Scanners, Readers, Bouncers & Dreamers

Why won’t they just read my whole article?

So you have written what you believe is the perfect article or blog post. You read it one more time with a smile and hit publish.

Many people will scan the first few lines and bounce away. Here is how you can get them to stay.

You just have that feeling this article will go viral.

You look at the statistics 3 days later and see that you have had 47 visitors and 19 of them bounced away from your article within 1 minute.

What exactly is the problem?

How come your 14 year old daughter’s blog post about her ultra-ugly gerbil received 1,030 visitors in 4 hours and 73 positive comments?

I cannot answer that without being mean and sarcastic, so I will take the 5th amendment… I refuse to answer on grounds it may incriminate me.

But, I will share 21 helpful methods to get and keep readers

Remember, many website visitors are scanners.

You need to consider that fact when writing your material.

Over at Hubspot, Neil Patel made an excellent observation that he skimmed from an article at Slate’s Farhad Manjoo.

  • Readers cannot stay focused
  • This is the scanning and skimming age
  • We are all busy

Follow these tips and watch your visitors stay just a little bit longer.

1: Tell a story

People like stories. Think about it; since we were small, we wanted stories read to us.

Give them a story they will read to themselves.

2: Target the target readers

Make sure your article is getting shown to the readers who will have the greatest reason to read it.

You don’t want to share your Major League Baseball post with the PETA organization usually.

While some PETA members may have an interest, you are probably better off sharing it with the ESPN crowd.

3: Break complex up into several articles

I see nothing wrong with long articles… This will probably be a long one.

But don’t count on your readers to read every word.

I wonder how many will read this sentence???

I suggest that you break highly complex subject matter into a series of posts.

4: Post social

Do not neglect

  • Digg
  • Stumble Upon
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • and Pinterest

Share them in their proper categories.

5: Use proper keywords and phrases

I’ll admit it… I don’t use keyword tools like I should.

But I am wise in my keywords and phrases.

I use proper keys that fit and it works.

Long-tail key phrases are wise too.

6: Use empathy

Empathize with the reader/scanner.

Put yourself in their eyes before you hit publish.

Would you read it?

7: Easy to read font

The font can keep a reader or drive them away.

This goes right along with #6.

8: Ask for shares

If you wrote a good article and you simply ask for your scanners or readers to share it, they will.

They may not even read it, but they’ll share it.

With enough mud against the wall, some of it will stick.

9: Short paragraphs

You are not in 9th grade English class anymore.

Your teacher may not agree, but short paragraphs keep the reader’s attention.

Make them short and powerful!

10: White space is your friend

Somewhat going along with #9, you leave ample space between paragraphs and headings.

This gives your readers a moment of break.

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11: Use numbered lists often

You may hear some bloggers tell you that numbered lists are dead. Don’t believe it!

Readers like to follow numbered lists, just as you are right now.

12: 300 words or less between headers

Scanners look at headers. If they are drawn by the header, they will read what is below it as long as it isn’t too much.

No more than 300 words between headers.

13: Types of headers

Use headers 2 and 3.

Personally, I believe header 4 is a waste of time; just bold.

Header 1 is used for subtitles.

14: Bold and italics

Do not be afraid to use bold or italics on important phrases.

15: No ad clutter

I have been guilty of doing it, but try to not clutter your post with too many ads.

Many readers will bounce away if the ads are too much.

16: High quality external links

You gain trust and respect by adding high quality external links, but many would say, “Isn’t that a way to get readers to bounce away from your site?”

Make sure the links open in a new tab.

Sure, some may bounce, but many will stay to read your material completely.

Just consider some of the references I used for this post:

17: Add at least 1 image with a deep caption

Pictures “grab” scanner attention.

Through various studies, experts have noticed that even the non-readers will read a deep caption beneath an image.

If that caption really grabs them, they will share and may even read your article.

18: Ask for feedback

Provide a simple method for people to comment, and ask them to do so.

If you ask, they will.

19: Use bullet points

There is just

  • Something
  • About
  • Bullet
  • Points
  • That
  • Appeals
  • To
  • Readers

Use them!

20: Always have links open in new tabs

I mentioned it earlier, but I need to reiterate… Have any, and all links open in new tabs or windows.

21: Link to other posts and pages on your website

Make sure that you have a few links to other areas of your website.

By doing so, you will find your bounce rate running at good percentages. People will click through and stay.

Final Thoughts

Have I been guilty of not following what I write here?


In some cases, I am testing readers, scanners, bouncers and dreamers. And in others, I am just being lazy and unwise.

I do believe that if you follow these tips with your writings, you will discover more people will read your material.

So tell me what you think. Do you have any other tips?

Just leave all comments and questions below.

And, please share this with your friends and family.

Thank you.

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