Technical writing is substantially different from general writing. Even though both intend to inform the readers, the former is more factual, rigid, information-centric and specific in nature.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be lengthy and boring, technical information if presented in a logical and conceivable way can be equally interesting to follow.
Most often the consumers of technical content are beginners who are interested in self-learning and a lot of writers and publishers fail to appreciate that.
This article discusses a few common glitches spotted in technical writing and tips on how to fix them.
The biggest problem with unorganized information is that it gets almost impossible to make sense of, especially for long-form blogs and multi-page documents. There may be times when in order to explain a term you will need to explain another. The data should be arranged systematically so that what needs to be known first is defined first.
Pro Tip: Try working with a pre-planned format and content outline. You can make use of tables, and numbered/bullet lists if required. Information that is less time-consuming and can be easily processed tends to perform better.
The audience of a technical article usually demands facts, statistics and conclusive ideas. Nobody wants to read an overstretched article, overflowing with irrelevant information that misses the purpose and fails to make a point.
Pro Tip: Writing can be made more immersive by backing information with reasons, numbers, examples, analogies and illustrations. Try to use a conversational style of writing.
An unapproachable title might lead the reader to avoid the entire underlying information altogether. In a world saturated with content, titles engage audiences a lot more than most writers anticipate.
Pro Tip: Make your titles as clear and concise as possible yet attention-grabbing and keyword rich.
Technical or not, proper punctuations, sentence structure and speech style are important to communicate an idea clearly through a piece of written work.
Pro Tip: Use active voice to keep your sentences shorter and easily understood. Follow a consistent pattern while using punctuation marks, hyphens, capitalization, abbreviations, etc. Also, take care of the readability. Use short to medium-length sentences and paragraphs.
You can also take assistance from a Text Readability Checker. It can provide you with an analytical breakdown of your text in terms of scores and stats to help improve the overall readability.
Too Many Technical Terms
Sometimes writers use too much technical jargon in order to sound like an expert but what’s the point if it fails to impart the intended value to its readers? However, technophiles have a language of their own. Missing out on the technical tone entirely may reflect inexpertise. Therefore, finding a balance is crucial.
Pro Tip: Find a balance or at least explain each term your audience might not be familiar with. You can also use links to other resources if necessary.
The pace of information, sentence structuring, and choice of words/phrases sets the tone of your writing and the tone sets the overall context. Technical writing should follow a direct, formal and objective tone to complement its informational nature. Inconsistency in the tone can be distracting and fail to hold the readers.
Pro Tip: Set a tone beforehand depending on the message you are trying to convey and your target audience and stick to it.
Absence of Coherence
When information doesn’t flow naturally, the reader can feel confused and lost. One thing should lead to another and the preceding statement should add context to the previous ones.
Pro Tip: Make sure the words, sentences and paragraphs are connected to each other with a common theme. If the topic is too broad, break it down and tackle all sections separately. Handle one idea at a time.
The prerequisite of a tech blog is that it should be appropriate to the audience it is intended for. Create a reader persona. It will allow you to understand what the potential consumers of your blog are trying to find and help you deliver maximum value to them.
Maintaining the right attitude throughout and following the tips shared above will certainly help you maximize the results you are trying to achieve with your tech blog.