January 15, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
I read a lot so I might be one of those people that should give more writers a break, but the truth is I work a lot and I have a limited amount of time to squeeze in reading. When I decide to click on a link on Twitter or in an email I am obviously influenced by the title. However, when the site opens if I see that the article is not offering what I want I quickly leave.
So what was I looking for? I am going to explain that. Obviously ever reader is looking for different things, but I think the things I am going to review are common.
Headlines allow readers to scan articles quickly to determine if the article has anything valuable to offer them personally. Some readers simply go to the paragraphs below particular headlines they are interested in and scan the paragraph before they read the whole thing.
I use headlines to quickly determine the worth of an article. More importantly, the text is broken up which allows me to read easier. I have to force myself to read an article with no headlines and to be honest I usually don’t read articles without the text being broken up in some way.
Headlines support the article. They also allow the reader to create points of memory when going back to the article. The reader may remember that a point they were interested was listed under the 2nd headline. Give them a page of paragraphs and they might not remember where to find it.
A huge part of SEO is being educated daily. We have to read all the time to keep up. I get extremely irritated with rehashed content because I wasted my time clicking on it. Give me something new, something different or give me a different perspective on something discussed often so I can modify my thinking a bit.
I need just one valuable thing for my reading to be worthwhile and that one thing could simply be a perspective. Now, obviously I would like more than one thing, but one thing is good. If I am educated or I get one good thing out of an article I will share it socially, but if I get nothing I share nothing.
One of the hardest jobs I have as an editor is reading articles that are choppy, paragraphs do not flow into the next and the ideas are scattered throughout the page with no supporting paragraphs.
As a reader, when I see articles like this, I just leave. There is no point in reading it, because choppy takes time and I don’t have much. Paragraphs that don’t flow make me feel irritated and ideas that are scattered hurt my brain. <– Kind of choppy, see how irritating that was?
You don’t have to be a great writer to create a good article. You just need to have each sentence support or enhance the last one. The first sentence in a paragraph should start out with a concept and each sentence after that should support and educate on that concept. Beginning, middle and conclusion.
Following paragraphs should offer more information or expand on the previous concept and once you are done with one concept you create a headline for the next concept. HOWEVER, you must make sure that at some point you explain what all the concepts in an article have to do with one another. You can’t have headlines like:
Those are some pretty drastic headlines, but you get my point. I see this problem when people are writing about SEO. None of the concepts are really related and there is no relation in the article by the writer.
Overly professional articles are boring. I don’t want boring, I want to be entertained! Show me your humor and your personality. Most readers like emotion in articles so please feel free to make us smile, make us cry or make us laugh out loud. Articles with personality are the ones I love the most.
Sometimes articles are full of so many words that were obviously found in the Thesaurus and it makes the article lose personality. It gets boring after awhile, so just be you, but don’t be an unprofessional you. 🙂
I hate it when I have read about let’s say 3 related concepts and I am waiting to see how all the information will be tied together and when I get to the last concept the article just ends. How do they relate? What do I need to know?
Summarize and review the main important points and tell me what I should keep in mind in regards to the concepts discussed.
As I said before, everyone has different opinions. I just know that I look for some basic things that make reading easier and useful to me.
I need headlines to even stay and read an article. I also need headlines to help me remember where the important concepts were so I can go back to them. I want and need to be educated in some way. I need an article to flow together and be organized to I can completely understand the concepts that are being explained. I personally don’t do well with boring; I lose my train of thought, so over-professional doesn’t work for me, but humor and emotion do. Lastly, I just need the writer to sum it all up in the end. Just remind me of the main points.
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