Monthly Archives: February 2012

People generally think the best practice for writing on the web is short and scannable and search engine optimized. Why is this? There are some exceptions – text on the web that makes people keep reading. What are the characteristics of text that keeps people reading? You must provide/analyze some examples to support your arguments. 

When writing for the web, it is generally understood that best practice is to write short, scannable pieces that are search engine optimized.  This understanding of best practice has evolved out of the idea that people have shorter and shorter attention spans, which is all too significant when someone is surfing the web.  The second the reader gets bored, uninterested, tired, or whatever, they can simply click and move on.  Suggestions for writing on the web are as follow:

  • Write short, scannable paragraphs.
  • Use bolding selectively and to highlight important points.
  • Hyperlink to interesting and pertinent information.
  • Cite sources.

Here is my take on this phenomenon; yes, it is important to have reader-friendly structure.  Small paragraphs, links, bold words and headlines are all helpful in a fast-paced reading environment. Search engine optimization is also good, but not at the expense of your content. Also, being concise and focused in your writing is important, but this does not necessarily mean you have to be short.  Which leads me to what characteristics can warrant an exception to the general rule of short, scannable, and SEO….

If the content is good enough, the content is good enough.  If an article is hilarious, like The Onion’s “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex”, and continues to be hilarious, readers keep reading.  If an article iscompelling, like the New York Times article “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant”, and continues to be compelling, readers keep reading . It’s as simple as that.  The better the writing, the less important the technicalities of writing for the web become.