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The 3 keys to writing for the web - Clarity, Simplicity, Brevity

Posted by Kevin Fouche on Jan 31, 2014
Kevin Fouche

We've already discussed things to consider as a general approach to writing good content for your website.

Now let's get into come practical pointers; The 3 keys to writing for web - Clarity, Simplicity, Brevity

 The 3 keys to writing for the web - Clarity, Simplicity, Brevity

The 3 keys to writing for the web:

1. Clarity

When we say clarity, we mean clear to your reader, not just to you. A great test is to have other people read what you've drafted and ask them what they think the main point is.

If it's not clear, you may as well not write it.

Clarity in your content is the main goal and prize. It creates an instant competitive edge.

Use subheadings. It will make your site easy to scan (remember: this is what your online audience will be doing) and will help you create clear direction in the points you are making. 

2. Simplicity

Get rid of unnecessary words, meaningless jargon and pompous frills.

Your objective is to communicate to your audience, not to make yourself look good. So use words you are sure your audience understands.

Think carefully about the words you use. Write then rewrite your sentences. Often, points could be made more simply than we initially draft them.

Use the right word, sometimes the simpler option is better. It is a trap to think that using long, 'intelligent' words are always best. You overload your reader if you put multiple long words in a sentence. 

3. Brevity

A great rule is to get rid of half the words on a web page, then get rid of half of what's left. Obviously, this does not always work, but you get the idea.

Use short words, sentences and paragraphs. Shorter has more impact. Long sentences show the writer has tangled thoughts. Again, write then rewrite.

As a guide, on screen paragraphs should be 2-3 sentences. This will increase scanability & makes things clearer.

As a general rule, you should have 50 percent less written content than on printed materials. 

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