Follow these guidelines when writing for SitePoint, and refer to them before submitting articles and topic pitches to your editor.
What Do We Publish on SitePoint?
SitePoint is one of the web’s foremost resources for web developers. We’ve published more than 10,000 articles which are visited by more than 10 million readers per month in their efforts to become better web developers. We publish articles, books, video tutorials, courses and newsletters.
We publish content aimed at web developers, designers and web professionals. Our central theme is making a better web. Every article published on SitePoint should be relevant to the needs of modern web developers, interesting to our target audience, educational for a large percentage of our audience, and technically accurate.
Our readers are mostly professional web developers, professional designers, web professionals such as entrepreneurs, with a small percentage of readers in the early stages of learning to code. Half of our readers work in a corporate environment, while a quarter work in a startup or agency, and another quarter are freelance web developers or designers.
Our top country in terms of traffic is the United States, followed by India, the United Kingdom and Canada.
As with many web publications, a large percentage of our readers find us from search engines. This is useful to remember when choosing a topic for your next article.
Topics We Cover on SitePoint
Our readers are interested in a wide variety of topics but prefer some more than others. If you are unsure whether a particular topic would be a good fit for SitePoint, please get in touch with your editor or email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
Here is a sample of recent articles that have been very popular with our readers:
- Getting Started with Angular 2 using TypeScript
- Flexible and Easily Maintainable Laravel + Angular Material Apps
- 5 Fancy (But Useless) Web Components You Should Avoid
- SQL vs NoSQL: The Differences
- Hack Your Productivity With These 9 Gmail Tips
Article Formats on SitePoint
The following formats are the most frequently published on SitePoint:
Quick tips, a short, concise introduction to a particular technique or solution.
Informational articles, which introduce readers to a new technology, framework or concept.
Tutorials, which offer step-by-step guidance on how to complete a task. Tutorials are accompanied by code samples, a screencast, and/or a demonstration.
Interviews with well-known web creators.
In-depth articles analyzing a trend, a technology, reverse-engineering a website, and so on.
Writing for SitePoint: The Basics
Pitching a Topic and Working with Your Editor
SitePoint publishes about 30 articles per week. To maintain a balance in our coverage of different topics, and to ensure that we don’t publish articles that are too similar to one another, we require prospective authors to send in a topic suggestion (a pitch) prior to writing the article.
Experience has taught us that people write best when they write about something they are passionate about. That’s why we generally encourage authors to pitch us with ideas they would like to write about.
Experience has also taught us that most articles benefit from feedback from an outside source, particularly at the early stages. That’s why we don’t accept complete drafts written before we’ve had a chance to provide feedback.
Here’s what we look for in a pitch:
A clear and concise description of the topic you’d like to cover. Generally, if you can’t suggest a short title for the article, you probably haven’t got a handle on what the article is about.
A short explanation of what exactly the article will cover. We need every article to have an outline explaining what the article will contain, usually a bulletpoint list will do. Feel free to provide this at the pitching stage.
A sentence explaining why the article should be written. Is the article about an emerging technology or a new trend? Does it cover a solution to a common issue for developers?
Optional, but nice to have:
- A sentence explaining why you are the person to cover this subject.
- Links to sources
- An indication of when you might have this article produced, should it be accepted.
Once a pitch has been sent through and meets our standards, one of our editors will review your pitch, get in touch with any questions or feedback, and give you the go-ahead.
Peer Review is a programme we’re running across many of our channels at SitePoint. The goal is to improve the quality of SitePoint’s articles, help authors develop their writing and technical skils, and give editors the space to provide important feedback.
This is not a typical scientific peer review – no detailed reviews need to happen and the editor’s word is still final, but we are trying to gather feedback on certain posts before publishing them.
If you would like to write for any of channels which use the process, you must get familiar with the peer review system – there is no way around it. Fear not, it’s far simpler than it sounds.
For more information on Peer Review or to sign up, visit the main SitePoint page here. In some cases, new authors will be added to Peer Review before they are invited to pitch their ideas.
Working with Your Editor
SitePoint’s editors are all professional web designers or developers at the top of their respective field. They are also closely attuned to what is especially interesting to our readers, and will work with you to create an article that is informative, compelling, and well-written.
Your editor is your primary contact and advocate, so never be afraid to ask them questions if you don’t understand something. Editors are responsible for managing authors and ensuring published articles are clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent. It’s the editor’s job to ensure all submissions meet a level of quality before publication. If your article doesn’t meet your editor’s expectations, they will send it back to you with changes and constructive feedback to help you improve it.
Whenever two or more people work together there is the potential for friction. Here are some tips to avoid common misunderstandings and help foster a positive working relationship with your editor.
Keep in mind that there is one editor to many authors. Your editor will try their best to help you grow as an author but may not always be available for hand-holding.
Always submit the best possible draft you can. This means proofreading your article prior to submitting it, and making sure you use proper Markdown formatting.
Be sure to meet your deadlines. Sometimes things happen in your life that will require your attention and will cause you to miss a deadline. Your editor will be understanding, but please notify them on Trello so they can make other arrangements if necessary.
You can expect your editor to respond in a timely manner to your emails and Trello messages. Remember to return the courtesy.
Always remember that criticism is not a personal attack. The editor is only trying to help you produce the best article possible. If you have a disagreement with your editor over a particular example or explanation, ask them for clarification and try to understand their point of view.
Before submitting your article, read through it to make sure it has an introduction that clearly identifies the purpose of the article, and a summary/conclusion that reinforces the key points that were discussed.
Editors are people, too! Feel free to friend your editor on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, start an email conversation, say hello to them at a conference, etc. Community is what makes SitePoint work.
Please note that while we receive many submissions, we’re unable to publish them all, and we unfortunately have to decline articles for which many English or technical edits would be required.
Writing for multiple channels is totally permitted, but each editor approves new authors for their channel, so you’ll need to pitch them article ideas in turn.
We use a project management platform called Trello to manage article submissions, editing and publication. Each SitePoint editor manages their own Trello board, so while they all operate in roughly the same manner, there may be slight differences. Check in with your editor if you are unsure.
If your article pitch is accepted, we will add you to the relevant Trello board and explain how the process works from there.
Read Trello’s How to Use Trello Like A Pro article for an overview of Trello.
Submitting an Article: Format and Style Guidelines
This is important: please write and submit your article in Markdown format. Converting documents from Word files to Markdown unfortunately results in broken Markdown. For Markdown basics, review the Daring Fireball Syntax Document. We recommend StackEdit as a Markdown editor.
Though our reach is worldwide and our headquarters are in Australia, SitePoint uses American English spelling. If you’re more familiar with UK, Canadian or Australian English, it’s useful to set your default spell check settings to American English while writing.
Please use second-, third- and fourth-level headers in your article (omit first-level headers). Titles should be in title case, visit this site if you’re unsure how to format this correctly.
Article length should be agreed upon with your editor prior to writing. We’re looking for quality, in-depth articles that teach a reader something significant, useful and unique. Word count is part of the calculation, but so are other factors, like the amount of research completed, the strength of your argument (if applicable), and the quality of your writing.
While multi-part articles are a good way to cover a topic in depth, they are also less likely to be read. If the topic you’d like to cover is of a greater scope than a single article, please consult your editor. They may suggest a long-form article, or that each part in the series be sufficiently topical to stand on its own as an article.
Along with your first article, please send us an author bio (maximum 40 words) and a photo of yourself (minimum 120x120px, JPG or PNG). If you’d like to link to a personal site in your biography, please include it. Also include links to social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GitHub and Google+.
Articles which include code samples must link to a corresponding GitHub repo containing the code. Most articles can benefit from a demo, especially articles on front-end development. Please ask your editor about using CodePen demos, or publishing your code on GitHub.
Omit needless words. Prior to submission, review your article and redact anything that might be deemed unnecessary.
Articles should have an introduction, several well-defined sections (including section headers), and a conclusion.
SitePoint’s tone is conversational and friendly, like having a good friend who knows more than you do on a particular topic. Don’t worry about being overly formal or too casual; the mix of unique voices is what makes SitePoint special.
While well-known acronyms should not be defined (no need to remind us that HTML stands for hypertext markup language), more obscure acronyms and terms should be explained in the opening lines of your article.
Avoid words like simply, possibly, might, could, actually, potentially, and so on.
When referring to a person of undetermined gender, use the third-person plural they instead of him, her, or him or her.
Need an extra hand with spelling and grammar? Load your article into Hemmingway to spot any potential errors.
Some valuable resources for writers:
A good general guide to writing is William Strunk’s Elements of Style.
5 Ways for Writers to Blast Through Self-Doubt
Applying Writing Guidelines to Web Pages
Purdue University Writing Resources
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