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.
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.
Have no mercy. Cast them out of your copy. Now. These are vital corrections to make when you edit your writing before publication, otherwise you will look like an amateur.
I know the second one is controversial. Get over it. Straighten up and fly right.
I helped a friend recently who was editing some training materials. He got stuck on when to use an apostrophe in the following examples. Which of these needs one and where?
Type 1s are the creative thinkers in the team
In threes attempt the first exercise
That’s right – neither needs an apostrophe. 1s and threes are simply plurals. So no apostrophe is needed. Perhaps this is a little tricky, because of the question of whether to write out numerals or not, but I can’t help thinking that dealing with apostrophes is really very simple. In fact, it all comes down to just one rule.
Cantle is a coaching business that needs to be experienced to be believed. Owner Jim McNeish’s clients come (falling over one another) from word of mouth. It is in his interest to stay hidden to raise curiosity and appetite.
So editing Cantle’s first web site was about making sure that the descriptions enticed without giving too much away. The copy worked with sumptuous photography to wet potential client’s appetites. Not giving too much away meant keeping the blocks of prose short and allowing plenty of white space to let the content breathe on the page – essential for the tone of the organisation whose tagline is ‘breathing life back into organisations’.