Tips for Clear and Concise Writing

Several people sitting at desks are writing on papers, with notebooks and pens in front of them.

Time is precious. In most cases, 24 hours isn’t enough to do what needs to be done daily. So, when we take the time to write something, it needs to make an impact. Readers don’t have the patience to muddle through confusing content. We need to get to the point as clearly and concisely as possible.  Check out these tips below to help keep your audience’s attention.

Tip #1: Be Deliberate When Choosing Your Words

The goal of anything you write should be to get through to your reader. Words can either boost or hinder a person’s ability to understand your point. Although you or your writer may have a post-college education, you must keep your audience in mind. 

For instance, if you are a personal injury attorney trying to get anyone injured in an accident to contact you, you must keep your word choice as simple as possible — preferably at an 8th-grade level. 

Steer clear of fancy words like “ascertain,” “initiate,” “terminate,” and “utilize” when you can simply say, “find out,” “begin,” “end,” and “use” instead.

Tip #2: Get Rid of Unnecessary Words

In addition to fancy words, your page should be free of unnecessary words. Yes, we know SEO writing requires a specific word count; however, too many words may end up clouding your message. 

For example, why say, “I have noticed that there is an over-abundance of vegetation covering each side of the facility,” when you can simply say, “I have noticed many weeds growing on the sides of the building”? 

A common set of unnecessary words is “due to the fact” — just say “because.”

Tip #3: Avoid Long Sentences

We know there is some debate about the length of the perfect sentence. The length will depend on the point you are trying to make. 

  • Use shorter sentences for emphasis. 
  • Use longer sentences to link your thoughts and ideas together more elegantly. 

The rule of thumb for sentences is between 20 to 30 words, but definitely no longer than 50 words.

Tip #4: Filling is Good in Certain Desserts…You Don’t Need it in Your Writing Too

Some people love filling in their cupcakes or a good sandwich cookie. However, in clear and concise writing, there’s no need to use filler words. It’s a hard habit to break but try to eliminate words such as “of,” “up,” or “that” where possible.  

Example: “I told him that I didn’t want any cookies” can be changed to, “I told him I didn’t want any cookies.” Another example: “I climbed up on my mom’s high bed and fell off of the right side while sleeping” can be changed to “I climbed on my mom’s high bed and fell off the right side while sleeping.”

Tip #5: Write in Active Voice

Active voice is always preferred, but there are times when the passive voice is more appropriate. What is active voice? It’s when the subject of the sentence does the action of the verb, placing focus on the subject.

Example: “We finished the design.” Here, “we” is the subject and “finished” is the active form of the verb. In passive voice, the sentence would be, “The design was finished by us.”

Each voice has a valid place in writing but keep the active voice as the default.

If you want to find out how PaperStreet can help you write clear and concise pages for your website, contact us today.

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