Digital Web Magazine

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Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance? : Comments

By Jessica Neuman Beck

February 20, 2007


Brad Henry

February 21, 2007 5:24 AM

Great Article. It provides real value for anyone who writes a lot of web copy. Since I am also a web marketing analyst, I would recommend for any copywriters out there to get a subscription to keyword discovery or wordtracker and do some keyword research before you begin writing. This way you will be sure to include exact matches to the keyword phrases your target market will use to find what you just wrote about. It involves a little more effort but can be very rewarding.

Brett Derricott

February 21, 2007 8:14 AM

Thanks for the article. Writing for the Web is a challenge and I don’t often see it done well. I think your suggestions are all excellent and I plan to review my own writing to see where I can improve. Thanks.

Tiff Fehr

February 21, 2007 11:01 AM

I third the motion that this is a great article. I needed the reminder, and it’s been a excellent resource to share with my colleagues. I think it will improve our content writing across the board.

Jessica Neuman Beck

February 21, 2007 4:09 PM

Wow, thanks for the feedback! Brad, that’s an excellent point about keywords. Getting people connected with the information they need is half the battle.


February 21, 2007 7:18 PM

I’ve been reading Digital Web for a while now but have only recently subscribed to the online feed. I noticed in my feed that the ‘News’ about the “Free Copy of the Next Big Book in Web Design” was there and when I clicked over to the site I noticed a whole new section on the right that I never look at.

This comment is therefore sort of related to your article, in that the design of the Digital Web website could perhaps be enhanced so it’s easier to see the Daily news on the right, especially since news items appear to be added more regularly than the articles and appear below the events, and below the fold.

But, back to the article, I think it’s very informative and I wish that more people who create web content would take this on board.

Nick Finck

February 21, 2007 7:52 PM

Jen, good point. For now we will change the events area to only list one event which will pull the news up higher on the page. A few things I want to point out, it sounds like you are subscribed to the articles feed, did you know theres a seperate feed for the daily news blog? There are also feeds for specific topics, authors, and even feeds for comments like this one. Click on the subscribe tab to learn more.


February 22, 2007 3:16 AM

A really well-thought out and well-written article. Thank you! You highlight a lot of specifics that we can all take on board and use. I definitely plan on making time for this in the next few days.

Brian Artka

February 22, 2007 10:25 AM

excellent article Jessica. I have always struggled with how to arrange web copy, and this article gave me alot to think about.


February 22, 2007 3:00 PM

It’s a nicely written article. But it’s also an article that doesn’t say much new. Jackob Nielsen has been writing about this for years now. He has some very good articles in his Alerbox column.

Christian Watson

February 28, 2007 9:13 PM

This is a good article. However, I find it ironic that although you recommend choosing “short, concise chunks of information over long, solid blocks of text” you go on to have a chunk of text 27 lines long (“What works?”)

Although it’s probably more semantically correct to present this content as a list, it makes it much harder to read because you can’t use paragraphs within it.

In this instance it would be much better from a reader’s standpoint to use sub-headings and paragraphs to mark up this content. Then I might not feel too intimidated to read it!

Carolyn Wood

March 1, 2007 5:24 PM

Hi Christian,
I have been reading your blog for quite awhile and love it!
You know, I don’t see the What Works? section the way you do. For me, the bullets and bolding break up the section into discrete chunks. I can see that adding a little more space between each list item would be nice, but for me, adding subheadings for each little section would be really distracting and too choppy. I guess “chunks” are partly in the eye of the beholder. :)


March 3, 2007 10:29 PM

When I’m faced against an article or some sort of long text, I will look, before anything else, at the scroll bar browser at right. Its length and size will immediately give me a notion of what I’m about to read. Most of the times, I drag it all the way down to efectively confirm the length of the text itself. Sometimes, this could be because of large lists of comments at the bottom of the article, but many others put massive pieces of text, and make the scroll bar look infinitely tiny and totally discouraging (hey, sometimes I can’t even grab the thing!).
Most of the built-in blogs can’t do it, but I highly recommend expand your document into two or more pages, giving them a fixed length; the reader will be encouraged to read some extent of the text and, if it was interested, keep on reading onto the next page.
This is a real good trick against “reading laziness”.


March 19, 2007 2:26 PM

Absolutely great article, and the article itself is a testiment to it’s contents. I saw the heading and had to read it. I’m going to have to pour over it in detail a little later. Also – I apologize if you covered this but did you have any comments on font selection? Just in reading this article I think I’ve decided that this font is easier, and cleaner than the one I’m using. Do you have a preference? Thanks,

Bob H.

March 20, 2007 9:46 AM

Only one issue, what is ‘above the fold’ and ‘below the fold’? There is no such thing. Everyone’s, everyone’s browser, monitor size and screen resolution is different.

The browser can have a few or no toolbars in it. The browser can be maximized or shaped in a way that shows only part of the page.

The monitor could be 15”, 17”, 30” or a couple of inches. Where is the fold then?
And then for all of these screen sizes, there are resolution differences.

The fold always moves so it’s better to think that there just isn’t a ‘fold’ in web pages. The closest we could possibly come is the far upper left area of a page.

Jessica Neuman Beck

March 23, 2007 8:36 PM

BDG: Sans serif fonts tend to be easiest to read, especially at smaller sizes…but that’s not across the board. One resource I’ve used in the past to see how my copy will look on the web with one font or another is CSSTYPE ( ). By the way, your typography definitely isn’t bad…you may want to increase the space between the letters in your headers, though.

Bob H.: You are so right! “Above the fold” is quickly becoming meaningless. If you know your site’s stats and can assume that most of your viewers are running at 1028 × 768 (for example) you can pretty easily extrapolate your ideal site arrangement…but it’s never going to be all things to all people. Good point.


April 11, 2007 1:44 AM

I had a really good read on this, very detail, and very useful information.


July 15, 2007 9:54 AM

Thanks for the feedback! Brad, that’s an excellent point about keywords. Getting people connected with the information they need is half the battle…


July 17, 2007 4:51 PM

Thanks for the article. I think your suggestions are all excellent and I plan to review my own writing to see where I can improve.

Kevin Gallagher

July 21, 2007 9:15 AM

some really good advice here thanks will be implamenting some of these ideas into my website

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