If you are not a native English speaker like me, chances are you will struggle in writing content where proficiency in English is a requirement. Plus you have to write clean to be successful in writing content.
Without a formal education in writing as a journalist or creative writer, you have to learn and know the ropes. Content creation mostly deals with relevant and applicable content for the web for marketing purposes. You can’t afford to be sloppy.
So, what does it mean to write clean?
Writing clean, especially, when you craft content is not only about producing best-selling pieces, it is about being extra careful in writing. But who knows if this can put you on the first page of Google?
As mentioned, being a non-native-English speaker is a challenge. You may have to follow what I practice to ensure written content is clean:
- Use Grammarly app to check typo and grammar errors, incorrect/missing punctuation, and incomplete sentences or word choices. The app has recently added the feature checking correctness and clarity of your content.
- Use Dictionary.com to check the exact meaning of a word. To be sure, consult a dictionary if you are not confident about a word.
- Use Thesaurus.com to look for another word for the current word you used. It may help to know the etymology of a word to use it properly.
- Read your content aloud. It helps how your words and sentences sound.
But that’s my practice and if it seems not a foolproof method for you, let’s check how the experts do it.
Debra’s important tips, taken from William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, include an examination of every word that serves no function, or that could be a short word, or every adverb with same meaning as the verb, or every passive construction.
The site has a list of tips to improve the quality of writing and thus, help in crafting cleanly written content. The list includes suggestions to avoid weak verbs, clichés, scare quotes, and all-caps. You are encouraged to always use the serial comma, hyphenation of phrasal adjectives, format consistency, and sentence and paragraph length variations.
Ms. Underwoord talks about good editing. Check her post that encourages readers to get rid of habits that make your content dirty. A weasel word like might or can, for example, makes you unsure of what you write. An adverb like actually and really, for example, do nothing important to your content.
Ms. Everhart talks about how to ensure that what you write for the web is clean. The list suggests checking your content after writing it.
You have to be extra careful when you write. It is always important to check the quality of your content. The number of words and paragraphs are equally important, too.
Check your content not only once but twice. Do not overdo it though, or you may end up changing or rewriting the whole content again.
Note: These suggestions may not apply to other types of writing.