Web Writing Tip #2: Word Choice

Ways to make your writing clear and effective:

1)   Use specific words

Use specific words that convey exactly what you mean. Phrases like “high quality” “first class” or “cutting edge” aren’t merely overused—they are also so vague as to mean absolutely nothing. The more exact your word selection is, the easier it will be for your audience to picture what you’re telling them.

Even better, the more detail you use in your copy, the more likely you are to include the words your audience will use when they go to Google to search for information.

No: World-class service Yes: “24-hour concierge service”

No: High-tech features Yes: specific features like “fastest processor” or benefits like “all your xx in one interface”

2)   Eliminate jargon

I think this one is particularly hard for people who are new to writing and want to show expertise. But using a faddish word to make a point usually adds more complexity, not less, to what you’re trying to do in your copy. Plus, it can make you sound like you’re trying too hard.

So make sure any words you put in your writing will be clear to people who aren’t already experts on the topic you’re writing about. Avoid using cliches (I love a good cliche, so that’s tough for me) or hot industry buzzwords you’re using because you see other people tossing them around.

Acronyms in particular  are often confusing to users. If you’re using one, be sure to define it in parentheses the first time you use it.

No: ROI Yes:  “ROI (Return On Investment)” OR “getting value for your investment,” “making sure your effort pays off”, “profit,” “value from your effort” etc.

No: KPI Yes: “KPI (Key performance Indicator)” OR ways to evaluate performance