Since Daniel Bergman's first post, we’ve seen quite a range of writing and presentation styles.
One thing we've observed from the start is that the ‘cleanest’ posts are far easier to read, and often get more reader engagement in the form of comments.
Always remember: the purpose of writing is communication. We write to communicate opinions, insights, ideas, information. We write to tell stories, inspire and entertain.
But there is no point in writing if you are going to constantly interrupt the attention of your readers with basic mistakes, or do things to your words that actually make them harder to read.
So I've compiled a few tips that might help. These tips might be a bit basic. Sorry, I do not mean to talk down to anyone. I simply hope to remind you of the things you already know.
Some of you will think I'm just being pedantic; that’s it’s all a bit old school. You may even think I’m out of touch with the evolution of our language. That may be so.
However, there is a reason that every major online publication and newspaper in the world checks spelling and grammar, and uses plain text, with paragraphs. That’s because it has been proven that these things make writing easier to read. And writing that is easier to read attracts, and keeps, more readers.
We can't all be great spellers, but it’s quite simply very difficult to read any writing that is riddled with spelling mistakes. In fact, most readers just give up and look for something else to read.
Currently, our text entry system does not have spellcheck. (It interferes with our comment system, which we are trying to resolve.) So I strongly suggest you write all your opinions in a programme like Microsoft Word first. This way, you'll be able to use the spellcheck and grammar functions in these programmes to get your writing as correct as possible. Then you can simply copy and paste your writing over to WriteHere.
You’ll also have a copy of all your writing; very handy if our servers get hit by a bus.
Use it, especially commas and full stops/periods. Punctuation helps regulate the flow of the thoughts you are communicating. Without it your writing is nothing more than a flood of words, and your thoughts crash into each other creating an incoherent mess on the screen.
Few readers will have the patience to read, then re-read your words just to figure out what you're trying to say.
Reading a wall of words is hard work. Readers do not click to read your posts because they are looking for hard work. They click looking for inspiration.
Use paragraphs to separate your thoughts, give your readers time to breathe, and allow them to scan the page easily.
A good rule of thumb is to add a paragraph break every time you move onto a new thought.
Try it. I bet you’ll find your own writing much easier to read.
Italics, underlining and bold were invented to add emphasis. We have provided the buttons to do this at the top of text entry field, so feel free to add emphasis if it will help communicate your message.
However, you should resist the temptation to italicise your whole post.
Don't underline more than a couple of words at any time.
And you really don't need to make your whole post bold. Although, this might be the one exception, because some people actually find it easier to read.
When everything is italicised or underlined or bold, or any combination of these, nothing is viewed as being important. What’s more, everything is harder to read.
(It also messes with our comment system, and can cause some comments to not display.)
Because of the unique way our comment system works, copying text from our pages is currently very difficult. So if you want your readers to visit another web page, it's best to use a hyperlink instead of typing or pasting the whole web address into your post.
To add a link into your text:
Now your readers will be able to click and go without the hassle of having to re-type the whole address.
If you read any content that you believe contravenes our Guidelines please report it to us by using the "flag" drop down menu that appears at the top of all post pages and in comment windows.
We will do everything we can to ensure the WriteHere site is running at all times, and that content submitted by our writers is presented as intended.
However, we do not assume responsibility for the availability, accuracy, retention or deletion of content.
And please keep a copy of your writing. Do not leave it up to us to keep it for you, we have a hard enough time keeping a track of our own stuff.
WriteHere is new, and we're working hard to improve it.
Please don't hesitate to let us know the things you like, and the things you don't, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
After all, your opinion is the only one that matters.