Is it for the reader or the search engine? Here's an excerpt from how editors are deciding things at the Times now: "There was praise for headlines that had contained the right words ... to maximize online search results."
The most important thing any individual or corporate media entity needs to learn is this: One subscriber is worth 1,000 surfers. Newspapers learned this a century ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer created one of the richest families in America on the basis of a focus on subscriptions. And Time magazine has turned into a nearly valueless relic because they forgot to focus on subscribers and pandered to the newsstand and to the listicle instead.
It sickens me the number of publishers that use cheap attention-getting tactics to create buzz but little loyalty. “Look at me! I’m waving six fire sticks!” Beyond waving around sticks, they have lost my attention and respect—even when they have good content to share.
The future of media can't possibly only lie in random mass viral entertainments, generated with the aid of computers and aimed at the lowest-clicking denominator. For most organizations, that can't lead to useful ads, it doesn't lead to subscriptions, and most of all, it doesn't lead to impact. Entertaining the people who click on 50 things a day will get you numbers, but it won't make a difference.
A better web starts with the makers. ∞