Writing an article must answer all the questions the readers have in their minds about the topic. So it should be written in the following format:
1st paragraph: The general Introduction of the topic, background, why should you know about this topic etc., and if possible, the outline of important points of you will be covering in the article. The is done to give readers an idea what to expect in the article, like what questions will be answered for them.
2nd paragraph and onward: Define each point in each paragraph and try to complete the information about one point in one paragraph, when you move on to next, write about next point.
Second-Last paragraph: Write with absolute clarity the practical use and application of your information shared or topic discussed in the practical scenario, who it will help, and how it will help, what should be expected in near or far future from it.
Last paragraph: Conclude your article with the information that you’ve covered in all the paragraphs, one liner conclusion for each of the point and discuss where you see it going and finish off with the last line artistically formed, eliciting emotions, thoughts or ideas, giving a beautiful feeling, or hope or inspiration.
It should stay with the reader for at least a few minutes after having finished the reading, and that’s how it is done!
Writing Style for Web Content
“Say what you have to say, and then stop”. Rudolph Flesch, The Art of Readable Writing.
Plan before you write so you can be direct and focused
- Be clear about your main purpose and key messages
- Work out what your audience needs and wants to know
Don’t include content that’s unnecessary, irrelevant or trivial
- Stay focused on the topic
- Avoid ‘happy talk’: welcome messages, fluffy introductions and unnecessary explanations of what’s on the page
- Don’t waste words on things your audience is likely to know or have little interest in
- Don’t write instructions unless they are really necessary
- Avoid repetition
Don’t use unnecessary words
- Modifiers (examples: completely finish, actual facts, tentatively suggest)
- Categories (examples: large in size, pink in colour, state in the country)
- Pairs (examples: each and every, first and foremost, behave and conduct)
- Wordy expressions (examples: in order to, is located at, due to the fact that)
Review and edit before you publish
- Allow some time between writing your draft and reviewing it so you can see it with fresh eyes
- Refer to your plan, and cut unnecessary paragraphs or sentences
- Cut unnecessary words, rewrite wordy phrasing
Writing in a readable style
Web content needs to be easy to read because web users are often in a hurry to get an answer to a question or complete a task. They may not read closely or carefully and may find it harder to read from the screen than a printed page.
More readable content will also help users with learning or reading disabilities and people with English as a second language.
Write in the ‘standard register’
- Aim for a style that is neither formal nor informal, but somewhere in between
- Avoid jargon, bureaucratese, academicese, legalese, corporate gobbledygook and other styles that look dense and are hard to understand
- When using acronyms, ensure they appear in full (with the acronym in brackets) the first time it is used
Use common, everyday words
- Use familiar words
- Avoid non-literal or cultural uses of language such as idioms and slang
- Never use a long word if a short one will do
Write short sentences
- Aim for an average sentence length of 14-18 words
- Edit long sentences to remove unnecessary words, or split into shorter sentences
- Sentence lengths should vary
Prefer the active voice
- Write direct, vigorous sentences using the active voice
- It’s fine to use the passive voice when the agent of the action is unknown, unimportant or obvious, or to place emphasis on the receiver or object of the action
Avoid nominalising verbs (turning them into nouns)
- Write with stronger verbs by avoiding nominalisations
- Often the word-endings -ion, -ment, -ness are clues that nominalisation has occurred
- Compare these sentences: “Organisms reproduce. This is a major characteristic of life.” versus “Reproduction is a major characteristic of life.”
- Sentence 2 is expressed more concisely. It uses the word “reproduction”, whereas sentence 1 uses the word ”reproduce”. Here the word “reproduce” is a verb. It would change to “reproduces” if “organisms” changed to “an organism”. “Reproduction” is a noun made from the verb “reproduce”; we call this process nominalisation.
Use personal pronouns
- Refer to your organisation using ‘we’ and ‘our’
- Refer to users using ‘you’ and ‘your’