New Writer Guidelines

The future of tech depends on purpose — designers and developers strategically making products that solve problems. With Modern Web, we aim to chart a path for that future with content that explains why we make tech the way we do and how companies are using it to power their businesses.

Each piece of content we publish will do the following:

  • Help people work better
    Every piece needs to give our readers actionable information they can use to do their job. That information can take many forms — how-tos, tool evaluations, framework reviews, strategy insights and productivity tips are all fair game. But before you submit, make sure you ask yourself what readers will take away from your article. Often that answer is also your best headline.
  • Be backed by experience and data
    Modern Web readers are smart enough to to spend their days asking why. So always share your evidence. Opinion is fine, but we want to know why you came to that answer. Let us see what you’re seeing, hearing or reading — linking to or including that data whenever possible — so we can follow your logic to the same conclusion. If you make assumptions, show your work. Our readers appreciate the details of how you reached an opinion. This also makes fact checking a lot easier.
  • Avoid making assumptions
    Modern Web is for designers and developers from all backgrounds, so you can’t expect they’ll know the same references you do. Link to the websites of any tools, frameworks or experts you mention, and briefly explain your references whenever possible. The same goes for acronyms and abbreviations. Always spell things out the first time you mention them, then switch to the most common name (e.g. “We built a content management system (CMS). The CMS allows us to publish pages.”)

If you have an article that fits the above guidelines — and matches one or more of the topics we cover — please submit it here.

  • The article: Please include the text of your article in the body of the email, not as an attachment. Shoot for 800-1,000 words, include suggested formatting and make sure all your links work.
  • Images: All articles should have at least one main image and one secondary image, though more are encouraged. Please send us any images for your article in the body of the email, not as attachments. Make sure to include a credit explaining where you got the image.
  • Headline: Give your article a strong, concise and meaningful title that is so engaging people will click on it and share it.
  • A short bio: Send us a one-to-two sentence bio explaining your expertise, a profile picture and links to your website and Twitter. We’ll create an author profile for you that will be attached to all articles you publish on Modern Web.

We do our best to respond to every submission, but sometimes it’s not possible. If you don’t hear from us in a week, feel free to pitch your article to another publication. Please note that if we accept your article for publication, it will go through our editing process, and we’ll retain final judgment on headlines and images.

Before you submit, take a moment to read our style guide and update your content to follow our best practices.

Voice And Tone

Each piece should tell a great story.

Do:

  • Be concise
  • Be accessible
  • Use active voice
  • Be gender-neutral
  • Be knowledgeable

Don’t:

  • Be obnoxious
  • Introduce an idea with “Of course”
  • Use “obviously”
  • Use passive voice
  • Use emojis

Grammar And Punctuation

Associated Press Stylebook is the preferred style book for its consistency, brevity and ubiquity in web publishing.

Specific rules and exceptions of note:

First-, second- and third-person narrative are all acceptable as long as it serves the story.

Use bullets or numbers for lists, not dashes or hyphens. Limit numbered lists to step-by-step directions or processes.

There usually isn’t much genuine cause for a single exclamation point. There’s never a case for multiples.

Spell out abbreviations the first time they are used in body text, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses.
For example:
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Don’t abbreviate months.
For example:
December, December 18

Frequently Questioned Words

a lot (not alot)

all right (not alright)

a.m., p.m. (lowercase, with periods)

backend (not back-end, back end)

e-commerce

email

frontend (not front-end, front end)

JavaScript (not Javascript)

internet (not Internet)

Node.js (not Node.JS)

Twitter, tweet

Formatting

Article length: 800-1000 words

Headlines: Give the piece a strong, concise, and meaningful title that is likely to be so good, so descriptive and indicative, that people will use the headline text when they link out.

Don’t neglect scanning readers or people reading on mobile. Front load your most important information.

Avoid giant blocks of text. Make the paragraphs short, and use ordered text (subheadings, numbered or bulleted lists) when possible. Subheadings give readers access points into your pieces and make the text more scannable.

Each article should have a minimum of two images: one leading main image and one in the body. Provide captions, alt text and credits for images. Check to make sure your main image isn’t the same as another article published within the last month.

When giving or describing instructions, capitalize and italicize navigation and button labels as they appear in the app.
For example:
Navigate to the Write For Us tab.
Click the Save & Close button.

File types vs. extensions: Use all caps for file types, lowercase for file extensions
For example:
“Compression of JPEG files … ”
“Logo.jpg is a corrupted file … ”

Be sure to include links to other relevant content, and use descriptive text for them that works in context.
For example:
The original Agile Manifesto,” not “click here to read more about this.”

Use lowercase for URLs