How to Write Tight for the Internet

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Angie Papple Johnston
Angie Papple Johnston is a former combat journalist for the U.S. Army who owns and operates Unique Web Copy and the wildly (ok, maybe not wildly) popular Blog Posts for Lawyers. Angie's portfolio is stuffed with engaging web content, press releases and more.
Angie Papple Johnston
Angie Papple Johnston

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Angie Papple Johnston
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Write tight for the web

Web Writing 101

When you’re writing for the web, you have to write tight.  That means you have to trim out unnecessary language, use easily digestible words and leave out fluffy, non-informational stuff. Novelists and creative writers can craft flowery prose – but we can’t, because web readers want to read and digest information quickly.

Blog posts, press releases and regular web content should be concise and to-the-point if you want to keep your readers happy.

Cut Superfluous Language

Do you need to say “The beautiful woman’s brown hair cascaded down her back in a mass of tangled curls” to get your point across?  Sure, it was great to visualize her hair – but if your reader doesn’t have time to visualize, you shouldn’t be writing it.

Fix it like this:

“The woman’s curly hair was tangled.”  Or, if you want your reader to know it was brown: “The woman’s brown hair was curly and tangled.”

Use the Right Ammo

Bullets, to be precise.  When you can use bullet

points to avoid fluffy, non-informational prose, you should.  (And I could correct that sentence to say only “Use bullets to convey information.”)  If you need to tell readers that you offer free consultations, interior decorating services, room painting, cabinet refacing and much, much more, try this:

ABC Company is proud to offer:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Interior decorating services
  • Custom wall finishes
  • Cabinet refacing
  • and more
Bullets are easy to read and get your point across quickly.

Skip Big Words

…and use short sentences.  Instead of trying to impress your readers with circumlocution, magniloquent palaver and big words, make your text easy to understand.
In other words, don’t use a bunch of big words to make your readers think you’re extra smart.  It’ll backfire.  If your readers aren’t familiar with the words you use, they’ll leave and find a site that has words they can understand.  And they’ll probably think you’re a vexatious charlatan, too.

What do you consider tight writing?  Do you have a great example to share with other readers?

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