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Writing for the Web? Check your Style

Africa's default device

Photo courtesy of WhiteAfrican

Web writing  is much different from research paper writing, business report writing, or even writing print marketing copy.  People browsing the web really don’t want to read very much, and if they don’t hit the back button after viewing your 1,000 word essay, they’re likely to read a bit and then skim through the rest. Furthermore, your readers are increasingly reading your content on mobile devices, which aren’t great for reading long narratives.

According to Jakob Neilsen, users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less.

Consider your audience before writing the next War and Peace length blog entry.  Unless your audience is full of academic professors,  get your point across using the least possible words.

Here are a few tips for checking your web writing style

  • Lose excess prepositions and stick with an active vs. passive voice ( I am of the opinion that (passive). . . vs. I believe (active). . .)
  • Use action or specific words instead of vague words (top rated professionals (vague) vs. Pulitzer Prize winning journalists (more specific))
  • Use key words in the title and in the body
  • Use header styles on key words

Although originally published in 1919 by William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of  Style book is still very much in style and available online.

If you are using WordPress, take advantage of the proofread writing tool, it will help you identify poorly written sentences in addition to misspellings.

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One response to “Writing for the Web? Check your Style

  1. glamzee August 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    This actually true (ha).nice work.

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