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Writing in the Inverted Pyramid for your Website

Writing content for your website? Use the inverted pyramid style. Why? Your customers want information in an instant. They don’t want to read through copy to find what your keypoint is. Whatever your essential message is, put it first. Most Web users skim through content in an “F” pattern.  They look more at the beginning of the lines than all the way across and as the copy gets longer, their interest goes down.

In school, we were all taught to write in the narrative style with the main point as the conclusion. Unfortunately, this style isn’t effective for Web content.  Instead, write in the inverted pyramid style where the main point is at the beginning of the copy. “The inverted pyramid organizes stories not around ideas or chronologies but around facts,” says journalism historian Mitchell Stephens in “A History of News.” ”It weighs and shuffles the various pieces of information, focusing with remarkable single-mindedness on their relative news value.”

Although writing this way might be challenging, writing in this style is a very useful skill as it forces you to organize and sum up the point of the copy in a single paragraph.  By using this inverted pyramid style, your website will be easier to read and keep your visitors on your webpage for longer periods of time.

Just for Fun: Facts of the Inverted Pyramid
Origin: The inverted pyramid structure is the product of an old media technology—the telegraph. When news outlets would telegraph information over the wires, it made sense to use the inverted pyramid because the most vital information in the story was transmitted first. In the event of a lost connection, whoever received the story could still print the essential facts.

If not for this style of writing this is how our news would read like:
British correspondent William Howard Russell in his coverage of the Battle of Balaklava in 1854:

If the exhibition of the most brilliant valor, of the excess of courage, and of a daring which would have reflected luster on the best days of chivalry can afford full consolation for the disaster of today, we can have no reason to regret the melancholy loss which we sustained in a contest with a savage and barbarian enemy.

Did you enjoy reading that paragraph? Didn’t think so and neither will your website visitors. 

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Tags: inverted, pyramid, writing


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