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Internet Readers Have A SHORT Attention Span.

By Edited Oct 21, 2015 0 3

No Joke - You've only Got A Few Choice Words To Capture A Reader.

If Your work is over three thousand words - you are probably wasting your time.

Let me tell you what I have learned about readers on the web,.  Okay, you ready?  I'm going to give you the whole damned deal right here:  

Internet readers have a damned short attention span.


Actually, that is the end of my true advice and experience here.  You can stop reading now, buy something about sales in book form from amazon, and go about your happy day.  The rest of this article will be about how I came to learn that what I've said is true, and then I'll also provide some indicators for how and why I might be mislead, or just plain dumb.

Either way - You WIN simply for reading my drivel, and drivel it is - that is the key to this as well.

Did I get your attentino...at all?  Well, if I didn't, then I lose - that also is the key to success as an internet web scribbler, and I do not care if you are a web scribbler on this fine site, Hubpages, WordPress, Blogspot, or - "insert internet phenom content farm here."  

As internet authors - we've got a matter of mere SECONDS - maybe as few as twenty words to draw someone in - or they are GONE.  Folks will bounce completely off of your page in less than ten seconds if they don't see what they think looks like what they were hoping for in that amount of time, and if you linked your stuff on some troll site like Reddit, then you've really screwed yourself with your analytics stats.  Google is into seeing how long someone stays on a page, and if the greatest majority of folks that landed on your page bounced off of it quickly - you're article will be ranked lower due to perceived notions that it was poor.

The SIZE Of An Article MATTERS

Test this and see - tell me your own experiences!

I do not write the same kinds of things here as I write on Hubpages.  I started writing in earnest on Hubpages, and so I still will put my primary focus there.  I have major goals there and I intend to achieve those goals - I write this kind of thing here, and for a reason - this isn't Hubpages, and the things I publish here do NOT fit into the niches that we must maintain in our various accounts in order to be successful online.  I know for certain that blind allegiance to some website while ignoring it's equal and contemporary - is stupid, and counter productive to the goals and economic success of an internet author.

Anyway, on Hubpages when I was first learning the tricks of writing on the web, and before the panda monster had asserted it's very holy wrath upon the idiotic nonsense spamming the web and the linking farms and linking schemes...someone had said that writing BIG articles was the best, as they provided via their size the more keywords with which an internet surfer could find said article.  I thought that was brilliant advice, and hadn't yet learned that the only things worth doing on the web ar the things done for the readers - all else is an ethical failure, waste of time, and basically, a scam.

I started creating monster articles, and in an effort at goodness, I put all that I had into them - and some of these articles on Hubpages exceeded five thousand words.  Surely they'd bring me scores of traffic?  Well, they did NOT do that, and the reasons for the failure of those articles relative to shorter ones became apparent within my own internet behaviour!  When I start reading an article here or anywhere....I typically start reading it, and then when I realize I'm not done yet...I will move whatever mechanism my fingers decide upon to see how long the damned thing is anyway, and I assure you - I do not continue reading something if it looks like I'm going to be there all day.

My over five thousand word article on Hubpages about Spring time air conditioning tune ups...is a monster with all the facts, virtually EVERY fact that a resident or student mechanic could ever hope to know about. ...but it is too long for the average internet reader's attention span, and so - all of that effort was and is largely a failure.

Of course I realized none of these kinds of things at first, but perhaps the real issue is that nobody is even looking to read about air conditioning online.  I'm the most certified HVAC mechanic you will typically run into, and I have over fifteen years experience in that field, and write well enough that my HVAC articles are readable for anyone...

...but I didn't stop there, I created some more monster Hubpages articles, and none of those did so well either.  My article "Our Criminal Government" was over four thousand words, and of course, included a lot of links, a lot of pictures, and several videos - some folks commented that they'd thought it was the single best article they'd ever read on Hubpages...but the problem was not that, or whether that was true (I'd never think that about my own writing) - the problem was that it got few readers.  I'm certain that my political observations are a bit out of the mainstream - I know they are, but that isn't the issue, really, either.  The issue seems to me to be plain - internet readers will not often read something that is five thousand words, or four thousand words.

So today I'm working on Hubpages an article about Ernest Hemingway - the American Literary Master of brevity - and I'm going to struggle to keep the article between what I've found to be the text lenth range that I know to be what works, and that is seven hundred to three thousand words.

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Comments

Jan 21, 2013 12:43pm
aguy
Too bad. In general, I would rather read a thorough article that gives me sufficient background and information, but I think you are right. Most people want something incredibly short, even when it doesn't provide adequate information.
Jan 21, 2013 2:52pm
Wesman_Todd_Shaw
Correct.

It depends on how interested a person is in the actual subject...but as low as the IQ is in the USA, in particular, in these dark days....sound bites are what sells.
Jul 6, 2013 6:03pm
m_spicer
Exactly why I am frugal with my words, using them a sparingly as possible to get across what I am saying.
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