6 practices that lower blog engagement

As a blog manager, coach and consultant to some fantastic blogs and bloggers, I want my clients to make the most of their blogs and blogging experience. I tell them to view their blog as a gift, an extension of their thoughts and talents they share with the world. I want them to create a space and experience that delights their visitors and promotes engagement and meet their blogging goals. 

In the past ten years, I’ve spent much of my waking hours working online. From my time around the interwebs, I’ve spotted a few practices and trends I’d like to see discontinued or reconsidered. Like right, right, now. Let’s take a look a few:

Annoying opt-in pop-ups

I loathe opt-in pop-ups and I think they are the bane of the blogging world. There. I said it. Now here’s why. If I like your blog, I will go hunt for an opt-in feature if I have to. In the past, I’ve gone as far as using the contact form or social media to ask the blogger to put me on their mailing list because I couldn’t find an opt-in and their stuff was just too good to miss out on. I find it rather annoying that I have not properly landed on your page and you are asking me to sign up for something. Sign up for what?! I just got here! You have not given me any value (yet) and I have not determined if you’re deserving of my email address. Let me feel my way around and then decide if I want you in my inbox weekly. And let’s not forget those pop-ups that show on on EVERY PAGE I click. Very annoying and a sure-fire way to get me to quickly exit your blog. Think: is this really necessary?

Broken links

I am guilty of this. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the changes you’ve made to your blog, especially when deleting pages or changing links. I honestly understand. But it looks sloppy and tad unprofessional when I get curious, click a link and a 404 error page stares me back in the face. Plugins like Broken Link Checker and cool Google Chrome extensions like Broken Link Checker will help you avoid this blogging gaffe.

Having me jump through hoops to comment

My biggest pet peeve of them all. On some blogs, the struggle is real when trying to leave a comment! I am active in a few blog communities that require commenting on the post of members and I consider it a nuisance when I am required to sign up/sign into something or subscribe first to leave a comment. If blog spam is your concern, there are (WordPress) plugins like Akismet and Antispam Bee to deal with this. Until you figure this out, I’ll quickly exit and move to the next blog.

Auto-play audio or video

Why is it necessary to serenade me with music or show me a video as I land? Should I not be able to decide if that’s what I want? What if I’m on the job sneaking the interwebs and I don’t want my boss to know? Or I’m doing some late night browsing from my bed and don’t want to disturb my partner? Please, rethink this practice. Thank you.

Complicated Captcha

Captchas are a powerful line of defense against spam and bots but the unwanted consequences are they are often hard to read or don’t work. Swap out the annoying captcha for something simpler and user-friendly. No one is going to struggle with a captcha to leave a comment. Second attempt and they are out.

Hmmm….$1 if you can guess the first ‘word’?

 

Cheesy Stock Photos
Images give your blog and posts a bit of visual flair and save us from reading a wall of text. However, may I suggest that instead of using cheesy stock photographs of a smiling office team or the clichéd customer service rep we see on many business blogs that you use real photography to showcase your actual customers or employees? Some inexpensive sites for images are Can Stock Photo or Crestock. I recently found CreateHerStock for bloggers of colors. If you want free pics, Free Digital Photos is a nice alternative. Why be cheesy when you can be cool?


Blogging can be fun and can create a world of opportunities for bloggers. 
I’ve been blogging long before WordPress (some 20+ blogs over the years) and I have a great appreciation for opportunities it has brought me.

Whether your goal is to become a big name in the blogosphere or just showcase your skill and share your thoughts, do consider the experience of your users. I’ve you’ve been doing any of the things I mentioned, take heart. I was guilty of most of them at some point of my blogging journey and I’m sure there’s a broken link or two on one of my other blogs. I think I’ll go check now 🙂

Chime in below with any comments or add your pet peeves if you like. If you enjoyed this post why not share it with a blogger friend or two? Need help with your blog? Check out my services just for lady bloggers.