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Short, snappy writing works best online.

First, people are less ready to read long pieces online than short articles.

Second, people read online material about 25 percent slower than print. Jakob Nielsen explains why in In defence of print. Nielsen wrote his article in 1996, but things haven’t changed.

Third,  people get distracted easily online. There are advertisements and links to other websites as well as bleeping notification of incoming emails, tweets and instant messages.

If you write a brief article, there is more chance a reader will get to the end before skipping off elsewhere.

Fourth, skilled writers aim for brevity because good, vigorous English is concise.

A writer’s goal is to get messages to readers as swiftly and as accurately as possible.

Get on. Say what you need to say. Get off.

Leave the fancy, flowery stuff to poets and fiction writers.

5 thoughts on “Snappy writing works best online

  1. I love the implications: fiction and poetry authors are fancy and flowery (false), therefore they’re unskilled (also false). All it says is, you don’t know much poetry at all.

  2. Leonardo

    I’m not suggesting poets or fiction writers are unskilled – some are, some aren’t. However, their goals and motivations are different.

    For most people writing is a means to an end. For poets and fiction writers, writing is the end.

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