Most online reading is actually skimming and scanning. So to grab and hold our readers' attention, we can't afford to waste words. The trick to writing lean on our blogs and websites is to keep the meaning and cut the rest. Here's how.
- Create meaningful titles and subheads.
- Lead with your main point.
- Keep paragraphs short.
- Turn any series into a bulleted or numbered list.
- Put items in a list in parallel form.
- Don't be afraid to use I, you, and we.
- Stick to the active voice (most of the time).
- Use the imperative when giving advice or instructions.
- Highlight or link key words and phrases.
- Remove irrelevant information and repetitive details.
- Delete meaningless modifiers.
- Ignore any of these tips rather than write something rude, crude, or unclear.
Do these guidelines hold true for all forms of online writing all the time? No. Not if you're writing fiction, for instance, or if your primary aim is to entertain rather than inform.
But if you're writing to make a point, try getting right to the point.