Let’s face it: Half your blog readers do not get beyond the first 100 words
Incidentally, that’s why you should focus on creating fresh content using inspiring and provocative writing. It’s why you should never resort to cut-n-paste appropriation.
Word-poaching is not only a violation of copyright — it also undermines and debilitates the entire blogosphere.
Anyway, back to the main thrust of this article … Experts seem to agree that readers have learned to tune things out while they surf. [i]
Probably it’s because they are inundated with banners, pop-ups and paid advertising. They have conditioned themselves to ignore and to block. While these skim-and-snub techniques will help the surfer, the practice means that it’s likely your best work will be left unnoticed — your skilled wordsmithery will be left unread.
These days people are hypertasking, even as they read stuff. It’s almost as if they just brush against a web page in a flash.
One study [ii] suggested that 17% of readers spend less than 4 seconds on a page. It seems they are trying to root out the most precious material in that fraction of time.
It’s as if sufers are like old-time prospectors panning for “gold” — quickly and methodically.
During this panning & skimming phase they are looking for keywords, sub-headings or interesting images. If they don’t find any in a hurry, they will sod off.
An old newspaper adage suggested that readers spend much of their time “above the fold.” That seems still relevant now — with most readers spending just 80% of their time on the “upper portions” of the site. [iii]
So it is necessary to put your most important words in the upper part of each story. And do not forget that they’ll be skimming these words anyway. So don’t fight their urges — make it easy for them to do their panning. Offer them bulleted lists & highlighted key words then break down ideas into separate paragraphs.
Readers are skittish. They get scared off quickly by cunning and devious marketing. They can smell the breath of commercialism at a hundred paces. If they detect even the slightest whiff of subtle mercantilism, they will be out of your blog quick as a mouse click.
So avoid boasting about stuff, or inadvertently marketing. I know that you want to remind your readers about the new album, the headline tour, the collectors box-set etc. Put these facts at the end of your story. [iv]
Tips to get your blog readers beyond the first 100 words :
- Aim to make your first 100 words awesomeamazing
- Get to the main point swiftly
- Find a way to use lists / bullet points
- Use quotes
- Highlight keywords
- Set-aside new ideas in fresh paragraphs
- Use images to break up large blocks of text
- Avoid ‘accidental’ marketing
- Leave sales and promotion till the end
Any other tips you’d like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts on twitter @rockpencon
Words & Images @neilmach 2016 ©
Neil Mach is editor of RAW RAMP MAGAZINE
Member of the European News Agency, Music Industry Forum, Music Industry Network and regular blogger and contributor to several sites
[i] Info from https://chartbeat.com/ 2013
[ii] Nielsen, J. (2010, March 22). Scrolling and attention
[iii] Nielsen, J. (1997, October 1). How users read on the web.
[iv] http://weinreichs.de/ Published by Nielsen Norman Group