For the past few months, I haven’t been paying nearly as much attention as I should to my own website. But my web designer is on a bit of a hiatus right now, as he really needs to find a larger house and get moved into it and he’s currently trying to get his house on the market and sold so that can happen. Sometimes it is a long, drawn-out process – if you want a really boring story on how I know that, ask me.
The end result, however, is that he has very little time for me at the moment. Not really a big deal, as my plate often times seems overflowing.
But I still have to practice something he wanted me to work on, and that is my “Website Writing Style”. See… there is writing for ME and there is writing for YOU.
When I’m writing my blog, when I’m writing for ME, I can be as verbose and as wordy as I want to be. I can change subjects, I can stay on the same subject, and I can even write without a subject if I wanted to (it’s called free-flow writing). I could write with incomplete sentences and poor grammar, as well, but I doubt that will ever happen… But my point is, I’m not writing for anyone other than myself, so it doesn’t really matter how I want to write other than with what I concern myself (I’ll always bother with proper grammar and punctuation and sentence structure – that’s just the way I am).
When I’m writing for my website, whether it is an item description or a paragraph on my front page, I’m writing for an audience; I’m writing for YOU. When I’m writing for others, I have to use different techniques. I have to use shorter, more concise sentences. I have to use bullets and outlines to relay information in an easier-to-scan format (most people who read things on-line tend to scan the text as opposed to reading word-for-word as they might do with a printed text).
I also have to tone down my grammar complexity and vehement sentence structure. My wife uses big words and occasionally (OCCASIONALLY) she’ll use one I actually pick up on and start using on a semi-regular basis. More often than not, I just nod and smile at something she says and then when she isn’t looking I’ll jump onto dictionary.com and try to figure out what she said to me. And sometimes I can be a bit of a stickler, when it comes to format and structure, and it really isn’t necessary to be such a morphologist.
I think lately my lack of activity with my own website has left me out of “writing for you” practice. I realized the other day that when I’m making a forum entry or comment, I’m no longer writing for me, I’m writing for others. Seems like that would be a great time to practice my website writing skils.
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com