Writing is deleting: this is how you do it!

Do you also subconsciously write in far too many words? You are not the only one. Writing concisely is extremely difficult. However, bearing in mind the short attention span of the average visitor, try to keep your text as short as possible. The challenge is to get your message across in as few words as possible: "tell more in fewer words". Of course, this is easier said than done. That's why in this blog we give you a few pointers on how to turn your long, boring text into a short, attractive one. Start by deleting!

Why should I delete? 

The best web copy is short and to the point. Why? A short text reads more fluently and easily is more active and direct is easier to scan for relevant information
Companies often approach us because they cannot put their ideas on paper. At least not in a way that is clear to the client. Are you an employee or owner of a company? Then you probably want to tell as much as possible about your products or services. These texts are often accompanied by the obligatory technical jargon. Yet you might scare off potential customers by doing so. They are not looking for long, complicated texts. The customer wants to know what the advantage is for him or her in doing business with you, no more and no less. Look at this example:

"This high-end NVIDIA GeForce MX 250 of the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-50LM delivers the best performance."

"This laptop lets you edit your photos at lightning speed with professional software."


It is quickly apparent that version 2 informs and convinces a lot more effectively. This version is not only shorter, but also written in the customer's tone of voice. This example makes it clear that you can say a lot more with far fewer words. But how do you go from a long-winded text to a short, clear one?

Draw up a writing plan

Have you chosen a subject, done the research and are you ready to write? First, make a writing plan! A writing plan helps you keep your text short and to the point. Before you start writing, think about the information you want to include in the text. Then divide the text into sections and decide which information you will put in which section. Also determine the maximum number of words in advance and try not to exceed this. By drawing up these guidelines in advance, you will have tools at your disposal to help you write as concisely as possible. However, a text is never finished in one go and there are always sections you can delete afterwards.

Delete unnecessary words 

Subconsciously, you write down words that add nothing at all to your story, such as the signal words: while, then, therefore, namely, because, namely, but, nevertheless, etcetera. Not that you should never use these words again. On the contrary, these signal words can very well indicate a connection between two sentences, which improves the readability of the text. However, you should avoid using them too often. It makes your text passive and long-winded. Also, auxiliary verbs such as can, are, will, shall and must are often strewn about. These verbs don't add anything to the sentence and also make the text passive. 

Reread and delete

 The first version of a text is often a good draft, but certainly not the end result. That is why you should always reread your texts several times and take a critical look at which sentences, or even paragraphs, you can get rid of. As the American writer William Faulkner said: "kill your darlings". Keep in mind: 'Is the text still comprehensible if I take this part away? Is the answer yes? Then you know for sure that you can delete it.
Still can't work it out? We will gladly rewrite your texts for you! Get in touch and discuss the possibilities with us.

 

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Herwin van den Berg

Managing Director Strategy, Concepts & Content & Partner

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