Writing for the web

Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen has done a lot of research on how people read on the web.

If you (like most of your customers) are lazy and only scan stuff, here are the highlights:

  • 79% of people scan pages rather than read them word-by-word.
  • The average user reads around 20% of text on a web page.
  • People scan your site in an F-shaped pattern.
  • Avoid marketing jargon and get to the point quick.
  • Introductory text on web pages is usually too long.
  • Tell your customers what you do and why you're better than your competition.
  • Use meaningful headings.
  • Use familiar words if you want to be found by search engines.
  • User's eyes are attracted by actionable content such as features, links, search boxes and buttons.
  • Bulleted lists are your friend.
  • Links should always describe where they will take the user. Avoid "click here" as link text.
  • People don't like small font sizes.

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