Don’t write passively even if some expert tells you to

This Jakob Nielsen recommendation about writing passive headlines implies that people who read content on websites are so brainless, they always click on hyperlinks that are the closest to the top-left-hand of the page.

But that’s okay, says Nielsen, because when you write for the web, you’re not really writing for people, you’re writing for a machine that is indexing words, so if you write passively, you can get those words up front so machines can index them and people who only know how to click on the first links they read can help you get your content monetized.

His essay — which I’m guessing is being written for a machine and not for actual human readers — makes as much sense as Miss Teen South Carolina explaining the need for geography education in the schools.

While I’m no expert, here’s my advice for writing for the web:

1. Have something worth saying.

2. Say it.

3. There is no number three.