Employers and agents frequently require “high quality” articles; failing to meet that expectation leads to the rejection of your work, or means that you will not win the bid in the first place. New freelance writers know there will be hoops through which they must jump to get, and keep, their jobs. They often ask for a concise definition of the phrase “high quality article.”

The new freelancer can fortunately count on a degree of consensus among employers and publishers, at least in terms of what they expect from a high quality article written for the web. Experience proves that clients and submission sites routinely set the following minimum expectations. Satisfy these guidelines, and you are on the path to earning money as a freelance writer.


Keep your article easy to read. Writing for the web is often entirely different from academic writing such as your college papers. Cast aside the old notions of “full” paragraph development. Due to the nature of reading prose on a screen, rather than a printed page, web writing demands shorter paragraphs, commonly no more than two or three sentences. Sometimes one sentence makes for an effective paragraph on the web.

~Your objective is to keep paragraphs of an article brief and punchy. Do not ramble. High quality web articles are focused pieces.

~Add “air” to your articles. Even short pieces can sometimes be split into two or three subsections.

~Create subheading for each, preferably containing a keyword. Dividing your article into subsections makes it easier on the web reader’s eyes.

~Readers greedy for information love bullet points. Bullets shout “important idea.”

Add graphics whenever possible. Photos and other “eye candy” breathe extra life into your writing. Of course, it remains important to correct all spelling and grammatical errors prior to publication or submission as a writing sample. You want to be a professional. Prove you have mastered the fundamentals.

Word, Words, Words: Article Length

Freelance assignments almost invariably specify a word count. The count will vary depending on the purpose and nature of the eventual article, and the style of the place of publication. Web writing tends to be comprised of short pieces for review purposes and longer pieces for informational ones.

Of course, many high quality publication outlets permit high word counts, but high word count does not necessarily correlate with quality web writing. Studies of internet reading habits indicate that long articles focusing upon topics that are not trending, or “hot,” lose readers quickly. Article publication sites suggest that, if your topic requires 800 words or more, you split the lengthy piece into multiple shorter articles, each with a tight focus.

Certainly, you will see exceptions to this rule. The material you are currently reading, for example, violates this guideline, although it is divided into a multitude of sections. Studies of internet reading habits have also proven that, the hotter the topic, the longer an article can be.

At the outset of your freelance career, you cannot go wrong by sticking to some general rules:

~Provide solid information, rather than opinion.
~Stay focused on a single topic.
~Do not ramble, or repeat ideas, for the sake of raising the word count.
~Insert appropriate and popular keywords.
~Use an active, rather than passive voice.

Style Guides are Instructions: Follow Them

Article submission sites, employers, blogs- virtually any place to which you may submit an article- might have a style guide, and provide you with a set of specific instructions you must follow. Consider these as project specifications. If you receive instructions, but ignore them, you risk rejection and waste a good job opportunity.
If the job specification indicates than you must not link to a source more than once per article, don’t.

If the specs say to put the keyword in the first position of your article title, do it. If the specs require that you write an introductory, italicized blurb of 160 characters or less, incorporating your keywords, and to place this above the body of the article, but below the title, do exactly that.

If project or article specifications are not sent to you, it is perfectly OK, and exhibits a degree of professionalism, to request them. Article submission sites post their publication requirements clearly.

Be Your Own Editor, and Proofread Your Work

How often have you found that, after checking your own work, you see an error the next time you open the file? Everyone has the same experience. Face the fact: you did not proofread your piece carefully enough. Even professionals commit the same mistake; pros, however, learn to double-check and proof their articles.

When you see error-free prose, you are probably looking at a piece revised several times and proofread at each stage. If a piece is truly important to you, do what many professionals do: have a third party proof it for you. Not just anyone. Find a proofreader who knows his job. If it makes financial sense, hire a third party to execute the task.

Consider; you have a deal in place to be paid $20 for a set of error-free original articles, or a set of web pages. The employer stated upfront that if your submission contains errors, forget about payout. You worked hard, but your reward will be rejection. Would you pay a proofreader $5 to help guarantee that you will pocket the other $15?

Follow all of the above advice consistently, and you will find yourself far along the path to writing high quality articles for the web, and competing for more lucrative jobs, too.

Author's Bio: 

Full-Time Freelance Writer and Editor for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Internet Marketing.