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Nobody Reads the Web Anymore... Right?

"TLDR"

That means "too long, didn't read" if you're not up on your latest tech acronyms.

And that's where we're at, for the most part. People don't want to hunt through content to find an answer. They want it handed to them on a silver platter.

And video isn't necessarily the answer, either. Just this morning, I saw a good headline on a website I frequent, so I clicked into the article. I was met with a video. Hmm. Yeah, I don't need that info so bad where I need to watch a 45 minute video to find the answer. Forget that. I moved on.

In the world of Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, people can barely hang on for 1-3 minutes before you lose them. We want the good stuff - the answer right away. We're consuming information at a record pace.

What Does This Mean for Your Website?

It means you still better publish content for SEO reasons... that's for sure. Google is still reading websites. They send bots out to do that. It's a part of how you rank in search results.

But, if you want to hang out at the top of search results, your content better be meaty!

This means several things:

  • The answer (the meat) must be near the top
  • The article can't be too long (sort of... I'll get to that)
  • The page must be easy to scan / consume
  • You need to be using keywords and related keywords in your content

Since Google measures if people bounce off your site and still need to find answers, having your page show a good, concise answer right away is a good thing. People get their answer from your website, and stop searching. When that happens, your website becomes the best result and ranks right at the top.

Let's dive in...

Deliver the Goods

People won't hang on too long, so if you're using a headline or keywords in your headline, you need to get to the point and deliver on what you're promising pretty quickly.

The formula is:

  • Give a short amount of context/an intro
  • Give the answer
  • Give a reason to read more
  • Expand / expound on the answer

You'll need to get to the point pretty quickly, then give people a reason why they would want to read more. Maybe there are additional things they should know - like problems/issues to avoid with the answer you've given them. That kind of thing. Then, go more in depth explaining the answer better, but still giving really good meat/content.

phone in someone's hand

Keep it Short and Sweet

You'll sort of keep it short. What I mean is, give the answer right away, then add in some kind of separator, showing that it's complete. As website programmers, we'd call this an HR or horizontal rule.

Right after the HR, add in a heading that'll pique their interest and make them want to read more. So yeah, you'll need 2 compelling headlines - one in the title/main headline, then one right after you give your sample of good content so they read more.

The whole article should still be in the 800-1200+ word range, but do not aim for a target word count. Make sure you have no fluff, whatsoever, in your content. What's fluff? It's stuff everyone knows or just words that really don't deliver any value.

Make it Easy to Scan

This is so important. See how this very article looks? I'm using:

  • headings
  • short paragraphs
  • bold text
  • and bulleted lists

Big blocks of text will not work - they look too difficult to read.

Use the Right Keywords

The right keywords are simply the words people will use to search for something. There are tools and ways to find this, but one of the best ways to do this now (for headlines), is ask a question. You're much more likely to show up for voice search results if your headline or HTML title contain a question people are asking.

Right after that, put the answer. When you do that, you might even have a good chance of showing up as a featured snippet, where Google shows you right at the top of search results.

Take Responsibility, Ya Ding Dong

silly man looking at phoneThis goes for what you post on your website, on Facebook, in emails, and... wherever:

Know that:

  • Communication is not what you say/write, but what the other person hears/reads.
  • You must take responsibility for what you say/write to make sure it's clear and understandable.

This means don't be lazy, but carefully craft what you put on the web or even in emails. People generally read emails in a much meaner voice than they're written in, for example. So, when you just quickly slap together an email and send it to someone (with "Send from my iPhone" at the end), you're not being responsible in most cases. People who do that typically often aren't too courteous in real life either.

What you sow, you reap - so if you send crap, you'll get crap back, usually.

If you have to do research for your blog posts, do that research. Make your content the best it can be. Make sure it serves the reader. If you do that, they'll appreciate your work and come back for more, or want to use your products/services.

Do People Read the Web?

They do, but they need the information easy to consume. Don't leave them hanging too long. Get to the point. Provide value.

-Tony

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