May 7th, 2008


For Writers on the Web

I recently read a post on how little users read a lot of copy on the web (per site) and it’s really cool/important information. It still blows my mind how many writers (on the web) there are that don’t understand this.

On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

There is also an interesting chart that shows the average amount of time users spend on a site based on the word count. Very fascinating, yet scary at the same time because if it’s your site, you have to wonder if you’re getting users the information they need, quickly.

Two tips I have when you’re writing for the web. One being to think like your user. Read your own copy and think if you’re conveying the right information. If it’s fluff copy and/or marketing talk, remove it. Users know what is fluff, and what is relevant to them. Second tip, get to the point, and fast. Be clear and concise. If your copy isn’t to the point, your user might not read it……then why have it there?

It is a must to know how to write for the web. If you haven’t been trained, then learn how to, it’s really not that tough. And study how users are actually using your site.

Update: Andy Rutledge has a different take on the article linked above. He raises good points as well. My opinions remain the same. You still need to know how to write for the web, designing that copy is a different issue.

Tags: Writing


  • I have to disagree when you say that writing for the web isn’t that tough. While it’s not rocket science, there are a good handful of people who simply are not good writers. Then there are the good writers, who aren’t used to/trained in how to infuse their copy with enticing language. Those are my favorite people! :)

    I read the Rutledge article and I like the point he makes. (Though, I have to admit, I skimmed BOTH articles before allowing myself to read them more in depth.) Textual design and variance certainly helps.

  • Shauna, maybe I am biased because I learned to write for the web first, before learning about writing in print, therefore is seems much easier. It may be a challenge for those writing in mostly print, but essentially, you’re just conveying the same message in less words, and that isn’t what seems that hard if you actually learn/train yourself to do it.