When I visit a website, I’m not reading your content. I can probably bet that you’re doing the same thing right now and not reading mine. After years in the industry, I’ve learned many things about website usability among loads of other things. If you’re reading this right now and run a website, you’re in for a real treat.
What’s This Treat, Brad?
After years of formulating content and running a blog, I can direct your eyes to certain points in an article that I feel will give my readers relevant and beneficial knowledge. How is this done? Simply speaking, user’s don’t read… they scan.
The Mentality of the Internet Age
I’ve stated this before (previous article link), that content is created every second, of every day. You can’t beat the rush of new content formed by people like us. So, what can you do to make yourself a writer that internet users will appreciate? Write as if you have 5 seconds to convince your reader to scan a little more into your article.
If you fail to realize that the back button on a browser is used more than any other button, then you are doing yourself a real disservice by writing novel length articles. Short. Concise. To the point. This will attract more readers, referrals, comments to your sites.
Blocks of text do no favours for any reader. If I can’t read what you are trying to say in two or three sentences, I will push back and probably never return again. It’s not you, it’s just the plethora of information available on the web that might summarize it for me, reducing time wasted searching for information.
Well, Jeez! How do you create scannable content?
I’m glad you read that. To create scannable content, here are methods that I employ on my sites:
- Bold your important words. This attracts the eye to words in the sentences.
- Use headings. This gets your content of writing away from being blocks of text and more towards scanner friendly content.
- Pictures, Pictures and More Pictures. If you don’t add pictures to attract interest to your articles, you are losing out.. Big time. With hundreds of millions of pictures available on the internet, you should take advantage of them and put them in your post.
- Lists. Let me tell you something. Scanners LOVE lists. The dots beside the content are screaming, “I’m organized and in a concise format for you to read me in!” and that makes scanners… interested.
- Summarize. Do not make paragraph long bullet points.
We are in a New Age of Publishing
I think the old media (mostly newspaper), are going to be less and less in demand. Why? The new generation is used to getting their information on the internet and the articles in the newspaper aren’t concise. They give all the details, in blocks of text, with little bolding or lists. Which makes us scanners, well, want to push the back button. (I know that’s not possible but I have to try and tie it in).
I could see major problems in the future for the owners of these publishing companies unless they adapt. The New York Times has done an excellent job putting up a paywall and branching out to apps on the iPad and Android market.
Will a Paywall work?
For people that are dedicated to The New York Times for their news, yes. For others that are looking to read about a topic, no. The site states that you can read 20 articles before having to pay for it.
As stated above:
“Content is created every second, of every day. You can’t beat the rush of new content.”
I think they are going to have a real problem in the future as people simply don’t want to pay for content. Where you can pay for it, it’s probably already out there for free.
Brad.. Scanning, New York Times, Internet Age.. Tie all of this together
Sure. If you don’t keep pace with the publishing trend, you’ll have a really hard time growing your site. Growth is good. Growth is money. More Money is fine. Publish high quality content that is easy to read. That is all.
Do you agree about the movement of the internet publishing? Is there something I missed? Earn yourself a spot as this article’s top contributor.