Why do people even read “Stuff” on
To buy something……anything
To get a second or first opinion
To entertain themselves
To satisfy their curiosity
How do people read on the web?
• The web is full of CRAP (Thanks to past SEO
– People have realized this and so have search engines
– Key-word density, frequency etc., is no longer a
– Content quality from a “Readers’” perspective is what
matters now (Thanks to Google’s intelligent
• Nobody ends up at the piece directly, they mostly find
your content through Social Networks……through
• Nobody cares how information/fact rich the piece is if
they cant see it they wont read it.
– People scan pages!
– 3 to 5 seconds!
• “Marketese” aka marketing language, turns readers off
Characteristics of Good Web Content
• Web readable layout
• People scan the main sections of a page
– Determine what it’s about
– Whether they want to stay longer.
• They make decisions about the page in as little as
• If they decide to stay, they pay the most attention
to the content in the top part of the screen.
Spaced Out Text
Topic Sentence and
• Topic sentence essentially tells
what the rest of the paragraph is
• All sentences after it have to
give more information about the
•Prove it by offering facts about it
• Controlling ideas
• shows the direction the
paragraph will take
• Inverted Pyramid style of writing
• Avoid “Fluff”, “Puffery” or “Marketese”
• Condense information:
Solutions - Not the liquidy thing, I'm afraid. 'Solutions' is the buzz word
rather egotistical. If you are the best in something, then you'll probably be
ranked first in a poll of some sort. Link to the poll. Note the following two
phrases which have used 'the best' in them have become very successful,
however the vast majority of web pages probably wouldn't if they tried using
them: 'Simply the best' and 'The best a man can get (Gillette)'.
The best... - Putting this anywhere on a webpage will make you seem •
of consultants who have answers to problems you never even considered until
their product existed. Rather than calling something a 'solution', explain what
it actually does to solve a problem. Then you'll be writing about your selling
point and not a vague catchall.
New - This word is so common amongst the internet. It has a variety of
about being 'internationally recognised', 'world leading', 'world class' or 'a
global success'. The sceptical out there will probably look at these statements
with raised eyebrows. Just be warey of using such terms without just
cause. For example, if the first time a person has discovered your brand is by a
Google Ad, you should probably not be using 'internationally renowned' on
your site - at least not without quantifying it (e.g. 'internationally renowned for
expertise in putting holes in the middle of mints').
meanings, but the use that is completely unnecessary is sticking 'new'
(normally with a yellow/red icon) next to any new pages or products. Use of a
'new' icon is a cop-out for better structured page sections which are designed
to showcase new products. One phrase that also should be avoided: 'the
newest ____ in town'.
Cool and Fun - These two words should only ever be used by young folk.
They have no place on web pages in describing... anything.
fantastic. These words are normally suffixed with 'opportunity'. Unless
Unique - I love and hate it. It solves many problems as a great catchall for
selling something, but at the same time it has become more overused. Hence
its place half-way up the list.
Revolutionary - Unless your product, service, or web page has
either: caused a great change in thinking, a country-wide riot, or revolves
regularly, this word is silly.
Made up words - If you haven't worked it out by now, all the
points above address the issue where words are used and the reader has to
think twice about the genuine message. Making up words takes this to the
next level where the reader has to think twice (or thrice) about the actual
message (regardless of whether its genuine or not).
Generic beef-up words: outstanding, amazing, incredible,
you have a direct quote from someone describing your product or service as
such, avoid self-declarations. Even then, don't use them except in explicit
Going global - I often come across pages which mention something
Unbeatable (price) - Normally followed quickly by 'terms and
conditions apply'. State the price, perhaps you have a sale, but be honest and
clear. Supermarkets often have price cuts after a previous two week hike, they
increased the price, so now with their cut it has become unbeatable, but only
because a fortnight ago the price went up. (So 10 and a half is) Sale - Closely
associated with an unbeatable price. We've all seen the DFS/SFS/SCS sale.
Some say they only have one a year, the only thing is that it's all year long.
Only use it if it's a real sale, otherwise you'll just saturate your sale-conscious
market and they'll become disinterested. Note: using point (4) with this is a big
annoyance, e.g. 'biggest sale ever'.1
• About 65 characters per line
• Fit in a single page if possible
• Relevant graphics only
– Captions are secondary
• Hyperlinks must have a context/description
– “Click here”, turns people off