For the third and final article I have a surprise for you! Sit back and enjoy a video about using visuals to support your writing.
If you prefer a text version, here's a PDF.
How was your experience reading the article versus seeing the video? Leave us a comment below!
Welcome to the second article in the series. If you missed the previous article, go to Improve Your Web Writing, Part 1. In the previous article, you saw the difference between reading web and print content. You also saw how to help your readers by focusing your content so that it serves its purpose. You also learned steps to organize your content. Now let’s jump in.
Step 1: Write Clearly
Take those ideas and grow them into sentences. Tips to help you in this phase:
Active, Not Passive
Using the active voice brings many benefits to your sentences: vitality, brevity, easy to understand. Here are two examples:
Simple but not Simplistic
Construct sentences that require only one reading to understand:
Tell your story from your unique perspective, with a voice and style that’s clearly yours.
Use conversational language. Don’t write “per your request.” Can you imagine saying that to someone? Instead, use “here’s the proposal you asked for.” Which sounds as if an actual person was speaking?
Empathize With the Reader
Will your readers want to email you and thank you for writing your content? Aim for that kind of result.
Thanks for joining me for Part 2. I’ve got a surprise for you for Part 3. See you next time!
WHY THIS SERIES?
Instead of 10-page essays, I want to write a blog post, make video tutorials, and create content for my website. While researching steps on starting my own interior design and organizing business, I took my first online class (Write Effective Web Content); then I read Ann Handley’s 2014 book Everybody Writes. And the National Association of Professional Organizers asked me to write an article for the e-newsletter. Most recently I purchased this website and wrote copy.
During that learning and practice period, I gained new skills and tools for writing online content. In this three-part series, I’d like to share with you what I’ve discovered.
WHY WE SHOULD WRITE DIFFERENTLY FOR THE WEB
As an experiment, print this article and read it. Then read it on a mobile device. Notice any difference in your reading behavior or level of understanding?
TOPICS IN THE SERIES
Step 1: Define Why, What, How
Why: This is Your Purpose
Identify the purpose(s) of your piece. Do you want to:
Form doesn’t matter. Just get thoughts out of your head. All thoughts, uncensored. No judging. It’s all valuable at this stage.
Tools to collect ideas:
How you deliver your message is as important as your content. Allow me to repeat this key point. How you say it is as important as what you say.
Decide which media will best serve your purpose. Here are a few samples:
In this web writing series, I want to inform and explore new ideas with you. I hope you feel confident, supported, and enthusiastic about taking your writing to the next level. And I’m using words, a video, an image, and an infographic to deliver my message.
My takeaway message is this: we access web content differently than printed material. This difference calls for distinctive techniques in order to help our readers better understand what we write.
Step 2: Organize Content
Now that you’ve defined why, what, and how, let’s collect your ideas and organize them.