Thursday, 28 August 2008

Web copy: KISS

I've been doing a great deal of web copy writing these days and I quite love it. It fits my need to make everything concise and clear and to the point. The best writing often is all these things: clear, concise, and to the point.

Oddly, though, many, many writers and non-writers fail to see that keeping it simple is the best practice to follow. They still adhere, and often quite adamantly, to wordy, fluffy, overly-drawn writing that require an overhaul and an edit to weed out the wordiness.

I once dealt with a woman from Serbia who had a wonderful way with the English language. She wrote beautifully, but it was painfully evident that she was trying too hard to be lyrical and poetic. What she ended up doing was coming across as vain and self-indulgent; her sentences conveyed not what she meant, but that she likely didn't know how to convey what she wanted to mean. She wanted my opinion on her writing, I shared it, and she politely told me I basically had no idea about literary writing. I politely told her that I had an enormous amount of even first-hand experience with it - but to some people, it doesn't matter. They are right no matter what.

My advice to all writers: get your ego out of the way and then the real writing can begin.

My point? When writing web copy, keep it simple and short and most definitely to the point. Chunk your copy into paragraphs of no more than 60 words. Use bullets and language that the grand majority of readers will understand. Particularly keep these principles in mind when drafting your home page text - it's the first portal into your site and business and who you are. Don't muddle it up with language that has no meaning.