Writing for the web: Shorter is better

When writing online text, short is better than long. Short articles are easy to glean information from, and if it’s useful material, the visitor will continue by clicking onto another of your pages. The longer the piece, however, the more the visitor must annoyingly scroll to read additional content – especially on mobile phones, which is how more and more of your website visitors are accessing you – and can have difficulty locating info when scrolling back up.

A short piece runs up to 700 words in length. At the same time of ensuring you don’t go too long, make sure you don’t offer too little. After all, if you go fewer than 300 words, why access the page? There likely won’t be enough information on the page to make it worth visiting.

There are a number of guidelines to ensure your text ends up being short rather than long:
• Figure out what’s important – Writing short doesn’t mean you skimp on research. You need to understood your topic fully and identify what you will zero in on.
• Stay focused – Avoid meandering starts and don’t go off on tangents. Think “this is the one key takeaway I want readers to get from the piece” and distill your explanations down to their essence with two or three supporting points.
• Be concise – Minimize unnecessary words. Use active voice and write tightly. Don’t repeat ideas; for example, a conclusion paragraph that summarize the page’s text is superfluous.
• Give specific, meaningful details/examples – Your writing is more evocative when you are exact. Don’t write “The river was beautiful” but “Sunlight sparkled off the river.” The latter’s few extra letters actually provide far more information than the briefer former example.
• Limit quotation length – Favor the pithy over the rambling. If you can say it better in your own words, then do so.
• Maintain an appetizer mentality – Your blog and website text is all about getting visitors interested in your book, which is the main course. Don’t fill them up with the website but give them enough to get them to at least take a look at if not buy your book.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.