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.
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?