Misleading top image

Like it or not, websites rely on advertising revenue to operate. So web publishers are always looking for creative ways to increase web traffic. However, much like such risqué topics as Scientology and anal butt sex, the topic of increasing pageviews is rarely discussed out in the open…until now! Below are 11 sneaky, rotten and downright underhanded ways in which websites get you to read an article.

11. Keywords in the intro

That enjoyable intro paragraph I have up there is really nothing more than a clever way to hide a variety of keywords designed to rank this page higher in Google search results (so more people will find and read this article). SEO specialists know that keywords should account for three to eight percent of all text in an article. Since intro text is weighted more heavily by search engines, websites tend to load up the keywords at the front end. For this article, popular search terms I purposely included were:

  • Ways to increase web traffic
  • Increasing page views
  • Anal butt sex


10. Lots and Lots of Bullets

According to writing experts at Rutgers University, “Web users scan. They don’t read word for word.” Because of this, you’ll find a lot of bullets. To improve scanning, you’ll also find Web articles include paragraphs that r as shrt as pssble.


9. Sensationalistic Title

SNEAKY! UNDERHANDED! Just look at all those superfluous adjectives I threw into that title. While most of these website tricks I’m divulging aren’t all that deceptive, I sneakily over-exaggerated the title simply to get you to click through to the article. And guess what? It worked.


8. Lists, Lists and More Lists

You see a lot of top ten lists online. This is because lists:

  • Are easy to skim
  • Encourage debate and comments
  • Do well on social sharing sites like Digg and Facebook


7. Using Odd Numbers

Why is this list the top ELEVEN Ways Websites Get You to Read an Article? Well, when I pitched this article to Nick, I proposed the title of “Top 10 Sneaky and Underhanded Ways Websites Get You to Read an Article.” His one note was, “Can you make it 11 ways? I’ve heard from a few sources that odd-numbered lists perform better.”


6. Using Dubious Sources

There is absolutely zero statistical evidence (that I could find) that supports Nick’s quote right above. However, I quoted him as if it he was a credible source, when in fact his belief is nothing more than hearsay from “a few sources.” Possibilities for these sources include:

  • Web baron Ariana Huffington
  • Senior editors from top websites
  • Some kid posting in an online forum
  • A talking monkey he met while high on mushrooms

Bottom line: I don’t know the answer and it doesn’t matter. His quote gives pseudo-credibility to my article and that’s all I need (remember, this is the internet – not the scientific journal of medicine).

Note: I also used Rutgers University as a source earlier. Sounds legit, right? Meh…all I did was pull a sentence from their website, which was probably written by some teacher’s aide.


5. Excessive Charts and Graphs

Some people complain about the number of infographics floating around online. Well, the sad fact is that people are dramatically more likely to read an article if it has an infographic, chart or other visual form of knowledge. This goes back to skim-ability. Charts and graphs make it easy to digest information quickly and efficiently.


4. Unnecessary Images

Hey, look at all the pictures in this article! Aren’t they cool? Don’t they really help break up the monotony of stupid, boring text? Aren’t they really good at getting you to read the key points of the article? Don’t you feel like this article is FUN and totally NOT a boring article about increasing Web traffic? Aren’t they completely unnecessary when it comes to getting my point across?


3. Boobs

Sex sells. Articles that include hot chicks are often the highest viewed articles for a website. So, here’s a picture of Kate Upton nude (not really nude…YAY KEYWORDS!)


2. Counting Down

And so we’ve almost come to the number one way websites get you to read an article. Note, I didn’t say number eleven. I said number one. Yep, counting down instead of up is a clever way to get you to scroll through the ENTIRE article. Why? Because people want to know what ranks at the top of this and every other stupid list on the internet. However, number one on this list is in no way more devious or underhanded than number eleven. I just counted down to keep you on the page longer (sucker).


1. Linking to Other Articles Within the Website

Oh no! You’ve finished the article! Please don’t leave our website. Look…here’s a bunch of other hilarious and important articles you need to read. They’ve been placed in the sidebar and header and “You might like” section for your convenience. The more you read, the more pageviews we get and the more ad revenue we receive. After all, you just got here…why not stay a while?

  • The Frogman

    I enjoyed this quite a bit. I’d say that even if I wasn’t biased.

  • Anonymous

    I love that this article itself is sneaky in how it got me interested to read

  • Anonymous

    #13: Letting you comment.

  • CRZ

    Thank GOD you didn’t break it up over 11 pages.

    • Anonymous

      We’ll do that when we republish it in a month, hoping no one notices.

  • CRZ

    Thank GOD you didn’t break it up over 11 pages.

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