I am going to outline four blog mistakes and reasons people don’t read certain blogs. This information is good for current blogs and those in the process of designing a blog.
You Give Me Nothing
When I go to a blog, I am often pulled in by the headline. My hope is that I am going to learn something new and/or be educated. I want facts I can use and ideas to enhance my creativity and work. It is very obvious that articles that educate pull in readers. Education should be a goal for all blogs.
When I go to a blog post that has basically rehashed ideas from another article (or articles) I have already read, I lose faith in the writer. A good writer comes up with their own ideas and suggestions and those are the writers I want to see.
I am perfectly fine with someone making points about another article and putting their own spin on it, but if it is a summary of what I have already read, I get aggravated. My time has been wasted and I just don’t go back.
As an editor for several blogs, I can tell you that rehashed content is not published because the lack of quality and uniqueness hurts the blog.
Point to Remember: If you want a successful blog, you have to offer something to your readers. Think of your blog posts as gifts. Gifts are unique and given to specific people with specific interests. Your blog posts should be focused on a specific audience and you should be giving something unique to those readers.
Your Site is Too Loud
You want people to see the best you have to offer. Sometimes clutter and colorful items on the site overtake the quality information you provide. You don’t want this to happen.
I don’t think I have ADD, but on certain websites I feel like I must have it. When I visit a website with too much stuff all over the page I get distracted to the point that my eyes cannot focus on the article I am trying to read (no matter how hard I try). My eyes constantly drift to colors, to the top or sides, and to ads that change often. I thought that this was just an issue I had for a while and then, through the years, I have had many friends, clients and industry acquaintances tell me they have the same problem.
I have a hectic work day and I am typically in a rush to read through things. The blogs that I read typically offer me, and my eyes, a clean and soft place to read. Clean blog layouts are almost comforting because I don’t have to force myself to focus. Easy-to-read, informational blogs with unique content I return to often. Blogs can have a full sidebar of information and still offer an easy blog to read.
Point to Remember: I understand that many blogs need to make money and they have ads sprinkled throughout the site. There is nothing wrong with that, but if your ads are so distracting that people cannot read the quality you worked to create, then you don’t have a shot at good traffic or making money anyway. Choose ads wisely or create ads that mesh well with your color scheme.
Text is Too Small or Font Is Difficult to Read
I know most people will say “just increase the size of the text” with the browser or computer when reading, but it is not always that simple. Sometimes text is so small that when you zoom in, you have to constantly work to read by scrolling up and down and side-to-side. I don’t have time to do that (and it is irritating).
Another issue is, people choosing fancy fonts that look really nice, but are often difficult to read (especially when the font size is too small). There are universal fonts that work on all browsers and are known to be very readable on the Web. I recommend using one of those. You can always use font replacements and other techniques to add some customization to headlines, but the main text needs to be very readable.
Also, think about the background color of your site versus the color of your font. If you are creating something really unique, that is great. But ask at least 10 friends if they think the text is readable.
Point to Remember: Blogs with small text, difficult to read fonts and backgrounds that make reading difficult often push readers away. Make reading easy and pleasurable for your visitors.
There Are No Headlines
I absolutely cannot read a blog with many paragraphs and no headlines, or at least something else to break up the paragraphs. I have heard the same thing from many people and the importance of headlines has been written about often. I blog about headlines often because I think they are really important. Headlines serve multiple purposes for the reader and the blog itself.
Here are just a few:
- They help with scannability.
- The direction of the article is automatically clear.
- Subjects in headlines can interest a possible reader.
- They serve an SEO purpose.
- They serve as memory devices (for the article itself and important tips).
- They simply make things easier to read
- They can be used to make your main critical points abundently clear.
Point to Remember: Headlines and supporting images are always good for readability and for creating a spot in the memory of a reader’s mind. Think of your readers and what headlines would attract their attention. Test headlines out to see how effective they are.
Four Quick and Simple Things to Change
The four blog mistakes and reasons I outlined can be fairly simple to change. I know some clients, friends and social pals have wanted to avoid creating a whole new blog design and they made changes like these that worked well. However, there were some blogs that just needed a whole new look – and the new “look and feel” has paid off.
If you are serious about blogging, please give the reader something fantastic and make it easy for your readers to see what you’re offering.
Overwhelming Photo via Shutterstock
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Mark @ ThinkTraffic
All great points Melissa.
I think you have another challenge. You have make sure that even your subheadings are pulling the reader back in.
I constantly find myself scanning the first few sentences after a sub heading and then moving onto the next. Blog readers are getting increasingly good at filtering information and if you even have a couple of boring paragraphs you can lose a reader!
Mark, you are so right! I actually wrote about subheadings/headlines -> http://www.copypress.com/blog/4-ways-content-headlines-serve-you/
Great things to watch out for on blogs- and blog design, are revealed in your post, Melissa
One thing that always gets me fired up-and usually gets me to click away from a blog is teeny, tiny, font.
Not good to have it on a blog, for sure.
The Franchise King®
Same goes for me, Joel 🙂
Really great post Melissa.
Harsh, but true. I would add that not only do you need headlines, you need scannable content. That usually means shorter paragraphs, subheadlines and bullet lists.
Robert, I agree!
Great post, Melissa. One thing I hate is to hear music as soon I land on a site. There’s almost nothing that turns me off more than music suddenly blaring through my speakers that I didn’t ask for. Thanks for sharing these tips.
I am the same way. If music is playing or one of those people walks across the screen to sell me something I am out of there!
Melissa, You would think people use common sense with what turns them off when they visit a blog? These are great, easy to follow things that can make a difference in engagement and people coming back. That is why we do this isn’t it? :O)
You are so.right that I want to gain at least one how to for stopping by to read a blog. Because, I read so many, I expect some of the same stuff. It may be how it is presented that helps me understand it better. That is the blogger I will follow every time. Thanks for your article. I’m still working on font size in my articles and you again are correct. If it’s hard to read, I move on.