Summary: Most advice for writing for the web can be distilled down to 5 simple guidelines. Keep it Simple, Concise, Active, Meaningful and Positive – The SCAMP
If you ever sit and think about the way you move around the web, you’ll notice that you spend very little time on any one page.
You want to know if the information you are looking for is on this page, right here, now.
And if it isn’t you want to know where to go to find it.
You judge each page within 3 seconds.
And if you haven’t got what you are looking for within another 10 seconds, you’ve moved on.
And you are not alone. People move across the web at incredible speed. Searching. Absorbing nuggets of information and entertainment.
Click. Click. Click.
Always a click away from what they are looking for.
They scan pages rather than reading them. So, if you want them to do anything more than click away, you have to get your message across quickly.
You can spend an awfully long time studying the finer points of copywriting and web usability. And if you do, you might end up writing some really fantastic stuff. But if you’re busy, like most people, that’s not really an option.
Thankfully, most of the advice can be distilled into these 5 simple guidelines. If you consistently apply these, you will improve the content you write for the web.
Let me introduce you to The SCAMP:
Simple – You don’t need to impress people by showing them that you know big words. Visitors to your site are moving at speed – long or difficult words will slow them down. This will annoy them.
Concise – Vary the length of your sentences, but try to keep to a maximum of 10-15 words. More than that and people start to switch off, scan ahead, or get confused.
Active – Try to write in the active voice, rather than the passive voice. People read active sentences quicker and can understand them more easily.
Meaningful – Cut out the waffle and the marketing talk. Stop filling up space with stuff that doesn’t add anything. The more rubbish you have on your screen, the less chance the important stuff has to be read.
Positive – The human brain likes to know what something is, not what it isn’t. it processes negatives badly. But don’t take my word for it, just try not to think of a pink elephant. See what I mean.
Much of this will sound like common sense, And that’s because much of it is. But it is also an incredibly powerful tool. Try it now, on something you’ve already written.
And let me know how well it works.