Ever wonder why some blogs and websites grab your attention more than others? What is it that makes a website pass that 3-second-rule that I often talk about? If you have your choice of getting the same information from two different blogs, which one do you usually go back to? It may be that you have made a social connection with that person but there has to be an underlying reason why you stopped and paid attention to their website in the first place.
What are the similarities between publishing articles in print and online you may ask. Well . . . lots. The medium is different but the intent is the same. We want to capture our reader’s attention and keep it long enough to get them to do something. Whether our intention is to educate, sell a product or establish our self as the go-to place for information or help, if our website visitors don’t find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, they’re hitting that dreaded back button and off to another site.
The first thing you see when you walk by a newsstand is the front page of the paper. The name of the newspaper is in large print at the very top. There are large headlines to grab your attention and pictures to tell a story. The top stories of the day are always prominently displayed above-the-fold (seen without scrolling) to grab our attention.
Good newspapers have well-balanced layouts. There’s plenty of white space. They use one or two easy to read fonts and they clearly define their articles. They also use artwork and pictures to tell the story.
Newspapers use headlines to attract attention and break up the white space. Each headline and article features one story. The headlines are always bolder and a larger font (similar to WordPress “headings”).
Thinking of our websites as newspapers may help to remind us that we’re not writing our first great novel. Newspapers are read and thrown away. Sometimes, an article may be clipped (sort of like bookmarking online) or shared (tweeted, liked, forwarded and amplified) but bottom line is we read them and move on. So, how do we make sure that it’s our blog that stands out and is read? Thoughts? Ideas? Over to you.