Home > Writing Resources
Writing for Print & Web Publication
“Elements of Style” online
Writing with Your Audience in Mind (Michigan State, Agriculture Communications)
11 Rules of Writing
Ten Simple Steps to a Successful News Release
Tips for editing your own writing
Writing impact statements (from University of Georgia)
About Grammar and Word Usage
Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation—grammar
Common Errors in English (Washington State)
Guide to Grammar and Style (Rutgers)
Word Usage in Scientific Writing (Iowa State, College of Agriculture, Communications Service)
Links to other sites covering Grammar, Usage, and Style
Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation—punctuation
Writing for Low-Literacy Audiences
How to Write Low Literacy Materials
(Journal of Extension)
Writing for Low Literacy Audiences
(Colorado State University Extension)
Clear & Simple: Developing Effective Print Materials for Low-Literate Readers
(National Cancer Institute) (has links to other publications and software as well)
Writing for the Web
Create Effective Web Content Writing for the Web (Chapter 1) by Gerry McGovern, Rob Norton and Catherine O'Dowd (Link to PDF download)
Web Writing from Dartmouth University
Series of articles about web writing by Gerry McGovern
Quick and Easy Tips for Non-Writers by Catherine Titta
Difference Between Paper and Online Presentation, Sun Microsystems (Jakob Nielson and Jonathan Fox)
How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines, Jakob Nielson
Writing to Be Read, Sun Microsystems (Jakob Nielson and Jonathan Fox)
Writing to Be Found, Sun Microsystems (Jakob Nielson and Jonathan Fox)
Terms to Avoid, Sun Microsystems (Jakob Nielson and Jonathan Fox)
Dangerous Words to Use on the Web
Scannability, Sun Microsystems (Jacob Nielson and Jonathan Fox)
How Users Read on the Web, Jakob Nielson (dated, but a classic)
Using the web in curriculum
(from Dartmouth University)
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Introduction to SEO
How to get high rankings
Web style guide
Editing Your Own Writing
Most experts agree that effective editing is an important element in good writing. The following tips will help you improve your writing through effective editing.
- Let your work sit for a while—24 hours if possible—before editing it. You’ll view it with a fresh perspective.
- Be brutal with your first draft. Delete, substitute, rearrange, and insert as necessary.
- Read the copy aloud for content and style. When it comes to detecting errors, the ear is more efficient than the eye.
- Make sure your organization is easy to follow—that copy moves logically from beginning to end and doesn’t ramble and confuse.
- Make sure copy for news releases and news articles explains who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Get rid of every word that adds nothing to meaning.
- Substitute short, punchy words for long, showy ones.
- Replace abstract words and terms with concrete ones.
- Avoid jargon or technical terms. When you have to use technical terms, explain them.
- Use the strongest verbs possible.
- Vary the length of your sentences and paragraphs; an occasional one- or two-word sentence or one-sentence paragraph can add interest and emphasis.
- Avoid having paragraphs that are more than four or five sentences long.
- Put yourself in the reader’s place and reread your copy to be sure nothing can be misinterpreted.
- Run your copy through spell-check, print it out, and read the hard copy for any grammar, punctuation, and word usage problems. (Remember that spell-check doesn’t catch wrong words that are spelled correctly.) Make sure any proper nouns are spelled correctly and that all numbers, dates, URLs, etc., are correct.