Reduce, Reuse, Recycle on the Web

by Alison Lueders

Happy Earth Day! I encourage you to take action today – however small – to make our planet healthier. Many small actions can have a big impact.

As I was thinking about today’s post, I wondered how I could possibly tie Earth Day to web editing. One of the mantras for Earth Day is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” In fact, that’s very relevant to web editing.

Reduce – use fewer words

This point was driven home to me at the Nielsen Norman conference last month. Fewer words aids reading speed and comprehension for ALL readers. Web editors have the skills to trim the words while retaining or enhancing their meaning. We also know that saying something in fewer words is often harder than saying it in a lot of words. “Less is more” on the web, but “less” does not mean “easier to write.”

Reuse – share the ideas

It’s a no-no on the web to write something once and post it verbatim in multiple places. But as a green business owner, I know that many people are unaware of why operating a business sustainably matters. Repetition is one way to educate people, So I may blog for my website and then re-work the same set of ideas into a client newsletter. Same ideas, different words.

Then I use the web to spread the word. I may share my original blog post through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. I want the idea to get out broadly, without running afoul of the “original content” police.

Recycle – when words become wisdom

Sometimes, an idea or a set of words is so true and so powerful that it stands the test of time. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Be kind” or the Gettysburg address. These words are repeated and passed on and remembered. They are words that guide us in tough times and see us through to better times. These words eventually become known as something else – wisdom.

Web editors – as shapers of words and ideas – help share wisdom with the rest of the world. I think that’s pretty cool.

So, I find that “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” fits just fine into my web editing toolkit. What do you think?

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