A favorite photographer of mine recently posted a picture on Instagram and explained in his caption the full gallery was being featured on his blog. Fairly standard for a photographer.
Then he used a hashtag that caught my attention:
That’s unfortunate, I thought. #AmIWastingMyTime?
So I did what I always do when I have a burning question: I asked Siri. And as usual Siri had no idea and deferred to the world wide web.
The Google search was depressing. There are a lot of people out there blogging–ironically–about the death of blogging. Each post darker than the last. Is this the end?
It’s not. But in my quest for answers I learned something:
8 Seconds is the new average attention span of an adult.
Yes, that’s right. People officially have a shorter attention span than goldfish (Source). A big round of applause for humanity!
The reality is that most people don’t actually read blog posts anymore. They skim, and that’s if they decide to click-through to your post.
So unless you plan on writing posts that only take 8 seconds to read, here are 3 tips to keep people’s attention:
Write Better Titles & a Stellar First Paragraph
Many people will see the title and make a split-second decision whether to click or not.
And when they click, a handful of people will spend no time engaging with the article. Rather, they will “bounce” or click-back without engaging.
Slate Magazine published an article stating that for every 161 people who click into a Slate blog post, 61 (or 38%) leave. Yes, 38% of people did not engage with your post. At all. (Source)
And that’s a good bounce rate.
1. Keep It Short: Longer titles will likely be cut-off by search engines.
2. Lists Posts are King: “3 Ways to…” or “5 Tips on…” List posts are also “skim-friendly.”
3. Use “Why” and “How”: People are looking for explanations and how-to’s.
4. Challenge Your Reader: The title of the Slate Magazine article referenced above is a great example – “Why You Won’t Finish This Article“.
Write Fast Copy
I probably read more blogs than the average person, but I skim most of them. Why? Because a few billion–yes billion–pieces of content are shared daily on social media.
Many of the most read blogs are under 1000 words, and are structured with short paragraphs. Take a minute and visit a few bloggers who receive a great deal of daily traffic: Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Jon Acuff. Take note of how they structure their posts.
It’s easy to move from one line to the next, and the posts are concise.
1. Write short paragraphs (3-4 sentences/lines max).
2. Use simple sentences when possible.
3. Use Lists.
4. Don’t be wordy: Avoid overused or unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.
5. Write at least 300 words (for SEO purposes), but keep posts concise.
Use Images & Infographics.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and may buy you more than 8 seconds of attention.
An effective way to provide information is through an infographic. Infographics are easily shareable content, which will likely drive more traffic back to your site. A reader is more likely to pin or share a cute, informative image than link to your article.
And a bonus note: Social Media posts with images tend to get more clicks than posts with only words. When you share that ridiculously good-looking blog post, do yourself a favor and share it with an image.
1. Find professional and relevant images to go in your post.
2. Use easily shared images like infographics to grab readers’ attention.
3. Use an image to share your post on social media.