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Tighten Your Copy Or Lose Your Visitors

They aren't reading many words

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[ Business]

If you’re spending plenty of money and time on marketing and advertising, be wary of landing pages that veer into undue verbosity.

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
-- Ernest Hemingway on big word guy William Faulkner.

Big emotions come from little words. Spend some time attending the many June weddings taking place in a few weeks, and see how much emotion surrounds the words, ‘I do’.

While you don’t have to turn your copywriting staff into a bunch of cat-loving, bullfighting Hemingway clones, it may be best to ensure your landing page copy arrives in tight, readable form.

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen cited recent research into how Internet users read little of what they see. The summary should serve as a short, sharp shock to those whose prose tacks toward the verbose:

On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

In the study, the authors instrumented 25 users’ browsers and recorded extended information about everything they did as they went about their normal Web activities. What’s important about this study is that it was completely naturalistic: the users didn’t have to do anything special.

They found the budding Faulkners of the web gained little in-depth attention. After cleaning up the researchers’ dataset, Nielsen found on an average visit that “users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less.”

Out of that hundred-plus words, you might be getting 50 across to the visitor. That’s not just a short attention span, it’s a veritable eyeblink. “If you target a broader audience or have sales cycles that are shorter than 5 years, you’d be wise to put your word count on a strict diet,” said Nielsen.

Save ‘The Sound and the Fury’ for your reading list, rather than your site copy. Visitors are coming for the facts, delivered in some tasty, effective “bytes.”

Tighten Your Copy Or Lose Your Visitors


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  • http://www.rankbetterseo.com SEO Company Chicago

    "On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely."  yeh I would say more like 20%.

  • http://www.riversagency.com advertising agency Raleigh

    KISS (Keep it Short S*^*#d)

  • http://www.shamskm.com Shams

    Ya, agree with the findings.

  • Guest

    TLDR :)

  • http://www.lakaw.com/ talksmart

    those pages with 111 words or less. — pretty exact huh!

  • http://mobtravel.net/mobtravel/blog/index.php Sarah

    You are right copy is very important…i only read stuff to what i feel attracted to…there is so much clutter around us that it’s difficult to read everything…and copy is the only thing that can hold your visitor.

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