In the blogosphere, it takes maybe five seconds to encourage readers to keep reading or to click away. If your blog fails to capture the interest of your reader, chances are they won’t stick around. Over the last few weeks I recently screened several dozen blogs to see if they would be a good fit for my blogroll. With the limited amount of time I had to work with I would compare the experience to an agent shoveling through a pile of query letters. If the blog didn’t catch my attention right from the start, I lost interest.
Here are 5 ways to make a bad first impression, as learned from experience:
1.Use a format with harsh colors, designs, or cluttered look. There are so many choices with colors and templates that it can be a challenge to find something that is both unique and appealing. Stick to simple designs and limited color schemes. For posts and articles please use dark type on a light background, most find it hard to read light text on dark. If it hurts my eyes to look at it, chances are I won’t read it.
2. Keep the subject of your blog a mystery. There is nothing wrong with a creative title, but if it doesn’t tell the reader what the blog is about then use a subtitle. If it is easy to tell that a blog centers around a subject that interests me, chances are I’ll read through some of the posts. If I can’t figure it out, I’ll move on.
3. Leave no trace to who you are. If you are not yet ready to show your true identity to the world at least write something telling your readers why you are blogging. Like most people, if I can identify with a blogger or writer, I’m far more likely to be interested in what they write.
4. Make it hard to navigate. Chances are there will be dozens if not hundreds of posts on your site, if it is hard to find your way around then readers will not be able to find what they want. Categories are wonderful things, they reinforce blog’s content and make those items easy to find. Be careful not to make categories too specific or too broad.
5. Post only every few weeks or less. If you want to gain a following you have to communicate regularly. Blogs with few posts or infrequent posts look like they are abandoned. Think of blogging as sharing with your friends, the more you share they more they know you care.
This is only the tip of the proverbial blogging iceburg, I’m sure there are many other deadly sins to be avoided.
What are your blogging pet peeves? Do tell in the comments!