Repetition vs textual cleverness

Repetition was something English teachers told you to avoid. ‘Vary your expressions’ they’d say, or, ‘Can you think of another way to say that?’

Repetition is unpopular with a lot of writers too, but when writing for the web it’s OK to use the same term several times. Repetition helps make it really clear what you’re talking about. It doesn’t mean you think your readers are stupid – only that you accept that they haven’t time to hang around, they just want to quickly skim-read the page and get on.

In a magazine style web page that’s a trusted source – a space they visit regularly – online readers tend to slow down a little, but on most factual sites they want to:

  1. get in
  2. find what they’re looking for
  3. get something done

And they don’t want any textual cleverness to trip them up along the way.

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