6 Rules in 6 Words:
Metaphors, Length, Cut, Passive, Jargon, Barbarity
Wrote classic novels and was a significant journalist. None of us will be able to write like him. I know I can’t write like him but I can learn to write better for Website visitors.
If you are familiar with these rules you’ll be writing more effectively for your visitors and customers.
Read more about George Orwell’s 6 Writing Rules here.
Orwell would have thought we were talking about St Paul on the road to Damascus but what we are concerned with is being short and efficient in an effort to help customers to purchase. We’re talking writing for Conversion Rate Optimisation.
1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figures of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.
For example instead of using “state of the art” use a word like “newest.” He’s talking about avoiding clichés.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
“Complimentary” means “Free” and “expectation” is better explained as “hope.” Short words read better. Website visitors are scanning to start and may read if the copy looks ‘easy.’
3. If you can cut a word out, always do so.
“Male personnel” is “men”
Editing is the best fun of any writing and will improve any copy you write simply by being shorter.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Make your verbs as short and active as possible. “I have been talking” becomes “I talked.”
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
“Interface” works better as “talk with”
“This is a non-smoking environment” is “No smoking”
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Well, this means to break any of the previous rules when necessary to make a proper sentence. Orwell was an idealist and broke his own rules but then he could write.
I’m happy to write in plain English that people understand.
All the best,