TRIMMING YOUR ONLINE CONTENT

When it comes to writing good online content, economy is essential. However, often we are tempted to expand the writing, especially if dealing with complex topics. Learning to trim your content is important.

Controlling your Introduction

Most online users look at websites with a view to learn. As such you should not dance around a subject. Get straight to the heart of the matter. Introduce the topic, then get on with talking about the important parts of the subject.

Try to start with something eye-catching such as a pithy sentence or just a single word. Whichever you choose the idea is to lead your reader into wanting to read the next sentence, and all those that follow to the end. Make sure you choose an engaging first line. In other words, introduce the issue, then come up with the solution.

Keeping to a Minimum

As you would with your writing keep the wording minimalistic! Omit needless words. Wherever possible cut words out; as long as it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence. And, if you can use one word instead of two? Do so.

For example, consider the following sentence:

“It’s then I see him — a really tallish, dark looking man with waist length hair and a grey-black beard. He’s wearing a strange, lumpy, navy-blue pointed hat with matching robes. There is a calm expression on his face as he stares at me through U-shaped spectacles, which are placed on his long, crooked nose. His eyes are dark-grey and cold.”

So, what can we cut from this sentence?

Let’s start with, “It’s.” In this instance it isn’t necessary. Delete the word.

Now we’ll go with the words, “really tallish.” This isn’t particularly descriptive. (ProWritingAid loathes the word “really.”) Use something different, or delete the word altogether.

Look at the description of what the man is wearing. Perhaps there is a better way to describe it, eg ‘He’s dressed in navy-blue robes which match his strange, lumpy pointed hat.’

The description of his expression is quite extensive and could be reduced. ‘With a calm expression, his dark-grey, cold eyes stare at me through the U-shaped spectacles placed on his long, crooked nose.’

Having deleted the last sentence, we have now incorporated it into one sentence thus tying the whole description of the man together.

The result is: “Then I see him. A tallish, dark looking man with waist length hair and grey-black beard. He’s dressed in navy-blue robes which match his strange, lumpy pointed hat. With a calm expression, his dark-grey, cold eyes stare at me through the U-shaped spectacles placed on his long, crooked nose.

Same sentence, less words but, with a more defined meaning.

If you need help in omitting needless words, consider an app which can find them for you. There are a few such as ProWritingAid, Grammarly or Scrivener. These can be a huge help when it comes to editing your own work.

Watch the Word Count

Online content should be between 300 and 700 words, and taking about five to seven minutes to read. If that sounds a short amount of time, it is. Not that you can’t write long posts, it’s just that the longer the post, the less likely readers are to finish it.

Try to have a word goal for your online content. For this topic, we envisioned writing about 575 words. The perfect length, giving enough information, but not too much. The first draft came in at over 700, so edits were made. Set a word count ceiling and do your best stay under it.

Conclusion

Use these tips to help trim your online content. Be brief and concise. But, above all, enjoy the results!

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