Yesterday I blogged about how to get readers to pay attention, but not everybody wants that. Some people yearn to be forgotten, to be ignored, and disappear into the ether.
Don’t offer an RSS feed or email subscriptions. If someone happens to stumble upon your content, don’t give them an easy way to find out about new things you post. If your site software offers RSS subscriptions automatically, you can still work around it by repeatedly editing the same page or post, and gradually adding on content to it without triggering a new article. Hardly anybody will think to revisit the same page manually to check for updates.
Bury the good content below unrelated text. Don’t follow the lead of sites like Engadget that put their newest featured content right up at the top of the page with a sexy, shiny picture – that will lead to frantic excitement about your new content. To be forgettable, bury the new stuff in the smallest print possible at the bottom of a page that never changes. You want people to take a glance at a page and immediately think nothing has changed since the dawn of HTML.
Don’t allow comments, or don’t respond to them. When content is really thought-provoking, people want a place to leave their newfound thoughts. They want to start a discussion with you, the author, and get your opinions. Engaging with your readers only serves to bring them back for more – avoid this at all costs. Bonus points for making your post seem like a dead page that no one is maintaining anymore.
Don’t make your content searchable. You can use robots.txt rules to make sure search engines don’t find your stuff, but if you’re really sharp, you can make some worthless content public while making the really valuable stuff – like your writings – invisible. Here’s the trick: put the content in PDFs that can only be seen after users log in. Presto! Unsearchable by Google.
Require login to read, then redirect users elsewhere. Tell users that they have to log in to read your best content. They’ll click on the link, and odds are, they’ll either forget their password or have to create a new account. After they log in, redirect them to your site’s home page, thereby ensuring they’ll have a tough time returning to whatever content they were originally trying to read.
Think nobody would be so crazy as to follow every single one of these steps? You’re wrong – I know one particular page that follows every one of these guidelines perfectly, and I bet some of you know who it is. I’ll give a $40 Amazon gift certificate to the first person who guesses it correctly in the comments. And of course I buried this juicy little contest way down in the small print…