Writing Digital Copy for Lazy People

Digital Copywriting and Design

Newsflash: That’s almost everybody. A Nielson Norman research shows that web users stay for under a minute on a given web page and read only a quarter of the text. If your article is too long, they most likely didn’t read it. Well, unless it is as interesting as a Harry Potter novel and/or you follow the following strategies.

Too Long, Didn't Read Picture source: djscurvy22

Too Long, Didn’t Read
Picture source: djscurvy22

Keep. It. Short. & Simple.

It is simple math.

An average working person reads 575 words per minute.
÷ An average web page gets slightly less than a minute of attention.
= Try to keep posts under 550 words.

The Inverted Pyramid Structure

The first 10 seconds are critical for users to decide whether they stay or leave. In this 10 seconds, readers view the page in an F-pattern.

First, users read across the top content.  Next, their eyes shift downwards to read across the next segment. Finally, the scan down content on the left side.

F-Shape Pattern For Reading Web Content. Information source: Jakob Nielson

Thus, it is crucial explain what you can offer the reader in your heading (maximum 8 words) and present the most important information in the first paragraph (maximum 25 words). Arrange the rest of the information in descending order of importance.

Chunking and Subheadings

Divide your post logically into chunks and write a subheading above each “chunk”. Your subheading should give your reader an idea of what that “chunk” of information says. Subheadings also help readers to extract specific information and provide a good summary of the article.

Lists and Tables

Here are some things to note when using lists and tables:

  • Numbered lists should be used for rankings and instructions.
  • Bulleted lists should be used for other instances of grouping items.
  • Ideally, unfamiliar lists should be kept to 5-10 pointers.
  • Tables categorises information and is ideal for if/then propositions.
Images and Videos

When relevant, images increases readers’ attention, retention of information, and likelihood of sharing. Consider creating simple infographics with free tools like Piktochart or visual.ly as this would make content more enjoyable to read.

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