254 How Poor Writing Makes Web Sites Fail
258 Understanding How Web Users Read
259 Writing for Your Reader
275 Formatting Text for Readability
With a few exceptions, people visit the Web for its utility, not its beauty. Having a visually appealing site is good, of course, but content is golden. After all, when people enter queries into search engines, they don't type in aesthetic attributesthey're looking for information.
Good writing makes a huge difference in page views, time spent on a site, and sales. The essential rule of site usability holds for written content as much as it does for design: Customers choose clarity over confusion.
Don't underestimate the role of effective writing in creating a successful Web site. As goal-oriented people, Web users want to get to their destination, find the interesting or useful information they're looking for, and move on. They don't have the time or the inclination to wade through a sea of text that never gets to the point. Having clear, solid content is one way to attract and retain viewers, and efficient, intuitive access to that information is a major factor in their satisfaction levels.