Writing for the Web: 5 Keys to Getting Read

Nine out of 10 adults get some of their news online, according to this Pew Research Center report. Today’s journalists need to be able to structure their stories to meet the needs of their digital audience. Here are some tips to think about when writing for the Web.

  • Don’t Dawdle: Get to the point. Quickly. Now is not the time for your 1,000-word, New Yorker-esque lede. Research shows that as many 55 percent of online readers spend less than 15 seconds on a page.
  • Deliver What You Promise: Readers can be fooled by clickbait. Once. But they won’t be back if you write intentionally misleading headlines.
  • Be Short, But Good: Your story may be short compared with what you’d write in print. But it must be well told. Boil the story down to its essence. Focus on the most important hook first, then move to your narrative.
  • Apply the Brevity Principle to Sources, Too: The people you quote don’t get to pontificate either. No extra words. Make the quotes count!
  • Go Easy on the Eye: Use white space generously. Readers are turned off by great big blocks of texts online.

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