Short Attention Spans of Internet Users

Written on:January 7, 2013
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In case you haven’t noticed, Internet users have a short attention span. A 1000-word article might work well for an in-flight magazine, but when it comes to online reading, you are better off creating content that is short, sweet and to the point.

Newspapers Had It Right

Years ago, journalism teachers taught newspaper writers to keep articles short (usually under 500 words) and at a sixth grade reading level. Why? Because the general public wanted information in short snippets and the average reader read at a sixth grade level. Of course, this does not apply to every reader, but when you factor in teen readers, it’s a pretty safe level of writing to produce.

After studying the stats of various websites I’ve hosted over the years, two things are obvious.

1. Users don’t stay on one page for long. Writer something to long and you will lose them. It is better to split a longer article in two parts.

2. Users will return only if you have REGULAR and GOOD content to offer them.


Another thing to consider when deciding on the length of your articles is if you plan to now or later hire someone to do the writing. It will cost less to pay someone to write 400 words instead of 1000 words. If you plan to write the articles yourself, then you will need to factor in how much time it takes you to write that article. Again, it is quicker to write a 400 word article than a 1000 word one.


You’ve probably heard to “keep it simple, sweetie”. This is a true saying when it comes to blogs and Internet writing. Keep the topics informative, the writing simple and the length manageable. If you can do these things, your readers will visit your site again and again for news.


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