Business owners frequently ask our web content writers, “How long should a web page be?” The answer is, it depends.
Short web pages allow the majority of material to be above the fold, allowing website visitors to click on relevant links to drill down for additional details.
Long web pages provide a steady flow of information, eliminating the need for website visitors to click links.
Go Short, or Go Long
Both can work extremely well, if properly planned, written and arranged. Likewise, both can cause visitors substantial grief if the website content is poorly developed.
The right choice between short and long web pages basically comes down to the key messages that need to be conveyed, the audience that’s being targeted, and the task that needs to be completed.
In some cases, a unique value proposition and three brief product teasers are all that’s required. Get the audience to the right page pronto so you can speak to their specific needs or wants.
In other instances, web pages might have to provide greater detail, perhaps covering certain technical elements. Going long is absolutely fine, if necessary — especially as almost every mouse now features a scroll wheel.
Just Get to the Point
The need to get the main points across early is critical, whether a web content writer is developing long or short pages. After all, long copy readership typically declines with each paragraph, and short copy readership also declines when visitors must drill down into multiple pages.
So a 100-word web page isn’t wrong, nor is a 300-word web page. The key is to determine, before any copywriting takes place, what needs to be communicated. And then get the message across without filler — any unnecessary words that just get in the way.
For longer website content, the need for kickers (sub heads), bullet points and anchors increases to promote scanability, as most website visitors scan copy (versus reading online content word for word).
What About SEO?
Some SEO specialists insist a web page should be at least 300 words, or even 500 words, for the website to show up on search engines. While search engines like content, this isn’t necessarily true.
Our web content writers have helped clients is many industries gain desired search engine rankings and online presence with as few as 100 words per page.
Let Needs and Function Drive Form
Don’t arbitrarily pick a page length out of thin air. Let the visitors’ needs, necessary messaging, and usability factors determine how long a web page should be.
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When it comes to web copy, I agree both can work, but good writers are able to say more with less.
Working with designers and copywriters, this is often a hot debate. I agree with Henry, good writers can get a message across is fewer words, and that should be the goal.
Writing is a tool. Use the right tool and length for each task at hand.