Lost on the information superhighway?

Writing for the web is not like writing for an ad

Your objective is not to intrude on people’s lives and attract the attention of people who are busy doing something else.

In web writing, your audience is actually busy looking for you.

Here’s a little driving analogy. Suppose you are driving (without a GPS device) on a busy superhighway through a large city, looking for the proper exit to get to the Museum of Website Design.

You’re not going to care about the sign that says “One of America’s Great Cities,” or the one that says “GAS FOOD LODGING.”

You’re not going to be interested in the billboards advertising the city hospital’s new Cyberknife cancer treatments, or the neon signs giving the latest prices for gasoline, or the blimp hovering above you with the picture of Snoopy on it.

But if you see a billboard with the words “Museum Exits” on it, you’ll be all over it.

If it turns out that the sign is for some other museum, you will be disappointed, and probably a little frustrated. You’ll be less trusting of future “Museum Exits” signs, but you’ll still be looking for them.

This is same mindset of most users of the Internet. They are traveling at high speed, looking for specific information, and not interested in all those unrelated bits of information and advertising that pop up. They appreciate clarity and brevity. They are frustrated by distractions and disruptions.

Their eyes are attracted to any clues related to the object of their search. And they ignore everything else.

Reward the successful searcher

If you are lucky enough to attract a searching set of eyes to your website, don’t abuse them with distracting hokum and overlong hunks of mind-numbing verbiage.

Give them clear, quick links to the real pieces of information they are looking for. Make the information easy to find and easy to understand.

Be brief. Be clear. Make it easy to find out more.

Make your content easier to read, and you will get more readers. Make it easier for your readers to place an order, and you will get more orders.

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