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Eleven Web Writing tips from the Experts

At the start of the month, we shared some of our top tips for writing on the web. As a follow up, we asked some business experts about writing and they were eager to share some tips of their own….

Tip 1) ‘Writing for the web is fundamentally different from print.’

- Luc Glasbeek, Owner of Workplace Prosperity.

It is indeed, in many ways. It is much easier to leaf through a book, than a website. The structual differences mean re-structuring your writing to ‘fit’ these mediums.

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Tip 2) ‘Write for your audience and not for yourself.’

- Greg Fry, Owner of Careers Coach.

This is an important tip for any type of writing or presentations for that matter. Writing with your audience in mind will ensure that you supply the correct information at the correct level. For example, a Doctor writing for a fellow group of Doctors would write using medical terms. If the same Doctor was writing for the general public, these terms wouldn’t be understood and this audience would switch off extremely quickly.

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Tip 3) ‘Put the most important messages at the top of the article.’

- Luc Glasbeek, Owner of Workplace Prosperity.

By starting with your important messages, you are inviting the reader in with the most prominent messages. You are also paving the way for the tone and direction of the writing.

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Tip 4) ‘Cut the jargon if audience is generic, and don’t overdo it on the acronyms!’

- Elaine Rogers, Owner of  Smart Solutions.

This tip is similar to our second tip from Greg, but also cautions against using acronyms. Acronyms are truncated terms such as ‘CIM’ which refers to Certificate in Marketing, or CIT; Cork Institute of Technology.  Despite some acronyms being publically recognisable, some are indistiguishable from others. What about ‘SM’? Does this refer to Social Media, Smart Media or Sales/Marketing?

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Tip 5) ‘Write in short sentences as people can be put off if they see a wall of text.’

- Amanda Webb, Owner of Spiderworking.

This tip is especially true of web content, and something that has been researched in depth. A wall of text is difficult to read. By inserting spaces and images, you can separate your text into bite-size chunks.

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Tip 6) ‘Keep a notebook to write down things that inspire you for later use. You never know when it will come in handy.’

- Mairead Kelly, Owner of Encouraging Excellence.

I love this tip from Mairead. You never quite know when an idea will take hold, so having a notebook handy, will mean your idea can be written down and expanded at a later date.

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Tip 7) ‘Produce a mindmap with the article structure before you start writing full sentences.’

- Luc Glasbeek, Owner of Workplace Prosperity.

Wonderful tip! A mindmap is a diagram which allows you to plan connected ideas. For writing, you can jot down each of your sections of writing (titles) and link them together. This is an excellent way to plan your writing. It’s something that novel writers do to connect various plots throughout the novel.

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Tip 8  ) ‘Know your audience’s emotional triggers and write to cause an emotion.’

- Denise Fay, owner of Achieve Marketing.

This way of writing appeals to charity organisations, and is something that has spread in the advertising world. Even car manufacturers and pet food companies use emotional triggers. This way of writing can be part of your brand and image.

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Tip 9) ‘Never publish anything immediately. Leave it a day or two to settle and re-read with fresh eyes. And always proof read, preferably by someone else.’

- Elaine Rogers, Owner of Smart Solutions.

A wise tip here from Elaine, and one that any experienced writer will be fully aware of. In the flurry of writing, words can pour out, which at the time seem to make perfect sense. However, once you read your writing out loud, you may well find that sentences don’t flow, or need re-working.

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Tip 10)  ‘Kill your gems, usually it makes the article better.’

- Luc Glasbeek, Owner of Workplace Prosperity.

‘Killing your gems’ is a common term in the writing world. Our ‘gems’ are passages of writing that evoke a strong connection, but don’t necessary work for the final piece. It may seem cruel (and I’m sure many a tear has been cried), but sometimes killing these gems can improve and strengthen your writing. An additional tip is to copy these removed gems into a separate word sheet or notebook and save them. You never know when a future piece of writing will be grateful for them.

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Tip 11) ‘Run a spell check.’

- Luc Glasbeek, Owner of Workplace Prosperity.

Our final tip is probably the most important, and yet it’s one that the majority of us forget (me included!). Check your spellings. Also check your grammar. Readers can be put off by spelling errors and in exams, you can even be penalised for them.

That’s all of our tips from our experts – any extra ones you would like to add?

6 Comments

  1. Paul Jenkins

    Well, spell-check should be one of the top priorities, however, I did notice that it’s better to just try and write naturally, in your own style and pacing. I’ve seen tons of blogs and business websites that just had this forced, professional type of writing that just seemed stiff and unfriendly.

    Good marketing toronto techniques go on as well with “killing your gems”, meaning you’ll definitely write better if you’re emotionally involved in the article that you write. You might not satisfy everyone’s taste with these type of articles, but you don’t want to be the one that has no option on any matter whatsoever because that just makes for boring reading material.

    1. Christina Giliberti

      Hi Paul,

      You make some strong and valid points about writing. Writing is instinctive and you can hinder the creative and natural form if you edit too much. Style and personal voice capture interest as much as a well-constructived blog post. Do you suppose that this professional styling is due to a fear of being overly informal? I’ve met a number of clients who asked about balance and the ‘line’ between professional and friendly.

      I believe Luc was referring to being overly-connected to a passage of writing that doesn’t work. We just need to write the right ‘gem’ that fits the purpose of the blog. Something that flows well.

      Thanks for your comments and the link.

  2. Anonymous

    Great post Christina and some great tips.  Excellent way of building the post as well.  I must remember that one.  One that I don’t see in there, which I think is really important is to have a good title for your article or post, in order to draw attention to it.

    1. Christina Giliberti

      Its based on the idea of crowdsourcing; gaining info and insights from others. You’re absolutly right – a title is what lures your reader in. A title can also be optimised for keywords.

  3. Marie Ennis-O'Connor

    On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy so my tip would be spend some time writing a killer headline to hook your audience and make your post more tweetable

    1. Christina Giliberti

      Yes indeed Marie. A powerful headline is integral to click thru rate and shareability.

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