When you venture into the world of writing for your website, you will undoubtedly find yourself seeking information regarding all of the different styles that your audience will be expecting of you. When you start wandering into the realms and the blogs of these so-called professional writers, you will be shocked at what you often find: conflicting information that essentially tells you not to write anything at all.
Of course, that isn't what those sites are meaning. These well-meaning professional writers will each try to convey what their idea of the ideal website is. These writers often find the simplest websites, written by high schoolers, and view the broken English sentences on them as the common writing styles that every entrepreneur must use if they want their website to draw any attention.
While these writers may think they are offering sound advice, what they end up doing instead is perpetuating the myth that the average American is uneducated and can read at only a third grade level. In order to avoid adding to this myth, you need to understand what writing advice to ignore on these writing tips pages.
In light of the numerous myths that are circulating about writing these days, we present this list of the most common legends and misconceptions about website writing. For this first part, we introduce you to some of the most prevailing legends. You must be aware of these. When you encounter them, you need to be able to recognize writing myth from writing fact, and understand how to go about navigating through them so that your business's blog doesn't end up adding to the puddle of myths on accident.
Readers Dislike Complicated Vocabulary
These “how to write well” sites will commonly tell you to avoid complicated vocabulary in your own writing. To a point, this does make sense. Your readers will probably have no idea what it means to desiccate a piece of fruit or to engage in a magnanimous act.
However, these websites will often generalize this concept into a single umbrella statement such as “never use words greater than two syllables long.” Adhering to this statement is akin to willingly creating problems on your website. Yes, your readers don't want to be burdened with complex vocabulary words that require them using a dictionary to follow along.
By those same standards, they likewise don't want to feel as if they are being spoken down to. There is no reason to write with only two syllable words unless your site is legitimately aimed at children who couldn't comprehend them in the first place. Otherwise, you will just be insulting your reader's intelligence.
Readers Want Short Paragraphs
This is another tip you will commonly find that has been taken to the extreme. Writing professionals are all too eager to tell entrepreneurs that paragraphs need to be short so that readers will pay attention to them. This advice goes too far when it starts suggesting that individual sentences should be their own paragraphs.
While it is grammatically possible, single sentence paragraphs are the stuff of children's books. When used sparingly, the single sentence paragraph can provide an excellent means to stick a poignant idea in your reader's mind, but not if it is but one sentence in a sea of other single sentence paragraphs.
To provide your readers with paragraphs that are useful, you should strive to follow the three sentence rule. A paragraph should have at least three sentences in it, but rarely more than five. The paragraph itself should be at least three lines long, but cut off before the seven line mark.
To go beyond these thresholds is to risk creating a wall of text, which is what these writers were initially trying to warn entrepreneurs away from before they got carried away with their instructions.
Readers Want Simple Sentences
Chances are, you encountered a book when you were a child that contained only simple sentences. These three and four word sentence books contain only the most basic parts of English speech, and are often summed up with a phrase like “See Spot run.” While this sentence structure is perfect for holding the attention of three year olds, it is not what your website readers are looking for.
These helpful professionals are all too ready to give advice to make your sentences as short and easy to read as possible. The more daring have even gone so far as to warn entrepreneurs away from using adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions altogether.
The truth of the matter is that we speak a language that is filled with adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions because these words help us to express ourselves properly. But unless you know how to use different parts of speech such as modifiers correctly, these more basic parts of speech can get you into trouble.
The best way to deal with these simple speech types while writing is simply to go back and read over your work when you are done. You are intelligent enough to run a business, so you should be capable of realizing when something you have written doesn't sound correct. Regardless of what the problem may be, you will know when it doesn't sound “right”. When you encounter a sentence of this nature, and the correction needed is not obvious, simply delete the sentence and write it in a different way.
The Benefits To You
By avoiding only these three simple tips in your website writing, you will be able to produce a finished product that the average reader is able to understand and appreciate. Your sentences won't be overly complicated and filled with large words, but at the same time, they won't be pandering to the reader as if they were children.
You will be able to avoid these common traps that entrepreneurs find themselves in, and allow yourself to express your thoughts creatively without frightening any of your readers in any way. Always remember that your writing should sound like you naturally speak, and you will be fine.