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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing for the Web | Goldenstar, Casual Stroll to Mordor

Blogger Goldenstar says this article is mostly for new bloggers (and other folks writing for the Web, I assume). But I believe much of its good advice is also useful in writing for print.

Goldenstar writes:
People Don’t Read – They Scan
There may be a few folks who will actually read your entire article word for word but the reality is most will not. I can attest to this in the number of questions I get on guides I write where the answer to their question is in the guide, they just didn’t read it.
All of us have so much going on these days -- multitasking all the distracting priorities -- that writers must make sure they make their creations are as quick and easy to read as possible. 

Goldenstar provides several excellent tips on "How to capture the scanner's attention" that I recommend for all writers in all formats. Here's one in particular that I'm using more often these days -- and not just on the Web:
Stress important words and phrases with tools such as bolditalicshighlights or color (avoid using underlines as in the web world that = hyperlink).
I haven't considered using highlights or color much, mostly because some background or font colors can hurt readability, or be hard to read for people who are color-blind, or may be lost if a document is copied as black and white. Still, I'm intrigued by the highlighting idea; it mimics what many of us have done or still do when reading something we think is significant. 

Goldenstar also recommends rearranging paragraphs (and the main sentence in paragraphs) so the most important point comes first on a Web page. Great suggestion! I try to do that in most of my writing--following the journalist's inverted pyramid style of writing. (I'm a former journalism student, newspaper editor/writer, and college journalism instructor).

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