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Chapter 1. Writing for the Web > Shorter is Better

Shorter is Better

The key difference between writing for the Web and writing for offline readers is that Web writing needs to be shorter. Documents intended for online reading should rarely be longer than 1,000 words—a good target to aim for is 600–700. There are many approaches and devices that can help you learn to write more concisely, although an exhaustive review of them is beyond the scope of this guide. But we’ll mention a few.

If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out

This profound rule for keeping your content short comes from the English novelist George Orwell, who also happened to be one of the masters of twentieth-century English (see Orwell’s rules in the A to Z). It is almost magical in its ability to streamline prose and expose rhetorical weakness.


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