Writing for the web means writing for a large target audience. It is not enough to have the information, but it has to be simplified, even preached. KISS is precisely the method that comes closest to the simplistic ideal of web writing. What if using and abusing simplicity did not detract from writing your style, but simply made it more effective?
Focus on the KISS principle
Although often misused, the acronym KISS stands for ” Keep It Simple, and Stupid ”, in English, or“ Garde-le stupidement simple ”, in French. The principle is not to complicate matters. KISS advocates simplicity in design. It’s a design guideline that encourages avoid unnecessary complexity.
The story of KISS
This method is a general principle of engineering. It recommends reducing the complexity of a hardware or virtual object in order to simplify its maintenance and scalability. A famous antiphrase which highlights this principle is taken from Shadocks: “Why keep it simple when you can make it complicated?” ”
As far as writing is concerned, this method is not specific to technical writing. It is even highly recommended in web writing, since the user often has neither the time nor the intention to spread out when reading an article.
Several other variants exist such as ” Keep It Simple, and Smart “or even” Keep It Simple and Straightforward for “” keep it simple and straightforward “.
Where does this process come from?
Seeking to avoid the unfortunate costs of complexification and to simplify, therefore favor, the use of final objects, it’s in the military that the KISS method got its start. It was quickly adopted in several areas. Especially those relating to engineering, especially aeronautical and computer engineering.
Simplify to win!
Firstly, with each complexification of a thing (material or virtual), results in an increased likelihood of a problem occurring.
On the other hand, the simplification of it makes it possible to create, repair, modify, maintain and develop it in an easier, faster and more economical way.
Take the example of Swatch, which is considered to be one of the biggest success stories for watch manufacturers. The specifications for the design of these watches were based on reducing, by up to twice, the number of parts necessary for the manufacture of its sisters. This has resulted in watches at competitive prices, reliable and in constant renewal.
The KISS method in web writing
Each publication on the web is supposed to meet a need through information, even an emotion. Beyond reading comfort, an article for the web should be simple and concise. It is recommended to place the most important information at the beginning of the text, in order to attract the reader’s attention and immediately meet their expectations. Reading must be able to be fast, but effective. We are talking about diagram of the inverted pyramid.
Simply writing is a close and constant reconciliation of the primary need of the user. It’s not that simple to write simply. Indeed, the simplification, even popularization of certain themes, requires great mastery of both the language and the field in question. The web editor must produce content that goes straight to the point, that is easy to read and understand, without insulting the reader’s intelligence. To do this, he must constantly keep in mind the objectives of his text without going overboard.
Writing exhaustively means taking the risk of losing the user in details. In general, Internet users browse web articles and even when they read the whole page, their concentration is not necessarily complete. A surplus of information, or simply of texts can confuse them, moreover, that makes the article heavy, even messy.
Why set up this principle?
Each web article is part of a communication strategy. Its content must be thought through, its words concise and well measured. Steve Jobs is known as one of the greatest revolutionaries in his field, but also of his time and it is not only thanks to the technicality of his engineers, but rather for the simplicity of his communication. Indeed, to say that an iPod can contain up to 1000 songs is simpler and more tangible than to express it in 50 GB of storage capacity.
How to adapt this process to your blog?
In order to write effectively for the web, it is essential to clearly identify your target and to adapt the message and the information to be transmitted, this will allow you to better choose your words and the tone of the article.
Depending on your target, you will need to be clear, concise and impactful. It is very important to take care of the appearance of your article (title, subtitle, bold type …). Titles and subtitles not only add structure to your text, they also help keep the reader’s attention and anticipate answers to questions they may have as they read.
Also and most importantly, they divide your text into logical units, which will help you better present your content to your readers, but also to search engines. In addition, once your text is structured, it will be easier for you to put your ideas forward.
In principle, a page should cover only one subject. In this way, you will avoid any confusion for your internet users. If the theme allows more elements, then it is recommended to stick to a single strategic keyword. Namely, an expression to position = 1 URL.
When writing a web article, it is important to:
- Test your words and find perfectly adapted expressions;
- Use short sentences and paragraphs;
Have good punctuation;
- Use logical joints;
- Eliminate the surplus;
- Avoid innuendo.
Write for your personas!
You have to write to be understood. There is no need to clutter your text with fantasies that can potentially confuse the user, or even scare them away instead of captivating them. If your readers are more mobile oriented, their reading is even faster.
Reading in motion requires more speed, readability and ease in finding the information sought. Beyond responsive design, your content must be adapted for the mobile, the structure must be simple and airy to facilitate reading. It is however possible to create 100% mobile content by creating CSS style sheets dedicated to the mobile interface.
Another essential point of this method is to preserve quality at the expense of quantity. Focusing on quality over quantity is a golden rule in web writing.
Simplicity is not synonymous with generic and boring. It is also not synonymous with a wealth of information and editorial quality. It allows you to have better control over your text and to establish a channel for smooth communication with its readers.