At least you won’t read every word of it, right to the end.
Why? Because you’re busy, tired, distracted, overloaded. Because, like every human, you live on an island of your own interest. Because I haven’t used images, lists, headings (OK maybe one), emboldened text, quotes or other mechanisms commonly used to hold attention. Because as soon as you landed on this page you unconsciously made an assessment and decided it may be worth reading this first paragraph, but now you’ve got the gist, you’ve got more interesting places to go. Places with shiny things. And because I’ve deliberately made this first block of text quite long, you’re starting to feel a bit tuckered out already.
But look at you, you’ve made it to the start of the second paragraph. Actually it gets really boring from here. I’d head off if I were you. Unless you plan to write for the web. In which case you face huge challenges if you actually want people to read what you’ve written. Challenge #1 – the curse of obscurity. Your writing is a drop in a vast ocean. Is it an interest piece? Even worse. Do you realise how many other people have written about that same topic? Is it a business page? How will people find you, let alone read your lovingly crafted text?
The second huge challenge is you. No, don’t look at the person in the seat beside you. This is about you. Can you put yourself in the virtual shoes of someone landing on your page? You know you’ve just written possibly the best landing page copy ever. It’s all there. But wait a minute. Remember how you struggle with other people’s websites? Remember how quickly you lose interest? ‘Why is there so much here?!’, you cry. ‘Why do they go on so?! Just get to the point so I can move on!’
Brevity is the essence of wit. It’s also an excellent strategy for writing on the web because mostly, people don’t have time. Yes, there are literally hundreds of other factors that combine to make any web page or web site engaging – that convince the reluctant reader to stay, read, click through for more. But keeping things short and concise, putting the draft aside for 24 hours, re-working, trimming, getting someone else to read it thorugh – along with everything else you as a writer have learned to do – will dramatically improve your chances of people actually reading what you have written. Unlike this piece that I have deliberately fashioned to demonstrate a point.
This last bit’s bold, so you’ve probably skimmed down to read it. I rest my case.