100 words per page!

December 7, 2008

Web usability guru, Jakob Neilsen, is stirring the pot again – this time recommending that we aim for no more than 100 words per web page. Based on his 2008 research, he states that Web users have time to read only about 28% of the words on a page during an average visit, with 20% more likely. Yikes!

Personally, I think he’s onto something (think about your own behaviour… do you really read those 600+ word pages on other people’s sites?). However in reality I can see that it’s the kind of goal that many of my clients would struggle with – especially those dealing with complex information.  I think it comes down to what kind of information you’re writing about. Marketing info? Keep it short. Fascinating article? Tell me more. But stick to basic web writing principles because your readers are still going to scan, not read.

I also think that with the swelling tide of webvideo that will be hitting our shores in 2009 and 2010, we’re going to be doing a whole lot less of reading and whole lot more of watching.

What do you think?

PS: This post is 180 words. Writing 100 words is HARD!

An inspiring shot of Uluru at dawn

Uluru at dawn

I’ve got my head down, bottom up at the moment scrambling to deliver a whole bunch of web writing workshops for various lovely clients including the Australian Museum team who are launching a fab new site in 2009.

When I talk to people in my workshops about blogging there is always one very common response: ‘I don’t have time!’ This is closely followed by ‘We’d never be allowed to do that!’

So, it all comes down to time and permission. Or maybe giving ourselves permission to have time.

Whatever that means. I think it’s a little hot in my office.

I guess the bottom line is, business blogging should be a fun extension of your work thoughts. You know, the ones you’re already having in the shower or sitting on the bus in the mornings. Or when you come out of an interesting meeting or discussion.

In fact, when I had my shower this morning I was thinking that I needed to blog but it was going to be a busy day, so I probably wouldn’t have time to even think about a topic.

Then I came across this gorgeous shot on the V&A website when I was researching something and it got me thinking about how dramatic the natural environment can be and how it gives us space to think… and then I had a thought!

Hence this post.

So if you’re stuck for ideas (and time), go look at some pretty shots on Flickr. You’ll have to set aside a little time and tell yourself it’s okay to browse. But hey, it’s all in the name of work.