Writing for CSS-Tricks

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

We’re in the process of accepting new article proposals after a long hiatus. There’s still work to do and we will drop an application at the bottom of this page when we open the doors.

Interested in guest writing for CSS-Tricks? We love guest writers around here! It’s always a win-win-win.

  1. It’s a win for our readers, as they get to learn from your experience. Nobody knows exactly what you know.
  2. It’s a win for you, the writer. You get paid and get your voice heard.
  3. It’s a win for CSS-Tricks. Your work adds to our ever-growing archives of top-notch front-end content.

Guiding principles

  1. Write the article you wish you found when you Googled for it.
  2. Write with “lived experience and professional acumen.”

In other words: Would you be happy to land on this article from a web search? Are you speaking to the reader, developer-to-developer, based on your personal and professional experience?

The types of content we accept

What you should write about

We’re looking for technical, referential, and instructional content and veer away from editorial think pieces. You might start with “How to X” by default, where “X” is somewhere in the realm of building websites. We also skew toward front-end topics (e.g. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript).

We prefer if you are motivated because you have something you very much want to share. You have a deep knowledge on this topic. You are excited about it. You’re ready to tell people about it on CSS-Tricks. That’s what makes for good guest writing on CSS-Tricks.

Who you’re writing for

CSS-Tricks readers are mostly front-end web designers and developers at all different points in their professional career. We’re not going to tell you to write for “beginners” or “experts” — strive for clarity instead. Everyone appreciates an article that makes technology approachable and understandable.

That said, you can generally assume that readers have at least basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, except when covering those basics adds to the clarity of your article.

Voice and tone

Voice and tone are related, but different concepts. Your voice rarely changes, but your tone does depending on the situation.

As far as voice goes, CSS-Tricks is far from what you’d call an academic source of content. Sure, articles are educational in nature but we approach them in clear terms that are devoid of technical jargon. In most cases, we like to think that the voice of any given article is like a conversation between two front-enders talking shop.

The tone you use to make your points may change throughout the content. If you’re excited, write with excitement. If you’re frustrated, it’s okay to vent a little. Your tone is what makes your article personable to readers.

In general, however, your tone will be:

  • comprehensive and written for all experience levels,
  • technically detailed and correct,
  • practical, useful, and self-contained, and
  • friendly, but professional.
Examples

Length

The loose goal is 600 words. An article can be shorter if it’s extremely useful and clear. Or an article might need between 1,000-2,000 words to properly cover a more complex topic. If you find yourself at around 1,500 words, that’s a good point to pause and look for opportunities for brevity.

We do consider longer articles but those are typically reserved for super comprehensive topics formatted as guides.

Always good to include:

  1. A healthy amount of relevant visuals, like images and videos.
    • Images should include alt text and a caption. Just make sure the images support the content; we wanna avoid memes.
    • If your visual includes motion, it’s best to record those as videos rather than animated GIFs out of respect for those with motion sensitivities.
  2. Blocks of code that get right to the most important concepts.
    • Be as brief as possible without sacrificing the main point you’re demonstrating.
    • Avoid large “walls of code” as they are overwhelming to read and interrupt the article’s flow.
    • We are able to visually highlight specific lines of code.
  3. Demos. We love embedded demos that readers can interact with.
    • Please use CodePen, if possible. We can do other interactive code embeds, if needed.
    • Demos can be bare-bones to demonstrate an isolated concept but should still have enough styling for good presentation.
    • Demos can be more complex and add controls that further demonstrate concepts but should not be so complex and involved that it distracts from the main point.

Accepted proposals

We do indeed review every proposal that comes in. And while we make every effort to respond to as many as we can, there’s typically so many that we can’t possibly respond to each and every one. We’ll absolutely follow up if your proposal is accepted. If you haven’t heard from us you are totally welcome to follow-up over email.

If your article is accepted, you’ll be asked to write a complete first draft of your article to the best of your abilities, complete with a sense of your writing style, a well-defined main concept, and professional acumen.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Once the first draft is complete, it will go through an editing process in which you work directly with one of our editors. Expect that your draft will go through at least a couple of editing rounds and be different from the final published article as we work with you to make it fit nicely with the rest of everything we publish.

If you don’t have the time to write an article that may not be published on CSS-Tricks, we totally understand. That said, we can’t commit to publishing any article without first receiving and reviewing a complete draft so please bear that in mind as you propose a new idea.

Submission form

We’re currently closed for new article proposals! But we’ll open things back up once we’re ready and drop the application in this section.

Alright, you ready to do this now that you know what we’re aiming for? There’s a submission at the bottom of this page you can use to send your article proposal.

You are only submitting an outline of your idea — there’s no need to write a complete first draft unless that is something you very badly want to do. We maintain a high bar for quality around here which means some proposals will not make the cut. An outline will convey your idea without you potentially writing a big ol’ draft that isn’t accepted.

We hope it goes without saying, but we will never share any information you submit without your explicit permission. That just wouldn’t be cool.