Do you read in two quick F-shaped scans? That eyescan study says most of you do. It’s an important question if you’re trying to gain notice on the web – which, as a musician, I of course am. I have two lines, maybe one phrase each, to grab people passing by, before they’re done and out.

Fancy formatting doesn’t help; you’ve learned to think that means ads. Honestly, I think that’s positive adaption, even if it leads to amusing results like 86% of test subjects being unable find the US population on the US Census’s web page, despite the fact that it was bright red and the largest text on the page.

Almost everybody threw it away as an ad, because, frankly, it looks like one.

Two months ago, I rebooted this website. I cleaned it up, simplified some pages, improved organisation, added post collections – lots of starch in the collar. Plays are up, hits are up, revisits are up – all those good things.

But I have enough data now to see that there are two audiences here. You? You’re one of them. You pop in, read an article, and you’re done – particularly if reading on an echo. Some of you use the players on the left; some of you read more posts. A small but cool percentage of you browse collected articles. That’s awesome. Go you!

The other audience will never see this post. They’re like dark matter; there, and massive, but invisible.

In two months, hundreds of people have visited the front page of this website. They play music – primary reboot goal attained! – they look at videos, glance at reviews and press pages, and once in a while hit the contact form. They explore more pages per visit than you do.

And they never come over here. Ever. Unless Google is lying to me, not once in two months has even one of these visitors clicked on “Blog of Evil” in the navigation bar. Not even once.

It’s an astounding result, really. I’d like to get them over here, too; get them engaged.

I don’t know how, yet. I’ve made one small change to the front page of the site, tonight – I’ve changed ‘Latest Schemes from the Blog of Evil’ to read ‘This News Just In from Supervillain Central,’ and linked it to the blog front page. Given the special-text-gets-ignored result in the second study above, I’ve also dimmed it from bright yellow to slightly-less-bright and slightly-more-greenish yellow, to blend in a little more. It’ll take a while to collect enough data to know whether it matters, but the theory is sound.

Maybe I need to change it to “news” or something boring like that. Gods, I hope not. (eta: After some feedback on Livejournal, I realised that whether I like it or not, people weren’t hitting the Blog of Evil link. Let’s try “Blog.” Also “Home” instead of “Story.” I mean, one of the bullet points in the article is Clever phrasing drives away clicks, just as effectively as ad-like text.)

Meanwhile, if you’re in this audience, if you’re here off a search, or a trackback, or you’re just new, I’d like to get you engaged in the other direction.

In some ways, you’re a bigger challenge. Most new posts are read on echos – Tumblr, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, via RSS, and so on. But collections and semi-viral articles like Power and Supervillainy have large numbers of readers on the band site itself. Those people – you – you’re difficult to keep. And while I’m thrilled you – whoever you might be, reading this, in the future – you like my writing enough to get down this far… my art is the music.

That’s the goal.

i know what it means
to work hard on machines
it’s a labour of love
so please don’t ask me why