CHAPTER 4

Web Writing

Trying to attract an Internet user’s interest is like trying to catch a buzzing insect in your bare hands. The average website visitor spends just 10 to 20 seconds1 on a page, so your web copy must be “sticky.” Like flypaper, it must stop site visitors in their tracks and convince them to stay around long enough to skim through your headings and, if you’re really lucky, scroll past the first chunk of content.

Because web visitors have gnat-sized attention spans, writing for the web is like practicing an extreme sport. It challenges you to achieve levels of clarity and conciseness beyond what paper-based documents or e-mails require.

To succeed at web writing, you need to get 100 percent clear on who your audience is, why ...

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