If you’re running a blog, one of the most important things is the number of visitors you receive, followed by the number of repeat visitors you have. Because of this, you spend time and research to create a blog that is informative and interesting, so the last thing you want to do is to drive away visitors that you’ve worked so hard to get. So you know what pitfalls to avoid, here are five of the most common ways that bloggers drive away their readership:
1. Go Overboard With Colorful Design and Decorative Fonts
When you start your first blog, the world is your oyster. You are amazed at the images, fonts and colors at your fingertips. Unfortunately, most of those are traps. When you go to read something, you want it to be easy on the eyes and to have few distractions to deal with, and blog readers are no exception. Being blinded by flashing images and neon green text on a navy blue background is a sure fire way to drive away visitors. That said, you don’t have to have a black and white blog with no images; instead, use complementary colors that are high contrast and fonts like Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman for ease of reading.
2. Take Blog Comments Personally
One of the joys of a blog is reading comments about your posts. It gives you a feeling having produced something worthwhile. However, people are going to be rude to you or say things that anger you. How you respond to those comments can make or break your blog. Lashing out, especially in later blog posts, is a great way to turn off readers. People come to your site to read what you have to say, not to read you unload on someone who left immature comments. Difficult as it may be, your best action is to ignore the rude comments and move on. Chances are, rude posters will get bored and leave you alone when you do not respond.
3. Forget the Difference Between Telling and Selling
Most blogs operate to sell or promote something, even if that something is just you or your ideas. And that’s not a problem, until your blogs start looking like the internet equivalent of a used car salesman. Once you start posting nonstop about products or services, with no informative content throughout, people are going to stop visiting. The best blogs use a blend of selling and telling to accomplish this goal. Instead of, “You must buy X, it changed my life, it’s on sale now!” consider, “I just bought X and I think you’ll love it. Here’s a list of reasons why I think you’ll like it.”
4. Sell Whatever People Will Give You Money to Promote
As mentioned, most people don’t have a problem with blogs selling things, and as a matter of fact many people buy based on the recommendation of bloggers. However, if you start promoting things you know are poor products, expect your reputation to tank. Be sure to only promote or link to products and services that you know are good. This will ensure your readers will see you as trustworthy and return for your opinion on other things.
5. Stop Updating or Posting New Content
If you stop posting new content, or only do so sporadically, your readership is going to tank. People will not return to a website that is gathering dust, and lack of new content gives frequent readers nothing to refer people to. Set a goal for frequency of posts and stick to it. The great thing about blogs is a roundup of other good blogs is still considered a valid post, so even if you don’t have anything new, let someone else do the heavy lifting for a post.
Liza is a blogger, marketer and copywriter who believes that in order to improve a site’s performance, you must first identify the average site conversion rate so that you can see where the weaknesses and strengths fall when it comes to convincing readers to become customers.