Writing for Online Readers: 4 Vitals

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Online media has changed the world: not only in terms of ease of access to information, variety, and proliferation, but also in terms of the writing techniques themselves.

Writing for online readers is simple as long as you keep one thing in mind: clarity.

Here are my tips for keeping online readers returning to your site:

Write for scanners.

Remember that most of your readers are scanners when it comes to online content. They are likely looking for quick bits of information and facts. They are perusing headlines and synopses to see whether they even wish to bother with the entire article. The majority are unlikely to read long opinion pieces or detailed articles unless they are actively seeking them out. What this means, basically, is:

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and sharp.

Include the most important information first, with details later for if you’ve managed to capture your readers’ interest. Avoid using complicated words, making witty remarks, or making references that your readers are unlikely to catch on to quickly. In essence, write as simply as you can. ‘Simple’ in the online world also means giving your readers plenty of

Guidance.

Lead your readers through your piece using headings, subheadings, bullets, and visual elements. Remember that visual design is important when organising your piece. Use colour, use themed bullets, and entertain your reader with little details. Remember to be sparing, however. Finally,

Feature plenty of links.

This aspect will not only help your own site in terms of search engine rankings but it will also help you to keep your piece short and offer only the most important information. Instead of rehashing full events or articles, offering a link allows the reader to make a choice about whether they need to know the rest of the story, and it avoids annoying readers who already have the inside story.

Is there another aspect you think is important? Let me know in the comment section!

[Image source: AnonyGnome at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons]

We owe so much to Shakespeare

The English language is so rich, but it is amazing how many idioms we use today came from William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s gift to the English language; originally posted on TryLife on Facebook

Wouldn’t it be great if we started coining new idioms and phrases instead of using the same ones? Or do you think we should continue honouring Shakespeare’s work by using them every day?

Writing tips that could have improved ‘Fifty Shades’

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James book coverThe film version of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has hit cinemas worldwide, breaking box office and attendance records wherever it’s been screened. But we should remember that before it was a blockbuster film, it was a book that was deplored because of its poor writing.

People magazine was kind enough to do a write-up on nine writing errors extant throughout the novels, and how to fix them.

My favourite tips? Punctuation, punctuation, punctuation!

Read the full piece here.