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Avoid lengthy paragraphs and make sure each paragraph deals with only one idea. Instead of long paragraphs, use bulleted lists containing short, high-impact sentences.
Another crucial point is to use “inverted pyramid” principle. This just means that you state your conclusion or most important information up front, and then use rest of body of your text to elaborate and explain. Kind of like a newspaper story.
And because Sam hates to scroll, break your text into logical stand-alone sub-parts of no longer than a single page (or screen) and then link (with a meaningfully-worded link) to next section which starts on a new page.
FEWER WORDS THE BETTER
Make sure your writing is not woolly. You need to write with precision of a surgeon wielding a scalpel. No superfluous words allowed. Write for effect, by all means, but get to point and fast! In other words, be succinct.
Nothing gets that mouse finger itchier than perception that author of work lacks credibility. The top three culprits are hyperbole (avoid marketing hype at all costs and go for restrained objectivity instead), typos and grammatical errors. Sam likes to think you’ve done your homework too so make sure you include links to reputable sources elsewhere on web (but not too many or you risk losing him for good).
One of major differences in writing for web compared to other forms of writing is inherently impersonal nature of medium. Instead of holding a comfortably reassuring book in his hands, or getting black smudge on his fingers from newspaper, Sam’s only contact with you is your words on a computer screen. You need to overcome impersonal nature of medium if you expect to reach Sam with your words. It is for this reason that “write as you speak” is so much norm on Internet.
Be informal and conversational in your writing (note, this is NOT a license to churn out shoddy, unprofessional work- writing conversationally and informally is every bit as demanding as writing formally, if not more so) and be personal while you’re at it (use “you” and “your” a lot). Most importantly, allow your personality to come through. You need to connect with Sam before he will invest in you so make sure you reach him with your writing.
DESIGN AND LEGIBILITY
Finally, just because it’s less comfortable to read from a computer screen than a book or newspaper doesn’t mean you can’t make it less uncomfortable. Choose font you use with care. Times is a common default font for a lot of web pages but it doesn’t “pixellate” well. Better choices are Arial or Verdana.
Consider your choice of color and contrast carefully too. A dark font on a light background is best for lengthy reading sessions but a light font on a dark background can be effective if used sparingly.
So there you have it. Some relatively quick and easy steps you can take today to make it more likely Sam will get your message. And come back for more.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com