Don’t worry nothing nefarious, over the last year we’ve been experimenting with a new type of technology to work with articles – you may’ve noticed it, but as we’re using it more and more I thought it’s worth a speedy blog to get your thoughts.
Most news and other articles on the web are usually 300 to 800 words, a typical MSE guide is 10,000 words. We like to make sure our guides are the be all and end all to a subject with everything in. Both because the information is useful, but also due to the serious MoneySavers in the forum who, if we omit something thinking it’s not important, will often lobby about it. We’re also constantly adding more as things happen; we do even more research or get feedback.
Yet that causes an issue displaying the info – as if someone clicks on a 10,000 word guide and it takes an age to open, it’s so daunting people click off. Of course, we could’ve taken the multipage approach where you click a new page and keep clicking through again and again. Yet this is often primarily done on sites with banner ads – so they get more ‘page views’, which means they may be able to charge more to advertisers as more adverts are seen.
Our changing approach
- The old approach to long guides. In the past we’ve often split guides into two to try and make them less intimidating. For example the cheap car insurance (Update 30 March – since writing this blog post, as the feedback was so successful we’ve now updated this guide to the new style. Home insurance is now a better example of the old look – although we’ll be fully updating that soon too) and the car insurance picking your policy guides (though I should note the design of the first of those articles has been updated somewhat and includes some of the new approach). Yet by splitting them, the secondary article, which contains lots of important information is often overlooked.
- The new ‘content hiding’ system. We’re now using ‘drop down’ technology. As a good example of this, take a look at the new car insurance for young drivers guide and scroll to the car insurance dos and don’ts at the top. While it looks like ten sentences, actually within that alone are 1,500 words once you click them to read more, within the likes of "Do ensure you always minimise your risk" and "Don’t assume third party’s cheaper than comprehensive". Take a look and see how long this whole article feels to you when you scroll down – in reality it’s four or five times that length.
Our hope is it makes the articles more approachable, keeps things in the right structure, but allows you to read more information on subjects that are relevant to you.
The provisional results are good, the bounce rate on the pages is dropping (fewer people click, see and leave straight away) and people are staying on the page longer – all of which is good – as reading more leaves you in a better position to save. Any views? If you don’t like it, constructive criticism is fine, but please keep it nice as the team have worked hard on the design of this.