Are you making one of these five blogging mistakes? They’re actions that can drive viewers from your blog, but they’re all easily corrected.
This isn’t a post containing the tried-and-true wisdom I’ve gained from years spent in the blogging trenches. This isn’t a post written by someone who makes a living helping people grow their blogs. This isn’t the post of an expert blogger.
Because I’m so not.
This is the post of a seasoned blog-reader. I read blogs, a lot of them. A few I read faithfully, but lots I visit randomly, through Pinterest or through the internet rabbit hole of “I clicked a link that led there, where I clicked another link that led there, and that’s where I saw another link…”
I’m stilling feeling my way through the blog-owning side of things, but I’ve been a blog-viewer for many years. This is what I see:
5 blogging mistakes you’re making
your links don’t open in new pages
Picture this: I’m on your blog, let’s say browsing a recipe. During the course of reading the post, I come across a link, like this. Based on context, I’m interested in where the link leads, so I click it. Now I’m no longer viewing the recipe, I’m viewing the page from the link.
And most likely, because I’m me and usually have no fewer than seventeen internet tabs open at any given time, I get distracted by the link and forget I was there for a recipe. So the recipe doesn’t get pinned, or commented on, or shared.
the solution: have every single link you include in your posts open in a new tab or window, but especially a link that takes the reader away from your site.
(2.21.16 update: I recently learned that have all your internal links open in a new tab can seriously hurt your bounce rate. With that being said, I still highly recommend you have all external links open in new tabs.)
you’re not replying to comments
I don’t comment on many blogs. Now that I have my own blog and I know how special comments are, I try to make more of an effort, but I’m still pretty bad about it. So when I do take a few seconds to leave my thoughts on a blog post, the least you can do is respond.
Oftentimes, I go back and visit the blog again when I get an email informing me of the reply. If there’s no reply, I don’t really have a reason to go back.
the solution: respond to every comment left on your posts, even the one-word ones. If a reader is kind enough to leave their thoughts, it’s the polite thing for you to do.
you’re not giving me something to pin
If I think there’s any chance I might want to reference a post later, I’ll pin it, sometimes to more than one board. But I can’t pin a post without an image.
the solution: Never ever ever publish a post that doesn’t contain at least one pinnable image, even if it’s just a basic graphic you made in PicMonkey or Canva. Even if it’s a post that you don’t think anyone will pin. Include some sort of graphic, if for no other reason than so that I have something pretty to look at.
your paragraphs are too long
Rarely do I read an entire blog post from start to finish. More than likely, I scan it and read the parts that seem relevant or interesting (just like I bet you’re scanning this list… right?). If your posts contain fat paragraphs- length will vary based on your blog layout and text size, but I would say anything more than five or six lines long should be broken up into two paragraphs- I’m more likely to lose interest and move on.
the solution: use smaller paragraphs. Numbered or bulleted lists are good, too. Using bold to emphasize key phrases will catch the reader’s eye, too.
your site doesn’t have a menu
Like a lot of readers, if I’m browsing a blog and liking what I see, I’m probably going to look around for more posts that interest me. I almost always check out the “about” page, too, to get an idea of the person behind the blog. If your site lacks a menu or easy navigation, I’m not going to spend much time searching for what I want; I’ll just move on to another site.
the solution: have menu options located in an obvious area- directly under the header or on the right- or left-hand side near the top. Include in your menu options an About Me section that will help the reader get to know you more.
Note: this post is obviously the opinion of one blog reader; I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers out there who break all these “rules” and are successful.
What common missteps are likely to keep you from coming back to a blog?