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Write well. Don’t take shortcuts

Posted by on 4th Nov 2012 | 9 comments

You need to write lots when you’re blogging on the Internet, but more than that, you need to write well. Cutting corners when it comes to grammar just won’t do and while colloquialisms are good at adding flavour in some spots, boys is spelled with a y in English and not a z. In other words, you can’t lean on the easier, softer way all the time if you want to be taken seriously as a content writer.

That doesn’t mean you need to write like everything is a term paper for the economics department either—stuffy writing turns off would be readers just as fast as grammatically bad writing. Granted it’s a fine line to balance on, but one of the generally accepted techniques that can help you through is adopting a conversational tone.

No Preaching

That’s especially important when you’re working exclusively on the web. Keep in mind that visitors to any website don’t want to be preached at. You need to talk with them and not at them when you’re trying to get a point across and throwing in some value added information is a good way to get them to look at you as an expert in the field.

Be aware of the way that people read on the Internet too. Long attention spans are things of the past and that means that longer paragraphs can look like skyscrapers you’re asking readers to scale. Shorter paragraphs and subheaders break things up into much more manageable orange traffic cones they can easily step over.

Make sure you take the time to do more than just a Spell Check when you’re done the blog before you publish it. Not everything is about automation and innovation when it comes to good writing. Some of the programs that look for bad and clunky English identify potential problems but don’t always apply the right context.

For example, the Microsoft Spell Checker lets you know there’s a difference between using ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ but it doesn’t let you know if you’re using the right spelling. It alerts you to a potential problem but doesn’t supply any context.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is you need to take the time to learn the rules of grammar so you’ve got the tools to do a good job as a content writer. Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style is a good resource for the fundamentals. You can get it on the Internet, but having a pocket version of this small book will serve to remind you these rules haven’t changed just because a large portion of today’s writing is done in cyberspace.


9 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Stephen on 5th Nov 2012

    Great piece here Zac. Good grammar seems to be disappearing more quickly every day. This reminds me of the old joke:
    “Let’s eat, grandpa. vs. Let’s eat grandpa. Proper grammar can save someone’s life.”

  • Posted by Jansen Williams on 5th Nov 2012

    You are absolutely right! If you are a blogger you should write that you can get the attentions of the visitors and all of the information will be given and no limit as long your articles is truly yours.

  • Posted by Rik on 5th Nov 2012

    Hi Rob,

    First of all, like your website which I stumbled upon. Will bookmark it. Also like your article.

    Like the ‘no preaching’ part (always a challenge when you are passionate about something) and the remarks on not cutting corners.

    Went to a training one day of a wonderful person (Keith Cunningham) who said something which I thought was interesting on the topic of doing things successfully in life.

    He said: ‘most people want it the easy way, but there is no such thing, you have to work at it’. Or another one of his quotes I liked was ‘You don’t get better at anything if you don’t practice to improve’.

    So I will definitely take your tips into consideration when writing my next blog post and do the work!

    Many thanks – All the best,

    Rik

    P.s. And already followed one of your tips by running this through a spelling checker before posting :)!
    Rik recently posted..DIY or get professional help for trichotillomanie treatment?My Profile

  • Posted by MicroSourcing on 6th Nov 2012

    Instead of preaching, there are more subtle ways to get the message across. Using a conversational tone would be more effective.
    MicroSourcing recently posted..IT Leaders Go Beyond Cost SavingsMy Profile

  • Posted by Jacob Wilson on 6th Nov 2012

    Looks funny but it’s true! I noticed some of the blogs that I visit sometimes the spelling are wrong and I think it should need to finalize before post.

  • Posted by Kevin fernandez on 7th Nov 2012

    It is always advisable to work hard and achieve success in a proper manner. Shortcut leads you to achieve success soon and even more sooner to fall also. Shortcuts are the emergency ways and should be used very rarely and not regularly.

  • Posted by Perth on the Net on 7th Nov 2012

    At the end of the day, its all about writing good stuff and sharing what you learn best. Writing is a skill that we can always acquire and improved, we just need to work hard to attain the skills.

  • Posted by Akshay J. on 10th Nov 2012

    Well, For Awesome Writing. SEO is not important. Just 2 – 5 Keywords must be there inside the Article for 2 Times. Thus it will form an LSI Content Writing.

    Please don’t concern about SEO but just concerned about Quality of Article and Awesome Research News.
    Akshay J. recently posted..iPhone 5 Launched for $199My Profile

  • Posted by Hadley on 14th Nov 2012

    Also, through my experience, outsourcing things like article writing is just not worth it as the quality never really is what it should be. You can’t take shortcuts with your content if you’re wanting to build an online repuation.