How to Write Web Content Faster

How to Write Web Content Faster

Last week, I was talking to a new coworker about my online businesses when she asked, “How do you manage to get everything done?!” It’s a fair question – besides having a day job and a few online businesses, I also take several dance classes a week, volunteer and do my best to find time to spend out with my husband and our friends.

But her question caught me off guard – in part because being this busy has become second nature to me – and got me thinking. What one skill that I’ve developed has contributed the most to my business success so far?

And the interesting thing is that, for me, it isn’t the ability to pre-sell, the keyword research skills I’ve learned or some sophisticated time management system that keeps me on track.

Honestly, the skill I value the most is being able to write fast. Crazy, right?!

Being able to write coherent content quickly means that I can build more minisites, generate more content for backlinks and be more active on social networking sites, simply because I can express my thoughts in written form faster. It also cuts down my business expenses – and anyone who’s ever paid to outsource content creation can understand why!

I was hugely fortunate to develop this skill while running my former web content agency, New Arbor Enterprise. When you’ve got 100+ website articles to crank out in a week, you learn how to synthesize information quickly and slap it down on a page coherently – otherwise, you’re going to be dealing with some very unhappy clients!

But you don’t need to run a web content agency or plow through 2,000+ articles just to increase your writing speed. With a few simple adjustments and a little practice, you can dramatically improve the amount of time you spend writing content.

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Here’s my process for writing web articles as quickly as possible:

1. Start with good research sources. If you’re writing content in a niche you know well, you might not need to do any research before you begin writing, but for the sake of this article, I’m assuming you’re writing on a topic you don’t know well.

Go to Google and search for information on your article topic. Then, read through the first three reputable pages you come across. Now, close your browser window and think through everything you’ve read. Jot down three main points, and then imagine yourself explaining what you’ve learned to a friend.

2. Use your three main points as the basis for your article. One of the easiest content structures in the world to write is, “Introduction, Main Point 1, Main Point 2, Main Point 3, Conclusion.” Write your article using this structure and the same tone of voice you used when you imagined sharing your new knowledge with a friend. Don’t censor yourself at this point, or worry about spelling or grammar – just focus on getting the information down on the page as quickly as possible.

3. Revise your content. Once you’ve written the entire article in your own voice, go back through and make any spelling or grammar corrections necessary. When you’re first getting started, you might also find it helpful to read your content out loud, as this will help you catch any clunky wording or sentences that don’t flow correctly.

4. Practice and track your results.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice in this entire article is that if you want to get better at writing quickly, you’ve got to practice, practice, practice! Seriously, the more you write, the faster and easier the entire process becomes.

In addition, while you’re writing all of this content, it’s a good idea to track what’s working for you and what isn’t. If you’re writing content articles for a website, keep an eye on which articles get the most traffic. Or, if you’re submitting your articles to an article directory, use a directory that allows you to see how many views each of your articles receive. If one of your pages performs significantly better than others, try to understand what makes that page special and incorporate that lesson into your future writing.

Like any new skill, writing quickly takes time to learn and repeated practice to perfect. However, if your experience is anything like mine, I think you’ll find the effort you put into developing this skill to be well worth your time.

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So what do you think? Do you have any other advice on how to write content quickly?

Image: Damon Duncan

27 Responses to How to Write Web Content Faster

  1. Jon says:

    Perfect structure advice there, Sarah. Intro, 3 Points, Conclusion – you really can’t break it down any better. It just so happens that the information is more digestible for the reader in that form as well.

    Whenever I write something I am always tempted to edit while I write. No good! You’re absolutely right about getting all your thoughts out first and editing later. Besides, it’s easier to cut things out of longer copy than try to beef up weak content and risk it not working out right. I hope that made sense.

    At 100 articles cranked out in a week, you aren’t even human anymore. I have major respect for you being the content publishing machine you are!

    • Sarah says:

      Haha – There’s a reason I’m not doing as much freelance writing anymore… 100 articles a week is a guaranteed ticket to crazy town 🙂

  2. Aaron says:

    Nice post Sarah. I definitely need to start cranking out articles faster. I can relate to your busy life as I have a day job too and have a few sites on the side, however, after reading your ideas I’m going to attempt to implement them myself. Thanks.

    • Sarah says:

      Hey there, Aaron – thanks for stopping by!

      I know how tough it is to try to run websites while working a day job, and I think that upping your writing speed will definitely help you get more done in the limited time we have.

      Let me know if you have any questions using these methods 🙂

  3. Would like to follow the guidance of Sarah. However honestly feel that 5 articles a day is a good target for me.

    • Sarah says:

      Five articles a day is a great target! I’m sure you’ll be on your way to writing much faster soon if you keep up that practice 🙂

  4. Mary Garrett says:

    Hi Sarah, I am a health writer and speed is my biggest adversary. My writing is based on reading scientific clinical research and it takes me an average of two hours to write a quality article due to all the research. I use a custom search engine that gives only reputable sources as leads and the has helped a lot. I stick to the main format each time, like you suggest, with an intro, three points and a conclusion. I only get paid per article, not per hour, so getting faster is my goal. I like the idea of not editing as I go. That’s probably holding me up too. I’ll try that. Thanks! Enjoyed reading!

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Mary – Thanks for stopping by, and glad you enjoyed the article!

      I find that I’m definitely faster when I let things flow, instead of trying to analyze every word I’m writing as I do it. Just something to experiment with! 🙂

  5. Marty Green says:

    Informative post Sarah, thank you. I’m always looking for writing tips to help me improve my speed. It seems like it takes me days to get something out.

    I’m going to try your techniques and hopefully I’ll get a little quicker.

    Thanks again!

    Marty

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Marty! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      I hope these tips help. If you have any advice you’d like to share as you work on improving your speed, please post it here!

  6. Jarod Billingslea says:

    I’m trying this right now, but I’ve wasted 40 minutes so far…

    Does the research process usually take this long? I’m a visual learner, so, it takes a little longer for me to comprehend information.

    Please reply. Thanks.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jarod – Thanks for stopping by!

      Web research (just like actually writing content) is another one of those things that gets faster with practice. A couple thoughts for you on how to speed up that process…

      1. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Most web articles only need to cover one specific point in a niche, so you don’t need to understand everything about the niche at once.

      For example, if you’re writing in the golf niche, you don’t need to know everything about golf. One article might just cover how to choose a putter, and you should be able to find very targeted research sources that relate to this aspect specifically.

      2. Develop a list of trusted research sources (especially if you’re working in a single niche). The less time you have to waste sifting through some of the crap the search engines pull up, the faster you’ll be.

      Hope this helps!

      Sarah

  7. Jools Mauro says:

    Hi, my content is always written from within my heart. If Im not interested in it I cant write about it. That way I can knock out content, and it flows and sometimes I have to stop myself from over doing it! Great article!

    • Sarah says:

      Jools – Thanks for stopping by!

      I agree, writing on content that you actually care about helps the process go much faster! Not always possible when you’re working with affiliate niche sites, but it’s a great thing to aim for 🙂

  8. […] trouble coming up with all that new content? Writing new content doesn’t have to be difficult, but why not take a page out the Memebase book and have other […]

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  10. Brian says:

    Hi Sarah,
    My main issue is figuring out what to write about. After writing so many articles in my niche it becomes a little tough to crank out new ideas. Any advice?

    Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      Brian – There’s a certain point when writing in any niche just plain sucks. A couple of things that’ve helped me…

      1. Focus on micro-ideas. Each post doesn’t have to cover everything about the niche – instead, focus on blowing a single idea, thought, whatever into a full post. The more specialized you can make it, the better.

      2. Find a new way to approach it. Whenever I get tired of writing about a niche, I try to stop by niche forums or interact with people involved in the niche in the real world. Usually, I pick up on some aspect of the niche I hadn’t considered before and that gives me more ideas for articles.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Tom says:

    Woah… 100 articles… I have done around 40+ per week in the past and that made me nuts. These days I aim for 4-6 per day but as I really do my research and include the long tails in each article, this process is not as fast as I’d like it too.

    Also hard to stay motivated writing so much week in and week out.

    Goode Article though.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Tom – Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      40+ articles a week is pretty darn good too! When I was doing 100+, I had a few support writers helping me, but I still had to proof and revise each of them. That was enough to drive me crazy, for sure!

  12. Hi Sarah,

    thanks for the good article. It is all about structure and focusing on the right three points. I like this.

    Kind regards

  13. Don Miguel says:

    Excellent article Sarah!

    Interestingly, your technique of Introduction, 3 Main Points, and Conclusion is very similar to the technique I recommend for public speakers. I appreciate your advice to get your thought down on paper and then revise. I will have to add that step to my content creation process.
    Thanks again for the tips on writing faster!

    • Sarah says:

      Oooh, you’re right! I totally forgot about this, but it’s pretty much the same structure we used in Speech & Drama in 7th grade 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  14. Back as an undergrad we had to pass a state proficiency exam that involved writing on some random topic. The English professor who prepped us for the exam stressed that we ought to write a 5 paragraph essay with the basic parts you’ve listed: intro, point #1, point #2, point #3, conclusion. That was 20 years ago. The language hasn’t changed much since then, but it is amazing how many people never learned that.

    Clearly we sometimes need more than five paragraphs, but the basic structure is still the soundest foundation for short articles.

    • Sarah says:

      Definitely. Sometimes, what starts out as a 5 paragraph article turns into one with an extended introduction, points 2a, 2b & 2c and a few other major topics tacked on, but it’s still a helpful framework for getting started.

      Glad to hear it’s working for you as well!

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