Keep it short and to the point.
Okay so that was a little vague, but it serves a good point. People don’t read on the internet, they scan. We are so used to searching on google, clicking links and finding we end up in the wrong place, that we tend to scan the page first to make sure we’re in the right place. In addition, we also do this in newspapers. Scanning the headlines, maybe the first paragraph and quickly deciding if we want to read further.
So we need to write copy that is powerful and to the point. Readers need to be able to scan the page and know exactly what it’s about. This will help:
how to write for the internet
This leads us nicely into my next point. Don’t use fancy words, it makes people think. Sure it makes you sound clever, but will your audience understand? You might like to think your readers are well educated, but do you really want to alienate any? Those that don’t understand will quickly leave and those that do, won’t notice.
David Ogilvy once used the word obsolete in a headline, then discovered that 43% of housewives didn’t know what it meant.
It is true to say that sometimes it is necessary. If your a scientist and you run a specialist blog that only other scientists will read, then fair enough. But if your clients are everyday normal people (not that scientists aren’t!) then write for them.
There is no need to pad out your copy using fancy sentences. Why use “on account of the fact that”, when “because” will do. It doesn’t make you big or clever, just a waffler. The Art of Plain Talk will pursuade you to use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
Marketing/Corporate waffle is worse still
This is a typical example of marketing waffle. Can you even be bothered to work out what it means? To be honest, I stopped caring after the first five words.
Reducing worklessness should become a key priority in the Sustainable Community Strategy. The Sustainable Community Strategy should include targets to reduce the number of workless people in the district, empower communities and provide role models.
Is worklessness even a word? Apparently we should reduce unemployment. Phew! That was hard.
Anyway, at risk of waffling on here is a list of useful links