The fewer the words, the better the prayer! That’s why I’ll keep your sentences and paragraphs short (and sweet). The same applies to overall length, unless the requirements of your brief dictate different.
I’ll also lead the eye from one point to the next in a logical manner, building interest as we go. It’s the only certain way to keep your audience on side and boost your conversion rates.
Saying what you need me to say in ways your audience can relate to is key. Which is why my preference is to write more like people speak. For example, contractions like ‘it’s’ or ‘that’s’ are normal in everyday English. So I like to use them in your content.
And why say ‘whilst,’ when ‘while’ trips trips off the tongue so easily? Nothing wrong with the occasional split infinitive, either. ‘To boldly go…’ from Star Trek is an iconic example. I find split infinitives useful for adding emphasis. Sentences beginning with ‘And’ or ‘But’ do the same, but not so dramatically.
English is a constantly changing language. Slavishly following archaic rules of grammar doesn’t necessarily make things clearer. It can make you appear elitist and out of touch. If it sounds right and reads right, it is right – even if it’s a one-word sentence. Right!
Words become more engaging and even more effective when you talk directly to your audience. Which is why addressing them as ‘you’ works well most of the time. ‘You’ also sounds friendlier than impersonal references to ‘customers,’ ‘clients’ and ‘users.’ I also avoid being gender specific, by replacing ‘he’ or ‘she’ with ‘they’ or a job title.
Most visitors quickly scan content for relevance. I’ll make certain they understand the main points of your offer from glancing at your headings and sub-headings, so they can quickly see where they want to dig deeper.
Before I send you the first draft of copy, I’ll check out each sentence for ambiguity. While I’m at it, I’ll remove words and phrases that give an illusion of meaning but often mean nothing.
I don’t rely on spell checkers to proof read. They can’t handle context. I prefer to read the copy out loud to myself. It’s the best way to assess the true flow and conduct a proper nitpicking exercise.