Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;”
your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.’
That well-worn phrase ‘less is more’ could have been invented for writing websites. Short, sharp, succinct and to the point – that’s the kind of copy your users want to read. And, be honest, that’s the kind of stuff you want to find when you visit a site, isn’t it? Not reams of padding.
But the finely honed phrase doesn’t just appear from nowhere. You have to work at it. So here’s my simple, Five-Step Editing Technique for getting the results you want:
1 Open a new page and just write. Anything, everything – get it all out and say what you want.
2 Read it over carefully; get it in order so that the story flows.
3 Now – be prepared to delete. Cut out anything you don’t need: long-winded sentences; vague filler content; repetitions. Check words like ‘that’ and ‘very’ – see Mark Twain’s advice above. If it doesn’t add anything – delete!
4 Re-write wordy cliches like ‘on a weekly basis’, ‘in a position to’ or ‘for the purpose of’.
5 Leave for at least 30 mins (overnight is even better). Then re-read – preferably out loud and with feeling. Tighten up the copy where needed. (Repeat Step 5 if necessary.)
Et voila! You’ll have a lean, mean fighting piece of copy that really does the business.
Remember, you can’t bore people into buying.