The humbling reality of writing multi-page articles

Subject: The humbling reality of writing multi-page articles
From: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -dot- barefoot -at- capeclear -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 12:24:42 +0100

Has anybody else noticed this phenomenon? I regularly write articles,
tutorials and sundry collateral material for a Web site. Until recently,
I hadn't really written anything that merited multiple HTML pages
(because the content was too long for a single page). I wrote the
article (, if
you're interested), broke it into several pages, published it, and then
later looked at the Web logs for those pages.

That's where the humbling moment of truth comes in. Through page views,
the Web stats coldly illustrate how well I've retained readers from page
to page. For the three-page article referenced above:

Page 1: 943 hits
Page 2: 362 hits
Page 3: 243 hits

This means that since the article went up on Sept. 1, only 26% of people
have read it to the end (well, they may have just opened the third page
and given up, but let me cling to the illusion). I made a quick
comparison with a few other multi-page articles on our site, and they
came in at 18% and 20% respectively, so maybe that's all I can expect.

Obviously navigation is a important consideration. If people don't
understand that there are multiple pages and how to access them, they're
not going to get very far. I wonder what a good completion percentage
is on this sort of thing? Anybody have comparative numbers? Any studies?
Thanks. DB.

Darren Barefoot
Technology Evangelist
CapeScience - Cape Clear's Developer Support Network

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