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Writing for Mediocrity

By Heather Reimer
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A while back, an Internet wit compiled a list of signs that you're not spending enough time online. One sure sign is that poor spelling and grammar still bother you. Good one!

Unfortunately, there are no online grammar police ... just you and me, voluntarily dotting our own "i"s and crossing our own "t"s. And since you want to go forth and prosper as an Internet business, you're taking the time to do it, right?

After all, as author Virginia Shea pointed out in her online book Netiquette, "On the Web, you won't be judged by the color of your skin, eyes or hair, your weight, your age, or your clothing. You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing."

Okay, maybe these days, people aren't as picky as they once were about speaking and writing perfectly. Whether that's okay or not, is up for debate. But if you lose coherency as a result... well, that's going to cost you money and
that's not negotiable, is it?

But, for those of you with too many clients and too much money, here are a few guidelines on writing for mediocrity:

1. Do not under any circumstances use the spell check function or have someone else proofread your text before
uploading it. That wood be a horendus waist of time and serbs no porpoise.

2. If you don't have valuable content, don't worry... just substitute fancy fonts, busy wallpaper and lots of blinking banners. Your visitors will be so distracted they won't notice you have nothing to say.

3. If you quote someone, don't bother to get their permission or spell their name correctly. Why? See rule #1.

4. Exclamation marks rule!!! Your prospects have likely never seen this tactic before and so will think that urgent
punctuation (!!!) requires urgent action (!!!) on their part.

5. Don't be afraid of large blocks of text. Readers see that dense copy and say to themselves: "Oh goody, I was just running short of things to read!"

6. Bury your lead. This is an old journalism trick practiced by old journalists who couldn't remember the point of their story. This delightful writing style requires your readers to plow through a slagheap of details before reaching the nugget of your story. Internet users are patient creatures with nowhere else to go, so don't hesitate to ramble.

7. If you want your readers to take a specific action such as order a product or "click here", don't state that outright. Subtlety is best. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they know what they're supposed to do.

8. Which brings us to tone. Your written tone of voice is very important. You never want your readers to suspect
that a real live person is standing behind their words or, worse yet, standing behind their product. Just pretend you
are a robot and the writing will come much easier.

9. Consistently utilize a preponderance of gargantuan words, even in localities where a more diminutive congregation of characters would be sufficient. This method, employed with great success by lawyers, will convince your humble readers that you are infinitely smarter than they are and they will buy your product or service out of sheer gratitude.

By following the above guidelines in writing your content, you'll be moving the world one step closer to the day when
the entire web is a syntax-free zone and professional writers (like me) spend our days fishing cigarette butts out of bus station ashtrays.

About the Author
Suspect your e-content is not working hard enough for you? Heather Reimer writes action-inspiring web content, newsletters, sales letters, news releases, ads and articles.

Get a FREE content analysis report when you request an estimate.


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