7 Ways to Lose 10 Blog Readers a Day

Guest Post by Jami De La Cruz

Editor’s Note:  Please help me welcome our latest member of the WBB Team!  Please be sure to comment, tweet and share this post.
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Nothing is more important to a blogger than having a loyal following. However, even the best and bravest of the blogging community often make critical mistakes that not only fail to build a visitor base, but sabotage these efforts. Here are seven common mistakes that you need to avoid if you don’t want to drive visitors from your site.

1. The giant brick wall of text.

Only one in seven people who visit a given entry will actually read the entire thing. The rest will skim through it, taking a look at headers, images, bold text, links, and other portions of the site that stick out. Nonetheless, many bloggers present their content in long paragraphs, with no headers, no bulleted lists, no bold text — in short, as a giant brick wall of text that’s nearly impossible to skim.

2. Selling out without subtlety.

Yes, we understand: You’re in the blogging game to make money. That doesn’t mean that your entries should be obvious advertisements for a product, or that ads should flood the layout of your site. Trying to sell without subtlety, and without already establishing reader loyalty, is like trying to kiss your blind date two minutes after meeting them — it comes off too strong, it makes it seem like you only care about one thing, and you’re likely to send them running.

3. Supercilious jargonism.

Okay, we get it — you’re an expert in your chosen field. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re writing to an academic audience. Keep your vocabulary to what you’d use in conversations with a general audience. Supercilious jargonism (which, in English, is arrogantly using big words) will only annoy your visitors.

4. No lead in.

If you want more people to read your entries, you need to have a strong lead-in. This will be created in two places: your entry title and introductory paragraph. Be sure to pique user interest while providing an accurate idea of what the entry will discuss.

5. Devoid of images.

Even the sites of great novelists have images in almost all entries, and more than one in most. Why? Because they’ve realized that people like visual stimulation. It’s attractive, says a lot at a glance, and is one of the best tools to capture the attention of readers.

6. Not listening.

Your visitors have opinions about your blog. When they speak up, be sure that you listen (the site is as much about them as it is about you). If you really want to go the extra mile, you can even do the unthinkable and ask; we recommend using online survey software if you really want to know your audience.

7. Writing filler content.

We all know that writing frequently is important. Regardless, the moment that visitors catch you writing empty, low-quality filler content, their loyalty will disintegrate.

Having a successful blog isn’t an easy task. However, by focusing on your reader experience, working at it persistently, and following the steps above, you just may be able to stand apart from the crowd and reach blogger stardom.

What other deadly mistakes can potentially cause you to lose readers?  What can be done to avoid them?

Comments

  1. Hi Jami,
    Some excellent advice. Images, video, text, mix it and match it, try to make every post different. That tends to work.
    Yes, big words. Unless your readers have a English Masters then it is better to stay away. My Mum reads my blog from time to time, she always tells me I should use more descriptive words, I call them big words that no one understands, but she is a retired English lecturer, what does she know.
    Pete

  2. Welcome to We Blog Better, Jami. Awesome phrase – “supercilious jargonism.” Do you mind if I borrow it? Please say yes because I might just steal it if not. ;) I love that just by using the phrase you’re demonstrating the definition.

    For me, number 7 is the hardest. I tend to not write at all if I feel it’s filler content, but I find that it leads to infrequent posting (I’m a creature of habit). Any tips for what you do when this happens to you?

  3. Your points make sense, and one has to pay attention to the smallest details if he wants to be successful. Another thing that most bloggers avoid doing is to pay attention to the keywords they use in their posts.

  4. It is also easy to lose visitors if you display too many latest, featured and popular article headlines on your homepage so that the user is overwhelmed with choices and may not read through the most important articles and take an action before leaving the site.

  5. Jamie, I really like this list. I may not be in the majority, but I find that often times the image on a blog post is a distraction and doesn’t always fit well with the post itself.

    I read a headline and then I see an image. If the image doesn’t jibe well with the headline, I’m a bit uncertain about what the post itself is actually about.

    Your choice of image for this post was spot-on, though: humorous, charming with the kids, and making me want to read.

  6. I would also extend this to micro-blogging platform Twitter, I wrote on my blog, that I thought that Joost de Valk @Yoast who sent a “RickRoll” to his 16K plus followers.

    My issue is, if you are promoting yourself as an expert in your field, and your prank link is the first message a new client reads. Then don’t be surprised, if those people will not take you seriously, when you have something important to say.

  7. Jami, I love this! I chuckled at “supercillious jargonism.” I was reading through that, and it was like a huge “DOH!” Those things turn me off, too, but I never really was conscious of what turned me off as a blog reader.

    Oh, and disappearing for a length of time with no warning is a deal-breaker, too! =)

    Thanks again,
    Delena

  8. @Pete – big words are great in an academic setting, so it’s just important to keep your audience in mind. Mum’s usually (but not always) know best.

    @Brad – it’s all yours, you just remember where you heard it. :) For me, having guests post are a good way to avoid fluff. Myblogguest.com is a good place to start.

    @Mia – minding the details is absolutely the most important part of blogging.

    @Andreas – the sites/blogs I frequent the most are the ones with minimalistic layouts and not too many “featured” articles; good point.

    @John – thanks for your comment. However, I have to give credit where credit is due: weblogbetter.com added this awesome image, and I think it’s great.

    @Think – you’re right. It’s important to have a variety of content/links, but there is a time and place for everything.

    @Delena – thanks so much for your comment. I’m right there with ya.

  9. a great read.
    the first point about GIANT WALL BRICK OF TEXT is something that i have been doing since late and need to curb it soon.
    the other points are also to the point and makes sense for an everyday blogger

  10. great advice jami, the trouble is that all of my content may be described by some as filler, good filler – but filler – cheers alan

  11. This is awesome advice, Jami. Thank you!

  12. Very well written Jami…. Excellent points you made there..

  13. This has been very informative!
    Replying to comments on my blog has always been very helpful in maintaining the constant return of audience. All very valid points!
    Thanks for a great post!

  14. Jami,
    You have mentioned all the most important things that bloggers should avoid. I also think that making posts long will make readers feel boring. I would think that having short summary like but catchy posts is better AND THEN somewhere at the end of the post there should be ‘related articles’ with the links to bigger stories.
    And one more thing – don’t be too serious! Insert some funny posts from time to time. It will make your blog even more popular and … natural.

  15. skyscapers says:

    Jami, this very informative article for me thx

  16. i am learning to blog effectively and after reading various posts on this blog i have learned a lot of things. i will try to implement them.

    thanks

  17. thanks for your sharing, but I want to ask, which is important, much images or much word ?

  18. Margery Maddox says:

    You have mentioned all the most important things that bloggers should avoid. Insert some funny posts from time to time.

  19. Having a loyal following is so important for a blogger,isn’t it?

  20. Very very helpful post, just what I needed now! :) Thanks!

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  1. 7 Ways to Lose 10 Blog Readers a Day…

    Nothing is more important to a blogger than having a loyal following. However, even the best and bravest of the blogging community often make critical mistakes that not only fail to build a visitor base, but sabotage these efforts. Here are seven commo…

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