How to Lose Your Readers in 8 Easy Steps!
Most of us blog fully aware that it takes time, commitment and creativity to truly go the distance.
But, what we don’t always recognize is that we can sabotage our efforts when we fail to meet the needs of our readers, or fail to understand certain success principles.
With this in mind, here are eight practices and activities that have caused me to stop following blogs and unsubscribe as a reader. Common tendencies that you’ll typically find will often alienate other readers as well.
In no particular order…
Are you guilty of any?
1. Irregular Posting
There’s no doubt about it: blogging is hard work. And life gets in the way. Your job. Your family. Your need to escape. Bills. Writer’s block. Been there, done that. But sporadic, inconsistent blogging will give the impression that you’re “faking it,” are an amateur, or lack commitment. All the more reason you should find a personal schedule that works and stick with it like Velcro. In a blog fog? Ask for guest blog posts, publish reprints, or make your posts short, but substantive.
2. Going on break for extended periods, without announcing it
To many followers, it’s the equivalent of allowing all your phone calls to go straight to voice mail. It’s rude. Which causes a “disconnect.”
3. Excessive personal photos of you
Where do I begin? Let me just go on record by saying, I dig when writers share images of themselves and their personal lives. It’s great to get to know the person behind the words, and pictures provide visual variety. To a point. Unless you’re a model, please don’t post dozens and dozens of images of yourself, in a variety of poses, that do nothing to add value to your article, and that in no way tie in with your topic. It comes across as, well… a little self-indulgent.
4. Angry, repetitious, personal rants
Rants are commonplace for writers and bloggers of all walks of life. Who doesn’t need to “sound off” from time to time about a bad boss? A demanding client? Relationship woes? Poor customer service? And as they say, “Misery loves company.” But be careful here. Too much of it can be a bad thing. Branding you as bitter, immature, or in dire need of a good friend or therapist.
5. A lack of focus on a designated topic or theme
Most people read a variety of blogs to meet their informational needs and to broaden their horizons. I, for instance, enjoy cooking blogs, writing blogs, decorating blogs, and sites devoted to frugal living. And I find that it saves time and energy when I visit a site and know exactly what I will encounter. It also helps to establish the writer’s expertise in a designated area.
This is not to say that a blogger can’t address multiple topics, when in moderation, and when there is a “tie in” of sorts. But flip flopping, changing directions, and writing on an array of unrelated topics can be confusing, and dilute your “brand”.
6. Not responding to blog comments
Blogs, by their very nature are intended to be an interactive medium. Which is why I am often left “scratching my head” when bloggers don’t respond to comments left. That is, of course, unless you’re lucky enough to garner 50 or more comments per post. Then, by all means, I don’t mind being ignored, because you’re obviously doing something right. Proceed.
7. Sell like hell
Blogging is a great way for writers to build their platform and their bottom line. But, there needs to be a balance here. Every post, ad, or “pop-up” shouldn’t be about making money or promoting your products and services. Give to receive.
8. Never comment on blogs you read
Don’t get me wrong: I’d be lying if I said that every time I read a blog, I leave a comment. Cuz I don’t. I don’t always have the time. But I do leave comments on most blogs I read on a somewhat regular basis. I realize that readers don’t owe that to us as bloggers, but it certainly fosters good karma, builds supportive relationships, and shows appreciation for the blogger’s efforts and time. And there’s a bonus here: it doesn’t cost a thing.
By the way…If I haven’t commented on your blog, you’re probably next on my list. J
Remember, there's great validity to the expression, "It's not what you do, it's how you do it."
So make the most of your efforts by considering the needs of your readers.
Thanks for being one of mine.
Thoughts? Which of these points do you agree with, if any?