Cut it Out: The Importance of Writing Tight

Do you write tight or flounder along?  The basic rule to good writing is to write tight.  Since blogging has come of age, many people have written with redundancy and empty expressions to make their posts longer.  Word count, all too often, has taken precedence over good writing skills.

The majority of readers on the internet are looking for information and they want this information in as few words as possible.  If your blog post is too wordy or lengthy they will click away and find better information elsewhere.  Readers are smart and don’t want to feel as if you’ve talked down to them.  Using too many words and redundancy not only makes you look bad, it annoys the reader.  Most readers are in a hurry.  You must convey your message in very little time.  Grab their attention from the start and keep it tight.

In the past, many writers literally stuffed their content with keyword redundancy.  We were under the impression it was the best way to get indexed in the major search engines.  It worked until it was abused and places like Google had to re-think the indexing process.  Regardless of the algorithms or SEO tactics used, the main component is still the reader.  Writers write for readers to read.  That’s the bottom line and if you’re not writing tight and pleasing the reader you’re wasting your time.

As a reader one of the things that annoys me the most are those long, drawn out landing pages.  They have their purpose but for the general information seeker, they are an eyesore and will click away faster than the page can load.

If you’re having trouble with writing tight enroll in a fiction writing class.  Fiction writers, like Stephen King, will tell you the first two rules of writing are; write, write, write and cut, cut, cut.  This means to sit down and write everything as it comes to you.  This is your first draft.  Let the writing sit for several hours or even days, go back to it and cut out all the garbage you don’t need.

Look at this example sentence:  “Our most memorable vacation was unforgettable.”  Memorable and unforgettable are redundant words.  Simply stating, “Our vacation was unforgettable”, will convey the message to the reader.

Empty expressions may add to your word count but they take away precision from your writing and annoy the reader. An example sentence for this is; “It appears there were 3000 people in attendance at the concert.”  A better sentence is, “3000 people attended the concert.”  It’s short, simple and tells the reader the information they need.

Another example: “The dreary day was wet and rainy.”  A better sentence is, “The day was rainy.”  This tells the reader it was raining and allows them to decide if it was dreary.  In writing fiction you want to be descriptive without being redundant.  Web content needs to be shorter and less descriptive.  There are times, especially in fiction writing, you want to let the reader use their imagination.  In a sentence like the example above you need to decide if describing the day in detail adds to the story or just the word count.  If it’s not important cut it out.

Web content writing needs little to no descriptive narrative.  Learn to cut out anything that is not completely necessary and you’ll be on your way to writing content that is useful, tight and easy on the reader.

Remember when you start the editing process, “less is more”.


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  1. Chris March 31, 2009
  2. Patti Stafford March 31, 2009