Stats: The Analytics of Reading to the Bottom of the Page

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In “How people read online: Why you won’t finish this article” on Slate Magazine, author Farhad Manjoo explores the statistics on whether or not you will read to the bottom of his article.

I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone. You “bounced” in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time “engaging” with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! We’re at the point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who didn’t bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So we’re 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry about your attention span, even your intellig … wait a second, where are you guys going? You’re tweeting a link to this article already? You haven’t even read it yet!

He talked to many expert web analytics researchers and analysts about the statistics associated with reading an article on the web. The numbers are fascinating, and may change how you write your next post.
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What You Must Know About Writing on the Web

1975.

While that number might mean different things to you, like your birthday, an anniversary, graduation year, part of a lottery number – to me it represents a quota.

Several years ago, a fan counted up all the articles I wrote every year and came up with an estimate of 1,975 articles published annually across multiple sites.

I was stunned. No, staggered. I now had a number. I didn’t know what to do with it. It freaked me out. That’s 164 articles a month. Thirty-eight articles a week. Five and a half a day. That’s a lot.

Don’t even ask to add up the word count. I couldn’t. Yet, the same person estimated that I wrote 2,370,000 words annually.

It took a long time for me to come to grips with that number. I worried when I became smarter with my time and dropped some of the online columns and magazines to concentrate on more influential sites. What if I couldn’t keep up with the numbers?

After a while I gave up and realized it was just a number. Like a random phone number or birth date. Another number not to worry about. Much.

Along the way to generating all those words every year for many years on end, I learned a few things worth sharing. Continue reading

The Basic Structure of a Blog Post

There are many ways to present a post or article on a web page. This tutorial will cover the basic formatting, styles, and structure.

Every WordPress Theme handles the basic elements in a post different, making the headings stand out in a variety of ways, adding borders around images or not, adding design elements to a blockquote…the list is long. I recommend that you test your own WordPress Theme by writing a test post following the examples in this article, or you may use the Sandbox Post for Testing WordPress Themes. It is a text file with HTML code representative of all the HTML tags found in a blog post.

Formatting the Post in WordPress

Before we begin, I will be making references to the formatting toolbar found on the post and Page Edit Screens. It is blow the post title area and directly above the content textarea where you will write your post.

The WordPress Visual Editor Toolbar featuring the Kitchen Sink Button which expands to feature a second row.

By default, you see only one line of buttons in the Visual Editor. The last button on the row is called the Kitchen Sink. If you click it, a second row will drop down. Continue reading

The 10 HTML Tags You Must Know to Blog

code wordle - group of words that are synonyms and types of codeTalk to the serious blogging and web publishing pros, the ones turning out brilliant content fast, and you will find that they all have one thing in common. They write with HTML.

Writing with HTML in WordPress isn’t complicated nor does it require a degree in foreign languages or web development. We’re not talking about building a web page from scratch every time you publish. We’re only talking about the HTML that goes into the post content.

How much HTML do you have to learn? Only 10 HTML tags. That’s it. Less words than you probably know in Spanish or another foreign language.

The most commonly used HTML tags in the post content area are:

  1. Anchor Link Tag <a href="…">link</a>
  2. Image Tag <img src="…" />
  3. Headings <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>
  4. Paragraph <p>Text here</p>
  5. Bold <strong> not <b> and Italic <em> not <i>
  6. Lists <ol> and <ul>
  7. Blockquote <blockquote> and <cite>
  8. Line Break <br />
  9. Horizontal Line <hr />
  10. Code <pre> and <code>

How many of these do you use commonly in your blog posts? All of the ten? When was the last time you needed to put code in your blog post? Rarely, if ever. At most, you use 5 of these in most posts you publish. I think you can handle that.

The five are links, headings, bold and italic, lists, and blockquotes – unless you are a poet. Then add the line break to your collection for six easy to remember HTML tags.

Sure, there are more HTML tags you can use in the post content area, but these are the most common. Tables, font colors, etc., are rarely used and if you need to use them, you probably already know how.
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