4 Things You Should Know About Web Readers

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Forget about magazines or broadsheets, web writing is the new evolution of the writing tradition.

According to ALEXA rank statistics, internet traffic keeps on growing year by year. Advancements in technology intended to enhance our Internet experience combined with the development of smart gadgets like smartphones, iPads and PC tablets gives us an assurance that this industry growth will continue on for years to come.

Even media giants like CNN, The New York Times, and Time magazine have now recognized the power of this new media and as of now, each of them have their own social media accounts for you to follow. Moreover, everyone can now publish their own work by creating their own blogs and/or by guest posting. The competition in the web writing industry has never been tougher.

What the aspiring web writer must realize is that in this kind of environment, having writing talent and skill is good, but the quality that will set you apart for success is your ability to gather an audience. The writer can no longer afford to adapt the old formalistic traditions of disregarding the audience, while doing the work.

Instead, the writer now needs to consider the audience all the time when writing because, at the end of the day, the success or failure of your web page will depend on your audience. This is the point at which you transform from an artist to a marketer. To succeed as a writer, you must first learn more about your audience.

Here are some of the things you need to know about your readers:


1. They have a short attention span.

It is not that they cannot pay attention; it is just that there are too many distractions in their lives. To get their attention, you have to compete with Facebook and Twitter, as well as with their family and work. The fact that they managed to land on your site is something to be thankful for.

Generally, an average web user only spends 10 to 30 seconds reading Internet content. People rarely read web pages word-per-word. Instead, they scan the page for related keywords, bullet points, subtitles, and quotes. As a web writer, you need to adjust your writing in a manner that would suit this kind of fast paced lifestyle.

Cut to the chase and get to the story straight. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and as much as possible, make use of bullet points, quotes and keywords. In addition, make your headline brief, catchy and informative at the same time.


2. They are here for information.

Your readers are thirsty for information. It is your job to quench that thirst with your writing. In order for you to do this, you need to deliver the kind of information that they are seeking. It is a good idea for you to determine first who your audience is. For example, if your field of interest involves science, then it is best for you to write science-related articles.


3. They are smart.

This is one of the cardinal rules of writing—never underestimate your readers. They will know if you are just bluffing or fabricating some made up data. Make sure that all the information you include are accurate and relevant to the topic. Moreover, avoid throwing a lot of complicated theories or complex words just to make yourself sound smart. Your readers might hate you for it. Remember, you are writing not to impress, but to inform and express.


4. They don't forget.

Readers are like customers. If you provide them with good service, then most likely they will come back to do business with you again in the future. Treat them like crap and they will treat you and your business likewise. At the end of the day, they are the ones who will vote, like and share your link around the web.

Jillan Mullin is a Missouri School of Journalism alum, and Art Director based in Dallas, Texas. A Kansas City native, Jillian brings energy and fresh thinking to every client challenge she faces. Follow her on Twitter @jillianamullin.


Photo ryanjraffa/flickr