by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
In web writing, it’s best to keep your sentences simple. Even though you may be speaking to an adult audience, web readers like to skim and be done with it. Simple wording makes your work more attractive and easier to scan.
Shorten longer and run-on sentences.
On the web, statements should be less than ten words. The shorter, the better. In the following example, the sentence is too long: “Angela took a stroll down the winding pathway that was located in City Park in the city of Denver.” Instead, you could say: “Angela walked the curved path in Denver City Park.”
Avoid words that can be used more than one way.
According to the Yahoo Style Guide (pg 329), words like “once” and “before” can be confusing. They can be used in two or more ways. Instead of saying “Once you add the eggs to the recipe mixture, stir the ingredients slowly before moving on” you could say “Add the eggs to the mixture. Then, stir slowly for five minutes. Move on to the next step.”
Avoid long-winded words.
While the word “pathway” is a simple word, “path” is better for the web. People usually find things on the web via search. More people will search for a word like path versus pathway. Also, path is easiest to read of the two. Always choose the easiest word for what you need to say. That way, even people who have a harder time reading will be able to understand you more clearly.
Use simple words.
Try not to use long words or those that are harder to say (or read). Instead of using the word difficult, you can use hard. This may sound like you’re “dumbing down” your work. Really, you’re just making sure people see it and stick with it until the end. Web readers scan fast and they also leave fast. Your job is to make sure they find what you write and stay with it as long as they can.
Text and Photo by Lyn Lomasi; © 2014 All rights reserved
*I originally published this on another site (no longer published there).
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