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It’s sad but true, many bloggers may not be reading your posts. They scan your words, may (or may not) find something to comment on, and then click off.

Today’s Lesson

If you read the comments to yesterday’s post, Vered mentioned she had read (possibly on Skellie’s blog) that some bloggers are scanning our posts.

It’s true. The posts you’re working so earnestly on may be not be getting entirely read.

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of this. Not on the blogs that I follow and comment on, but on other blogs I read.

If the post is long, or the blog author has become redundant. I start seeing “blah, blah, blah”. I read the first sentence of each paragraph and decide if I want to read the rest. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I skip to the end of the post to get “the answer”.

On those blogs, I normally don’t comment.

It’s really no different than reading the ending of a book before reading the whole book.

And, let’s face it, some posts can be predictable.

I knew this was happening, and asked myself if it bothers me. It used to. But now I realize how little time bloggers actually have to spend visiting other sites, and understand why it happens.

Although I would prefer to have all of my words read, I’m just happy my loyal visitors are showing up.

Today’s Assignment

Do you read every word of every post?

Does it bother you to know some of your visitors aren’t reading all you have written?


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  1. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I read every word of your posts Barbara! :) and those I comment on (Otherwise I feel like a fraud)

    But there are a lot that I don’t read every word. Because most are way too loooooooong.

    I much prefer precise and eloquent to sloppy and verbose.

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Bali Flickr Mosaic

  2. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Uh, no I don’t read every word of all blog posts. Mostly because of being too long.

    No, I’m not bothered if every word is not read. If they can get the gist of what I’m saying and still leave a comment, then reading every word is not necessary.

    Like, you I’m just happy people show up.

    Naturals last blog post..If I Only Had A Brain

  3. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I know you and I have discussed this before. I do scan through some posts, to see if I want to read the whole thing.

    But on blogs I read regularly, I read the whole post – especially if I’m going to comment. I hate when people comment and they’ve obviously not read it. It’s completely pointless.

  4. Barbara,

    Thanks for more thought provoking questions. It depends on the blog, how they write, what they’re writing about and whether I’m interested.

    If I’m going to comment on a post I’ll try to read the whole post.

    I like to respect bloggers by reading the whole post, and as such I very strictly limit the number of blogs that I am subscribed to.

    Most blogs that I visit I don’t subscribe to, but enjoy the moment of finding them and reading what’s there. It has to be really special for me to click the ‘subscribe’ button.

    Even so, I guess I subscribe to 20-25 blogs at any one time.

    David | beplayfuls last blog post..The Colours of Everyday Life

  5. Avani-MehtaNo Gravatar says:

    I actually first scan through. And if I feel it’s interesting then read the entire post. Ofcourse, the subject also matters. If it’s of my interest, obviously I read.

    When I think that visitors don’t read everything I write, the first reaction is of being bothered. But then, that is the right way of reading and spending time. If I am not providing value, or all value can be derived by scanning through the post, why should someone spend more time with it. There is soo much information overload and time crunch everywhere.

  6. AdamNo Gravatar says:

    I generally scan articles because there are too many things to read in too little time :P I’ve been doing this all my life, and not just with blogs.

    Most people can get the gist of an article by scanning it and thats all that they need.

    Adams last blog post..Being a Great Developer

  7. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I have been known to scan posts. I don’t have a computer at home and now that school is out for the summer, I really don’t have much time to read blogs. So if I am looking at a new blog, I don’t give it much time at all. I scan it and if it draws me in, I then read it.

    I have about seven blogs listed as “Blogs to Check” and I visit these and read them fully pretty much everyday (yours is one of those by the way.)

    It doesn’t bother me that some people don’t have the time or patience to read my blog posts. I know hat I have a handful of faithful readers. I enjoy writing and I get comments. That’s all that matters to me.

    Chase Marchs last blog post..Different Roles We Play

  8. Generally speaking, I indeed read every word of every post I read. I would feel uncomfortable commenting on a post I didn’t read in its entirety, generally. I think bloggers usually get the length right. But sometimes I feel they shoot theirs selves in the foot when they make their entry too long. An entry should only be on the long side if absolutely necessary, in my opinion. Optimally, the blogger should cater to the reader and not the other way around. That’s just good business.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Being Happy for Others Makes You Happy

  9. Great post – read every word!

    But I don’t read every word of many blogs because…

    there isn’t enough time.

    I read Seth Godin’s posts first in my reader. Because they’re short.

    I’m experimenting with shorter posts, myself….

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..Did You Hear About Tim Russert’s Rainbow?

  10. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    I’m another scan-then-read person. There are too many posts that sound great to read them all, so I let the quality of the writing dictate whether I read it. This is mostly for blogs where I haven’t spent much time. My core “Must Read” blogs have earned my trust in their talents, so I automatically read those.

    As for people scanning my work, I don’t mind. For some people, a particular post may be applicable, and for others not so much. I don’t really take it personally. If they find a post valuable, they’ll read it. If it’s not their cup of tea, they should definitely scan and move on and find something that does work for them.

    Saras last blog post..You Are More Than Your CD Collection

  11. I like to read every word of every post, but this became a problem when I had too many blogs in my reader. So I organized them into a A list and a B list. The A list I read every word, the B list I scan.

    Does it bother me that some (or most) of my visitors don’t read every word? No, because I know that’s common, and unavoidable. But if someone’s not reading every word, I have to wonder if it’s because they’re subscribed to too many blogs (something I’m guilty of myself).

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..Free Ebook: Memoirs Of A Gaijin

  12. If they’re in my feeder, I’ll probably read the entire thing, but I may scan through comments. I don’t want to comment and say the exact same thing someone else does (unless you’re asking my opinion or what I do).

    I don’t really mind if people scan my work. It’s one of those things that people do and there’s nothing I can do about it unless I shorten up my posts dramatically.

    But how can I explain to people how to buy a house like an investor in 2 or 3 short paragraphs?

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..How To Buy A House Like A Real Estate Investor: Part 8 – Good Terms vs. Low Price

  13. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Unfortunately I am the slowest reader alive and I read word for word – at least on the blogs I visit/comment on regularly. Well, the only unfortunate part is that I’m a slow reader, but the fortunate part is I get all the info.

    For other blogs, it just depends on if it captures my attention or not whether I read it or scan it. If I scan I probably don’t leave a comment.

    Does it bother me if other’s don’t read mine word for word? People are busy. They don’t always have time for that. I’m putting great information out there for the people who WANT it. Those will read it and get the info they are searching for.

    Jennifers last blog post..Peace – Is it Dependent on Your IR?

  14. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    No, not anymore. Some of the blogs I read are so windy! I like the person, but how much can you write about your garage sale! I try to keep my posts short. I judge it by how it shows up in the reader. If it all makes it on one screen, I know I’ve done good. I go back and look at the details I put in. Do you really need to know that little tidbit of information to understand the post? Often not. Can I reword it to make it less wordy? Usually yes. I often write it all down and then go back and rework it. I know how little time I have to read a post. Some people I know it’s worth the time and I’ll save those posts for later when I can really give it my attention. I hope my posts are like that. I don’t know if they are. Sometimes you just can’t make it short, but whenever possible, I try.

    Now my comments, on the other hand … :)

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Why, Noggin, Why?

  15. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara: I’m like you, if it’s a blog where I know the author and I know I enjoy their writing style and the things they have to say, I’ll read the whole thing. If it’s a blog where I land for the first time, I’ll scan to see if it’s worth it to slow down and really start reading. Do I mind knowing that others are just scanning my carefully crafted, well-thought-out sentences and paragraphs? Well, I’m hoping that at least my subscribers take the time to actually read what I write instead of just scanning.

  16. Karl StaibNo Gravatar says:

    I must admit that I do scan a lot of posts, but the ones that really interest me I read word for word. It’s these blogs that I leave a comment and want to interact with the writer and it’s readers.

    Karl Staibs last blog post..7 Awesome Lessons from Bill Gates – Love Him or Hate Him, He is a Genius

  17. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I fully read posts by my favorite bloggers.

    I scan all the rest.

    I can see when people comment on my blog that some only scanned – yesterday, for instance, the “scanners” assumed I am taking a real break as opposed to just lowering my posting frequency.

    Do I mind? Not at all. I have interesting thoughts and ideas, but I don’t consider myself a great writer. If people scan my posts and extract the idea, and it gets them thinking, my mission is accomplished. :)

    Vereds last blog post..Are Bloggers Allowed To Have A Life?

  18. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    Much like many others here, I too usually read the full posts from bloggers that I’m familiar with. If they have a post that doesn’t interest me it might turn to a scan though. Of course if I’m not interested enough to read the post it’s unlikely that I’ll be interested enough to comment. So I’m not one to comment on a post I’ve not read.

    People have different reading styles, and time consideration, so not reading a whole blog post isn’t that much of a big deal to me. Assuming the comment isn’t completely off base because they didn’t read the whole thing.

    Of course comments on the other hand… I’m guilty of not reading through all the comments, and sometimes embarrassingly I’ll stick my foot in it by making some observation already noted. This has caused me to read the comments a little closer on things I too am commenting on. :)

    hyrcans last blog post..From The ‘Bands I Should Know But Don’t’ List

  19. NatashaNo Gravatar says:

    Ok I confess, I’m guilty of not always reading an entire post, but I also don’t mind that people may not read my entire post. My hope is that when I get to a place in my life where I can be more consistent and better at blogging, I will get loyal readers who bring in other loyal readers. In this way, I’ll have an audience of people who want to read what I have to say.

    However, if people choose to scan through a post I write and then go and leave an ignorant comment, that’s a whole other story.

    Natashas last blog post..An Award and Some Updates

  20. I’m a scanner for sure. In some cases, the physical look/layout of the blog makes it very hard to read. I also scan because I feel I already spend way too much time online and have to cut corners somewhere!

    Of course I do read some posts word for word; they compel me in some way, either the content itself or the format makes it easy.
    Barbara, your posting style is very easy to read so I read it all!

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..Just Do It – Starting is the Hardest Part

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    Thank you. :)

    I agree, some posts are much longer than they need to be.

    Hi Natural,

    Even if EVERY word hasn’t been read, often a commenter can gather enough information to leave a meaningful comment.

    Hi Catherine,

    Yes, remember when you would get comments and they didn’t even pertain to the post? It was obvious the commenter had “scanned you”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good reflection on the person(s) who commented.

    Hi David,

    It’s great to see you again.

    You bring up a good point. When we subscribe to a lot of blogs, it makes it difficult to read each and every post.

    Hi Avanti,

    I agree. The internet has so much information, and we are all short on time. It’s impossible to completely read every blog post we land on.

    Hi Adam,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    You’re right. It’s not just blogs people will scan. Time is of the essence in all aspects of our lives.

    Hi Chase,

    That makes me happy to hear I’m on your “list” :)

    Yes. If a new blog doesn’t capture our attention in the beginning, getting discovered becomes more difficult. With visitors short attention span, and time being a major issue, it’s how they write that determines if we stick around or not.

    Hi Bamboo,

    You’ve brought up a good point. We do need to cater to our audience. It’s no different than having a business.

    If we want our visitors to stick around, we need to give them what they want, and often that’s shorter posts.

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for reading every word. :)

    You, too, bring up the time issue, and writing shorter posts can save time, too.

    Hi Sara,

    You’re right. Some posts don’t apply to everyone, and for that reason, we’ll often see different commenters showing up on our various posts.

    Hi Hunter,

    Organizing our readers is a great way to control what we read in it’s entirety. Like you, I have a lot of blogs I follow. There’s no way I can read every single post, so I scan those that I can, and some posts don’t even get read. (depends on the topic)

    Hi John,

    Like you, I will either scan through comments or not read them at all. If I want to leave a comment, I read the post and have my say (even though it may sound like a duplicate, at times)

    No, you wouldn’t be able to write “how to buy a house” in a short post. However, that’s a great idea you had when you split “the buying process”, and made it into a series. It makes is more manageable for reading purposes and is also a great way to get people to come back for the “rest of the story”.

    Hi Jennifer,

    Being a slow reader does have it’s advantages, doesn’t it? No words get missed, and you’re learning tons of information.

    Scanning before reading is a great way to save time. Like you said, if a post doesn’t capture our interest, it becomes a waste of time to read it anyway.

    Hi Debbie,

    I laugh when I read some of your posts as you do shorten a story very well. You can pack a whole day of mishaps and chaos into a few short sentences, and by doing so, your readers say “whew, she had a rough one”. That’s great editing. :)

    With comments, at times it is difficult to keep them short, especially if we’re commenting on something that’s near and dear to our heart, or if the post “pushes our buttons”.

    Hi Marelisa,

    I agree. When we get to “know” a blog author, their writings often expose more about them. By scanning those posts, we could often miss a valuable piece of information, so like you, I will read the complete post.

    We can only hope SOME of our readers won’t scan us.

    Hi Karl,

    Yes, in order to interact with an author and their readers, it becomes essential to read their writings.

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Vered,

    It’s funny you should mention that (people thinking you were taking a break vs lowering your posting frequency). When I was reading the comments, I thought, “Is that what she said?” I had to go back and reread your post as I thought I had missed something.

    It is great when we can get people to think, isn’t it?

    Hi Hyrcan,

    Sticking our foot in our mouths with regard to comments isn’t all that uncommon. If a post has dozens of comments, that too increases the amount of time we’re spending on a blog. If I read a post I want to comment on and it has a lot of comments, I do try to be original in my remarks.

    Hi Natasha,

    How have you been? It’s good to see you here again.

    Yes, like Catherine said, those ignorant comments are pointless and leave us shaking our heads, saying WHAT?

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you for the nice compliment.

    I have to agree with you on the look/layout issue. Some blogs use such a small font, or a light color, it makes it extremely difficult to read the post. As I “mature”, my eyes have gotten worse, and many bloggers aren’t taking that into consideration. (hmmmm, sounds like a future blog post idea. :) )

  23. Wow! What were you saying Barbara? I was so busy looking at the pictures…got distracted…j/k.

    Anyways, I don’t think anyone should scan and comment just to comment. That really isn’t that much fun. Sometimes I don’t leave comments because I am too busy. I guess it depends on the content I am reading. If it is medical stuff I am always scanning, you just can’t read everything word for word. If it is a fun blog, I like to slow down and read it and enjoy…

    Your writing is very articulate, and easy to follow. I have a hard time believing that anyone wouldn’t be reading you word for word.

    Dr. Nicole Sundenes last blog post..Weight Loss Tip: Adam & Eve’s Diet and Exercise Plan

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    Funny you should say that, about getting distracted, as some blogs are so busy, it is easy to get distracted by what’s on the page.

    Scanning and commenting (just to comment), is rather lame, but I’m sure it happens a lot.

    Thank you for your kind words, however, if someone wants to scan me, that’s O.K.

  25. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    It mostly depends on how much time I have that day. :)

  26. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sarah with a “h”

    Time appears to be the biggest issue we all face.

  27. Barbara, I think readability (from a design point of view) would be a great topic.

    I’ve come across a few blogs where I literally couldn’t read the type. And then there’s the clutter issue . . .

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..I’m not Disorganized, I’m Messy!

  28. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.

    When I find a blogger and content that “resonates” with me, such as yours for example, I read every word. You have a lot to offer and I appreciate what you share.

    It doesn’t concern me to think that not all readers read every word of my blog. I figure, if they are interested they will read and if they are not, they won’t. It’s not personal, even though blogging really is personal :-) if that makes any sense!

    Davinas last blog post..The Fire’s Dance

  29. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I read all of this post Barbara! One of the nice things about this one was its brevity. Short and to the point. Sometimes I scan posts, especially if I am in a hurry. For some that pique my interest, I’ll come back and read more fully later on. Some, I feel I am getting the message of the post from a quick scan.

    I’d like to think that people are reading what I write, but just the fact that I have visitors coming to my site is enough to make it worth it for me.

    Lances last blog post..Personal Achievement vs. Team Achievement

  30. I scan a lot and really read my favorite bloggers. It doesn’t bother me that my readers may not read every word. Most of us lead busy lives. Some weeks I read more than scan. Most I scan more than I read. I usually comment on the ones that I like or learn something from or that I have a question about. My writing topics aren’t everybody’s cup of tea and that is ok.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Shame, The Abuser’s Friend

  31. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    As so many of us have said, it’s nearly impossible to read every word of every post — unless we all stop sleeping, of course.

    It doesn’t bother me to know that someone hasn’t read my whole post. However, in the 2-3 weeks I’ve been officially blogging, the first negative comment I received on a post was obviously from someone who didn’t “get” the whole point of the post and even the mission of my blog. That hurt (for a second), but then i realized she must have scanned the post, and probably didn’t poke around my blog long enough to pick up how I feel about our “Golden Oldies.”

    [The insecure part of me is saying inside my head -- "Well, maybe my post wasn't as clear as it could have been." I'll have to check it out and see if I can improve it.]

    [Plus, from the general comments above, I'm wondering if some of my posts are too long. OK, shut up insecure mind!]

    Thanks for all the food for thought!

  32. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    To scan or not to scan, that is the question. Like everyone else, I have some blogs that I read religiously, like for beginning to end. But there are some blogs that as you said very redundant…

    The ones that I read word for word are the ones that I really like because they are unique to me and they are not re-hashing what other bloggers are saying.

    I also read the blogs that can say what they want to say succinctly. I guess that’s the key for me.

    chriss last blog post..Money and Happiness

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ann,

    I agree, the clutter issue is a factor. It’s often distracting.

    Hi Davina,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I do understand what you’re saying. Some of our visitors just aren’t interested, and that’s something that happens on ALL blogs.

    Hi Lance,

    :) Thanks for reading all of it. I do try to keep my posts as short as possible, but yet inform others and try to make you think.

    Like you, I will sometimes go back and read a post more carefully.

    Isn’t it nice to KNOW people are showing up?

    Hi Patricia,

    It’s funny you said that about your topics not being everyone’s cup of tea, as I find your blog very interesting and a great read. I KNOW your words are helping many.

    Hi Linda Abbit,

    I saw that comment, and I think you’re right. She didn’t “get it”. With the topics you write about, your terminology of “golden oldies” and “baby proofing” are meant in the most sincere way. Don’t let that bother you. Your heart is in the right place.

    Like you said, she probably scanned your post and didn’t get what your blog is all about.

    Hi Chris,

    Redundancy can get me scanning (or clicking off) real fast. I think our readers want us to get to the point. They have other blogs waiting to be read (or a life to go live).

  34. Thanks for posting this interesting topic. Now that I’m reading some of the comments here, I may not write my articles a wee bit shorter. For some reason, my articles have been getting pretty long lately; I’ve got so much to share that it doesn’t feel right if I chop my articles to smaller chunks.

    But I sure do understand about the scanning bit. I do it for those posts on topics that I care less about. Incidentally, I went to check Vered’s last post to see if I was one of those who read or “scanned” her post on taking a break….ok….I did read what she said…LOL!!

    Cheers,
    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..Discover The Law of Attraction In Silence

  35. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    That is funny…you going back to Vered’s post. :lol:

    Sometimes it is tough to cut a post short, but other times, by breaking it up, it makes for a great mini series. Knowing that our visitors are scanning teaches us a lot. Although some bloggers are highly successful with long posts, it’s got to be our call.

  36. TOPolkNo Gravatar says:

    Hola. First time reader/commenter.

    As a long time blogger, I have to say that I’m guilty of not reading every word of every post I comment on. It happens to be the best of us. However I think that more times than not, its an issue of wanting to let the blogger know that they have an audience opposed to not wanting to read it all. We’re all busy people and every post that we come across isn’t golden. But sometimes its nice to drop in and just say “hey. I was here. I may not have read it all..but I at least skimmed it.”

    It happens.

    TOPolks last blog post..UPSTATERS – CALLING ALL T-SHIRTS!!!

  37. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi TOPolk,

    Welcome to the BWAB community! I love to see first time visitors/commenters. :)

    Yes, letting the blog author know we were there is often common courtesy, so even if we don’t read every word, we can usually leave a meaningful comment…which I think they appreciate.

    I know I do.

  38. [...] avoid redundancy, the subject of scanning posts was addressed in a recent article titled: Bloggers Flunk The Reading Assignments. If you would like to share how you feel knowing others are scanning the posts you work so hard on, [...]

  39. [...] know some of our friends and family members are not interested in what we write, but in the lesson Bloggers Flunk The Reading Assignments, many who commented admitted they’re not reading every word of our blog posts, [...]