Writing can be hard, even for those who do it all the time.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is recognized as the best book on writing. The book concentrates on fundamentals and Stephen King raves about it in his “On Writing” as a book for anyone who wants to write for a living. This certainly includes bloggers and the book is a great helping hand for any of us.
These are the elements of style of writing, the simple, specific tips, rules of usage and larger principles of composition, that I have picked up from reading the book. All in the form of sharp commands.
These tips work, these tips help and I believe that they will improve the writing and the success of content of any blogger. Do take a look.
Work from a suitable design
Work from a suitable design when composing a new post. The more clearly the writer perceives the shape of his writing, the easier it is for the reader and the better are the chances of success.
Make sure to create a design that works for you and that provides a great user experience. Get your visitors comfortable with the design and get them used to your style or writing, teaching and presenting information. This will build loyalty and will help you get people who love your posts and want to share it with their family and friends.
Use paragraphs and include one idea per paragraph
Readers are reluctant to tackle large blocks of text online which is why breaking long blocks of text into paragraphs is a visual help. It’s easier to skim short(er) sentences, than tangled blocks of text.
Concentrate on one idea per paragraph. Deal with each topic of a post in a paragraph by itself to aid the reader. Do not write single sentences as a paragraph as too many short paragraphs in succession can be distracting.
Give each speech or each quote a paragraph of its own. Begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition or with a descriptive subheading that explains what the paragraph is about. Readers skip over additional ideas in a paragraph if they are not attracted by the first few words.
Split your paragraphs with descriptive subheadings. Highlight important parts and keywords with typeface variations. Include bulleted and numbered lists.
Learn these rules and use it every time you are compiling a new article. These are pretty much the rules of writing for the web and will help you be more engaging to your audience.
Revise and rewrite
You cannot produce what you are after on the first try. You want to read through your content before publishing it. Write the first draft. Spend a lot of time on the first draft before making it live.
Revising is part of writing. Do not be afraid to experiment with what you have written. Writing a post on a computer makes it easy for a writer to edit the text, move it to a more appropriate spot in the article or delete it. Edit the copy. Remove all the fluff. Rewrite it. Add to it. Make sure your content reads well, has no typos and spelling mistakes. Check for spelling mistakes, typos and sentences that may be more clear if rewritten.
If you install WordPress Jetpack plugin you can enable the After The Deadline automatic proofreading to help you find the typos and other grammar errors. Hemingway app is a browser-based free app that helps make your writing more easy to understand and clear.
Take a break after finishing a long piece of writing. Do something different for a while. Come back to your article and look at it once again with the fresh eyes. You will see new things and figure out what you can do to improve it, make it better, make it easier to understand or more simple to learn.
Omit needless words
Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple, stupid!).Simple is much harder than complex so do practice perfecting simple. Vigorous writing is concise, a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, and a paragraph should contain no unnecessary sentences. Every word is important, every word should tell.
Reread your writing later, edit it and ruthlessly delete the excess. Your visitors are busy and impatient, this will help you get to the point and provide a better and more sticky user experience.
Use definite, specific, concrete language
Be direct and to the point. Report the details that matter. Use words that evoke images and sensations. Specific is better than general. Definite is better than vague. Concrete is better than abstract. The best way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is to be very specific, definite and concrete in your post writing.
Use the active voice
Don’t write in the passive voice. Your school taught you that using the passive form made you sound formal and objective. Time to wise up, because today the opposite is true in successful writing. When you address people as “you”, they’re more likely to tune into your words. And when you refer to yourself as “I”, it makes you sound accountable. It is more direct, more bold and more concise than the passive voice. It works better online too.
Do not overstate
A single overstatement or a carefree superlative diminishes the whole. You want your readers to trust in your recommendation, in your advice and your opinion. Readers will lose the confidence in your judgement and will be instantly on guard if you keep overpromising.
Do not write spontaneously
Not everything that comes to your mind is interesting to your readers. Do your work, be informative and keep a tight rein on your material. Think about your readers before writing. What questions do they have and needs that they want covered? Always have something to say when writing a new post. This will keep the quality standards high and will contribute to better articles that get more views and engage more people.
Write in a way that comes naturally
Don’t be fake and something that you are not. Your visitors will see through it. Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you. Use words and phrases that come readily to hand. This will also help get your content discovered in search more often.
Writing is a form of communication and clarity is a virtue. Make your writing simple to read and understand. Write short sentences, include a lot of white space. Make it all clear, easy to scan and easy to understand.
Use orthodox spelling
Forget “nite”, “thru” and “pleez”. Forget simplified spelling, forget Internet slang. It distracts the reader and makes your posts hard to read and understand. Use the standard words.
Avoid fancy words
Those big smart-ass words are letting you down. At school, using big words got you better marks but articles have to be very clear, focused and tight to arouse and hold the attention of the readers.
Your goal is to be clear and persuasive – not score points for using a thesaurus. If you write for beginners, any kind of jargon is going to lose and confuse your readers. Ditch the jargon to make your site much more friendly to new visitors.
To use the language well, you should cherish its classic form. Use definite, specific and concrete language. Do not be tempted by a fancy word when there is a plain word to use. Same with foreign language expressions. As long as you have an English word for it, use it.
Understand that your visitors may be complete newbies to the topic you are covering. You need to serve them. You need to get them comfortable and help them learn about your topic. Keep this in mind. You are writing for newbies who don’t know as much as you do about your topic.
Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity
Write things out. Do not use initials of abbreviations unless you are certain it will be understood by your readers. There are readers that encounter the name for the first time, make it easy for them to see the words. Start your articles by writing names in full and shorten them later in the article.
“The Elements of Style” has some great tips for writers, it contains rules of grammar and is a great helping hand to people who express themselves in writing. Note how the majority of tips are on simplifying your writing and making it easy to read and understand – all great rules for writing for the web.
Following these writing tips will certainly make your life easier, make your content easier to consume for your audience and will contribute towards your articles becoming a bigger success. For more advice on creating thrilling and shareable online content go here.