Is Your Site’s Experience Struggling? Try Mastering Reader Zen To Find Your Balance

Caroline Albanese
Nov 6, 2016 · 2 min read

“Preoccupied with a single leaf you won’t see the trees and miss the entire forest.”
Takuan Sōhō

When it comes to keeping a publisher successful, it’s a matter of striking the right balance. Like practicing yoga for the first time, for some sites it can be as jarring as seeing someone else in the class do a handstand, while hooking their legs behind their heads. You see it, so you know it’s possible, but you have no freaking idea how it’s happening in reality.

Also like yoga, finding a balanced experience for a sit is just like being able to do a handstand — it’s simple a matter of taking a complex idea and breaking it down into its parts. That’s how you can discover Reader Zen

There are three main principals of what makes a site a balanced experience and create Reader Zen: Reader Loyalty, Editorial Experience and Ad Experience. Let’s break this down.

When all three of these aspects are at their best, a publisher is able to work at its best

Reader Loyalty is the audience that come to the site daily to read new content, follow their favorite writers or listen to Slate’s renown roster of podcasts.

The loyalty of a reader can be broken by a disruptive Ad Experience where advertisements cover articles or slow down page loads. This can also lead to an increase of readers’ using programs like Ad Blocker avoid seeing ads.

Similar points can be made for a site’s Editorial Experience, as readers will not return to a site if it’s difficult to navigate, slow to load, or its content is cluttered.

The lack of readership also negatively affect both Ad Experience and Editorial Experience, as without an vibrant audience it’s difficult to monetize content and invest in a place for the content to live.

So, when trying to figure out if your own site has balance — an exercise every site product should strive for — it’s important to identify where your site is lacking. Once you know, you can practice and eventually master Reader Zen.

And maybe even learn how to do a handstand in the process.

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