Writing is a craft we all have to work at, refining our skills and acting on more tips as we mature as writers.
I hope these ideas help you along your path to being a better writer.
Get to the point. Be confident in what you have to say
So many inexperienced writers waffle on for two or three paragraphs setting the scene, when they should be getting right to the heart of the matter.
I don’t know about you, but I switch off if I’m being told what I already now. For one thing, why waste time going over something that doesn’t pay me back fro my time?
So don’t say “There are 46 gazillion blogs on the Internet, each of them competing for our attention. Back in the late 1990s, when the first blogs appeared on the Internet, there was very little competition. As it become easier and easier to publish with the advent of tools like Blogger…”
Have you switched off yet?
If I say “Do you know the most effective way to cut through the noise of 46 gazillion blogs?” I may well have a fighting chance of pulling a good percentage of you into reading the article.
Do away with extraneous verbiage
Or was that ‘cut out unneeded words’? (Actually, that’s what the next point is about). Read your writing very carefully. Look for when you get verbose. We all do it.
But be careful. Copy cut down to its bare bones can often be an uninspiring, characterless read, like a school science report. You need to find a balance between your own style and the need for tightness and simplicity, something that will come with experience.
Use simple words
OK. I may have been guilty of not doing this myself earlier – ‘extraneous verbiage’ could be ‘unwanted words’. Although my choice of words does bolster the point a little, I feel. You may feel otherwise.
If you use simpler words, people will find your writing easier to understand.
Use short sentences
Don’t write in long complicated sentences, it only makes your copy hard to read. Write shorter sentences people can digest easily.
But, again, don’t make them too short as the reading experience will be choppy and not very enjoyable. I try to vary my sentence lengths to vary the rhythm of the read.
Do you need ‘that’?
How often does ‘that’ sit there taking up space for no reason in a sentence? I mean, like this:
- The inventor, Mike Jones, said that his product was unique
- We decided that we should focus more on our customers
- We found out that our co-worker was a genius at poker
In each case, the word ‘that’ can be dropped without affecting the meaning or clarity.
Of course, there are times when you won’t want to eliminate ‘that’, such as:
- Did you see that?
- Have you tried that?
- What is that?
Use more involving words
Some words are just flat. Consider why you’d choose ‘said’ over ‘enthused’, ‘demanded’ or ‘cried’? There are often words that will do a better job for you if you’d only think a little more about what you’re trying to say.
Then there’s ‘very’. It not only adds an extra word, but is generally a lazy way out. How about ‘spent’ rather than ‘very tired’? Or ‘soaked’ rather than ‘very wet’?
Do you have any other tips we can share with Writing For SEO‘s readers?
Thanks to Andrew Blight for allowing me to use his image.