What Are You Writing That Readers Are Skipping?

I’m making it a personal goal to stop writing the parts of a post I, as a reader, tend to skip.

what readers skip

I read a lot of blogs. Just like every other blog reader, I skim (this is why it’s important to make your posts scannable). But I’ve noticed lately that when reading, I often skip large portions of text entirely, like post intros and conclusions.

So then I started thinking, if my readers are probably not reading large portions of my posts, why write them in the first place?

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Comments

  1. says

    Loved this! One thing I thought of was that as a blogger who is online all the time (at least it feels that way), I’m definitely a “skimmer.” But I try to remember not all of my readers are as immersed online as I am and enjoy what I write. So I pepper different styles of posts throughout my content. You, on the other hand, are appealing to the bloggers and website owners. So it makes sense to save yourself some time and get right to the point. :)

  2. says

    For my blog lately I’ve started using my iPhone to record and then edit for the post. It’s liberating. I feel my writing is usually stiff and not me when looking at a blank page. Seems like you’ve always written like you’re right in the room with the listener. Im trying to cut to the chase so what gets written is read not skimmed.

  3. says

    For me, reading a blog is like reading a novel. I choose novels and now blogs based on my preferred genres and continue reading because the character’s (blog author’s) journey grips me.

    I have come to strongly dislike guest posts on blogs. I’d rather wait a week to hear more of the voice and journey I’m following, than have that voice or story broken. They annoy me like commercials and I find myself unsubscribing to those blogs and treating them like bandaids instead of novels.

  4. says

    I really appreciate your post and your humor!

    Here’s my question: Are we writing so that readers can skim our posts and get through them quickly? Or, are we writing because we love the written word and refuse to compromise our integrity?

    I am presently in the middle of writing a book that (horrors!!!) will NOT be “scannable.” I do believe that there is such a thing as a book that is well-written and ones that should have never been published in the first place. I have not yet arrived at the “well-written” phase. Thus, I am taking a course to improve my writing.

    If “scannable” was my criterion for the books I read, I would have never enjoyed the classics or some of the present day literary jewels I have had the good fortune to read slowly.

    I do, however, respect your point of view and I believe that your posts are very thought-provoking!

    Thank you.

  5. says

    For me, there is no hard and fast rules as to which portion of the blog post I’ll skip. I tend to read in order to know the gist of the article . So, If I find that I know the gist of that particular paragraph, normally I’ll just skip instead of reading the whole lot.

  6. says

    Haha – clever. So what does anybody think about repetitive use of hooks in a single post?

    My blog, about to launch, will be somewhat of an homage to the words of ALA. Haha.

    I’ve written my 20, most paragraphs are no more than 2 sentences long… What I’ve tried to do though is to begin several paragraphs with a question that needs to be solved (a hook), “So why aren’t you getting result A when you try B?” and then the answer. I try to make them more feeling, identify a problem that I once had and hope that my readers will feel equally s frustrated by.

    I’m offering fairly technical information so I also begin the post with an offer to page jump, “If you want to skip straight to the protocol be my guest, but you’ll be missing out on some dazzling commentary.”

    I’d be curious to hear how other fans of Amy are making their writings more desirable.

  7. says

    I agree, your point can easily be lost in large chunks of text or with the wrong placement.

    But sometimes those extra words can help you rank for “long tail” search terms with the search engines – which is how you want new readers to find you.

    It’s tricky finding the balance, and mastering that is a great skill to have.

  8. says

    Great article Amy and some great ideas on how to write blog post. These tips are excellent to add more value to our present and future customers as well as to build faith and respect for people considering to do business with us.
    Great job and Keep it up !!

  9. says

    Very good, Amy! Loved it! Took my 54-year old brain a second but I got it. P.S. Is there any way to get your posts via email? I’m no longer getting them that way – just the newsletter. Thanks!

  10. says

    This is funny but somehow true. Yes, I often skip some of what I read if it is a long post. And also blogs and blog post are way to drive website traffic. Now I kinda get what you want us to learn. Blogging is a way of writing that informs :)

  11. says

    Amy, thank you for this article (and all your other articles). You truly give your readers some extremely useful tips about blogging. I just started my own blog and will certainly be following some (if not all) of your advice.

    Paulo Castro | FullMind Design

  12. says

    I almost clicked on “Share” thinking it was the “read more” tab. Then I read the first comment and realized you’d made your point and stopped writing.

    Way to go. I love this :) That’s why I quite putting back-story on most of my recipes :)

  13. says

    I just spent like 2 hours today devouring your previous posts. You definitely have a new follower here! I even signed up for your UseLetter, and I NEVER sign up for email newsletters. Can’t wait to learn more from you!

  14. says

    Yes, I scan. I didn’t read your first sentence at all until I went back and looked. :-) I went straight to what you wrote in blue, make your posts scannable. I appreciate it when writers do that.

  15. says

    What a good point…I should pay more attention to what I skip when I’m reading other blogs.

    Like someone else said, I generally do read all the words of what you post, though! :)

  16. says

    I think it’s very difficult to stop people from skipping parts of a post. A person normally has a big list of blogs to read while the time is always limited. They need to read quickly and move on for other things.
    What makes people stay is when a targeted reader finds a post which is important and necessary to their own. Personally, I think it would depends on the topic of the post and also its quality

  17. says

    I think it really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. If I only have a few minutes, I may skim quickly, but other times, I read the whole post. For some bloggers, I always read every word.

    And I think many of our posts tell a story and you’ll miss important stuff if you leave it out. Our readers do enjoy our posts because of who we are, not just the helpful or applicable parts, so I say, don’t make this the rule, but rather the exception.

  18. says

    So true! Lots of times when I’m working on a post, I end up going back through and thinking, “No one’s going to care about this” and then deleting it. People are busy – I’m busy – I don’t want to read filler.

  19. says

    LOL! It took me a second but I get it now! very funny! And for the record, I read every last word on your posts since they’re always very helpful. :)

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