10 Commandments of Web Writing for the Chopra Center
… and a Web Writing Checklist
Want to write for Chopra.com? Check out our content submission process before you get started.
- Length is lethal on the Web. We present information concisely and efficiently.
- Use simple, declarative sentences. Avoid complex sentence structures and parenthetical references that are difficult to absorb at a glance.
- Always lead with a strong first paragraph to draw the user in and tell them how they’ll benefit from reading the story. A visitor needs to understand the nature of the article from the beginning.
- Avoid adverbs and other flowery embellishments wherever possible. This is an exaggeration, but why write “He walked slowly” when you can write, “He plodded”?
- Don’t duplicate or plagiarize copy.
- Always respect the audience by ensuring the content you write is easy to understand and relevant to them, and by only offering content and sending emails that provide value to our users. If there is no value to audience, re-visit the content.
- Make sure articles are easy to scan and to-the-point. The best word count for articles is between 600 and 1000 words. Articles may be longer, but be sure to break them up with subheads, photos, graphs, lists, bullets, and pagebreaks to hold readers’ interest.
- Write real sentences:
- Eliminate jargon
- Be genuine
- Read it out loud first to make sure it sounds real (authenticity test)
- Don’t edit testimonials (It’s real-person language!)
- Avoid using marketing words and setting unrealistic expectations
- User gender-neutral language: find ways of communicating that are not overtly feminine or masculine.
- Always tell the reader where the information in the article came from to build their trust in you. You can do this through the author byline and bio, and by linking to, quoting, and citing related studies, articles, stats, and experts that helped validate the content presented.
Checklist for Content Submission
✔ Read the Chopra.com Style and Voice Guidelines. Use it to help you guide your writing
✔ Use spell check
✔ Use gender-neutral language (unless you are clearly speaking to a specific gender)
✔ Be consistent: always use the same voice, but adjust your tone for subject matter and target audience
✔ Use the “find & replace” feature to eliminate double spaces before submitting content
✔ Make sure content is easy to scan and presents copy efficiently
✔ Make sure you began article or blog post with an engaging first paragraph to draw the reader in
✔ Read content out loud before submitting to give it the “authenticity test”
X Don’t overuse the “!” in web copy. There are few instances where it is actually necessary
X Don’t choose a fancy word when a familiar one works
X Don’t use the passive voice
X Don’t duplicate or plagiarize copy
X Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Chopra.com editor for questions about content, topic, style, voice, or general editorial guidance