Even in very serious writing busy web users need sentences they can understand easily

Simple, short, and straightforward sentences are critical for serious topics. In fact, the more complex the topic, the more you need to be sure that you are writing in a clear, coherent way so that your web site visitors understand your essential messages.

Figure 8-18 shows how the writers at Revenue Canada use short, active sentences to explain what a corporation is and that corporations must pay tax.

■ ■ Canada Revenue Agence du revenu H I Agency du Car-ada

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Corporations

Corporations

The topic is very serious. f^ The writing is clear.

A corporation is a separate legal entity It can enter into contracts and own property in Its own name, separately and distinctly from its owners It has to pay tax on its income, and therefore must file its own Income tax return

Most corporations can file their return through the Internet using a Canada Revenue Agency approved software. For more information, see Corporation . Internet Filing. Von may be able to pay your Corporation remittances using Electronic payments for business

Short paragraphs. Active f ^J sentences. Average ^^^ sentence length =13 words.

Figure 8-18 You can let go of the words and be clear even for highly technical information.

www.cra-arc.gc.ca

Finding your voice and style

Clear and simple writing need not be monotonous. Your writing can have character and flavor and also be clear. The writing style you use should match the overall personality and tone of your site: formal/informal/ irreverent/fun/serious, and so on.

For example, doesn't the "Huh? What does that mean?" in this excerpt from GasPriceWatch.com give you a sense of the writer's personality and style? Does it make you want to continue to read - to continue to be in a conversation with this site?

Why is GasPriceWatch.com Different?

We are database driven. (Huh? What does that mean?) All of the 128,000+ stations in GPW are part of huge inventory of gas stations that our spotters have submitted over tie years If you find a station that is not in GasPriceWatch.com, you can submit it with the street address, city, zip code and other

5. Cut unnecessary words 187

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