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Be Direct

“Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Web readers would be eternally grateful if Web writers always followed that piece of advice (delivered by the King of Hearts to the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland).

But all too often, as any frustrated Web reader knows, writers do nothing of the kind. Instead of beginning an article about growing tomatoes with a clear statement telling you what you can expect to read (such as: “The best way to grow tomatoes is ... ”) they will either begin with an anecdote (“It was a hot summer day when I first visited the sun-drenched fields of Sicily ... ”), or with a barrage of information tangential to the main topic (“The soil in the Red River Valley of the north is known for its fertility—second, some of the locals say, only to the steppes of Russia ... ”), or, perhaps most common on the Web, with personal superfluous information (“My name is John, I’ve been an amateur gardener for three years, and I created this page using Shovelworks for Imagemaker ... ”).


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