Some days back, I followed a link on social media to read what I thought was going to be an interesting article. I must admit, I closed the tab right after reading. Well, I didn’t exactly read the article, but parts of it. Actually, I don’t remember reading any part of it, although I did see the title. Urgh, never mind!
On a daily basis readers are bombarded with news, all sorts of links to websites and blogs, and have to struggle through the awful lot for that one link they think might be worth taking a look at only to haul their disappointed selves out of the disappointing website (and with a good chance of not returning).
A number of things are likely to put readers off an article. I recently asked a small number of people (both writers and non-writers) about what things put them off when reading a post. Not so surprising, but a few of the answers ran through.
1. Boring Articles: A ten (10) paged interesting article is likely to be read more times than a 1-2 page boring article. Readers want to read something exciting; something that will make them want to read to the last drop of ink. If the article lacks this grind, there’s a high chance that the middle and last lines will go unnoticed.
2. Hiking: Thoughts that are not clearly expressed are also likely to put readers off. Nobody wants to read a writer beat around the bush without a head and a tail, or either. It becomes a total waste of time, and a definite write-off.
3. Deception: Readers hate to be deceived. (Don’t we all?) The insatiable thirst for information does not warrant a string of attention seeking lies. Do this and you will lose your credibility as a writer for a long long time (forever is long enough right?)
4. Language defects: Common typos are not to be excused here. There’s nothing spikier than a one-paged article with a ton of language defects. It doesn’t only make readers lose interest, but the write-up loses its value too.
5. Non-Beneficial: Who wants to read something that they will not benefit from anyway? Nobody. It is clever to be smart in titling—of course, then people may follow the link to read, but when they realize the article does not in any way benefit them, don’t expect a faithful finish.
Knowing the audience for whom you write, will help you determine the language you should communicate to them in. Take a little more time to double-check your work before putting it out there. Readers don’t just want to read, they want to read good stuff.
Do have a lovely week. I’d be sharing some poetry with you soon.