Online readers want their information fast and lively—here’s how to deliver
Writing for online media is different from writing for print. One of the big differences is that online readers generally are more transient, less patient with long prose and more interested in grabbing all the information they can in as little time as possible.
That’s why online copy has to be sticky. It must make a quick impact, grabbing readers’ attention and drawing them into the content. It has to be efficient. It must be compelling enough to keep readers on the intranet or website because they are easily lured elsewhere.
1. Short and sweet. For intranet stories, I like the guideline of 400 to 600 words per story (and 600 is pretty long for online). Keep it shorter for Web site info, marketing copy, etc. Shoot for one or two screens of copy, with minimal scrolling. Write short sentences, use bullets and abbreviations, and vary the formats with lists, Q&As, etc. Think like Twitter. What can you say in 140 characters? Elevate the role of editing when writing for online.