O.K. For the purists out there, “For whom are you writing?”

If you are writing for a magazine it’s fairly easy to define who the readers are. The marketing department will have made the brand and the niche clear. But what if you are writing for the web, a blog or for a web site? Almost anyone, from anywhere can happen by and take a look.

Not everyone, however, will do more than take a quick look. Think of your own habits when you are surfing the web. Some blogs – perfectly good blogs – are not in your area of interest. you glance and you’re gone on to the next.

A few look interesting at first glance, but then you realize this isn’t for you. A few you keep reading because this looks interesting; it’s your thing.

If you are writing a blog or a web page, this is the reader whose attention you need to grab. You’ve made a connection. It isn’t immediately a strong connection but if you write right you can strengthen it.

Let’s assume that the topic interests them at least a bit, or they would have moved on. So now it’s up to the appearance of your blog or web page. How attractive is it? Would you call it cluttered? Stark? Cute? Business-like?

The important thing is – it needs to match your message. Cute isn’t going to cut it if you’re doing financial analysis.

Then comes the content – the heart of the matter. Are you speaking the language of the people you hope will read the page? Not just are you speaking English clearly and fluently but focusing your language to the person who might be interested in finding out what you have to say. Your financial page reads differently from your ‘how to make a fascinator’ page.

Are you giving your readers thoughts and ideas they can use? Can you present your material in a way that entertains as well as informs? As you write, will your readers be able to sense the real person behind the words?

Many blogs and web sites are out-sourced, or filled with articles that have been re-run more often than Gilligan’s Island. Or they are copies of corporate business-speak.

You are writing for a person who has a similar interest to yours. Can you engage that person almost as if it was a conversation (OK, a one-sided conversation, but there’s room for comments.)

You are writing for a person much like you, whether they live in Sydney, San Jose, Toronto, Monaco or New Delhi. We’d all like to be interested, informed, and entertained.

Are you up for it?