The growth of short form content continues its growth and, to some, it may appear as though the website, with its ability to do long-form better than anything else, is beginning to look old. Yet the HTML webpage is the foundation of everything your present-day thumb scrolls and remains the original and, perhaps, best short-form content management and presentation system around.
It's December, as I draft and publish this blog. I'll not be the only one taking the time, on the run-up to Christmas 2021, reflecting-upon what the past 20 months have lain waste to. I'm working from home, reflecting and writing, whilst I wait for the white van delivery of something I ordered over the 'phone. I know the delivery's sometime today, because I chased-up the order yesterday, but I have no idea of the timing of the delivery slot so I'll wait here all day until it arrives. Our familiarity with everything, seemingly, being online and on-demand is filling this wait with fear, uncertainty and doubt.
We're so used to the speed and pace of digital and our attention span soon runs-out when faced with a manual, trust-based, offline, traditional, human process such as ordering something over the 'phone. I mean, where's my order number and the email to allow me to track the delivery? All I have is the name of the person who took my order and credit card details 😱
As I sit here, reflecting upon the difference between the way we do things now and the way we used to do things; my focus is being drawn towards the short-form thanks to an ad for YouTube Shorts that's just popped into my Twitter timeline. Short-form is eating into long-form video. People would appear to be tiring of long-form video in favour of Instagram and TikTok style 60 second short bursts of video. This doesn't mean that long-form itself is bad - you'd sit and watch a blockbuster movie that's somewhere around 180 times longer than a 60 second short online, right? The problem is not one of short-form vs long-form but one of content & navigation.
Video shorts have emerged because, generally, we make bad, boring video content and have a short attention span. Even on YouTube's own explainer videos it's stated that you'll want to
focus on making the first few seconds captivating. That's it, right there. That's about as far as the attention span of your audience lasts - a few seconds.
The hyperlink is the original and best way of holding your audience captive. It's the hyperlink that defines the Web and our clickable, tappable online business and social personas. Links in digital content allow anything to be made clickable - links exist as shortcuts for your audience to get from where they find themselves to where they want to be. (Note the framing of this statement around the Customer and not the owner/operator of the website?) Get more about our Customer First approach to content. Click here.
The website is a collection of webpages - each one a short-form chunk about a topic of interest. A formal navigation (menu) allows us to present (shortcut) hyperlinks which inform our audience about and lead them to, what we consider to be, the main website content. But we can still make our website/webpage even content shorter; through the judicious use of the hyperlink we can allow our audience to breakout of the text they're reading or the images they're viewing at anytime. The hyperlink allows us to break-up long-form content into short, easily digestable chunks. Like this. Keep it simple. Keep it to one topic per webpage.
The way to hold the attention of your audience is to give them more things to click. Your audience does not have the patience to scroll all the way down the page to take action, all they know is what they can see on their display screen in the first few seconds during which you have their attention - beyond that, you've lost them. Sub@omic's strapline underlines that we develop websites which are: 'Simply more clickable'.
What makes a website good is putting, in front of your audience, the tools they will need to do the things they want, when they want to do it. What makes a website great is when a fellow human has already done the thinking for them and anticipates the need implied through the payment of attention.