Writing for the Web – Less Is More
by Kim Niemi
If you’ve been a writer for more than five minutes, odds are you’ve done some blogging (it’s a rite of passage). If you’ve kept up a regular blog presence, good for you!
If you’ve started a few that never quite caught on, I’m not surprised. Because writing for the Web is a specialized skill – and most of you are doing it wrong.
Take a deep breath. I’m not knocking your writing skills. I’m telling you there’s a structure you’re unaware of, and embracing it will give you power (and get you work).
It’s about being concise. Here are some mistakes you don’t even know you’re making:
If I had a nickel for every long piece I’ve bookmarked to read later and actually read – I’d have zero nickels.
Here are some best practices to grab readers in the moment (and keep them):
If you have a tendency to overwrite, it’s going to take practice. Use Rayne Hall’s The Word-Loss Diet as your bible, and try this exercise:
Now go back and rewrite the paragraph, connecting the dots between bullets – economically. How does it read? How does the first paragraph read? I’ll bet you can tighten it up too.
Rules Were Made to Be Broken
I’m not trying to take the fun out of writing. And I’m not trying to stifle your voice. But you can’t break the rules until you’ve learned them (and if you plan to do any professional blogging or ghostwriting, you really need to master them) . Strip away the extraneous stuff and get down to the basic structure.
Once you can do that easily, you can layer in more of “you” in key spots, to greater effect. When you’re succinct with style your readers will love you.
Got a tip for keeping your writing tight? Have a favorite exercise? Share in the comments!
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