How do you feel when you visit blogs which are not user-friendly and make your stay very uncomfortable? If you are like me, you probably hit the back button in a heart beat and never go back! Now, let’s flip that — is your blog user-friendly? Do your readers enjoy their stay and keep coming back?
Let’s get one thing straight — your blog is not meant to keep search engines happy, but your visitors and readers. If you can’t get this fundamental principle right, then you can only dream of attracting a high number of regular readers, subscribers and customers.
Today, I’m going to point you in the right direction so that you can make your readers’ stay enjoyable and unforgettable… Here we go…
You are annoying your visitors and readers if you are:
#1: Making Your Visitors Wait
The last thing you want to do is to make your visitors lose interest while waiting for your blog to load. If you don’t improve your blog’s loading speed, then you’re going to lose traffic and readers.
Solution: First off, analyse your blog speed by installing Google Page Speed on Firefox. The best way to have your blog pages load incredibly fast is to install the plugin called, W3 Total Cache and configure it to cache the pages of your blog. See what you must do to increase blog speed.
#2: Not Using Post Excerpts
When new visitors arrive at your blog, they are likely to scroll down your home page to get an idea and overview of the content that you produce. Or maybe they have read one of your posts before and they want to have another read. They would have to go through all the other posts, no matter how long they are. This exercise can be very tiring and frustrating if you leave your posts long. To see the the next post, they will have to go through the current post even if they don’t want to. How annoying! So, they stop and leave your blog – readers and potential customers lost!
Solution: Use post excerpts with the “Read more” or “Continue reading” function. This will encourage your visitors to stay longer and click on the posts that they may be interested in. You can use the default setting in your admin panel or install a plugin called Evermore.
#3: Not Using a Search Box
Your readers will likely want to search your blog for more articles using different keywords, depending on your niche. I visit a lot of blogs daily and I still find blogs without a search box – very frustrating. And if your search box is not prominent enough, your readers will waste their time trying to find it. This will again annoy your readers and they will just not be bothered.
Solution: Make sure you display your search box where your readers will be able to see it. Can you see it on this blog? It’s right below the opt-in box.
#4: Not Having a Clean and Appealing Design
If you have a busy, cluttered and unprofessional looking blog, you just going to annoy your readers and send them away for good. How do you feel when visiting a blog with loud colours, too much clutter and everything in your face, not knowing where to look to rest your eyes? Not a pleasant feeling at all, you just want to leave straight away. Is your blog welcoming? Do your visitors want to stay or leave instantly?
Solution: Change your design! No, I’m not talking about spending lots of money on design and getting obsessed with how your blog looks. Go for a simple, clean, professional and uncluttered design and only keep user-friendly and necessary features on your blog.
#5: Not Posting Regular Content
Why do readers keep returning to other blogs? It’s because they want more information and tips to help them in their lives or business. Truth be told, you’re not going to have readers who keep coming back to your blog if you don’t create valuable content on a regular basis.
If your readers come back after a few days and they find the same old post, chances are they will never come back. They will move on to find other good blogs with regular and fresh content. Would you watch a news channel broadcasting the same old news every time you tune to it?… Well, I didn’t think so! You’d be bored to death. Think of how your readers must be feeling if you don’t update your blog regularly with new content.
Solution: Develop a blogging schedule which will help you to post consistently and frequently. This will result in search engine love, increased traffic, happy readers and more money in your pocket.
#6: Not Making Your Content Easy To Read
If your content is not appealing to the eye, then your readers will not continue reading. For example, long paragraphs, plain text, poor grammar, big words, misspellings will not draw people to your content. If you can’t get people to read your posts, then they will not come back.
Solution: Spruce up your posts! Use relevant pictures, sub-headings, formatting (bold, italic, underline), short paragraphs… you get the picture!
#7: Not Having a “Subscribe” Option
Now, this one is a biggie… Subscribers are the life blood of a successful blog. So, how many subscribers do you have and how many do you get daily? I want to believe that you definitely want to increase your subscriber rate, right? Now, imagine your readers who love your content so much, that they want to subscribe to your blog only to find that you have not made the process easy for them — there are no subscription options on your blog or if there are, they are not prominent enough. You managed to get yourself annoyed readers!
Solution: Make your subscription options prominent, offer an email alternative to RSS, and ask for the subscription, preferably at the bottom of each post. Can you see subscription options on this blog?
My story: One of my regular readers, Dennis Edell, pointed out to me a few weeks ago, that he couldn’t find the subscription options as he wanted to subscribe to my blog. “Hmmm…”, I wondered, as I had three options to choose from (at the top and bottom of each post as well as the yellow button on the widget that says “Stay In Touch With Me Here”.
He replied: “Well, the one on the widget, is quite hidden, I missed it. Also, please include the email alternative to RSS”. So, what did I do? I thanked Dennis for his advice and implemented the changes right away. Why? My goal is to make my readers happy. Dennis probably got annoyed by this issue but because he liked my blog, he helped me fix this problem Thank you once again, Dennis.
So now, I have added a very prominent widget: “GET BLOG POST UPDATES” below “RECENT MUST-READ POSTS”. Check out the wording – people don’t like to subscribe, do they?
This is where I ask you to fill out this form to receive my post updates via e-mail
#8: Not Having a Posts Page
If your readers want to have an overview of all your blog posts, it would be tiring for them to scroll down the pages even if you use post excerpts.
Solution: Create a page that links to your posts and pages so that your readers can go through them on one page and pick those they’d like to read. Furthermore, search engines can see all your other links when indexing. You can create this page by installing the plugin called, Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
#9: Not Making It Easier To Share Your Content
If you don’t place share buttons strategically on your blog, then you’re making it difficult for your readers to share your content. If you make your readers spend their time trying to figure out how to share your posts, then they are likely not going to. It’s annoying when you can’t share the awesome content you have just read.
Solution: Display only a few share buttons prominently. Let’s face it, your readers will not use all the social media share buttons. You can display them at the beginning or end of your posts or to the right or left of your posts. You can also plugins such as Smart Sharing, Digg Digg or ShareBar. Be sure to test the buttons to see if they are working or not. I always share my own content to see if it’s easier for my readers to do the same.
#10: Using Pop-Ups
Your visitors will not stick around for long if there are promotions, opt-ins, adverts popping up from left, right and centre. Some pop-ups just make it difficult to read content, you scroll up or down, they keep following you. Sometimes you can’t even hit the back button or close the window – they stand in your way! Yikes!
Solution: Stop using the annoying pop-ups and build your list like the smart bloggers do. You can now magically double, triple or even quardruple YOUR opt-in rate on your blog without irritating your readers in any way with this plugin called MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet.
#11: Not Making Leaving Comments Easier
One of the major and worst thing that you can do as a blogger, is to do things that could discourage people from commenting on your blog. Have you ever given this a thought? Let me go into details to see what I mean.
a) You have a maze below your posts
You readers will not bother to scroll down to your comment section if you have too many distractions displayed below your posts including reading terms and conditions before leaving a comment. Too many calls-to-action will not work, but will leave your readers confused and annoyed and will cost you comments!
Solution: Declutter this area and make sure it’s appealing to the eye. Don’t give your readers too many options, they will choose none anyway.
b) You are using the Blogger platform for your blog
Most of your readers will not be bothered to create an account or to log into their existing account just to leave a comment on your blog. It’s just a hassle leaving a comment on a Blogger blog. Still wondering why you’re not getting a lot of comments on your blog?
Solution: Now, let me first ask you: how serious are you with blogging? Is it just a hobby? Well, only you can answer that. Here are the 5 reasons why you should choose WordPress… I’ll let you decide.
c) You are still using the Disqus Commenting System
If you’re still using Disqus or similar systems, did you know that you could be losing a lot of comments? There are people who would just not leave a comment on a blog that uses Disqus or even visit it for that matter.
When I ditched Disqus a few months ago, I saw a sharp increase in the comments on my blog. Some readers even said that they have been visiting my blog, enjoying the content but could not be bothered to leave a comment. Best decision ever and I never looked back!
Solution: How important are comments on your blog? See Which Blog Commenting System Should You Use? I’ll let you choose.
d) You’re still using a Captcha
A Captcha is an annoyance. Period. Sometimes you’re required to enter the code over and over again or you just get a blank page after several attempts. Your readers will not put up with all that just to leave a comment on your blog.
e) You’re not rewarding your commentators
Most commentators want to use their keywords linking to their blogs, along side their real names. Do you reward people and encourage more comments by giving the opportunity for a better anchor text?
f) You don’t have the comments follow-up option
Your readers and commentators will likely want to be notified of follow-up comments, even without commenting in some cases. They will be annoyed if you don’t have this feature.
Solution: Let your commentators be notified of follow-up comments via email if they so wish by installing the plugin called, Subscribe to Comments Reloaded.
Take a critical look at your blog right now and ask yourself if you are annoying your visitors or making them happy? If you can tick all the boxes, then your blog would be the best place to be at — guaranteed!
I’m done now. Your turn: what other things do you find annoying when you visit blogs? Please share in the comments below.
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