The Short Story

7 Tips for Telling Your Story on the Web

30 Seconds -- that's all you have! Scientific studies and our own server statistics on hundreds of thousands of web page visits agree -- visitors who don't leave the page immediately will spend roughly 30 seconds on a web page, and it doesn't matter all that much if you double or triple the amount of text.

Image: Website

Adult reading speed is about 250 - 300 words a minute, so there is only time for the interested visitor to read about 125 - 150 words on your web page (which, if about average, has around 600 words).

How do readers learn anything when they read only 20% of the words?

By being very selective. They scan down the left side of a page very quickly for topics that catch their attention and spend most of their time in those topics. 

The eye tracking chart here, from web usability guru Jakob Nielsen, shows results that have been repeated in numerous studies.

7 Tips for getting your message across in 30 seconds...

  1. Keep it short. If people will only read around 100-150 words, don't write 1500 words.
  2. Stay above the fold.  80% of reader attention is in what they can see without scrolling, on pages too long to fit.
  3. Skip the blah blah. Don't waste valuable space with meaningless filler text.
  4. Use lists and bullet points to focus attention on key points.
  5. Put key words at the beginning since readers scan down the left side to decide where to focus attention.
  6. Use interesting, descriptive headlines, followed by short paragraphs.
  7. Link to other pages with meaningful "anchor text" to both grab the readers' attention with the link itself, and to move longer narratives off the page.

What is "anchor text"? It's the text the reader sees in a link. Your reader (and Google) will pay more attention to a link that is descriptive such as "headlines are crucial for search engines" rather than "click here for more" or

If you are using our Online Business Partner, just highlight the text you want to use as your anchor text while in the editor, click the link manager, and select the page you want to link.


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