What Women Want To Read Online – the Daily Mail?


Interesting story from the Guardian this week which showed that of all the British newspapers, the Daily Mail is the only one with more female readers than male ones. And it’s the website that’s pulling them in according to the story. Just why is the Mail Online so successful with women?

I think we can assume that the Mail Online hits aren’t driven by its campaign for people to get more free wheelie bins. It’s probably fair to say the celebrity stories are what’s getting the ladies clicking.

And I hate to say it, but I’m part of that statistic: the Daily Mail annoys the feck out of me, but though I wouldn’t never buy a copy of it, I do end up on their website. And I often click more than once. What is it about the Daily Mail that makes me click on it? It’s not rocket science:

Okay it’s partly celebrity gossip. The Daily Mail does it really well, if I going to read it somewhere, it’s probably going to be there. It’s sensible when websites choose one niche that they cover to death. I know that any given story about Lily Allen will turn up there, in more detail than I could ever want.

Pictures – they must have a huge picture budget because there are always tons of pictures. It’s not just one picture of the dog dressed as sushi, it’s six. Pretty sensible because people love looking at pictures on the internet.

That sidebar – not enough sites do good sidebars – and this one is really good. There is something about that bloody sidebar that is like crack to me. Even if I’m not interested in the celebrities featured, I often end up clicking on those stories. Maybe there’s some unexplained psychological rule about putting human interest stories on the right hand side. Certainly it means that at any stage in the story I’m in I can skip off to another piece of fluff. Perhaps that sort of sideways movement is intrinsically female. Perhaps it isn’t. It certainly works for me.

Good subs – good teasers, good thumbnail pictures
On lots of papers, subs are the first to go as newsrooms digitalise. But you still need headlines online, and they’re really important. A good headline is why you click on the piece in the first place. Keeping the subs and freshening up their internet knowledge seems to be the best solution.

Lots of stories: they pump them out. And good for them, more content and more fresh content = more readers.

Why does it get women? Well maybe they just like good web design and intuitive site journeys.

That’s all the nice things I’m going to say about the Daily Mail for the next little while.

NB: I still think that pretty much everything they say about most things is ridiculous
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Anna Leach