5 rules of writing for the Web

Break one, and you risk losing your readers to one of the infinite distractions on the Internet.

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That may sound less than glamorous, but it’s true, whether you write a story or blog post for the intranet or online, or whether your readers consume your copy on a computer, iPad or smartphone.

What must you demand of your writing now that people consume it online?

1. Be considerate.

Your readers deal with unprecedented levels of information and email overload. You owe it to them to produce content that’s intuitive and easy to scan and understand. Consider it an act of kindness and sensitivity.

This brings us to how to package content. Here, we do well to borrow from the field of applied industrial design, and from the Bauhaus belief that design should be simple, yet expressive. This so greatly inspired the clean, intuitive and minimalistic product design of Steve Jobs.

2. Be simple—really simple.

The information you present online must be unsparingly clear: simple and free of jargon and anything non-essential. Not dumbed down, just streamlined. Ask yourself: “How can I get to the point faster?” “What can I take out to make this more effective?”

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