5 tips for more engaging online writing
This article originally appeared on PR Daily in May of 2017.
How concise is your writing?
average attention span is 8.5 seconds. Online readers are especially impatient, so you have to streamline the
text on your home page.
Here are five tips for concise writing:
1. Paragraphs should be two to three lines.
In grade school, you might have learned a paragraph should be three
to eight sentences. Although that can be the case, especially in
academic writing, it is a rule of thumb, not law.
When writing for your customers, top content specialists recommend you keep
paragraphs to two or three lines.
2. Explain one idea at a time.
Readers can read only one word at a time, and they still become
To keep readers’ attention, give them one topic at a time. Even if your
business is multifaceted, explain your product or service simply, providing
a logical progression that your potential customer can follow easily.
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3. Use simple words.
Fluff leaves people scratching their heads. Saying, “If you utilize these principles, you will find success,” sounds fancy and
important, but it’s unnecessary.
Instead, say, “If you use these principles, you will find
Take advantage of contractions. Instead of saying, “If you use these
principles, you will find success,” try, “If you use these
principles, you’ll find success.”
4. Use active voice.
If your writing is verbose but vague, you might be using passive voice.
Though common, it’s not the best practice. Choose active voice whenever
• Active voice: “The writer chose the article’s title.”
• Passive voice: “The article’s title was chosen by the writer.”
Active voice is simple and concise; the passive example sounds clumsy and
uses more words. Active voice wins.
5. Write for the reader.
To help readers connect with your copy, tailor the content to them. If you
want true engagement—the gateway to conversion—identify who your readers
are, what they need and why they need it.
Use familiar, accessible language to expand your audience’s understanding
of how you can help them—without talking down to them.
Don’t send your site’s visitors running from dense, confusing content.
Focus on creating concise copy for your home page and beyond. Your
customers—and your bottom line—will benefit.
is the founder and head copywriter of