Can Long Copy On The Net Work
Posted on 05 Jan 2000
by peter van dijck (pedrito)
Rated 3.74 (Ratings: 1)
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Popular knowledge says long text doesn't work on the net. Idisagree. If used properly, it can be very effective.Have you ever kept reading on a webpage, and beendisappointed there wasn't any more?
How not to do itLong text as used in newspapers orbooks indeed doesn't work on the net. I think most of you willagree with me on that. On the other hand, on some sitestext is just too short, and to read more you need to keepgoing to new pages (to show more ads?), which can bepretty frustrating.
I think if you follow therules for internet writing(make itscannable, conclusions first, good subtitles, one idea perparagraph and so on), long texts can work pretty well. Havea look at selfpromotion.com -- it's all text, and although it'snot perfect, it keeps you reading (me at least).
So how to do itA few more rules that work for me:
- keep rewriting
Most writers know this, but if you're anaverage Joe like me, this is rule number one. After writingsomething, let it be for a day and rewrite thoroughly. Andthen rewrite again. And spellcheck. If you can, havesomebody read it (editor).
I think the main problem for content on the web these daysis that people don't work hard enough on their copy (yes,that includes me).
- conclusion first! Put your conclusion first. There can beno laps of interest (where a reader looses interest) in yourarticle, or they'll loose appetite and start clicking. So putthejuicy stuff first, and keep feeding them. (I'm gonna end thiseating metaphor right here before it gets out of hand.)
Will they still wanna read on if you give them the good stuffright away? I think they will. If you give them somethingreally good, people will want to know more about it.
And put content on that page! I'm always amazed by howmany sites want you to click 2 or 3 times before getting tothe good stuff. Content on the homepage!
Further readingHave a look at string of pearls. It kind ofdisagrees with all I said here, but I find it veryinteresting.And useit.com has a classic on How people read on the web.
What do you think? Can long copy really work? Doeseverything HAVE to be divided into lots of sub-pages? Whynot just throw it all on one page? Or should it be serial, likethe string of pearls pages?