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Writing for the web: Get to the point.

Aug19

Written by:
2010/08/19 07:31 PM RssIcon

to_the_pointThe web is a dynamic fast moving entity. There is so much to see and do. Readers want to get all they can in as little time as they can.

Therefore it is imperative that our writing and blog posts get to the point quickly and effectively.

I must admit, I sometimes suffer from the dreaded disease of long-windedness. Certainly there are times when a post deserves to be long, but that still does not mean that one has to belabour the point.

Move to the point quickly, explain it, and then move on.

So how do you get to the point?

One article one topic – Don’t try and cover too many topics or even sub topics. The easiest way to get to the point is to present one topic. That will help you keep things nice and focussed and deliver clear, concise and coherent content.

Use short sentences – Try not to use very long conjoined sentences. Make them short, sharp and sweet. 5-17 words per sentence. State important facts.

Smaller paragraphs. Break your paragraphs up. Introduce more white space.

One idea per paragraph. Don't try to cover too many ideas in one paragraph stick to one per paragraph. Then introduce the next idea in a new paragraph.

Bullet points and subheadings. Use bullet points, numbered paragraphs and small sub headings to break up the text so that it appears bite sized. People digest small bits of information easier.

Use visual clues. Emphasize your important points by using boldface, italics, colour. This will draw attention to the important facts. This makes the content easier to scan.

Use common words. Don’t try to impress your audience by your explicit command of the English language. Most of them would not know what you’re on about. Instead use common easier to understand words. 90% of your readers probably don’t have university degrees.

Features vs. Benefits. Don’t talk too much about the features of a product or topic. Rather explain the benefits. People want to know how they can benefit from reading your blog. Not how good your blog is.

Use the inverted pyramid. The inverted pyramid approach puts the most important information at the top. This information normally resides at the bottom. Then the least important information at the bottom. Giving you an inverted pyramid look.

Don’t forget the 5W’s and 1H

  • Who? Who was involved?
  • What? What happened (what's the story)?
  • Where? Where did it take place?
  • When? When did it take place?
  • Why? Why did it happen?
  • How? How did it happen?

image by sun dazed

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