is plenty of room within the discipline of the basic structure for students to express themselves in the article form.

Visual Writing Prompts


how to write an article,article writing | journalism writing prompts | How to Write an Article |

With over  FORTY GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS in this  ENGAGING   UNIT, you can complete a  WEEKLY  journalistic / Newspaper reporting task  ALL YEAR LONG   as classwork or homework.

These templates take students through a  PROVEN  four-step article writing process on some  AMAZING  images. Students will learn how to.


how to write an article,article writing | different articles 1 | How to Write an Article |

The Cambridge Dictionary defines an article as, “a piece of writing on a particular subject in a newspaper or magazine, or on the internet.”

An article’s shape and structure will vary depending on whether it’s intended for publication in a newspaper, magazine, or online.

Each of these media has its own requirements. For example, a magazine feature article may go into great depth on a topic, allowing for long, evocative paragraphs of exposition, while an online blog article may be full of lots of short paragraphs that get to the point without too much fanfare.

Each of these forms makes different demands on the writer, and it’s for this reason that most newspapers, magazines, and big websites provide writers with specific submission guidelines.

So, with such diverse demands placed on article writers, how do we go about teaching the diverse skill required to our students?

Luckily, we can break most types of articles down into some common key features.

Below we’ll take a look at the most important of these, along with an activity to get your students practicing each aspect right away.

Finally, we’ll take a look at a few general tips on article writing.


The headline.

The purpose of the headline is to capture the reader’s attention and let them know what the article is about. All of this in usually no more than 4 or 5 words!

There is an art to good headline writing and all sorts of literary devices (e.g alliteration and metaphor) can be used to create an eye-catching and intriguing headline.

The best way for students to learn how headlines work is to view some historical samples.

Newspaper headlines especially are known for being short and pithy. Here are just a few examples to whet the appetite:

  • Hitler Is Dead
  • Lincoln Shot
  • Men Walk On The Moon
  • Berlin Wall Crumbles

You could encourage students to find some pithy examples of their own. It’s amazing how much information can be condensed into so few words – this is the essence of good headline writing.

Headlines Practice Activity:

Give students opportunities to practice headline writing in isolation from article writing itself. For example, take sample stories from newspapers and magazines and challenge students to write new headlines for them. Set a word limit appropriate to the skills and age of the students. For example, younger, more inexperienced students might write 9-word headlines, while older, more skilled students might thrive with the challenge of a 4-word limit.


Subheadings give the reader more information on what the article is about. For this reason, they’re often a little longer than headlines and use a smaller font, though still larger (or in bold) than the font used in the body of the text.

Subheadings provide a little more of the necessary detail to inform readers what’s going on. If a headline is a jab, the subheading is the cross.

In magazines and online articles especially, there are often subheadings throughout the article. In this context, they let the reader know what each paragraph/section is about.

Subheadings also help the reader’s eye to scan the article and quickly get a sense of the story, for the writer they help immensely to organize the structure of the story.

Practice Activity:

One way to help organize paragraphs in an article is to use parallel structure.

Parallel structure is when we use similar words, phrases, and grammar structures. We might see this being used in a series of subheadings in a ‘How to’ article where the subheadings all start with an imperative such as choose , attach , cut , etc.

Have you noticed how all the sections in this ‘Key Features’ part of this article start simply with the word ‘The’? This is another example of a parallel structure.

Yet another example of parallel structure is when all the subheadings appear in the form of a question.

Whichever type of parallel structure students use, they need to be sure that they all in some way relate to the original title of the article.

To give students a chance to practice writing subheadings using parallel structure, instruct them to write subheadings for a piece of text that doesn’t already have them.


Writing good, solid paragraphs is an art in itself. Luckily, you’ll find comprehensive guidance on this aspect of writing articles elsewhere on this site.

But, for now, let’s take a look at some general considerations for students when writing articles.

The length of the paragraphs will depend on the medium. For example, for online articles paragraphs are generally brief and to the point. Usually no more than a sentence or two and rarely more than five.

This style is often replicated in newspapers and magazines of a more tabloid nature.

Short paragraphs allow for more white space on the page or screen. This is much less daunting for the reader and makes it easier for them to focus their attention on what’s being said – a crucial advantage in these attention-hungry times.

Lots of white space makes articles much more readable on devices with smaller screens such as phones and tablets. Chunking information into brief paragraphs enables online readers to scan articles more quickly too, which is how much of the information on the internet is consumed – I do hope you’re not scanning this!

Conversely, articles that are written more formally, for example, academic articles, can benefit from longer paragraphs which allow for more space to provide supporting evidence for the topic sentence.

Deciding on the length of paragraphs in an article can be done by first thinking about the intended audience, the purpose of the article, as well as the nature of the information to be communicated.

A fun activity to practice paragraphing is to organize your students into groups and provide them with a copy of an article with the original paragraph breaks removed. In their groups, students read the article and decide on where they think the paragraphs should go.

To do this successfully, they’ll need to consider the type of publication they think the article is intended for, the purpose of the article, the language level, and the nature of the information.

When the groups have finished adding in their paragraph breaks they can share and compare their decisions with the other groups before you finally reveal where the breaks were in the original article.

Article Photos and Captions

how to write an article,article writing | article images | How to Write an Article |

Photos and captions aren’t always necessary in articles, but when they are, our students must understand how to make the most of them.

Just like the previous key features on our list, there are specific things students need to know to make the most of this specific aspect of article writing.

  The internet has given us the gift of access to innumerable copyright-free images to accompany our articles, but what criteria should students use when choosing an image?

To choose the perfect accompanying image/s for their article, students need to identify images that match the tone of their article.

Quirky or risque images won’t match the more serious tone of an academic article well, but they might work perfectly for that feature of tattoo artists.

Photos are meant to bring value to an article – they speak a thousand words after all. It’s important then that the image is of a high enough resolution that the detail of those ‘thousand words’ is clearly visible to the reader.

Just as the tone of the photo should match the tone of the article, the tone of the caption should match the tone of the photo.

Captions should be informative and engaging. Often, the first thing a reader will look at in an article is the photos and then the caption. Frequently, they’ll use the information therein to decide whether or not they’ll continue to read.

When writing captions, students must avoid redundancy. They need to add information to that which is already available to the reader by looking at the image.

There’s no point merely describing in words what the reader can clearly see with their own two eyes. Students should describe things that are not immediately obvious, such as date, location, or the name of the event.

One last point, captions should be written in the present tense. By definition, the photo will show something that has happened already. Despite this, students should write as if the action in the image is happening right now.

Remind students that their captions should be brief; they must be careful not to waste words with such a tight format.

For this fun activity, you’ll need some old magazines and newspapers. Cut some of the photos out minus their captions. All the accompanying captions should be cut out and jumbled up. It’s the students’ job to match each image with the correct accompanying caption.

Students can present their decisions and explanations when they’ve finished.

A good extension exercise would be to challenge the students to write a superior caption for each of the images they’ve worked on.


Now your students have the key features of article writing sewn up tightly, let’s take a look at a few quick and easy tips to help them polish up their general article writing skills.

1. Read Widely – Reading widely, all manner of articles, is the best way students can internalize some of the habits of good article writing. Luckily, with the internet, it’s easy to find articles on any topic of interest at the click of a mouse.

2. Choose Interesting Topics – It’s hard to engage the reader when the writer is not themselves engaged. Be sure students choose article topics that pique their own interest (as far as possible!).

3. Research and Outline – Regardless of the type of article the student is writing, some research will be required. The research will help an article take shape in the form of an outline. Without these two crucial stages, articles run the danger of wandering aimlessly and, worse still, of containing inaccurate information and details.

4. Keep Things Simple – All articles are about communicating information in one form or another. The most effective way of doing this is to keep things easily understood by the reader. This is especially true when the topic is complex.

5. Edit and Proofread – This can be said of any type of writing, but it still bears repeating. Students need to ensure they comprehensively proofread and edit their work when they’ve ‘finished’. The importance of this part of the writing process can’t be overstated.

And to Conclude…

how to write an article,article writing | article writing guide | How to Write an Article |

With time and plenty of practice, students will soon internalize the formula as outlined above.

This will enable students to efficiently research, outline, and structure their ideas before writing.

This ability, along with the general tips mentioned, will soon enable your students to produce well-written articles on a wide range of topics to meet the needs of a diverse range of audiences.


writing checklists


how to write an article,article writing | YOUTUBE 1280 x 720 10 | How to Write an Article |

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

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The Top 12 Best Free Online Publishing Platforms For All New Writers

Free publishing platforms For writers to publish articles online

Are you a new writer looking to publish your articles online? It might be a little confusing at first trying to choose the right digital publishing platform to use.

Before looking for the best publishing options, you need to decide which platforms are suited to your topic or writing style. Are you interested in writing opinion pieces, sharing personal experiences, providing expert advice, or publishing on academic topics?

Every platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about finding one that aligns best with your writing style, topics, and intended audience.

You can check the suggestions in this article to help you decide which platforms will offer you the best chance of finding new readers.

You can publish articles online right now

With digital publishing, it is easy for anyone to learn how to write and publish articles online.

There are many online publishing platforms for writers, so you can publish your writing in a matter of minutes.

What works for one writer might not work for the other. Are you writing essays or how-to guides ? It is also important to know who your audience is when choosing article publishing sites.

Do you want to reach teens, young adults, or adults? Are you trying to reach young entrepreneurs or established business owners?

Are you writing poems? There are also many free sites where you can publish your poetry .

Consider the types of articles you want to write and the audience you want to write for. Then you can go ahead and find the best online publishing platforms.

There are also plenty of free writing apps to help you write great content that readers will love. But you should always use a reliable online grammar checker to make sure your writing is as perfect as possible.

Then, you can bring your vision and ideas to the world with digital content. With so many people reading articles and online content on laptops, smartphones, and tablets, there is always an audience for new writers.

There are many online magazines and sites that accept articles for free. It’s up to you to find the best digital publishing solution to suit your needs.

To get you started, here is a list of platforms offering free article publishing.

publish you articles on medium

Medium is a very popular free publishing site where you can share your writing. You can connect with more sophisticated and dedicated readers than you might find on other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

However, it is similar to a social network in its ease of connecting with other Medium users. But it is best suited to long-form writing.

It is very easy to create and set up your Medium account. Then, take a quick tour and read the FAQs. You are now ready to be published online with your first article.

The publishing tools are super easy to use with click and edit or drag and drop to move elements.

Your content on Medium should be full-length articles that are highly informative. Using original images is highly recommended.

Be aware, though, that it is not a publishing platform suited to short and obvious promotional blog posts.

You can read our how to use Medium guide for more detailed information about the submission guidelines. But they are quite straightforward.

2. Linkedin Articles

publish you articles on linkedin

You are probably already on Linkedin. So why not publish your articles there?

Follow the instructions for publishing Linkedin articles , and you are ready to go.

With so many people on the site, you are bound to find readers for professional articles.

It has to be one of the best places to easily publish your articles.

3. Publish PDF

Publish a PDF

This really is the easiest way to publish your writing online.

You don’t even need to have a website or blog.

All you need is a PDF file and your Google account.

Best of all, Google indexes PDF documents , so there’s a good chance that yours will appear on Google Search.

Read our quick tutorial on how to publish a PDF article online , and you will be ready to publish your articles online immediately.

4. Scoop.It

publish you articles on

Scoop.It is one of the most popular free publishing platforms for new writers.

You can publish great magazines on this website, and it does what it promises.

There is a function where you can find great content to help as inspiration.

Simply use appropriate keywords, and you will be flooded with information.

publish you articles on issuu

You can find some excellent content on Issuu  and some entertaining writing as well.

It is a user-friendly platform where anyone can create digital publications.

You don’t need to use any publishing software.

You can also sell your digital magazine directly from the website, making it possible to earn some money.

Issuu is definitely one of the leading platforms for anyone who has something worthwhile to say.

With more than 15000 updates daily, you can see why it is so popular with writers who are publishing articles online.

It also gives you the opportunity to reach a lot of people with your writing. It doesn’t matter what your passion is; there is a place for you on this platform.

Your magazine can be about anything from cats to basketball, so there are no boundaries.

publish you articles on Yudo

If you are a photographer who wants to share your multimedia with the world, you might find that Yudo is for you.

On this platform, you can mix your writing, videos, photographs, and audio.

Who wouldn’t like to read a digital magazine that offers all of these features?

It makes for a more exciting read, so it could be worth a shot.

All you need to have is a passion and start working hard at it.

7. ArticleSeen

publish you articles on articleseen

ArticleSeen  prefers original content. But that is what you should do when posting your articles online.

If you want free exposure for your writing, this is a good site to help you on your way.

There is a good choice of categories, which means you are sure to find one that suits your writing topic.


publish you articles on pub html5

PUB HTML5 is free of charge, so you can see if it is the right digital publishing tool for you.

The design is sleek and simple, which is what you want as a beginner.

You don’t want websites that are confusing to use.

But the great thing about this platform is that your publications will appear professional on all devices.

It can be a computer or a mobile device. The results are the same.

You can publish interactive elements in magazines, catalogs, and brochures and create rich-media flipping books.

If you are trying to get your name out there as an influential writer, you might want to give this website a try.

Joomag publishing

With over 500,000 publishers using this website, you can understand why I included Joomag  in this list.

You can manage your subscribers on this platform and add more when you please.

It gives you full control over your publications.

Use might want to use a good grammar checker to help you write flawless articles. Then you can launch your own campaign.

You can use your mailing list to notify all of your subscribers when you publish a new article.

You can send emails that you write for your subscribers to make them feel part of the team.

It is an easy way to promote your work.

10. ArticleBiz

ArticleBiz logo

ArticleBiz offers you the chance to get your articles picked up by online publishers.

It’s very easy to submit your articles.

When you do, you will also complete a resource box. It is a short bio about yourself. You can include your email and website address information.

You can choose from a huge range of categories for your articles.

It has an Alexa ranking of 210,908. So it certainly gets a lot of traffic and readers.

If you are new to article writing, it is a great site to make a start with your online publishing.

11. Substack

substack logo

For writers open to a different approach in publishing, Substack is well worth investigating.

It’s a free platform you can join to publish your articles. But the big focus with Substack is on getting readers to subscribe to your writing.

Your articles will certainly be available online. But if your sole aim is to get your articles to rank high on search engines, Medium might be a better option.

However, if you want to build a loyal readership, there’s no better way than to attract email subscribers.

You can start by offering your articles for free. But if you can build some traction and your mailing list, there is an option to monetize your writing later.

There are a lot of high-profile writers already earning money from paid subscribers. But many new writers are succeeding too.

If you only want to publish one or two articles, it’s not the platform for you.

But if you want to make writing your passion and publish regular articles on your topic, Substack might be precisely the right publishing option for you.

12. Google Sites

Google Sites

When you want to have more control over your articles, you might consider using Google Sites .

It’s a simple website builder from Google. The two big advantages are that it’s free and very easy to use.

All you need is your Google account to log in and get started.

You can set up your new site in only a few minutes. Just make sure you make it available online.

Once you start adding your articles, you then have a chance of them being indexed by Google.

Like other website platforms, you can add gadgets to create interest. But they are basic.

Submitting your articles to a lot of different sites can be time-consuming and difficult to track.

But with your own site, you are in control of all your content.

Google Sites is a great option when all you want is a free, simple, and easy way to publish articles online in one place.

When you see the choices you have, there are no limits today on interactive content creation and digital publishing.

Anyone can learn to publish articles online once they decide to start. All you need to do is find new topic ideas .

With all these fantastic platforms available to you, all you have to do is get to work and start writing.

Many have native apps for iOS, Android, and Google Play. Check your App stores.

Before you know it, you are going to be writing for free article submission sites .

All you need is to use your drive and passion to get you heading toward your goals.

Give one of these websites a try, and you will be publishing your fantastic articles in no time at all.

Related reading: Where To Publish Short Stories Online

About The Author

Avatar for Derek Haines

Derek Haines

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52 thoughts on “the top 12 best free online publishing platforms for all new writers”.

Avatar for Phil Langlotz

I am a retired man with a technical background. I have written many articles on varied subjects but have never published. The subject matter includes science, religion, political and current events. The articles vary in length from one page to 20 pages. Have you ane suggestions for an appropriate posting site?

Avatar for Derek Haines

You cover a lot of topics, and different lengths, Phil.

It might be difficult to find one platform for them all.

Perhaps setting up a free blog, such as with Blogger or WordPress, might be a better move.

Thanks, I’ll look into that.

Avatar for Uma Gupta

I have written quite a few articles, most of them being inspirational. Some are in the form of messages learnt from incidents in everyday life. I also feel that as a citizen on this planet, it is my duty to share the good things I have learnt, so others can benefit too. Am wondering where would be a good place to begin publishing. Thanks.

Avatar for Ms. Anonymous

Derek, I am a decent lady, not available for romance, but just want you to know that I like your way; I just like your website & the way you make your comments and respond to questions. There’s just something about you. I like you.

Thank you. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy the content of the site.

Avatar for Rachel

I think writing story’s and publishing them and seeing how people comment, will help me when i get older and see what I want to be. I haven’t chosen yet I’ve always wanted to be a journalist or a media worker, honestly, I don’t yet…

Avatar for Dzeani

I notice that as a new writer, I have strong passion to publish. But I believe there is the need to learn to make my writing ‘clean’, mistake-free and perfect for my readers before publishing. What writing training apps would you recommend to help me ‘sanitize’ my writing?

I would suggest Prowritingaid for a new writer. It’s got everything you need to edit and improve your writing.

Avatar for Victoria

Will be paid for publishing articles on this platform listed above?

Avatar for Wycliffe Obiero

Will try this

Avatar for Michael L. Ball

I’m seventy-two and have been writing for a long time. I have a folder full of articles and I also have a folder full of science fiction stories. I have poetry and comics. I need a platform that allows me to publish as I please.

Avatar for Samuel Mathore

I’m an unpublished writer with several manuscripts. Do these platforms here publish novels?

No, Samuel. These sites are only suitable for publishing articles.

If you want to publish novels, try Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Draft2Digital.

Avatar for Paul Amupitan

Hello Derek, I’m new to writing articles, but I wasn’t to write articles focusing on Young People and their struggles. I would like to build some readership for my article. What site do you recommend? Thank you.

You can use any site, Paul. But before you do, make sure your writing is perfect. In your comment, I’m sure you meant, wanted to write, and not wasn’t to write. You can’t expect to find readers if you make errors like this. Always, always check your writing before you hit the button.

Avatar for Paoletta

Dear Derek, I would like to write articles about personal awareness and development. I am a new writer and I would like to reach a large odience eventually .. which platform would you recommend, please?

The best platform is always the one that you feel will work for you, Paoletta. But if you are looking at building a readership, Medium and Substack are two you might consider.

Avatar for Francis Ekongang Nzante

I’m really grateful to have stumbled on this site which I believe will greatly help me in publishing my articles. I do news articles that focus much more on culture. But I sort of publish stuff that is newsworthy so I also write on crisis in Africa.

Avatar for Anna

Be aware that on Medium your articles and you as an author won’t be searchable until you get a critical mass of readers and followers/claps. Which means that you need to actively promote your writing, for strangers to find your page on any given day (except the few first hours of the publication). Very disappointed.

Medium is no different from any other form of publishing articles. You need a certain amount of traction before it can rank in Google Search.

For a blog post, you need backlinks. On Medium, you need followers and claps.

It’s pretty standard stuff, but not disappointing if you know how to promote what you post.

There are no free rides at getting articles to rank. You still need to work on it to be successful.

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i need to publish my story about chronic kidney disease and kidney transplants, the need for kidney donors and how this need is affected by the Covid pandemic.; and my personal need for a transplant to save my life. Where is the best place to submit my article?

Use any of the sites listed in this article. But I would try Medium first.

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According to me the best usage of time is writing. It makes an individual to think widely on every aspect. Writing enable person to do brainstorming over the topic. This improves the writing work of writer.

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We only offer advice articles on our site, Abraham. Sorry, but we do not offer personal support or coaching.

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Hi Derek Haines, I would like to publish my short gospel articles, Where do I start?

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Writing is a technology that restructures thought — and in an AI age, universities need to teach it more

how to start writing online articles

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

how to start writing online articles

Instructor, English, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Disclosure statement

Joel Heng Hartse receives funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He is also president of the Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing/Association Canadienne de Rédactologie.

Taylor Morphett does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Simon Fraser University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA.

Simon Fraser University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.

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In an age of AI-assisted writing , is it important for university students to learn how to write?

We believe it is now more than ever.

In the writing classroom, students get the time and help they need to understand writing as not only a skill, but what the language scholar Walter J. Ong called a “ technology that restructures thought .”

“Technology” is not simply iPhones or spreadsheets — it is about mediating our relationship with the world through the creation of tools , and writing itself is arguably the most important tool for thinking that university students need to master.

Perhaps not surprisingly, not everyone agrees.

Role of university writing courses

“Eliminate the Required First-Year Writing Course” was the headline of a provocative article published in Inside Higher Ed in November.

In this article, a professor of writing studies, Melissa Nicolas of Washington State University, writes that while she has seen reason to question how efficient first-year composition courses are before now, “the advent of generative artificial intelligence is the final nail in the coffin.”

In her estimation, “learning to write and writing to learn are two distinct things.” First-year writing courses are “largely about learning to write, but AI can now do this for us. Writing to learn is much more complicated and is something that can only be done by the human mind.”

A person seen writing.

We take issue with this distinction. From the perspective of human learning and development, the grammatically correct prose produced by generative AI like ChatGPT is not “good writing” — even if it is or seems factually correct — if it does not reflect intellectual engagement with its subject matter. This is not to mention serious questions about the meaning of gaining insight from digital data, issues surrounding data biases, and so on.

First-year composition and other writing courses are a crucial part of the way university students are socialized into ways of communicating that will benefit them far beyond their undergraduate years.

Canadian versus American universities

We propose another solution to the problem Nicolas raises of first-year composition courses being formulaic and outdated. Universities need to devote resources to expanding and improving writing programs, including first-year composition.

We especially need this in Canada, where, as doctoral research carried out by one of the authors of this piece (Taylor Morphett) has shown, first-year composition has traditionally been under-emphasized, and writing has only been taught in a piecemeal way.

When first-year composition courses began to develop at the end of the 19th century in the United States, in Canada the focus was on the fine-tuning of literary taste and the reading of canonical British literature .

Students seen sitting at a round table.

The philosophies of education and approaches to teaching that developed from this early time are still present today in Canada. Writing education is often seen by universities as a remedial skill, something students should already know how to do.

In reality, much more writing instruction is needed. Today’s undergraduates are plunged into a sea of texts, information and technology they have immense difficulty navigating , and ChatGPT has made it harder, not easier, for students to discern the credibility of sources.

Writing programs in Canada

In writing courses, students can begin to see the critical variety and power of one of our best technologies: the human act of writing, a system of finite resources but infinite combinations. They learn to think, synthesize, judge the credibility of sources and information and interact with an audience — none of which can be done by AI.

Thankfully, some universities have taken the lead in making writing a cornerstone of undergraduate education. For example, the University of Victoria has a robust academic writing requirement for all students, regardless of their field of study. At the University of Toronto Mississauga, first-year students take an innovative for-credit writing course that takes a “ writing-about-writing ” approach. In this program, undergraduates study writing as an academic subject itself, not just a skill. They learn about the importance, complexity and socially situated nature of academic writing.

A person seen writing with laptop open and pencil in hand.

Needed at all universities

All Canadian universities should make a beginning academic writing or communication course required for all undergraduates, along with discipline-specific upper-division writing courses focused on scholarly and professional genres in their fields.

Academic and professional writing is a second language for everyone: no one is born knowing how to properly cite sources or craft airtight business proposals.

We need dedicated writing programs to help students understand and communicate complex concepts to a specific audience for a specific purpose in rhetorically flexible ways, with an awareness of their responsibilities to a human community of readers.

Skills and knowledge to make a difference

Generative AI like ChatGPT cannot do this, because it cannot know or “understand” anything . Its raison d'être is to produce plausible strings of symbols in response to human prompts, based on data it has been trained upon.

We have knowledgeable and talented PhDs graduating in communication, applied linguistics, English, rhetoric and related fields whose expertise in these areas is sorely needed at institutions across the country.

If Canada wants to graduate domestic and international students with the skills and knowledge to make a difference in the world, we need to be training them in writing.

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How to watch The Match 2024: Start time, TV coverage, format, streaming info

Rose Zhang, Max Homa, Lexi Thompson and Rory McIlroy will compete in the latest edition of The Match.

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This week features the latest iteration of Capital One’s The Match , where PGA Tour pros Rory McIlroy and Max Homa will compete with LPGA stars Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang at The Park at West Palm Beach. Here’s everything you need to know to watch The Match, including the start time, TV coverage, streaming times and more.

The Match 2024 preview

On Monday, February 26th, golf fans will be treated to the ninth edition of The Match, but this one will look different than all the rest . The most recent editions have featured star athletes from other sports , but this year The Match is switching back to pro golfers.

max homa, rose zhang, rory mcilroy and lexi thompson

4 reasons this edition of The Match will be very different (and better!)

And not just PGA Tour pros. LPGA stars Thompson and Zhang will be in the mix, competing against each other as well as Homa and McIlroy.

The Match 2024 Format

Another change to the latest Match is the format. Instead of a team competition, the 2024 Match will feature an individual competition, with all four pros playing for themselves in a skins match. The money awarded for each skin will be donated to the charities of each player’s choosing.

The event will stretch across 12 holes, with all pros playing the same tees on par-3s and different tees on the rest of the holes.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by // GOLF Magazine (@golf_com)

How to watch The Match 2024 on TV

As usual, you can watch the 2024 Match on TV via TNT, which will open the coverage at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday.

Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley will handle most of the broadcast duties, with assists from Christina Kim, DJ Khaled and more.

How to stream The Match 2024 online

This year’s TNT Match coverage will be simulcast online via TNT, TruTV, HLN and the B/R Sports Add-On on Max.

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As managing producer for, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

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Business Plan: What It Is + How to Write One

Discover what a business plan includes and how writing one can foster your business’s development.

[Featured image] Woman showing a business plan to a man at a desk.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a written document that defines your business goals and the tactics to achieve those goals. A business plan typically explores the competitive landscape of an industry, analyzes a market and different customer segments within it, describes the products and services, lists business strategies for success, and outlines financial planning.  

In your research into business plans, you may come across different formats, and you might be wondering which kind will work best for your purposes. 

Let’s define two main types of business plans—the traditional business plan and the lean start-up business plan. Both types can serve as the basis for developing a thriving business, as well as exploring a competitive market analysis, brand strategy, and content strategy in more depth. 

There are some significant differences to keep in mind [ 1 ]: 

The traditional business plan is a long document that explores each component in depth. You can build a traditional business plan to secure funding from lenders or investors. 

The lean start-up business plan focuses on the key elements of a business’s development and is shorter than the traditional format. If you don’t plan on seeking funding, the lean start-up plan can serve mainly as a document for making business decisions and carrying out tasks. 

Now that you have a clear business plan definition, continue reading to learn how to start writing a detailed plan that will guide your journey as an entrepreneur.  

How to write a business plan 

In the sections below, you’ll build the following components of your business plan:

Executive summary

Business description 

Products and services 

Competitor analysis 

Marketing plan and sales strategies 

Brand strategy

Financial planning

Explore each section to bring fresh inspiration and reveal new possibilities for developing your business. Depending on which format you're using, you may choose to adapt the sections, skip over some, or go deeper into others. Consider your first draft a foundation for your efforts and one that you can revise, as needed, to account for changes in any business area.

1. Executive summary 

This is a short section that introduces the business plan as a whole to the people who will be reading it, including investors, lenders, or other members of your team. Start with a sentence or two about your business, your goals for developing it, and why it will be successful. If you are seeking funding, summarize the basics of the financial plan. 

2. Business description 

Use this section to provide detailed information about your company and how it will operate in the marketplace.

Mission statement: What drives your desire to start a business? What purpose are you serving? What do you hope to achieve for your business, the team, and customers? 

Revenue streams: From what sources will your business generate revenue? Examples include product sales, service fees, subscriptions, rental fees, license fees, and more. 

Leadership: Describe the leaders in your business, their roles and responsibilities, and your vision for building teams to perform various functions, such as graphic design, product development, or sales.  

Legal structure: Are you operating as a partnership or a corporation? If you’re registering a specific legal structure within your province or territory, include it here and the rationale behind this choice. 

3. Competitor analysis 

This section will include an assessment of potential competitors, their offers, and marketing and sales efforts. For each competitor, explore the following:

Value proposition: What outcome or experience does this brand promise?

Products and services: How does each one solve customer pain points and fulfil desires? What are the price points? 

Marketing: Which channels do competitors use to promote? What kind of content does this brand publish on these channels? What messaging does this brand use to communicate value to customers?  

Sales: What sales process or buyer’s journey does this brand lead customers through?

4. Products and services

Use this section to describe everything your business offers to its target market. For every product and service, list the following: 

The value proposition or promise to customers, in terms of how they will experience it

How the product serves customers, addresses their pain points, satisfies their desires, and improves their lives.

The features or outcomes that make the product better than those of competitors

Your price points and how these compare to competitors

5. Marketing plan and sales strategies 

In this section, you’ll draw from thorough market research to describe your target market and how you will reach it. 

Who are your ideal customers?   

How can you describe this segment according to their demographics (age, ethnicity, income, location, etc.) and psychographics (beliefs, values, aspirations, lifestyle, etc.)? 

What are their daily lives like? 

What problems and challenges do they experience? 

What words, phrases, ideas, and concepts do consumers in your target market use to describe these problems when posting on social media or engaging with your competitors?  

What messaging will present your products as the best on the market? How will you differentiate messaging from competitors? 

On what marketing channels will you position your products and services?

How will you design a customer journey that delivers a positive experience at every touchpoint and leads customers to a purchase decision?

6. Brand strategy 

In this section, you will describe your business’s design, personality, values, voice, and other details that go into delivering a consistent brand experience. 

What are the values that define your brand?

What visual elements give your brand a distinctive look and feel?

How will your marketing messaging reflect a distinctive brand voice, including tone, diction, and sentence-level stylistic choices? 

How will your brand look and sound throughout the customer journey? 

Define your brand positioning statement. What will inspire your audience to choose your brand over others? What experiences and outcomes will your audience associate with your brand? 

7. Financial planning  

In this section, you will explore your business’s financial future. If you are writing a traditional business plan to seek funding, this section is critical for demonstrating to lenders or investors that you have a strategy for turning your business ideas into profit. For a lean start-up business plan, this section can provide a useful exercise for planning how you will invest resources and generate revenue [ 2 ].  

Use any past financials and other sections of this business plan, such as your price points or sales strategies, to begin your financial planning. 

How many individual products or service packages do you plan to sell over a specific time period?

List your business expenses, such as subscribing to software or other services, hiring contractors or employees, purchasing physical supplies or equipment, etc.

What is your break-even point, or the amount you have to sell to cover all expenses?

Create a sales forecast for the next three to five years: (No. of units to sell X price for each unit) – (cost per unit X No. of units) = sales forecast.

Quantify how much capital you have on hand.

When writing a traditional business plan to secure funding, you may choose to append supporting documents, such as licenses, permits, patents, letters of reference, resumes, product blueprints, brand guidelines, the industry awards you’ve received, and media mentions and appearances.

Business plan key takeaways and best practices

Remember: Creating a business plan is crucial when starting a business. You can use this document to guide your decisions and actions and even seek funding from lenders and investors. 

Keep these best practices in mind:

Your business plan should evolve as your business grows. Return to it periodically, such as every quarter or year, to update individual sections or explore new directions your business can take.

Ensure everyone on your team has a copy of the business plan, and welcome their input as they perform their roles. 

Ask fellow entrepreneurs for feedback on your business plan and look for opportunities to strengthen it, from conducting more market and competitor research to implementing new strategies for success. 

Start your business with Coursera 

Ready to start your business? Watch this video on the lean approach from the Entrepreneurship Specialization :

Article sources

BDC. “ Step 2—Prepare a winning business plan ," Accessed November 13, 2022.

CBDC. " NEW fillable CBDC Business Plan ," Accessed November 13, 2022.

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Plans to Expand U.S. Chip Manufacturing Are Running Into Obstacles

Delays in finishing new factories are emerging, just as the Biden administration begins handing out money to stoke domestic production.

Construction machinery and a lone figure standing on pavement in front of an industrial building. A “Made in America” banner hangs between a U.S. flag and an Arizona state flags down the side of the building.

By Don Clark and Ana Swanson

Don Clark reports on the chip industry from San Francisco. Ana Swanson reports on trade from Washington.

In December 2022, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the key maker of the world’s most cutting-edge chips, said it planned to spend $40 billion in Arizona on its first major U.S. hub for semiconductor production.

The much ballyhooed project in Phoenix — with two new factories, including one with more advanced technology — became a symbol of President Biden’s quest to spur more domestic production of chips, the slices of silicon that help all manner of devices make calculations and store data.

Then last summer, TSMC pushed back initial manufacturing at its first Arizona factory to 2025 from this year, saying local workers lacked expertise in installing some sophisticated equipment. Last month, the company said the second plant wouldn’t produce chips until 2027 or 2028, rather than 2026, citing uncertainty about tech choices and federal funding.

Progress at the Arizona site partly depends on “how much incentives that the U.S. government can provide,” Mark Liu , TSMC’s chairman, said in an investor call.

TSMC is just one of several chip makers running into obstacles with their U.S. expansion plans. Intel, Microchip Technology and others have also adjusted their production schedules, as a sales slump in many kinds of chips pressures the companies to manage their spending on new infrastructure. New chip factories are hugely complex, involving thousands of construction workers, long construction timelines and billions of dollars of machinery.

The delays come as the Biden administration begins dispensing the first major awards from a $39 billion pot of money aimed at building up the U.S. semiconductor industry and reducing the nation’s dependence on technology manufactured in East Asia. On Monday, the administration said it would award $1.5 billion in grants to the chipmaker GlobalFoundries to upgrade and expand facilities in New York and Vermont that make chips for automakers and the defense industry.

But the issues that companies like TSMC face with their projects could undercut this fanfare, raising questions about the prospects of success for President Biden’s industrial policy program. The investments are expected to figure heavily in Mr. Biden's re-election campaign over the next few months.

“Nothing has failed yet,” said Emily Kilcrease, a senior fellow and the director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. “But we’re going to have to see some progress and those factories actually coming online in the next few years for the program to be considered a success.”

The Commerce Department is responsible for handing out federal money from the 2022 CHIPS Act to spur domestic chip production. In addition to the grant to GlobalFoundries, the department has issued two small production grants so far. It is expected to give much larger awards in the billions of dollars to chipmakers like TSMC, Intel, Samsung and Micron in the coming weeks and months.

The government is locked in complex negotiations with these major chipmakers over the amount and timing of the awards. Companies are also still waiting for guidance from the Treasury Department about which investments will qualify for a new tax credit aimed at advanced manufacturing, which had been expected before the end of 2023.

Any delays in the process could hurt the United States as it races to reduce global dependence on chip factories in Taiwan, South Korea and China, analysts said. Rival countries are offering their own incentives to court chip manufacturers. TSMC, for example, plans to add production in Japan and Germany as well as in the United States.

The longer the U.S. government waits to distribute benefits, “the more other geographies are going to snap up these investments, and more leading-edge investments will be made in East Asia,” said Jimmy Goodrich, a senior adviser for technology analysis to the RAND Corporation. “So the clock is ticking.”

A Commerce Department official disputed suggestions that it had been slow in handing out incentives. He said the department was taking time to protect taxpayer interests and push companies to do more to bolster the domestic chip supply chain.

A White House official said the chip companies’ schedule changes were minor adjustments that were common at complex projects like the new production sites. He added that forecasts suggested there would be overwhelming demand for these chips when the facilities started making them.

A Treasury Department spokeswoman said that officials there had provided clarity on tax credits to companies planning investments and were working to issue additional guidance as quickly as possible.

The CHIPS Act authorized grants and other incentives to boost U.S. chip production, plus tax credits for investments in factories and manufacturing equipment. More than 600 companies and organizations had submitted statements of interest in the grants, the Commerce Department said, while it estimates pledges of private investment so far at $235 billion .

But most expansion plans were set when chips were scarce several years ago, after a pandemic-fueled burst of consumer spending on electronic products. That demand dried up, leaving chip makers stuck with big inventories of unsold components and little immediate need for new factories.

“Companies are rethinking how and what and when investments will occur,” said Thomas Sonderman, the chief executive of SkyWater Technology, a Minnesota chip manufacturer that has won Defense Department subsidies and is aiming for CHIPS Act funding.

One chip maker feeling the pinch is Microchip, an Arizona company. Two years ago, Microchip was swamped with orders. It applied for CHIPS Act funding to stoke production and stands to receive $162 million . Yet as sales have slumped, it recently announced two separate two-week factory shutdowns.

Microchip still plans to upgrade its factories in Oregon and Colorado that are set to receive CHIPS Act grants, said Ganesh Moorthy, its chief executive. But ordering machines to increase production capacity will have to wait until business conditions improve.

“We’ve paused on expansion,” Mr. Moorthy said.

Intel, which is expanding production, has also adjusted purchases of costly factory tools. The company recently said it didn’t expect to start manufacturing in Ohio, where it is spending $20 billion on two new factories , in 2025 as it originally expected. The change was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

Still, Intel said neither construction on that site, nor plans to expand in the United States and three other countries, had slowed.

“The strategy is not changing from quarter to quarter,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, the executive vice president who oversees Intel’s manufacturing operations. “We’re staying on course.”

Some chip makers, such as Texas Instruments and Micron Technology, are plowing forward with expanding chip production for competitive reasons. New factories can help make higher-quality chips, more of them and for cheaper.

Micron is pushing ahead with building a $15 billion factory in Boise, Idaho, its hometown, and plans an even bigger manufacturing complex near Syracuse, N.Y., despite a downturn in the market for its memory chips, which store data in devices like smartphones and computers.

Scott Gatzemeier, a Micron vice president overseeing the expansion, said construction projects that took several years should be based on future chip demand rather than current conditions. Renting massive cranes and other equipment and securing construction workers, he added, are big expenses that might need to be repeated if a project is halted.

“Once you start, you don’t want to stop,” he said.

Other chip makers are unwilling to start construction without government money. Mr. Sonderman of SkyWater, for example, said his company’s plans for a $1.8 billion facility in Indiana are contingent on obtaining funds through a portion of the CHIPS Act targeting research.

At TSMC’s Arizona site, unforeseen problems have piled up over the past year.

Last summer, construction unions in the state raised issues about workplace safety and objected to TSMC’s bringing workers from Taiwan to help install sophisticated equipment in the first factory. Delays in installing machines led to an announcement in July about the production delay.

In December, TSMC and the Arizona Building and Construction Trades Council agreed on ground rules at the site for safety, workplace training, site staffing and other issues. In an emailed statement, Mr. Liu, who recently announced plans to retire, sounded hopeful that worker tensions were over.

He acknowledged “challenges” in building the first Phoenix factory, but said TSMC was still “the fastest player” among its peers in completing such projects. While he told analysts in January that the company would delay the start of production at the second factory, also known as a fab, worker skills aren’t likely to be among the reasons.

“We believe the construction of our second fab will be much smoother,” Mr. Liu said. “The workers in Arizona learn things quickly.”

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the location of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s U.S. project. It will be in Phoenix, not outside of Phoenix.

How we handle corrections

Ana Swanson covers trade and international economics for The Times and is based in Washington. She has been a journalist for more than a decade. More about Ana Swanson

Opinion Why the U.S. should start telling the whole truth about Israeli nukes

William Burr is a senior analyst at the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Richard Lawless is a former CIA officer and former assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific affairs. Henry Sokolski is executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

how to start writing online articles

With the Israel-Hamas war , a nuclear Rubicon of sorts has been crossed: Two elected Israeli officials — a government minister and a member of parliament — not only publicly referenced Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons but suggested that they be detonated over Gaza. This was a disturbing first. Meanwhile, in Washington, a long-standing secret executive order has prohibited American officials from even acknowledging that Israel has nuclear arms. Given the increasing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation — and, worse, use — continuing such self-censorship about Israel’s nuclear arsenal is not just bizarre; it’s harmful.

One of us directs a national security research center , which last month conducted an unclassified Israel-Iran nuclear war game. Israel fired nuclear weapons against Iran twice (using a total of 51 weapons) and Iran replied with a nuclear strike of its own. Surprisingly, the strategic uncertainties following the exchange were greater than those that preceded it.

The questions we were gaming were: How much damage might Israeli nuclear strikes inflict against Iran’s nuclear and missile sites, infrastructure and population? Would Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities be incapacitated, or are they buried so deep they would survive? Would the region’s economies be “knocked out” by such a nuclear exchange or just “jolted?” Would Washington, Moscow or Beijing be drawn into the conflict? In what way?

None of the participants in the war game was confident they could answer any of these questions. One of the best ways to clarify these matters is for American and Israeli experts and officials to peek into the future by gaming different nuclear war scenarios.

Yet U.S. policy makes this impossible. Why? Because a course of action adopted half a century ago prohibits cleared U.S. employees from openly admitting Israel has nuclear arms. In the late 1960s and 1970s, this might have made sense: The last thing the United States or Israel wanted was to goad the Soviets into sharing nuclear weapons or technology with Egypt or Syria to “balance” whatever nuclear weapons Israel had.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, though, Washington doubled down on this know-nothing stance in part due to Israeli pressure. Israel demanded President Bill Clinton and every subsequent American president commit to a secret agreement that the United States will not press the Jewish state to give up its nuclear weapons so long as it continues to face existential threats.

When this practice began, the White House also promulgated a regulation — described in an Energy Department classification bulletin — that threatens present and past government employees with disciplinary action, including firing, if they publicly acknowledge Israel has nuclear weapons. So far, the regulation has been withheld from public release.

With Israeli officials’ recent public outbursts on using nuclear weapons in Gaza, though, whatever possible benefit this policy might have had has evaporated. Maintaining it will only make matters worse.

One of us was a CIA officer who helped stop South Korea from getting nuclear weapons and just published a book, “ Hunting Nukes ,” detailing this and related nonproliferation efforts. After the CIA’s review board approved the book’s publication, though, the Pentagon demanded that references to Israel’s nuclear program be deleted.

Another of us has initiated the declassification of many archival documents on Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Yet the Pentagon recently redacted all references to Israel’s nuclear program from a 60-year-old memorandum that U.S. diplomats had written on the need for regional Middle Eastern denuclearization talks, even before Israel had produced a weapon.

What is the Pentagon protecting? Does it really think keeping Israel’s nuclear program classified is in our national security interest? If we pretend we don’t know Israel’s nuclear status, doesn’t it only make it easier for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, South Korea, Japan and others to proceed with nuclear weapons programs of their own?

Worse, doesn’t it provide policymakers cover to finesse dealing honestly with proliferation challenges they would prefer to ignore, such as in North Korea? Here, also for diplomatic reasons, U.S. officials stubbornly declare they will never accept Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state despite its repeated nuclear tests and growing arsenal.

Also, with increasing prospects of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and of Israel and Iran attacking one another, what is to be gained by preventing open official discussion of what might unfold? Shouldn’t our government instead be encouraging talks on how to promote greater nuclear restraint by both parties and in the Middle East more generally?

For us, these questions are all rhetorical. Effectively, Israel is no longer silent about its nuclear program. Our government’s forced silence should end as well.

About guest opinion submissions

The Washington Post accepts opinion articles on any topic. We welcome submissions on local, national and international issues. We publish work that varies in length and format, including multimedia. Submit a guest opinion or read our guide to writing an opinion article .

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