I love reading blogs. Seriously, I do. And I don’t “force” myself to follow blogs I’m not interested in just out of politeness. If I leave a comment, it is because I have something to say. If I added your blog to my feed, it’s because I enjoy it.
From time to time, I scout the web for new interesting blogs related to travel, photography, life abroad—the kind of topics I’m into. For instance, I check Expat Blog to see what’s new. I read the blog description and open it in a new tab to take a look.
Will I subscribe to the feed? Maybe. But definitely not if your blog has one or more of these “blog turn-offs”.
What’s the topic, exactly? — Most people start a blog for a reason, and that reason usually becomes the main theme of the blog. For instance, I started a blog because I wanted to share my experience immigrating to Canada. As time goes by, most people don’t stay 100% on topic. New sub-themes are developed. For instance, I got into photography, I still love traveling and I’m interested in immigration topics. This is what categories are for—to organize your sub-themes. Now, sub-themes should be somewhat related to the main theme and you’re not supposed to have hundreds of them. Well, some blogs have and it’s pretty annoying. For instance, I recently subscribed to a blog because I read a couple of articles on living in Montreal. But then, the blog switched to OS systems, YouTube videos and cars. Err… no thanks, I unsubscribed. Same goes with blogs endlessly reposting videos and memes. You need some original content!
Grammar, people, grammar! — A lot of bloggers are not native English speakers but choose to write in that language, including me. I’m sure I make my share of grammatical mistakes and I often wonder what I sound like to a native speaker. To make sure reading my articles is as painless as possible, I use spell-check and I review and proofread everything. So what if the occasional mistake slips through? I’m pretty confident you understand me, right? Yet, some bloggers, including native speakers, choose to ignore the fundamentals of language, like paragraphs and punctuation. I don’t know how you feel about it but I have a lot of problem reading huge blocks of text when there isn’t a single punctuation mark, including caps. You want people to read you? Then make it easy for them.
Too much ads, no content — Like I recently wrote, I do monetize my blog. I have a few ads, hopefully relevant and non-intrusive. Most of us do have some kind of advertising program going on. After all, blogging takes time and energy and we are offering a service. That said, I don’t think blinding your readers with ads is wise. I personally stay away from any blog that uses pop-ups. I simply hate when a website disables the back button to force you to stay on that page—it’s a cheap trick. And if you start having more sponsored posts than genuine articles, don’t expect me to tag along. I want to read article from a real person, not corporate speak.
Am I talking to a wall? — Blogging is about interacting, and bloggers should never forget that their success depends on readers. If a reader made an effort to add to the discussion, please acknowledge it. No one is perfect and, like I said before, I reply to all comments but it sometimes takes me a little bit of time, and occasionally a comment slips through. If the number of comments is overwhelming, some blogger chose to “talk” to their readers in a follow-up article. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but please, do acknowledge your readers. There is nothing worst than talking to a wall. In short, don’t encourage comments if you don’t care about them.
Wow, that’s some bad design! — Blog design is a personal choice. You simply can’t please everyone: some like it minimalistic some like to make a bold statement, some blogs put a lot of effort into design and others use standard templates and themes. That’s fine! Now, you still want to make sure users can actually read your blog. For instance, I’d love people to realize that green font on black background equals headache. That the dozen of widgets you stacked at the bottom of your page make my browser crash. That I really don’t want some music to start automatically when I open your blog.
What are your blog turn-offs? What makes you click the “unsubscribe” button?