Have you ever come across a website or blog that looked like it had potential, until you actually start to read it? I’m talking about the kind of sites where the owner has obviously had a great idea, and new exactly what they wanted to write about online. They targeted a niche market, set up the site with all the right thinking and then…murdered it with text.
Even as literate adults, we don’t like wading through reams of copy on the web. We reserve that pleasure for studying, reading novels, or wading through legal contracts and documents. Our expectations as surfers are much higher. We want to be entertained, and we need a way of accessing information in quick, simple ways.
Those people who prefer to read vast amounts of text tend to stick to buying newspapers. For the rest of us? We know what we want, and we know we want it quickly.
As bloggers, we have a responsibility to our readers to offer a decent article which keeps people entertained, gives them information quickly, and hopefully sparks off a debate and feedback.
What we don’t want to do is face our poor visitors with page upon page of technical writing that makes people feel a little sick when they scroll through our sites.
When you look at some of the most successful blogs out there, they all have a few things in common:
- Great articles, which say everything that the customer is looking for within one thousand words or less
- The use of images to liven up the site and make it more visually appealing to the reader
- Informative, current content that makes the reader want to stick around
- An acknowledgment that the reader is short on time, and needs to gather information quickly without working through lengthy sentence structures and navigational minefields to locate it.
In fact, the best blogs work a little on the same principles of newspapers. With more and more news corporations leaving the paper-based world to represent news and information online, our expectations of the internet are changing. We are growing accustomed to surfing our favorite sites to get what we want quickly, and it actually goes against customer expectations to deviate from this standardized way of presenting information.
Take a look at your blog. Are you swamping your reader with jargon, lengthy paragraphs, technical language and confusing navigation? If you are, it may be time to take a few steps back and reconsider your technique.
Look at the blogs which you most admire. What stands out about them, and their style of presenting information? What characteristics do you notice which are being carried across from journalism in to today’s blogs and web sites? By translating what you like best about the way you yourself gather information, it’s a simple process then to map what you find on to your own site.
Keep ahead of this industry of ours, and take note of the way reader’s expectations are changing, to make sure you become a trendsetter in today’s blogosphere, rather than trailing behind in the wake of your savvy competitors.