Your news site is bad and you should feel bad

Visiting a bad news site:

Clicks article link
Page loads
Disables Ad Block for this site…
Begin to read arti… “BOOM sign up for our newsletter bitch!”
No thanks I just want to read the articl.. “BOOM let us send you notifications”
I just wanted to…”BOOM tell us your LOCATION NOW”

We just met Bloomsburg News, you’re really clingy and your already asking me favors… How about your show me the article I wanted to read first; if it’s good then maybe we can talk about the other stuff.

Shame… Shame.. Shame…

Bloomsburg isn’t the only one that’s guilty here. Forbes, NY Daily News, and a slew of others deserve a top 10 spot on the Wall of Shame.

I haven’t even read an article yet..
Thanks for this useless quote Forbes

So how do we fix it?

Step 1:

If you must use a paywall, use a “soft” or “metered” one. A soft paywall allows online visitors to read a handful of free articles a month before requiring a subscription.

According to a 2014 poll of 45 newspaper companies:

“Most publishers with hard paywalls are reporting retention rates as low as 15–20%. Retention rates for newspapers using metered paywalls average 58.5%, with some reporting as much as 90% reader retention.”
The New York Times using of a soft paywall to limit users to five articles a month

Step 2:

Give me the content I came for.

Step 3:

NOW, you may ask me to for a newsletter signup / donation. Honestly, after just one article I still might not be ready to make a commitment. Maybe I’ll need a second date.. err.. article to be convinced of your site’s value.

If you’re looking to find out my location or send me notifications, make sure you’re following the best practices for permission priming.

When you do make a request from me, don’t use a large modal or a design that completely blocks the view of my screen. It’s annoying and also will lower your Google SEO rank.

Instead, simply place the prompt at the bottom of your article or use a small alert style notification.

The Guardian using a prompt at the bottom of an article
Fox News using a smaller alert style notification.

Step 4:

Now that you have my email address, please use it was sparingly. Email as a medium is already bloated with garbage.

When surveyed 472 U.S. adults said that the number one reason that they marked a business’ emails as spam was that the sender emails too often.

That’s it! Ultimately, this interaction is like having a conversation with a person you just met. If the first words out of your mouth are “gimme” then you’re already off to a bad start. However, if you take the opposite tact you might just make a loyal (paying) friend.