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5 Reasons I Don’t Read Your Blog and How to Change That

Blogging, in the long term is all about growing and getting better. Everyone wants to be read by more people, get more comments and have a huge blog, but not everyone can do that. There are many things you can do to turn a reader away very quickly, and you should really avoid these things. A select few that have me closing my browser faster than you can resize it follow.

5. Widget City

Social bookmarking and networks are great, but when I come to your site for the first time I don’t want to be bombarded by what you Digg, your del.icio.us bookmarks, flickr pictures, Facebook profile, or a big image of how many blogs link to you on Technorati. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of having my latest 10 diggs on my blog, but it’s totally unobtrusive and at the bottom of the page. Things like your Twitter and Pownce status can be integrated very nicely but they will slow you down, keep that in mind.

How to fix this? Just integrate them nicely. Make sure they don’t break up the flow or ruin your layout like those horrible MyBlogLog widgets.

4. Too Many Ads/Monetized too Soon

Many web savvy users are “ad blind”, including my self. I don’t care if a site has a couple ads trying to make some money but if I’m beaten over the head with AdSense, text links, banners, images, ads in the content and PayPerPost, then I’m leaving your site likely to never return. The worst is when all this happens when the site is still young and doesn’t see a lot of visitors. Not everyone is the next John Chow! Just because you put ads on your site doesn’t mean you’ll make money. Every time you put an advertisement on your site, it cheapens what you have to say. That’s not to say advertisements are bad, of course, as they can always be used tastefully.

How to fix this? Don’t cram all your ads above the fold, maybe take a couple out and if your site isn’t ready, don’t monetize!

3. Generic Free Template

When you use a WordPress theme, Blogger template or whatever, and it’s been used thousands of times before you, you’re automatically losing the battle. If readers have seen the design before, the content isn’t going to matter much because they might not even get there.

How to fix this? Even if you can’t afford to have one made for you, there are still great free themes that aren’t used widely. Google it, but look farther into the search. Use the blog search too, to find the release notes from bloggers, this is where the good stuff is.

2. Poor Writing Skills

No one is perfect, and everyone understands that, but a little effort goes a long way. Things like mixing up words, totally misspelling words beyond comprehension and the small stuff. Capitalizing your “I”s and sparing your readers the Leet Speak. Some words that you really shouldn’t mix up:

  • your and you’re
  • there, they’re and their
  • sense, cents and all their misspellings
  • scene, seen, etc…

It may be redundant, but mistakes like that are made everyday, even by the most read bloggers.

How to fix this? Just a simple spell check, but even that won’t catch everything, you still need to proofread.

1. Fake Comments or Reader Count

The number one thing that has me closing faster than anything else is when you fake numbers. Faking comment amounts, actual comments and feed numbers in an attempt to get people to think your site is popular and in turn subscribe kills me inside. I have the SearchStatus FireFox plugin that tells me the Alexa Rank and PageRank of each site I visit. If I see PR0, Alexa in the millions and thousands of subscribers, paired by 50 comments on each post, it’s too obvious. Simply checking if their FeedBurner feed chiclet is actually theirs or a static image will usually show their ‘sneakiness’. Doing this doesn’t really work at all, because if you have to do it in the first place chances are your site isn’t worth reading anyways.

How to fix this? Either show the real numbers or don’t show them at all.

Connor Wilson is a freelance web designer writing his own blog with many blogging tips.


  1. By LucidHouseStudio posted on July 6, 2007 at 8:25 am
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    Very good article.
    Also, we should always remind that blgging is all about contents.
    So throw off away any kind of multicolored graphics, really annoying banners and everything that basically can deviate your readers attention.

    Also check some guidelines for better writing, like breaking long concepts in multiple paragraphs to facilitate reading.

  2. By Alex posted on July 6, 2007 at 9:44 am
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    Great article Connor. The point about poor writing skills is a big one for me. If I go to someone’s blog and start reading a post filled with bad grammar/spelling, I’ll take off right away.

    In my opinion, anyone who wishes to write articles for the masses should really take a formal course on grammar. Spelling will be picked up by spell check 90% of the time, but grammar checking rarely works. Most of the left over spelling errors are a result of poor grammar anyways.

  3. By Steve posted on July 6, 2007 at 9:44 am
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    Good tips and very true. Especially the template one, if you are going to use a template, at least tweak it a little

  4. By Connor Wilson posted on July 6, 2007 at 10:04 am
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    That’s a good point, Lucid, but I purposely strayed from the stereotypical ‘quality content’ rant. Sometimes people can get along without it, surprisingly enough.

    Glad you guys agree, especially on the writing skills. Sometimes it just kills me >.<

  5. By Patrick Lee posted on July 6, 2007 at 12:27 pm
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    “…you’re automatically loosing the battle…”

    I just had to smile when I read this and then the next point was about Poor Writing Skills. What’s the opposite of “loosing” a battle anyway? Tightening a battle? ;)

  6. By Connor Wilson posted on July 6, 2007 at 12:33 pm
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    Nice one, Patrick. I’ve fixed the mistake ;) No one’s 100% perfect, but if you could understand what I was saying, I’ve gotten something right.

    It would’ve been even better if I missed battle and wrote bottle :P

  7. By aj posted on July 6, 2007 at 12:44 pm
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    Heh, these are situations where I like to play it off and say “I meant for that to happen” ;). It’s my own fault too, when I read it before publishing it I missed it as well :X

  8. By Matt posted on July 6, 2007 at 1:04 pm
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    Good post and great points.. When I read posts littered with misspellings it just kills me….PROOF-READ, KIDS!!!

  9. By Patrick Lee posted on July 6, 2007 at 1:09 pm
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    Connor,
    Yeah I understood what you were saying and I agree completely. I let dozens of those typos go every day in stuff that I read, but it always irks me. I only called you on it because your very next point was about common misspellings. I couldn’t resist… ;)

    Great article by the way. I agree with all your other points too.

  10. By Dave posted on July 6, 2007 at 1:21 pm
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    “Everyday” is an adjective. You incorrectly use it as a noun in place of “every day.”

  11. By Iantrepreneur posted on July 6, 2007 at 3:56 pm
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    the rason why I removed my widgets and even those top site buttons – soon they became so annoying and loaded my page too long so I decided to remove them and I have been happy since

  12. By J David posted on July 6, 2007 at 4:02 pm
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    Yeah, I am redesigning (using your V2 template, but hopefully with a little personal twist) and I need to lose the MyBlogLog widget. I mean, I love the service, but that thing is butt ugly…

  13. By Scot Smith posted on July 7, 2007 at 9:39 am
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    This really got me thinking about the MBL widget…

  14. By Connor Wilson posted on July 7, 2007 at 12:09 pm
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    MBL wouldn’t be so bad if they allowed a lot more customization. Or even just an RSS feed with the pictures and URLs, etc… so they could leave it up the the developers.

  15. By redwall_hp posted on July 10, 2007 at 10:38 am
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    Cool, I don’t do any of those things!
    Proof: http://www.webmaster-source.com

    I read Problogger, North X East, and Blog Herald so I suppose that may ahve something to do with it (plus I’ve been a webmaster for over 3 years).

  16. By Justin posted on July 14, 2007 at 2:59 am
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    Great article. I feel the same way you do about misspellings and poor grammar. I have the luxury of working for an agency with a slew of professional copywriters so I’ve definitely picked up a few tricks on how to get what sounds eloquent in my head into something decipherable in print.

    There’s just no excuse for misspellings. I have Google Toolbar installed and it does auto-spell checking for all form fields as you type. I’m an awful speller (really a sloppy typer) but this plug-in really helps.

    Not to get over-geeky with the grammar but there’s a Podcast called Grammar Girl that is entertaining (at least as entertaining as a Podcast about grammar could be) and really useful for common errors in grammar. I recommend it to anyone who writes semi-professionally (bloggers).

  17. By Axil posted on July 17, 2007 at 6:02 pm
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    You got a great site and lots of great advice, but be very, very careful…

    Your point #2 (Poor Writing Skills) entry is spot on, but we all make mistakes. You did. :-)

    See your post on 12 Things to do to Your Brand New Blog — you had a missing word in there.

    Here’s how it reads now: “I guarantee you’ll more in than 7th month than those first 6 combined.”

    (You forgot the word “make” as in: I guarantee you’ll MAKE more in than 7th month than those first 6 combined.)

    OK wait! I just spotted error #2 in that same sentence — the “than” should really be “the”.

    Let’s try this again: “I guarantee you’ll MAKE more in THE 7th month than those first 6 combined.”

    BRB…lemme go to the kitchen and grab some humble pie…

    :-)

  18. By Axil posted on July 17, 2007 at 6:42 pm
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    Ok…this is TOO funny.

    Remember my comments above on some innocent typos on your article? Well, (cough, cough), it wasn’t even your article!

    lol.

    This was the article http://www.connorwilson.com/2007/07/06/12_things_to_do_to_your_brand_new_blog/

    I mixed it all up and got so confused. I noticed it like 30 minutes later in a different browser window and the L&F just didn’t match your site and then I realized….ah, damn.

    So please…hand ME that humble pie.

    :-)

  19. By Connor Wilson posted on July 19, 2007 at 3:42 pm
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    I was wondering why you were quoting that article… But thanks Axil for finding those. On my own blog I do spell check as I go but proof reading is only something I do for a more formal article.

    Enjoy your pie ;)

  20. By Adam posted on July 31, 2007 at 12:07 pm
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    Great article!! If you’re site is too cluttered people won’t care what you’ve written they’ll leave right away. However if you don’t have any content people won’t stay and definitely won’t come back to your site so having a nice design is useless. You need to have the perfect combination of design and content to get people wanting more.

  21. By Emmanuil posted on September 11, 2007 at 12:18 pm
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    Nice!

  22. By crazyleaf posted on September 26, 2007 at 5:12 am
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    This article was a great read, and as Scot Smith said it really got me thinking about MBL widget. I think I’ll go remove it now.

  23. Trackback12 Things to do to Your Brand New BlogFriday (Saturday) Roundup: July 7th, 20075 Reasons I Don?t Read Your Blog and How to Change ThatWebmaster-Source » » BlogBuzz July 10, 2007How to run a blog to success | DequesDevlounge | No One Digs UsThe Dirty Word In The Blogosphere