Don’t exhaust your readers’ stamina

Is your company blog as engaging as you think? According to research by Jakob Nielsen, probably not.

In a study of corporate blogs’ front-page structure, Nielsen and his team found that in blogs where each posting’s full content is posted on the front page — so users don’t have to click, which in theory is a good thing — readers made it through only the first article. Why?

Explains Nielsen:

If your first article doesn’t interest users, you lose them by “using up” all their interest as they wade through that first topic.

Blogs that included summaries fared better, which readers scanning through all the items shown on the relatively short pages reviewed (10 and 5 items .

But the format that worked best of all was AOL’s hybrid approach, where many postings were short and shown in full, while longer articles were summarized. In this case, the user scanned through 11 postings.

The takeaway? Don’t waste your readers’ stamina by forcing them to read long posts in their entirety. Use summaries — unless you’re an exception to the rule with highly engaged readers. (How to know? Check your site analytics for regular revisitation patterns.)

Read the full article:

Corporate Blogs: Front-Page Structure (Jakob Nielsen’s AlertBox, August 9)

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