...and it's all your fault.
Did I get your attention?
As fiction writers, we're always warned to hook the reader right away. But I'm beginning to see that it's equally important to hook your blog reader too.
Feedly and Bloglovin rely on truncated posts. (You can change that in Feedly, but its scrolling feature is terrible so you're almost forced to use the truncated feature.)
My blog reading has been cut almost in half. Not because Feedly is more efficient, but because it only shows me a few lines of text.
The blog's name is teeny-tiny so I'm counting on the title and a few lines of text to lure me into clicking for more. If the first paragraph doesn't grab me, I delete it. And Feedly is soooooo unforgiving about un-deleting.
If I make a mistake--and I've made plenty--I lose the post without knowing if it belonged to a friend or not. (If it belongs to a friend, I always read the whole post. I may not comment on it, but I always read it.)
Deleting posts based on the title and first paragraph has made me acutely aware that it's more important than ever to hook the reader from the get-go. You may not get a second chance--especially if you have trigger fingers like me.
I write my blog posts like magazine articles. My first goal is to get right to the point of the post. Once I've told you what the post is going to be about, then I can distribute the details. I don't meander from the topic unless it's a newsy post that covers lots of different things.
There are lots of ways to help your blog get noticed in a feed reader. Here are a few:
• Use pictures. I'm rather spare with photos. It takes a lot of time to find the right one and then you have to be sure it's copyright-free. But I can't deny that photos always make me pause even if it's a blog I rarely stop to read.
• Choose the right photo. Lead with the photo you want to appear first in the feed. If you always use your blog's header as the lead photo, it sends the message that it's an old post and I can bypass it.
• Stay on topic. And if you should meander, make sure all your other points are related to the first topic.
• Use bulleted lists. If you follow me regularly, you know I use lists frequently. When I'm busy, I like to be able to scan a punch list rather than a long dissertation that covers the same thing.
• Use a catchy title. I'll admit, the title I used today is too long for my tastes, but it is catchy and that's what counts.
• Get to the point. 'nuff said.
Feedly is still out to get me. Recently, I was made aware of a snafu. Apparently, not all my feeds transferred. A friend, whom I read regularly, hadn't been appearing on my feed. At first I didn't worry. She travels a lot and I just assumed she was off on one of her many jaunts.
It took me weeks to realize that Feedly wasn't including her blog. When I manually inserted the blog into the feed, it showed posts that were weeks old even though she'd been blogging faithfully. I'm not sure what's going on, but now that I know something's afoot, I'll track it better.
Have you noticed any problems with your feed reader? Has your blog-reading changed since Google Reader rode off into the sunset?