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Writing for the Web: How to Say More With Less Content

Guy at Computer

When writing for the web, there’s several important things to consider. Everything from your layout to your target audience plays a role in your messaging and writing style. But the following fact is one of the most important things to keep in mind: Most people have pretty short attention spans, and their attention spans are even shorter when they’re perusing web content.

Whether you’re selling a product or service, or simply blogging about a topic that you want to reach a wide audience, you want to give people the information they need, while leaving out what they don’t. That’s right, my friends! Trim the fat and cut out the extraneous language. One of the last things you want to do is waste your visitor’s time. And you don’t have to go full-on Twitter-like and say it all in 140 characters or less.

There are ways to get your point across without overwhelming people with unnecessary content. Your main goal is to make your web content as easy to read and as accessible as possible.  In other words, you have to think in U.S. Navy terms, K-I-S-S: “Keep it simple, stupid,” which basically is a quick-and-easy way of saying that any system works best if it remains uncomplicated.

A common misconception is that wordy, elaborate writing sounds smarter and more “official.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can be informative and credible without having to be heavy on content. To be clear and succinct isn’t easy. It’s a skill that must be honed.

Sentences and paragraphs that are too long take away from your message. It makes your message become cumbersome. If you know the purpose of what you’re trying to convey, you can avoid beating around the bush and just get right to the point. Again, getting to the point is your goal, so whittle the message down to its most important parts, and just when you think you’ve whittled it down enough, look for other possible places to cut until you’ve included only what you need. Also, when writing your content, you want to make sure to use Standard English, not write as if you’re tweeting or texting. There’s concise, and then there’s just plain lazy…two completely different concepts.

Sounds easy enough, but writing cuts aren’t arbitrary. It take a lot of decision making and balance to ensure that you’re succinct while also including the most important information.

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