5 Simple Ways to Alienate Readers: It's My Birthday and I Can Bitch if I Want To Edition

Disclaimer (i.e. Wind covers her ass with every ounce of self-respect she can garner): This post should really be: 5 Simple Ways to Alienate Windsoar. And that wouldn’t really be honest either. Like everyone else I have likes and dislikes, and some content I just don’t like. *pause for gasps of astonishment* I know, right!? So before you read this post put on the heavy protection skin. Be aware that I’m not personally picking on you! I will not be linking examples of what I don’t like, because that would be freakin’ rude, and everyone has the right to write about whatever the hell they like, whether I enjoy it or not. If you need someone to string up and roast at the end of this post, I nominate John who poked me into writing the post in the first place. Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Alienate Readers: Layout Edition

How you arrange items around your page influences whether that visitor who is clicking through actually stays for a couple minutes and reads an article or two, or whether they run screaming on to the next blog on the list. While the actual layout of your blog is very personal there are some bad things that can be a turnoff for your readers… even if you love it! Heck, there might be a number of people who agree with you! This is just a general rule of thumb for things that I personally find annoying and/or frustrating when browsing around the blogosphere. Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Alienate Readers: Content Delivery Edition

I’m not only a blogger, I’m also a blog-reader.  Some things I don’t like but I can handle. Some things are so grossly *ick* that I won’t even consider adding you to my reader despite your great content. I’m sure I lose readers every day from something or other they don’t like from my site, but unless someone tells you, you’ll never know. So for you non-bloggers, this one is not for you… unless you’re secretly planning to go live with a blog in the near future!

1. You Don’t Have an RSS Feed/Twitter/Facebook/E-mail Option

If I can’t subscribe to your blog, through a feed or e-mail, I’m not going to read you. A feed allows me to have your content delivered when you actually post as opposed to me having to go to your site and check to see if you posted today. When you follow 100 blogs, checking every one manually is more trouble than it’s worth. While I initially typed FEED! I realized that a lot of readers also follow blog authors by checking their tweets or facebook for new posts. You don’t have to subscribe to all of these, but if readers can’t be notified of your new posts, they’re not going to read you.

While twitter and facebook followers have to click through to read your content (allowing you to keep up with who’s reading what), how do you manage to keep track of all that content that isn’t directed to your site?  Set up your RSS feed with Feedburner, and prominently display it so people sign up through that service.

2. Truncated Feeds Are Evil

All this means, is that instead of getting your full post delivered,  your reader gets the first 100-200 words and a [Read More] option.  If you do this, you are losing readers. Many readers cannot access websites from their preferred reading spot (usually work) and so only get to read that little snippet and then can’t follow it through for the rest. I don’t particularly have that problem, but I tend to click-through on things I want to comment on, and it ticks me off to have my tabs screwed up with a “I still need to read this” post.

If you want to truncate posts on your site, FEEL FREE.  I do it myself, and I love when other people do it, because I can scan multiple posts per page without having to over-utilize my scroll-wheel.  However, doing this on content delivery sucks, and people who thought to subscribe might not, and those who are reading now might change their minds when the workplace suddenly blocks your site.

If you’re not sure whether your feed is truncated or not you should subscribe to your own feed.

3. My blog background is black, my feed background is white, and I post everything is yellow

See what I did there? If readers can’t read your content, they’re not enjoying your content.  Even if you know whether your feed is truncated or not already, you should be subscribing to your feed, even if you don’t generally use a feedreader. Google is pretty popular, but there are plenty of options.  You need to see your content as your reader sees your content, in any format they may be viewing it!

4. You Don’t Have a Phone Widget

Lots of people read blogs on their itty-bitty handheld devices. Most themes don’t look that great on this type of device.  However, by adding a simple plug-in (I use WPtouch) I have stopped receiving complaints from my phone-readers about their inability to read my stuff when THEY want. I honestly can’t tell you how it looks because I am NOT buying a smart-phone to monitor my blog; however, I DID ask someone I know who does have it to check my site for me, and they gave me the a-ok on accessibility.

5. Advertisements

Although it should be a general rule-of-thumb, finding gold selling adverts in any part of your content can make you lose readership.  I personally disengage from a blogger that cannot monitor their site/respond to complaints, and I’m sure I’m not alone. While advertising is by all means an acceptable practice, again, you should be diligently screening your ads and your content delivery to make sure that the ad placement is not interfering with your content. While I can’t complain about my fellow bloggers earning a buck, I can and have happily unsubscribed from bloggers who 1) allowed advertisements to outshine their content, or 2) allowed advertising for gold-sellers.