Freelance Writers: How to Write for Mobile Devices -- The Basics
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Iím the oldest of three girls. I have one sister who is 17 months younger than me, and another who is almost 15 years younger. My youngest sister LIVES on her iPhone, whereas I donít even have one.

George Clooney's iPhone?

Yeah, itís 2013 and I still donít have an iPhone and am in no particular hurry to get one. Iím not a phone person Ė never have been; and apparently, Iím not alone. I read someplace recently that George Clooney doesnít even have a cell phone, never mind an iPhone, so I feel like Iím in cool company (even though he surely has an army of folk who handle his business so he doesnít even need a phone).

Anyhoo, I majorly digress . . . back to how to write for mobile devices.

My younger sister checks email, surfs the net, watches videos and even her favorite TV shows sometimes on her iPhone.

As a web writer who specializes in search engine-optimized content, I do have to stay up on the basics of all types of online technology, so know a little about it. FYI, the idea for this post came from a fellow SEO writer who commented on a post I did on my SEO writing blog about this. She wrote:

I use my phone to do searches all the time ó particularly before making a purchasing decision while in a store. What I would like to know more about that is how does it change the way I need to do writing for websites. Are there writers who write mainstream websites and write different copy for the mobile version?

Following are some of the tips I gave her.

Writing for Mobile Devices: 6 Basic Tips

(I) Keep paragraphs short: Remember, itís a phone and even though the screens are getting bigger, itís not a tablet or laptop or desktop. Itís still a phone (ie, small screen).

(II) Make the headline count: This is important because most phone users scan text (kinda like surfers on the web actually). Also, theyíre usually doing other stuff when theyíre on their mobile devices, eg, going through driving (sucks, but itís true). The point is, the attention span of the user is much shorter than reading on a laptop, for example.

(III) Use simple language: Use short sentences with easy-to-understand language so the surfer can get the meaning of what youíre trying to say quickly and easily. This is no time to showcase your extensive grasp of the English (or Spanish, or German or Chinese, etc. language).

(IV) Make your point quickly: This piggybacks on the last point. Remember, mobile device users are usually looking for specific information about a specific thing and they want it like -- RIGHT NOW.

(V) Keep paragraphs short: The reason is, it can be a big turn off trying to read big chunks of text on a tiny screen. So putting text on multiple pages or making paragraphs shorter make it more appealing Ė and easier to read.

(VI) Use long-tail keywords as links: Again, the screen on a phone is not small, so trying to click/tap a one-word link is much harder than clicking on a four or five-word hyperlink. This is where using long-tail keywords really comes in handy Ė especially from a search perspective.

Writing for Mobile Devices Similar to Writing for the Web?

A lot of it is similar to the rules you should be following when you write copy for the web. But, Iíd argue that you have to be even MORE conscious of following these guidelines when writing for mobile devices simply because the attention spans are even shorter and people are ďon the goĒ and want what theyíre looking for immediately.

Why Writing for Mobile Devices Is a Growing Freelance Writing Niche

Mobile technology, eg, iPads, iPhones, tables, etc. is growing rapidly. Proof? The 2012 article, Making mobile better: Mobile computing devices may overtake personal computer for internet use in 2013, on Science Daily made the following prediction: "Mobile computing devices will probably overtake the personal computer as the most common means for accessing the Internet worldwide sometime in 2013."

I personally know of one freelance writer who specializes in this niche Ė and she says sheís busier than ever. She gets a lot of her work via referral and cold calling, so Iím sure there are others. Mobile device technology is growing like crazy, and Iím sure many enterprising copywriters will be jumping into this freelance writing niche.

About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words, an SEO writing company she founded in 2008, and is the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog devoted to helping others start successful, home-based writing careers. She's also the author of over 50 ebooks, most of which cover some aspect of freelance writing. They can be found on major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get everything you need to start a successful, work-from-home writing business (including how to set your freelance writing rates to make a real living).

Keywords used in this article: how to write for mobile devices, mobile device writing tips, technical writing for mobile devices, technical writing jobs, opportunities in freelance writing, freelance writing tips


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