How to Alienate Your First Reader?

Let's say you started your blog today. After setting it up basically, you did some search engine submissions, some social media work, and emailed your contacts. Let's see what can alienate your readers from your first blog.

1. Theme Vs. Loading Time

There are already coolest looking blogs in the blogosphere. The readers are no longer looking for really a great design. All they want now is content that loads really faster. The era of Flash and design gimmicks is long gone. So, make sure your blog loads within the first four seconds.

2. Advertisements

Readers know of Adsense and various other forms of ads. They frown now upon links with tiny descriptions and a URL at the end, as they have already on banners. It is always best to wait until your blog starts getting at least fifty daily search engine visits before adding advertisements.

3. Widgets

Don't think readers love it if you spice your blog up with widgets like the fancy clock, social network profile pics, etc. Add only as few widgets as possible. The must-have ones like translation widget, archives widget, RSS subscription widget, social network icon list, etc. may be added.

4. Search Form

Have one search form and only one. I have seen some bloggers have two Google Adsense search boxes, as Adsense allows maximum of two. This is ridiculous.

5. RSS Widget Icon

Do you have that large, fancy RSS subscription icon on the top? Get rid of it. It distracts users. Only a simple, standard-color RSS icon is enough with optional email subscription form.

6. Visit Stats

If you have small visit stats, don't put up a stats icon at all. With StatCounter, Sitemeter etc., you can opt for invisible trackers. Or at least, you can place the tracker at an obscure spot.

7. Personal Posts

You have a brand new blog on a specific topic, and the first few entries are about how hard up you were for the last few months, how you managed to buy this new domain and put up this blog, and how your last night's dinner was. You have already alienated most of your readers. Don't put up any personal post at all (even an about me page) until you start getting a decent traffic. And post the most useful entries first, and also let users know of them through a 'featured entries' widget.

8. Streamlined Navigation

If you have a new blog concentrating on a topic, create links with keywords a possible reader wants to see. For instance, if your topic is "car insurance", then place home page links to topics like "insurance firms", "basic info", "get cheap insurance", "local insurance", etc. Don't give your first visitor the most advanced article. Let them browse to it as they wish.

9. Enable Print Pages

Printable versions of your pages are very easy for most readers. If you publish entries in a number of pages, a user might expect to see a printable page, which loads all the content on one page faster.

10. Related Links

Have there something for the reader to bookmark. Create a directory listing or one-page link list for all the related information. This is something that most users love to see. And they will most likely bookmark it.

1 Opinions:

  1. Excellent tips here.
    I specifically agree with #3 - that of using the least possible widgets. Subtlety is acknowledged in the blogging world with a great readership!
    It happens that some of the blogs out there rank very highly in content, but are foolish enough to sport a cluttered design which hampers reading. I use feed readers to view them. I just don't have the time to give a damn about it!

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