8 Essential Skills to Kick-Start Your Online Writing Career

Woman sitting on floor with typewriter

Students that possess good writing skills in high school or college naturally have an edge over those who lack them. At some point in time, they may decide to venture into freelance writing to earn some extra money in their spare time.

However, there is more to online writing than having mere writing skills, whether you are a freelance writer or you write for a company. In order to become successful and stay relevant, a good writer needs to acquire and hone the following skills.

#1 Research Skills

The best online writers are great researchers who have mastered the art of researching topic ideas and different tools in-depth for their craft. They know exactly where to go for the latest and most reliable information. Researching also involves double-checking facts and statistics as well as citing sources. Writers who have poor research skills will grow frustrated and often quit writing altogether.

#2 Sound Communication Skills

Most of the interactions of an online writer occur via social media channels, instant messaging apps and emails. However, communicating shouldn’t be restricted to the online world. In fact, you should aim to make time for meeting others in a one-to-one setting whenever possible. Improving your communication skills is simply essential to be clearly understood by editors, readers, clients, publishers and other writers.

#3 Familiarity with Various Writing Styles

Writing for the web is quite different from writing for print. It is, therefore important that online writers understand their audience as well as know how to write for a target audience effectively and for various publications. Content writing, academic writing and the rest have their own basic requirements which you should all be familiar with.

#4 Networking Skills

Every career in existence is based on interacting with others, day in and day out. Smart writers know the importance of relationships so they invest in building their network. Staying in touch with colleagues, followers and people that are not even in your industry is a habit you would do well to keep. When meeting people, be more concerned about imparting value first. A great avenue to connect with more people is through social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These channels can also be used to showcase your craft regularly and keep up with emerging trends.

#5 Ability to Produce Original Content

Even though there are an unlimited number of resources to use for the writing process, originality is still in high demand. Content that is original will stay fresh, regardless of the number of times that other writers have written about the particular topic. For a writer to stand out from the crowd, it is crucial to discover and fine-tune your unique writing voice so that generating fresh ideas from your research will be easier. Ideas, sentences and paragraphs must flow in a logical manner.

#6 Content Marketing Skills

A basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics and any Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress are a must. The more complex parts should be left to the experts. Once you’ve set up your blog, the knowledge of these tools will give you an edge over others and help you make your blog more visible. SEO algorithms are extremely dynamic and WordPress often updates its plugins, so writers must be up-to-date with new developments.

#7 Time Management Skills

Lack of proper time management skills is the number one setback for most writers. One way to get things done in time is to estimate the average time that will be used for a specific project. Distractions abound in many forms on the internet, and digital productivity tools or apps can help minimise them. A writer should design a schedule and stick to it in order to be able to meet deadlines and have enough time for breaks.

#8 Proofreading and Editing Skills

Good grammar and formatting skills are must-haves for all writers. Checking and correcting texts must be done several times before they’re uploading to a blog or delivered to a client. Online editing tools like Grammarly, for example, are indispensable in ensuring that a text is error-free.

Anyone who is interested in mastering these skills independently can do so on the internet and through constant practising. It will take a considerable amount of time but the immediate results will infuse more confidence into your writing. Before you know it, you might even be able to join the team of reliable writers at!

Do you have anything you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments section below!