Writing is 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 blog post 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.
Work from a suitable design
Work from a suitable design when composing a blog post. The more clearly the blogger perceives the shape of his writing, the easier it is for the reader and the better are the chances of success.
Readers are reluctant to tackle large blocks of text which is why breaking long blocks of text into paragraphs is a visual help. 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. These are pretty much the rules of writing for the web.
Revise and rewrite
You cannot produce what you are after on the first try. 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 blogger to edit the text, move it to a more appropriate spot in the article or delete it.
Omit needless words
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 and ruthlessly delete the excess.
Use definite, specific, concrete language
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
It is more direct, more bold and more concise than the passive voice.
Do not overstate
A single overstatement or a carefree superlative diminishes the whole. Readers will lose the confidence in your judgement and will be instantly on guard.
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. Always have something to say.
Write in a way that comes naturally
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.
As post writing is communication, 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
To use the language well, you should cherish its classic form. 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.
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 bloggers, 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.
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