Knowing what your message is, who your readers are and what they want is a great start, but then you need to write in their language.  Before you start rushing off to find out how much it will cost to translate your site into Greek, Dutch and Swahili, stop!  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I mean that you need to ensure that people can understand what you’re saying – their way, not your way.

This may seem obvious, but so many websites don’t get it right, so I think it’s worth banging on about it a bit!

The key things to remember are:

  • Don’t use industry jargon – even if you’re writing for that industry.  You never know who has been asked to do the research, they may not understand all the terms you use without thinking.
  • Ensure shortened forms and acronyms are explained.  Even if you’re referring to an industry association or institute, spell it out the first time on each page with the shortened version in brackets, then use the short form thereafter.
  • Don’t ramble!  Everyone can write, but some people take a lot more words to say what they mean than others.  Keep it short and simple.
  • Don’t use obscure words, just because you happen to know what they mean.  Optimum reading level for a website is about Grade 8 – that’s a 12- 13 year old!  If you have to use three simple words instead of one complex one, then do.
  • Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation – your reader will make judgements about your attention to detail based on any errors they spot.
  • Don’t fall into the traps of using similar words incorrectly.  In other words know the difference between:
  • Your and you’re

    There, their and they’re

    Affect and effect

    Loose and lose

    Principle and principal

    Discreet and discrete

    Complimentary and complementary.

    Read tomorrow’s blog to find out, if you don’t know already!

    The moral of this blog – write for your reader, in their language and at a level they can easily understand.


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