Lesson number one in just about any Internet writing course, book, seminar, or training program you could possibly care to take part in is usually this: writing for the Internet is different to writing for print. Why? Because the screen hurts the eyes and because the people of the ‘immediate gratification’ generation have no patience for long articles, small fonts or difficult concepts.
So, as I scour the internet – you know, when I can find the time – I see a pattern in writing which puzzles me. Long lists, especially on inspirational sites, of ways for people to accomplish things. No, let me rephrase that – very long lists. Like “400 ways to keep your job”, or “322 ways to ditch the girlfriend without hurting her.” That kind of thing.
I can assure you that I am not of the “immediate gratification generation” but this kind of thing makes even me wobble. I can usually get through about ten items in a list, if the list particularly interests me.
So, all you writers out there, take my advice as an addendum to the original “keep it short” rule: don’t waste your time making long lists that nobody reads. Make the first ten items brilliant to guarantee that your reader gets to the end of the list and the end of your article.
Just because you get a ‘hit’ doesn’t mean you are one.