So, for the longest time, I wrote about what an ideal article should contain, and what it should look like. Today, I decided to take a more subjective approach and write about what I would like in an article. Now, I am not a great writer or a critic myself, but I speak as a member of the general public. So, here goes:
4) Relevance, and
5) Point it makes
So, talking about the first criterion… Content, as we all know, can make or break an article. The content is all what the article is about. Having an article with shoddy content puts me off big-time. I opened an article to read about a specific topic, not to listen to some random rant on something completely different. Or worse, a badly written article which makes neither head nor tail.
My idea of good content is meaningful, coherent, nicely arranged text which makes sense while you read it.
Now, let’s talk about how the size of the article affects me. Let me be honest, ladies and gentlemen, and tell you that when I see a big wall of text which goes on and on, I get scared.
Yes, that’s right. I am scared of long articles. There! I said it!
No matter how interested I might be in the topic, looking at a long article makes me think ‘Do I really want to read this? Really?’
I like articles that are broken into manageable ‘bites’, wither through small, spaced out paragraphs, or page breaks where each page is a short sub-article. This prevents information overload, and the sinking ‘Omigod! What have I gotten myself into?’ feeling.
This brings me to something that can make or break an article for me immediately. I like a writer with a sense of humour. It makes the article easier for me to read, and also makes it FUN! Articles that read like news reports or science journals are boring, and even if they aren’t long and dreary, that’s what they feel like!
That said, it is also important for the article to be relevant. Cracked.com articles are known for injecting a lot of humour into subjects that might not actually be funny, but then, that is their forte. When one goes to that site for their articles, one is looking for ‘the funnies’. It might not work for someone looking for a business article, or a science article. Humour and content can directly affect the relevance of the article for the reader.
However, humour, irony, sarcasm can all go into emphasising the point an article makes. Any article needs to have a point that it is making. When the content is right, and the tone of the article is spot-on, the only thing that might pull it down is the fact that the extremely well-written article does not have a point to make, in the end.