When I first started working with web content it amazed me that people could merrily create web pages with spelling and grammar mistakes on them. It just seemed like a basic consideration that you would ensure that you had spelled things correctly – and not a difficult one to achieve.
Talk about naïve.
Once upon a time, there was a dashingly important word named Web. He was from an affluent family of capitalised words, the World Wide Web, who had come to prominence in the 1990s. He was the shortest of his brothers, but with a W—- just as handsome, he still garnered many admirers. The three nouns [...]
Admit it. Every now and then you want to read ‘how-to’s in a dirty long list. And every now and then I want to write them.
So here you go. 40 tips for writing well, on the web especially. Happy Christmas.
What stops you from writing more? It’s not just the copywriters who write in our organisations: we all do – managers, administrators, technical staff – whether we have been trained to or not.
Most roles require some level of writing skill, and increasingly for publication on the web. How can you get your staff writing clear and compelling words that work on and offline, to tell a consistent story to your customers?
One of the problems is confidence. People think of themselves as non-writers, and the process of writing as difficult. But it only takes a nudge of encouragement and a few key writing tricks to get them creating bolder and more effective copy. The ‘How to Write Good’ workshop will help you to:
This new-to-the-market blog post comprises of a charming argument against writing poetic property descriptions, leading to the sought-after conclusion that people prefer facts. The post benefits from some delightful subheadings and convenient access to illustrative examples. It is deceptively spacious and lends itself to retweeting. Not suitable for children or pets. On the one hand, [...]
‘Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.’ Is Orwell right to make this rule? One recent blog post on clichés, This metaphor aint dead, it’s just restin’ claims that writing without ‘dying’ phrases is in fact unattainable; and even if it wasn’t, the results of such [...]
After the fun of ‘Are you stupid enough to use leverage as a verb?’ (in which you added well-considered perspectives on the evolution of language to my fairly bald argument of that’s one ugly word) I’m going to have to break my silence about the word bespoke.
Bespoke is another ugly word, this time an adjective, as in ‘we provide bespoke software solutions’.
It is not common in US English, but is increasingly found in Britain being used to describe services, especially in IT. It is traditionally a tailoring term, coming from the archaic verb bespeak, indicating speaking about or arranging something in advance.
Tailors have used it for centuries to describe suits that are hand-made to an individual’s measurements, as opposed to off the peg, pre-cut garments. Originally, the term described the process whereby a piece of cloth would be reserved for an individual customer. It suggested craft, care and unique personalisation. More recently, it has broadened in tailoring to imply anything that is made to measure.