Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Don't be dense

Get to the point. Hit "enter" and start a new paragraph.

These two simple steps will improve any Web writing. Too much content is too dense to quickly understand, and darn dense just to look at.

I don't get it. Online is all about speed and efficiency in getting information. Yet, mostly I see writing that one has to wade through to figure out what's actually being said.

Don't obscure your point with needless lead-ins.

Don't try and impress your reader; reach your reader with a clear, concise, to-the-point message. Let readers know right off what you're talking about, or run the risk of losing them.

As non writers proliferate online writing, they tend to write within the comfort zone of their own jargon, often obscuring their message instead of presenting it clearly. Don't do that.

Make your first paragraph no more than 25-30 words. And, make it about what is the most important concept you want your reader to grasp.

Then, make sure to write in short paragraphs -- two to three sentences at the most. More than that, and you are visually challenging your reader. You're hurting their eyes and brain.

It's a case of word overload in too small a space. If it looks dense, the writer sounds dense.

Your words will have more impact if they stand out, not if they appear crowded.

This came home to me today when I was taking a mini vacation from work and actually reading my Twitter. My quest for calm and relaxation was fractured with the first item I linked to.

It was something I wanted to learn about, but when I clicked on to the page, the first two graphs were super long and I never did figure out what the writer was trying to say. Then, I just didn't care.

So, instead of being remarkable, it was forgettable. I don't think you want that as a writer. I certainly don't as a reader.