Four Secrets From Long-Dead Writers on How to Make Your Blog Content Amazing

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To get good SEO resulsts, your website needs to have quality content. That’s not all it needs, but when you have a quality SEO company like LoveClients at your back, a lot of the heavy lifting gets done for you.

You don’t need to mess around with complicated optimization and keyword research—that’s what great SEO does for you. But you do need content on your site. That’s right: precise, good writing is very important online.

Whether you need to explain your product, write a catchy “About Your Company” page, or talk about a new offering you’re rolling out, your SEO will always be better when your website contains fresh, interesting information.

Not Everyone is a Writer.

And therein lies the problem. Not everyone can write. It’s just not possible for everyone to be great.

We all write emails every day, and probably do some level of reading, but when it comes to writing in a clear, precise way, many of us are at a loss. It simply takes too much work, too much editing, too much knowledge of those obscure rules of grammar and style to churn out good, readable prose.

Writing is a Skill, Like Many Others.

So if we aren’t farming the writing out to wordier relatives, or hiring overpriced ad agencies to write about our products, what are we doing? Trying to write the stuff ourselves, that’s what.

Writing really is a skill that can be developed and improved, no matter how subtle and frustrating it may seem. There is a wealth of knowledge on how to write well, a lot of it contradictory. Writers are famous for making definitive-sounding declarations on what ‘good’ writing is, only to have another critic come and disagree immediately.

Why Do Authors From Hundreds of Years Ago Have the Best Advice on Good Writing?

So I’ve found some advice for you, narrowing our focus down to four writers—all of whom died before the year 1900. Why go back so far? It’s simple, really:

These pieces of advice were expressly designed to simplify a very complicated beast. Have you ever tried to read literature from 200-300 years ago? Direct, clear, pared-down style did not exist.

Remember, Hemingway and Orwell were centuries away, words were longer, more obscure, and the culture was simply very different. Reading was undertaken with long, sustained concentration, and writing was dense and difficult.

So the writers desperately urging precision and clarity were doing so because these qualities were in very short supply. Their advice is relevant and to the point, no matter how old it is.

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.
Matthew Arnold

I can’t offer much commentary on something so simply expressed. If there’s one word to keep in your mind while writing, you could do far worse than clarity.

Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press.
Murder your darlings.

Arthur Quiller-Couch

Rightly famous. Get all your bad, puffed-up writing out in the first draft, and then delete it all. Look, he didn’t even say erase or cancel it, he said delete! A man ahead of his time.

You write with ease to show your breeding, But easy writing ’s curst hard reading.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Maybe you’re like me, and read that second line as something to do with ‘crust’. I believe we would use the word ‘cursed’ nowadays. ‘Don’t show off, because it’ll make your writing hard to read‘ has never been expressed so lightly.

The virtue of books is to be readable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m sure there are many other virtues, too, but hey—he said it. Write with an audience in mind: your customers.

(Photo by flickr user faeryboots, used under a creative commons license.)

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