Consistency for consistency’s sake?

Consistency’s important when it comes to writing for the web. After all, you want your readers to know what you’re talking about. And that means not confusing them by giving one thing several different names.

This was the central premise of a conversation I had last week. And it was absolutely right – to a point. You don’t want to confuse the reader. So if something has a name, you stick to it.

But my view is that there’s a balance to be struck here. When you write for the web, you tend to write in a conversational style. You write like you speak.

Nobody uses the same words over and over again in conversation. It’s boring, and it sounds silly – like talking in a monotone. So any ‘conversational’ copy with the same lack of variety just isn’t going to sound right.

If you truly want to engage the reader, your copy needs to stand up and grab their attention. To do that, variety is vital; without it, you’ll sound stilted and contrived. Almost like a machine wrote the text for you. And that’s not going to impress anyone.

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