Becoming an Online Word Compactor

May 22


Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan

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Writing for online ... differs from writing ... One ... is length; online pieces tend to beless than 1,000 words in length. Long text passages ... to read ... so t


Writing for online publication differs from writing for
print. One difference is length; online pieces tend to be
less than 1,000 words in length. Long text passages are
difficult to read on-screen,Becoming an Online Word Compactor Articles so the key to writing
successfully online is to become a "word compactor".

If you follow a few simple rules, you'll have no problem
writing articles that online publishers will love.

1. Use a summary lead and closing. Open with one or two
sentences that summarize your position, and close with one
or two sentences that reinforce your point, and tie back to
your opening somehow.

2. The online audience is so large that you can, and should,
pick a very narrowly-focused topic. You don't want to write
about "Grooming Your Dog"; you want to write about "How to
Create the Perfect Poodle-tail Pom- Pom". Once you have a
very narrow focus in mind, stick to it religiously. Cut any
sentence that doesn't directly relate to that focus.

3. Outline first. Then arrange your topics in a logical
order. This reduces the need for transition sentences.

4. Limit examples and anecdotes to one per topic.

5. Compress fluff. Don't use "in the not-too-distant future"
when "soon" will work.

6. If your topic contains do's and don't's, leave out one or
the other. Instead of "rather than doing 'X', it is better
to do 'Y'", simply write "Do 'Y'".

7. Make friends with your dictionary and thesaurus. Replace
adjectives and adverbs with active verbs and nouns. "Very,
very large" might become "gargantuan", and "ran at top
speed" might become "sprinted".

They're not revolutionary, but these simple rules can help
you craft an informative, yet compact article for online
publications that will have e-zine and Web site editors e-
mailing you to ask when your next piece will be ready.

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